The great day of the Lord is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter, the warrior cries aloud there. That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish…” vss. 14-15aZephaniah 1:7, 12-18
There was a time when preachers and revivalists regularly invoked the vivid pictures of the day of the Lord that are found in the Hebrew prophets. These passages paint a bleak description of judgment, a day of wrath from which only a few will be preserved. Zephaniah even wrote that “in the fire of his passion the whole earth shall be consumed; for a full, a terrible end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.” Preachers like Jonathan Edwards used these passages to terrify and warn their listeners that this would be their fate unless they turned to Christ, their one and only hope of avoiding the fires of hell. Believe it or not, such techniques worked! During the revivals of the 18th century, known as the Great Awakening, thousands of sinners dedicated their lives to Christ. Some did it multiple times! There are some who would like to see a return to that kind of preaching in our congregations. They believe that fear is a powerful motivator, and that people would clean up their lives if preachers would “scare them straight.” They’re tired of “grace-filled Pablum,” and yearn for the “good old days.” Others aren’t so sure!
Thought for the Day: What’s my reaction to fire and brimstone preaching?