Jeremy Zach, the editor of the blog REyouthpastor, joins us as a guest contributor on the Rooted Blog. Jeremy works at Orange in the XP3 Student Ministry department. He holds a Masters in Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. As part of our series on tough stuff, Jeremy answers our questions about why Hell is such a difficult and important topic for students to know.
How do you define and describe the concept of Hell to students?
God finds no pleasure in punishment (Ezk 18.23). Youth pastors need to make sure that the student knows: God is passionately pursuing each human being. When defining HELL youth pastors must combat the myth God is not for us, when in reality He is completely for us.
God allows humans to keep making destructive and evil decisions and choices because God is patient and continually forgiving and longing all of us to come to life! God will not stop us from going to hell if we insist on it. Hell is a real place where everyone admits: God—I do not want your love.
Why is it difficult or unpopular to teach?
Who wants to talk about eternal death? I think teaching about Hell is like cleaning the bathroom. Yes no one likes to do it but it has to be done.
Why do you think it is important to teach about Hell?
Youth pastors need to steer the student away from ONLY what they think and feel about the doctrine of Hell, but what the Bible says about Hell. Youth pastors need to appropriately deal with what scripture tells us. Scripture tells us Jesus is the only way, truth, and life and no one comes to the Father except through Jesus.
How does the concept help a student better understand the Gospel and grace of Jesus?
Students are wanting guidance on how to ask deeper questions theological questions while learning to live in the paradoxes of the Christian faith. So youth pastors who clearly communicate the both the popular and unpopular attributes of God will give their students a fuller and broader understanding of who God is and how He operated in the Scriptures.