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The Very Idea of It

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The horror that Christ endured on behalf of sinners is meaningless if we as sinners are not in ourselves worthy of suffering the same fate. How could the Substitute's torture on the cross be taken seriously if those for whom he substituted himself could not be justly sentenced in the same manner? God's mercy embraces his justice at the cross.

Into this situation, we are supposed to announce, on God's behalf, a judgment to come that will reach its apogee in the everlasting punishment of vast numbers of people in hell. It is a difficult time in history to talk about hell. Better to play along with the national assemblies of religious leaders gathered for prayer than to play the prophet.


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Michael Horton is the J. Gresham Machen professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California (Escondido, California), host of the White Horse Inn, national radio broadcast, and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine. He is author of many books, including The Gospel-Driven Life, Christless Christianity, People and Place, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, The Christian Faith, and For Calvinism.

Issue: "Hell: Putting the Fire Out?" May/June 2002 Vol. 11 No. 3 Page number(s): 14-20

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