I’ll never forget when a teenager asked me two tough questions after a Dare 2 Share conference. The first: “Do you mean my friends who don’t know Jesus will die and spend an eternity in hell and brimstone forever?”
She had approached me after a drama that dealt head on with the subject of hell. Afterward, I challenged kids with the urgency of sharing the Gospel with friends. When the crowd started leaving, this very somber girl asked me her heartfelt question.
During the next few minutes, I shared with her a few Bible verses. One passage was 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, where Paul writes bluntly on the subject.
“…when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power.“
The girl was stunned by the biblical rawness of the theology of hell. But her second question was even more stunning. “Why has my youth leader never told me about hell?” With tears in her eyes, she said she’d never heard about the theology of hell and the urgency and responsibility of rescuing friends from this coming judgment.
I couldn’t answer. I had no idea why her leader never talked about the urgent subject of saving others from hell and brimstone for eternity.
Why Do Youth Leaders Avoid Teaching About Hell and Brimstone?
Maybe her leader didn’t want people to accuse him or her of using scare tactics. But is it scare tactics to yell “STOP!” at a child running toward a busy intersection? Is it scare tactics to warn a generation headed toward hell and brimstone to “STOP!” before it’s too late?
Maybe this youth leader had a weak theology of hell. Perhaps he or she didn’t really believe that people who die without Jesus spend a Christ-less eternity in the Lake of Fire (see Revelation 20:11-15 and many other passages).
Maybe this youth leader didn’t want to cram too much “hell and brimstone” preaching down teenagers’ throats. But by and large, Generation Z hasn’t heard the theology of hell.