Fire and Brimstone

Fire and Brimstone

A man on a busy street corner holds a sign that reads “Sinners Repent!”

There are other signs posted around him with longer bits of text, with messages of a similar tone, warning of the wrath of God and hellfire that awaits those who refuse to repent and believe in Jesus.

To help hammer home the message of the signs, the man also attempts to persuade passersby with his voice: “Idolaters, slanderers, and sexual perverts will not inherit the Kingdom of God! Repent! Or else the fires of hell await!”

Sometimes an individual or small group would gather around the man and debate him or voice their dissent.

“You don’t know anything about me, sir. I may have my vices, but on the whole, I’m a good person as are most of the people you’re saying will burn.”; “You’re the one that needs to repent, for your hateful message!”; “God loves everyone.”; “God doesn’t even exist, much less hell, dude.”; “Even if I am going to hell, it won’t be for you to decide. God is my judge.”; etc.

Some very reasonable objections, some less so. But even in the responses of the most reasonable objectors, the man senses a pricked conscience, a re-consideration of eternal truth, a fresh evaluation of lives, and so he is encouraged to continue in his ministry.

As he persists delivering his message, a man dressed in monastic garb passed by with his head hung low. The street preacher aimed his megaphone at the monk: “You are headed for hell, sir!”

Somewhat startled, the monk looked up and replied: “I know! Please, my brother, pray that Our Great God and savior Jesus Christ would have mercy on me, a miserable wretch and chief among sinners, and save me. Like you, I confess Jesus as Lord, but at the Last Judgment many will confess Christ to be ‘Lord, Lord!’ to whom He will say ‘depart from me, I never knew you’! If anyone falls into that category, it’s me! Lord have mercy.”

The lowly monk then continued on his way.

But the street preacher stood silently and blinked. He blinked again.

After a few moments of silence, the man quietly packed up his signs, loaded them into his vehicle, and drove slowly away.


  1. says

    There is a quote by Willi Graf, one of the members of the Anti-Nazi group “The White Rose” that I love and try to keep close to heart. It’s hard to translate from the German, but to paraphrase it, it goes something like, “One IS not a Christian, but rather works toward that, only becoming a Christian in death, and then only a little.”

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