A lady stopped by my office and was talking to me about a preacher she knew. She said, “He is a real ‘Turn or Burn’ preacher.” She continued, “He ain’t afraid to preach about Hellfire and Brimstone, you know.”
Yes, I know the type of preacher of which you speak. Every sermon lands on the judgment of God, and if you are not right, then you are going to hell. I have heard those preachers in my life, many of them at old-time revival services.
After this conversation, I wondered if anyone would ever consider me a “Turn or Burn” preacher. Honestly, I hope no one calls me by that description. I know some people have said, “I stepped on their toes” occasionally, but I hope that is as close as I get. Here is why I feel that way.
1.God’s Judgement is the Path to Grace. I think the whole framework of “Turn or Burn” preaching is set up wrong. For me, the two options are judgment or grace. The Bible reveals a God who hates sin and seeks to destroy everything that stands against him. This idea is gently laid alongside the cross. God’s wrath is poured out on Jesus, and we can now receive grace. As a result, I want my primary message to be about the grace of God more than judgment.
2. Many Biblical Topics are Not Judgement Sermons. People need to hear more than just about accepting grace. They need to understand about being a better husband, father, and son. They need to know about being a better wife, mother, and daughter. The letters of Paul often contain a statement about how to relate to other believers. The pages of Scripture are filled with teaching about family, marriage, communication, worship, discipleship, prayer, and a variety of other topics. I want to preach the whole Bible, not just one topic.
3. I Like to Preach about Next Steps. Telling people to “Turn or Burn” is not very helpful. I want people to take their next step on their journey of faith. Following Jesus and accepting God’s grace are the first steps on our walk with Christ. What is the next step? How are you letting your faith impact your work life, your church life, and your personal life? I believe that God always wants us focused on our next step of faith in light of the final step. I want to find practical ways to help people move forward.
I want people to know about the ultimate judgment of the universe by our God. All of us will one day die and stand before the judgment seat. That is only a small part of what I preach. I want to be known for a message that is full of grace and helps people on their journey with God. Sure, sometimes that message might be hard to hear because we like to stick to our traditional ways of doing things. I hope that change is motivated by love and grace instead along with fear. Your loving Father in heaven wants the best for you, and you can trust his plan.