Concise Lexicon of Christianity

Ken Collins’ Website

Teachings, worship, rites, sermons, and terminology

Why does my pastor constantly preach hellfire and brimstone?

The things that come out of the mouth come from the heart…
—Matthew 15:18a

Recently, a woman told me that when she was a child, her family belonged to a church in which the pastor constantly preached about sin and evil. He constantly berated his own congregation until the sweat dripped off the tip of his nose. Evidently, this experience still troubled her, even though she changed churches as soon as she was old enough. In the same week, I received electronic mail from a pastor in a distant state who was unsettled by his colleagues whose preaching technique is to frighten their congregation by finding the devil everywhere. And then a third person asked me the same question.

I have three insights about this:

Fire and brimstone is a valid sermon topic, but not for every sermon all the time! So if you are troubled by a fire-breathing pastor, have pity on him. Reach out to him in his need, or if you are not equal to the task, find another church. In any case, pray for him to experience God’s grace and love.