According to Bama Research (2003), "the vast majority continues to believe that there is life after death, that everyone has a soul, and that Heaven and Hell exist." However, the study also observes, "Most Americans do not expect to experience Hell first-hand: just one-half of 1% expect to go to Hell upon their death ."

This explains the blase attitude of many Americans towards morals, the Gospel, church attendance, and the Bible in general. Unfortunately, much of the blame for this must be laid at the feet of preachers. Judging by "Christian" funerals, no one is lost or going to Hell. It was not always this way. Jonathan Edwards touched off a reformation in America in 1741 with a sermon entitled, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.
It also contradicts the plain teaching of Christ and the Gospel. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) when he warned, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). Paul points out that the whole purpose of the Gospel and Christianity is that we might be saved thereby from the terrors of Hell (Romans 1:16ff). 
Most are unaware that Jesus popularized the concept of Hell during his personal ministry! But first let us digress. In the King James Version (the student's standard for hundreds of years) both the Greek Gehenna and Hades are translated into the English Hell. Gehenna is the place of punishment while Hades refers to the unseen world or the spirit world. The Hadean world includes the spirits of both good and bad (E.g., Lazarus and the Rich man in Luke 16) spirits.

Jesus, as God's son, revealed Hell was indeed real. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught that whosoever said to his brother, "Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire" (Matthew 5:22). In sending out the Twelve, he admonished, "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28).

The Christian concept of Hell is real. The salvation preached in the first century was because there is to be a final judgment day for each one of us. According to the New Testament our salvation was obtained by obeying the gospel and living the Christian life. As Paul expressed it, "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:26-29).

Dale I. Royal, 
Elk City OK

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."