There is a Hell....and this ain't it!

On Sunday night, I watched a story on MSNBC about a preacher named Carlton Pearson who was a Pentecostal preacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I'll lay my judgement on the Pentecostal style of worship, and their beliefs to the side for now, save the fact that I will say that I believe that there are plenty of Pentecostals, and people from tons of various other denominations that will go to heaven. And there are plenty of Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists and people from other denominations who will not go to heaven.

But I digress. This preacher was on TV talking about his new message that "God gave him" that he is now preaching. The message? Hell isn't a place that we go after we die, apart from God. Hell is a place on earth that we can experience at any time, numerous times even. The moral of this message? We will experience Hell in this life on earth, but when we die, everyone will be united with God in Heaven. God will not send or allow one person to go Hell. Everyone is saved!

Now, I must admit that as I watched this guy talk about this my first thought was "HERESY of all HERESIES"....and to save you from any angst while you read this blog, I still believe that very thought! HERESY it is! But here's what I really don't get! This guy had a huge church in Tulsa....I mean a megachurch that would give upwards of $600,000 a week in "tithes" and "offerings" (and I use those words loosely for this context). Pearson drove a Mercedes Benz, had a huge house in a gated neighborhood, carried clout in evangelical societies, and even had high political connections.

Since preaching new found message, Pearson has lost everything. He lost his church, he lost his fancy car and house, he lost his closest friends and his standing in the evangelical circles. All because he chose to no longer believe there was a hell. Why would a guy who had everything give it up for this radical (and heretical) message? I mean I can understand someone like Joel Osteen watering down the truth and preaching a feel-good, health and wealth, don't-worry-be-happy kind of message for the sake of tickling the collective ears of his superhuge church (not that I in any way think that is right!) But to preach something like this and lose it all......I don't get it. And Pearson's reason......according to the report...was that he couldn't stand the thought that his backsliding grandparents would really go to hell after they died!

As I watched though, I realized that though he gave up his standing presently, I don't think that will be the case very long. I believe his message will catch on. I thought, as I watched this report, of all the people in the world looking for an answer to the pain and hurt they have experienced in life....and to hear someone say "Hey, that's what hell is....but no worries, when you die, no matter what, you will be with God in heaven". I thought of those people who have been burned by church, or who have given up any thought to consequence of action so they can live the way they want, or those people who openly despise God. This is good news for them...now they can live as they please, and still have great reward in Heaven with God. Man?born good not bad after all. Sin? Not an issue! Holiness? Think nothing of it.

All the while the blood of Jesus.....the grace of God......CHEAPENED. In the words of Dietrich Bonhoffer "cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Grace alone does everything they say, and so everything can remain as it was before. "All for sin could not atone." Well, then, let the Christian live like the rest of the world, let him model himself on the world’s standards in every sphere of life, and not presumptuously aspire to live a different life under grace from his old life under sin."

I am reminded of this verse -

"For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths." 2 Timothy 4:3-4

1 comments:

Great post Matt! Enjoyed reading it.

September 25, 2007 at 5:28 PM  

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