Skip to comments.A Question Of Hell (One Minister Questions Its Existence)
Posted on 07/10/2007 5:10:24 PM PDT by NYer
Recent years have provided plenty of church scandals, but an unlikely one has occurred in the Bible belt. A prominent Tulsa, Okla., minister was scandalized not by sex or embezzlement, but by his belief in hell.
When Carlton Pearson began wondering if modern believers still need a medieval pit of fire, it cost him his congregation. Watch "Hell: Our Fear and Fascination" Friday on a special "20/20" at 10 p.m. EDT
He shared pulpits with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. He counseled presidents at the White House. And after the Oklahoma City bombing, he was called to lead the grieving in prayer.
Throughout his rise, Pearson preached the fundamentals: Everyone is born a sinner. Everyone is going to hell, unless they accept Jesus Christ as Lord.
"Thank God I don't have to go to hell even though I deserve hell," Pearson preached. "But Jesus vicariously substituted for me -- took on death, hell and the grave -- and I have victory today."
But through the years, as he as he studied the ancient Greek and Hebrew scriptures, Pearson developed a crisis of faith.
"I couldn't reconcile a God whose mercy endures forever and this torture chamber that's customized for unbelievers," he said. "You can't be happy. And how can you really love a god who's torturing your grandmother?"
The more he studied, the more he saw the Bible not as the literal word of God, but a book by men about God, with primitive men prone to mistranslations, political agendas and human emotions.
And one night, as he watched ABC News' Peter Jennings report on the parade of suffering in Rwanda, he had a revelation. He questioned how a God who calls himself loving could let people suffer so badly and then suck them into Hell.
"That's when I thought I heard an inner voice say, 'Is that what you think we're doing?'" he said.
Pearson believed God was telling him there was Hell on earth.
"The bitter torment of the idea of an angry, visceral, distant, stoic, harsh, unrelenting, unforgiving, intolerant God is Hell," he said. "It's pagan. It's superstitious. And if you trace its history, it goes way back to where men feared the gods because something happened in life that caused frustration."
Pearson said people who believe in Hell create it forthemselves and others.
"People who believe in devils and demons become that in consciousness and they act it out," he added.
Scripture is most clear on this topic. Yes, there is a hell!
- 12 "There was a rich man 13 who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day.
- And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
- who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
- When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried,
- and from the netherworld, 14 where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
- And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.'
- Abraham replied, 'My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
- Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.'
- He said, 'Then I beg you, father, send him to my father's house,
- for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.'
- But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.'
Psalm 36: 2-10
Sin speaks to the sinner
in the depths of his heart.
There is no fear of God
before his eyes.
He so flatters himself in his mind
that he knows not his guilt.
In his mouth are mischief and deceit.
All wisdom is gone.
He plots the defeat of goodness
as he lies on his bed.
He has set his foot on evil ways,
he clings to what is evil.
Your love, Lord, reaches to heaven;
your truth to the skies.
Your justice is like God’s mountain,
your judgements like the deep.
To both man and beast you give protection.
O Lord, how precious is your love.
My God, the sons of men
find refuge in the shelter of your wings.
They feast on the riches of your house;
they drink from the stream of your delight.
In you is the source of life
and in your light we see light.
“Pearson said people who believe in Hell create it for themselves and others.”
C’est ca l’enfer, c’est les autres!
O Lord, to you I call; hasten to me;
hearken to my voice when I call upon you.
Let my prayer come like incense before you;
the lifting up of my hands, like the evening sacrifice.
O Lord, set a watch before my mouth;
a guard at the door of my lips.
Let not my heart incline to the evil
of engaging in deeds of wickedness.
With men who are evildoers;
and let me not partake of their dainties.
Pas du tout! Ca existe et c'est la realite
Just another arrogant prick trying to deceive. God doesn't "torture" those which CHOOSE him.
God allows one to CHOOSE to be separated from him! The people who CHOOSE this separation are aware of the circumstances as well the consequences.
Unfortunately for the good Rev., he will someday understand the Biblical concept of Hell. Hope that understanding comes before he leaves this earth.
Prayers up for this man.
If you DON’T believe in Hell, you will....
22 For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the LORD, so shall your offspring and your name remain.
23 From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the LORD.
24 And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.
Personally, I don't really see how it's possible to reconcile the concept of an all-powerful, all-loving, life-creating God with the traditional concept of hell (=conscious eternal torment).
Or, to put it another way, I simply can't seem to work out any way that the traditional concept of hell makes a hell of a lot of sense.
“If I knew God I’d be Him.”
C’est l’Infer, c’est Subterranee Democratíque.
It’s important to remember that God doesn’t send people to Hell. To go to hell, one has to want to go there to say, like Lucifer, “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven”.
A couple of questions.
Who, according to your doctrine, created hell? And for what purpose?
What is the mechanism by which people arrive in hell? You claim that God doesn't send people to hell. Is there a mechanism, completely independent of God, whereby people die and simply slide into hell, unless they are rescued by God?
Finally, let's take for granted that a person's winding up in hell is due to his or her choices. But who created that person? Is God then powerless to avoid creating people who are going to end up in hell? And if he is not powerless to avoid creating people who are going to end up in hell, then why does he create them?
Finally, is God all-powerful? If he is, then why is he apparently not able to change the fate of the condemned to something far more humane; like annihilation? If he is not able to control whether people burn in unbelievably painful, excruciating, screaming torment forever and ever without end, then he is not all-powerful. If he is able to do something about this and does not, then it would certainly appear that he is as evil as the worst demon from hell, because he chooses to inflict upon people (or at least, to allow the inflicting upon people) the most hideous of eternal, unending torments.
Or could it be that there is something wrong with the doctrine?
People who believe in “no consequences” aren’t likely to behave according to God’s laws, or even try very hard.
Believing that Christ died for our sins is NOT a free pass to do what we want. It is an obligation to do what God wants.
“When Carlton Pearson...(big snip)...
He shared pulpits with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. He counseled
presidents at the White House. And after the Oklahoma City bombing,
he was called to lead the grieving in prayer.
Ah, I thought this guy sounded familiar.
He had a big church in Tulsa area, but then lost it due to some scandal
(can’t rememeber what it was).
He’s ridden the gay-friendly church gimmick back to the big-time in
liberal church circles.
I think I saw him on a TV news program sometimes in the last few years.