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My topic today is something I never imagined I
would write about if I had not watched the news and read
the published accounts of what took place.
question then is, “What exactly happened?” This is where it gets a little bit
murky. I’m talking about the recent news story attributing to Pope Francis
remarks he allegedly made in which he appears to suggest that Hell does not
really exist. As you might surmise, battle lines have been drawn over the issue
of where the Pope stands concerning the existence of Hell.
whether he said those exact words, or implied Hell does not exist, is something
for each person to decide for themselves. I am not attempting to defend or be
critical of the Pope. He made remarks to a journalist who is a long-time friend
of his in an interview last month. It is important to note that this Italian
journalist is an avowed atheist (there is no God), and does not take notes, nor
use recording devices in his interviews.
from other interviews and comments the Pope has made over the years it seems as
though he has theological leanings that do not always square with the Bible, or
with Catholic doctrine. From what is reported the Pontiff has said that those
who earnestly seek God with a whole heart will enjoy His presence in Heaven forever.
On the other hand, those who are outside of the faith will disappear. They will
not suffer the torments of Hell for eternity. They will no longer exist.
a position has a name within theological circles. It’s called Annihilationism
(also known as extinctionism, or destructionism). The soul of the person who
has rejected God in Christ will be judged at the Final Judgement. When it is
determined that the person being judged has rejected God, then that person will
pass into a condition where they no longer exist.
position of annihilationism may bring a modicum of comfort to those who fear
for the eternal loss of a loved one by suggesting they no longer exist. It is
difficult to fathom, and painful to imagine a loved one suffering in Hell for
eternity, I grant you that. But, if the Bible is correct and true, and is God’s
holy word, then my discomfort with an endless eternity of suffering for those
who are lost, is moot.
brings out another problem within the broader church worldwide today. Too often
unpopular doctrine firmly based upon biblical teaching, is ignored or replaced
with a new doctrine which carries little or no biblical support.
instance, it is popular today to suggest that all religions, faiths, doctrines,
creeds, and so forth are as valid as any other. The popular bumper sticker
COEXIST is printed in such a way as to use symbols from various world religions
and beliefs to infer that we should all just be able to get over our
differences and get along. That sounds wonderful on the surface, but totally
impracticable in its implementation. A cursory review of the texts deemed holy
by any of these beliefs will quickly identify the fly-in-the-ointment, so to
speak. Islam, which is bent on world domination, cannot and does not want to
get along with anybody, especially Christians and Jews. The very first chapter
(Surah 1) of the Koran (Qur’an, if you like), attacks Christians and Jews,
claiming that Allah is angry with them. That would be a little bit difficult to
ignore, don’t you think?
the Pope said Hell does not exist, or implied it, or didn’t make any such
comment, is irrelevant in the final analysis. True, to faithful Catholics he is
the Vicar of Christ, the bodily representation of Christ on earth. This would
then beg the question: If he is the representation of Christ on earth, would he
not be in error to go against two thousand years of Christian doctrine by
asserting that lost souls merely disappear, and not suffer for eternity? The
Bible is crystal clear on several points. First, there really is a Hell.
Second, the ruler of this dreadful place is Satan, the devil. Third, Jesus
warns of Hell throughout his three plus years of earthly ministry. Fourth, the
Apostle John wrote the final book in the Bible, Revelation. You cannot escape
the reality of Hell reading through the twenty-two chapters of this
might say, “Well, I don’t believe in the Bible.” Fine. Then what do you believe
in? And what is that belief based on? You see, I accept the fact that Jesus is
the Son of God. That he loved me and died on a cross for my sins so that I
might know him personally, experience his forgiveness, and live with him for
eternity in Heaven. That’s why the message of the Bible, the Gospel, is
referred to as Good News!
reason I believe what the Bible says is that Jesus rose from the dead. Anyone
who can do that has my attention! And I figure he ought to know. If he says
there’s a Hell, then there’s a Hell.
Roots in Ripon - Author Chuck Roots
might want to imply that I surely grew up in an environment where the Bible was
used to make me fearful and cower under the thunderous preaching of the
fire-breathing preachers. Nope! Not my experience. In fact, my brother, sister
and I grew up in a very liberal environment. Church? To be decided when we were
older. Playboy magazine was on the coffee table. Conversation in the home and
around the dinner table ran the gamut of topics.
accepted Jesus as my Savior at twenty-four. You see, for me, Heaven seemed a
much better place to spend eternity.