Evangelicals believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. It is not a truth, it is THE truth. Who created the universe? The Bible has the answer. Who is God? The Bible has the answer. What is sin? The Bible has the answer. What happens after we die? The Bible has the answer. Is there a heaven and a hell? The Bible has the answer. What must a person do to be forgiven by God and delivered from sin? The Bible has the answer. As the old junior church classic goes:
The B-i-b-l-e, yes that’s the book for me
I stand alone on the Word of God
If every person who has ever lived, past present and future, ends up after death in either heaven or hell, it’s very important for us to know exactly what God’s Word has to say on the matter. Are there certain sins that will keep a person out of heaven and guarantee them a bunk in hell with Christopher Hitchens? (Read Christopher Hitchens is in Hell.) It’s at this point that many Evangelicals begin to play dumb, suggesting that it is up to God to judge someone. But wait a minute, isn’t the Bible the Word of God? Aren’t its words so clear that even a child can understand them? If the most important decision people will ever make is to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, shouldn’t the prospective Christians be able to go to the Bible and find out exactly what sins keep a person out of heaven?
Well, the Evangelical says…really it’s only the sin of unbelief that sends a person to hell. Really? Is that what the inspired, inerrant, authoritative Word of God says? Shouldn’t everything, especially those issues that have eternal import, be judged by the Holy Bible? Surely God is clear on this matter, yes?
Many Evangelicals genuinely want to be thought of as nice people. They want to be respected and thought well of. So, when confronted with those who reject Jesus and live in a way that is contrary to the teachings of the Bible, they often refuse to say, as Jesus did, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Many of the people who once called me pastor or preacher have a hard time believing and saying, Bruce Gerencser, you are headed for hell. They cannot fathom that the man who once preached to them the unsearchable riches of Christ and pointed them to the Jesus and his saving grace is now an atheist headed for hell. Some even go so far as to say that I am still a Christian.
The Bible has several lists of sins that will keep a person out of heaven and earn them a lifetime room in hell. Let’s take a look at what GOD says about the matter.
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
This passage says the following people will go to hell after they die:
- Fearful (cowardly)
- Whoremongers (sexually immoral)
- Sorcerers (magic)
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
This passage says the following people will go to hell after they die:
- Abusers of themselves with mankind
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
This passage says the following sins will guarantee a person a bunk in hell after they die:
- Lasciviousness (wantonness, sensuality)
- Witchcraft (drug use)
- Variance (quarrelsome, contentious)
- Emulations (envy, jealousy)
- Seditions (dissension, division)
- Revellings (partying, rioting)
- And such like (covering anything else we later make a sin)
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
This passage says the following people will go to hell after they die:
- Unclean person (impure, lewd, demonic)
- Covetous man who is an idolater
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
This passage deals with those whom God has given over to a reprobate mind. Most Evangelicals believe a reprobate is a person who cannot be saved, a person whom God has turned his back on. The reprobate, thanks to a hard heart, is guaranteed a bunk in hell. What sins are the mark of a reprobate:
- Vile affections (homosexuality)
- Filled with unrightousness
They are whisperers, backbiters, and haters of God, who are:
- Inventors of evil things
- Disobedient to parents
- Without understanding
- Without natural affection
Reprobates not only do these things, they take pleasure in doing so. They sin with gusto!
The Bible is quite clear about who won’t be in heaven. Evangelicals don’t need to play dumb or stammer. All they need to do is point people to these verses. God has spoken! And why they are at it, they might want to re-read these passages. If we take God at his word, it seems quite clear that there will be NO Evangelicals in heaven. Think about all the Christians you know and the people you once attended church with. Think of the men who were once your pastor. Think about your Christian family. Aren’t all of them mentioned in one of these five Scripture passages?
Besides, the Bible says in 1 John 3:8,9:
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
The next time you come in contact with an Evangelical zealot, ask them if they have sinned. If they say YES, then quote the Good Book, telling them that:
- Anyone who commits sins is of the devil
- Whoever is born of God does not commit sin
If they have sinned then that means they are of the devil, are not a child of God, and are headed to hell like the rest of us unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines.
Just remember, it’s in the B-i-b-l-e.
Evangelicals have all kinds of explanations and justifications for why these verses don’t mean what say. Be prepared to be taken on a wild goose chase, with discussions meant to explain away or obfuscate the clear, unadulterated meaning of the Bible.
Evangelical preoccupation with sex? As you can see from these verses, it started with a single man named Paul some 1,900 years ago.
Bruce: Five years ago, 152 Pakistanis were killed in a plane crash.
Evangelical: I hope they all knew the Lord.
Bruce: Why does that matter?
Evangelical: Well, if they didn’t know the Lord they probably went to hell.
Evangelical: Well…some of them might have trusted Jesus just before they died. I don’t know their hearts. God is the judge.
Bruce: It is likely the plane passengers were Muslim. Most likely the last word on their lips was ALLAH. Do Muslims go to heaven when they die?
Evangelical: Only if they believe in Jesus.
Bruce: Muslims do not believe Jesus is the way, truth and life.They do not believe salvation is found in Jesus Christ. So, did the Muslim plane passengers go to hell when they died?
Evangelical: I am not their judge. It’s between them and God.
A lot of Evangelicals are increasingly uncomfortable with what the Bible says about hell. According to inspired, inerrant Word of God, all non-Christians go to hell when they die. They will be tormented day and night for eternity. All Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics, and atheists will burn forever because of their rejection of Jesus Christ. Many Evangelicals even add Catholics, liberal Protestants, and universalists to the thou shalt burn list.
Let me remind readers what the Bible says about hell (collated from several Christian websites):
- A place of weeping and gnashing of teeth – “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30).
- A place of darkness – “Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 22:13).
- A place of torment – “And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom” (Luke 16:23).
- A place of sorrow – “The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;” (2 Samuel 22:6).
- A place of everlasting destruction – “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;” (II Thessalonians 1:9).
- A place where humans are tormented with fire and brimstone – “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).
- A place where fire is not quenched – “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:44).
- A bottomless pit – “And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit” (Revelation 9:2).
- A place of no rest – “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:11).
- A lake of fire – “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death” (Revelation 20:14).
- A place of hopeless of unsatisfied desires – “And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame ” (Luke 16:24). The rich man wanted water but could not get any.
The Bible, as interpreted through the lens of Evangelicalism, is very clear on the matter of hell and why people end up there after they die. Even those who have never heard about Jesus Christ will burn in hell forever. It’s their fault for not knowing, even though no one ever told them about Jesus. According to the Calvinist, before God created the first human he decided where each of us would bunk when we die. The elect go to heaven, the non-elect go to hell.
According to the Evangelical score card, the overwhelming majority of people, past, present, and future, end up in hell when they die. This is God’s righteous judgment of those who did not repent of their sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Wait a minute, what about the people who lived before the birth of Christ? Where did they go when they died? Let the explaining and theological gymnastics begin.
Yet, when it comes right down to it, when confronted face to face with someone such as I — a person who once professed Christ, who once preached the gospel of Christ — many Evangelicals have a hard time telling me I’m headed for hell. They convince themselves that I am just confused or backslidden. They are certain the Holy Spirit will straighten me out and in no time I will be back preaching at First Baptist Church of Somewhere.
For some people, particularly those who are Christian friends or former parishioners, the notion of Bruce Gerencser going to hell is quite preposterous. A few of my friends have told me they find my defection from Christianity quite unsettling. If I can fall away then anyone can fall away. If I am headed for hell, will they be next?
I’ve attended many funerals over the years. I have only been to one funeral where the preacher had guts enough to say that the deceased went to hell. In every other instance some anecdotal story was told to give the living the impression that the deceased was now in heaven with all his dead loved ones (please read Dear Pastor, Do You Believe in Hell?). No matter how vile or evil the person was, he went to heaven when he died. People can live most of their lives as atheists, but because they asked Jesus into their heart as a child, they go to heaven when they die. What a sweet deal, right?
Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God? Do you believe it is truth? Do you believe that salvation is found only in Jesus Christ? Do you believe Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life? If so, it’s time for you to be honest about what you believe. It’s time to speak the truth. It’s time to own what the Bible says.
If what the Bible says about salvation, heaven, and hell is true, then these claims are also true:
- All Muslims are headed for hell
- All Buddhists are headed for hell
- All agnostics are headed for hell
- All atheists are headed for hell
- All who have not trusted Jesus Christ as their personal savior are headed for hell
- All who reject the truth claims of the Bible are headed for hell
- All Catholics are headed for hell
- All liberal Protestants are headed for hell
- All universalists are headed for hell
- All homosexuals are headed for hell
- Bruce, YOU are headed for hell
If you are not willing to consign to hell most of the billions of people who have lived on this earth, then it is time for you to stop saying you believe the Bible is truth; that you believe that Jesus is the only way of salvation. Just remember, once you admit that you only really believe certain parts of the Bible, you have started down a slippery slope that could lead you to where I am today. Then you too will be headed for hell, just like me.
I write this post as a challenge to my Christian readers, friends, and former parishioners. What do you really believe? Do you really think I’m headed for hell? Do you really believe God will fit me with a special fireproof body so he can torture me for eternity? Don’t try to evade the question by saying things like, I don’t know your heart or only God knows for sure. If one can know from the Bible what salvation is, then certainly it seems people should be able to know if they don’t have it. And if they don’t have salvation, they are certainly going to hell.
Guest post by August Stine
August Stine is the author of the book The Modern Confessions of Saint August Stine
In spite of the fact I am a former fundamentalist Christian and ex-pastor, my minister son and his family think I am headed for Hell. This is my response to him. I use the pen name of August Stine to protect my son.
Different Family Beliefs
Your faith is important to you.
My beliefs are important to me.
We pray to the same God every day
For me, He is the Caring Creator;
Who cares about my well being
To you, He is the fearful God
Who demands obedience.
I believe Jesus was a spiritual man but not God.
I believe Jesus said some great words of wisdom
And I am sorry he had to die on the cross.
You believe Jesus died for the sins of man
And his salvation is a gift from God.
I do not believe this, but let’s suppose I did.
Didn’t you say salvation was a gift?
If it is a gift, why do I need to do anything?
You say I am going to hell unless . . .
You even give me the words I should say—
“Jesus, forgive my sins.”
Do people go to hell for not saying these words?
What if I wait until just before dying and then ask?
What if I meant to ask Him for years but didn’t?
You say “Too late—you missed your chance!”
This is God we are talking about isn’t it?
Is God limited by time or death?
On the other hand, if salvation is a “gift,”
Do I really need to ask Him for forgiveness?
The Bible says God freely gives this gift.
Where did all these attached strings come from?
Why conditions on God’s unconditional love?
New converts are told their Christian duties.
Tithing is one—not too bad—it is do-able
Unless you are unemployed or on minimum wage.
But the heaviest of all these burdens is . . .
People go to hell unless we show them Jesus.
So their salvation is in our hands . . .
I thought salvation was a gift.
Why is this huge ugly rope attached to this gift?
Am I responsible for my neighbor’s salvation?
Why am I involved with another man’s salvation?
Why does God need Me?
Suppose I want to play golf on a nice day,
But my neighbor dies and goes to hell . . .
And it is my fault . . .
Because I did not tell him about Jesus.
Please don’t tell me
God is so awful and demanding.
Why am I involved in someone’s eternal choice?
I thought God loved me and my neighbor.
Because of His heavy guilt trip,
I can’t even play golf without God on my back
I cannot believe God dearly loves me . . .
But loads me down with guilt trips
About darn near everything I do.
If I truly am a child of God,
Why do I have to be afraid of Him?
Why can’t I enjoy God
And let Him fix the world?
I thought that was His job.
Scripture says God is with us always;
If so, “Come on God, let’s go play some golf.”
In response to a letter I wrote to the editor of the Defiance Crescent-News, an elderly local Christian sent me the following letter:
Please reconsider. Even if we choose to believe there is no hell, doesn’t make it so. I saw the pictures of flowers you posted and it showed how you enjoyed them. In Hell, you will never be able to enjoy anything. There will only be torment forever and ever. I don’t want anyone to go to that place and certainly God does not want that for you either. When you truly come to know Jesus, you will gladly and willingly surrender your all to Him and following His commands will not be burdensome to you. It will just flow out of your heart of love for Him.
Perhaps you were a religious person who never truly had a relationship with Him. I beg you – please reconsider before it is too late for you. He loves you so much. The precious blood of Jesus was shed for you, don’t let it be in vain. What about your wife, children, and grandchildren? If you die and go to hell, you will regret that you had a part in taking them there with you, and you will want someone to go and tell them the truth.
Please reconsider. Count the cost. This life is so short, but eternity is forever. Wouldn’t it be better to endure this life and all it’s problems with Jesus, than to be in hell for eternity and have to bow down to the authority of God anyway? I pray God give revelation to you and your family regarding heaven and hell. I say all this in the love of Jesus. I know this will be considered as evangelism, but please read it. I pray you make the right decision.
Let me summarize. Why should I become a Christian?
- I love flowers and there are no flowers in hell.
- Because I was a religious person who never really knew Jesus.
- So I don’t have to be accountable for my wife, children, and grandchildren going to hell.
Is this the best that Christianity offers theses days? As the writer said:
Wouldn’t it be better to endure this life and all it’s problems with Jesus, than to be in hell for eternity and have to bow down to the authority of God anyway?
My answer is no. I would rather endure this life and all its problems without a deity, knowing that when I draw my last breath I have lived my life well and that I can, with peaceful assurance say, this is enough.
I have no doubt that the person who sent me this is sincerely concerned for my spiritual welfare. Been there, done that. Christians need to understand that I am an intractable atheist. Arguments like those found in this letter are shallow, contradictory, and easily refuted. Better for this man to seek after those who have some interest in the Christian message . There is nothing a Christian can say to me that is going to make me suddenly see the error of my way and cause me to repent. Experts have tried, but here I am, wallowing in my depravity, enjoying my last few moments on earth before I step out into eternity and join Hitch in hell.