March 11, 2006

‘Hell No’ to Hell?

"About two years ago, I started on a different journey in which I felt I was doing more damage than any good. I realized that a lot of what I had to share with these different people…wasn’t necessarily good news when I really thought about it…Slowly the conversation, cause I would kind of try and get it there, would start to talk about spiritual things and about God… I’d start to tell them about Jesus Christ and salvation and God sent His Son to die for YOU (using a taunting sarcastic tone) and by His death and resurrection you now have eternal life…’Oh that’s cool, but what you’re saying is that everything I’ve thought up to this point about spiritual life and God, I’ve been wrong?’ Well, yeah you’ve been wrong, but now you can know the right stuff. You know the truth…and you know what else? You were going to be burning in hell but now you get to go to heaven. ‘Ooh, okay – but what about my family and neighbors, they haven’t heard it?’ Yeah they’re going to be burning in hell.’…But what about [those loves ones already who died]? Yeah, already burning, sorry. But that’s okay… you get to go to heaven…That isn’t good news!" 
-- Matt Whitlock, Chuck Smith JR’s co-author who spent ten years with YWAM (Youth with a Mission)-- from his March 5, 2006 message as guest speaker at Capo Beach Calvary Chapel.

Whitlock went on to condemn evangelists who hold up hell to shun as the lure to make Christian converts. He invokes visions of the cartoonish guy on the street corner holding up a sign that reads "Turn or Burn" Or "The End is Near." Perhaps a character on South Park might promote that stereotype, but you won’t find that in reality except in fringe elements. From what I’ve seen, a common practice is for an evangelist is to ask his hearers that if they died today are they sure they will go to heaven? (perhaps that implies shunning the other place). There isn’t a need to tell anyone in the Western World about the doctrine of hell because it is a widely-known fact. Everybody’s heard of hell – in fact, it’s the favorite cuss word in our society. If someone tells you to "Go to hell," who doesn’t know what that means? So since it’s a given that people know there’s a hell to shun, it isn’t necessary to elaborate on it. As a promoter of the Emerging Church, Whitlock has taken his lead from the culture that vilifies Christianity and the Bible.

Does Whitlock believe the Apostle John who wrote, "He that believes on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him" (John 3:36)? If he does believe this, he doesn’t want anyone to know this truth. It could make him unpopular with his culture and he wants to fit in.

These stereotypes are pushed and then pulled down as a ruse to rip biblical doctrine right out of the Bible. I have news for you, Mr. Whitlock – there is a hell. It doesn’t resemble Dante’s Inferno where Satan rules the underworld, but it is a place of everlasting punishment and separation from God. I don’t like the idea of loved ones who have died without Christ spending eternity there either, but my feelings about it don’t make it any less true. Mr. Whitlock would have to remove much of the New Testament to have it his way.

Where will this lead him? Right to where Carlton Pearson has gone – the false gospel of Inclusionism. Pearson is a former TBN regular who now teaches that all are saved no matter what they believe which has resulted in him being discredited by evangelicalism -- even the Crouches and Oral Roberts, his own mentor, reject Carlton’s ministry. He’s not even welcome to advertise on the pages of Charisma magazine.

Carlton rationalized it like this: "You can't tell me God says to love my enemies and love those who hate me--but the same God says he'll smite people who offend or don’t love Him… Hell is a place you go through, not to. We all go through hell. There are people that are so tormented right now—a hell that we created for them or that they created for themselves and they can’t imagine a worse experience." ["Jesus Will Save You--Whether You Agree or Not"—Interview at: http://www.beliefnet.com/story/127/story_12772_1.html]

Bad News/Good News/

That’s where Chuck Jr. and his friends are headed if they don’t make a serious course correction. It’s called Universalism, a false teaching that says everyone makes it to heaven and there isn’t any hell – only annihilation for those who say there is a hell.

Whitlock’s ridicule of the doctrine of eternal judgment is a blatant attack on the Gospel. The good news is only good because of the bad news. Without the bad news there is no good news. There is no salvation unless there is something from which to be saved, so evangelism would be a waste of time. If there was no judgment to be saved from, why did Jesus have to die on the cross in the first place? What did Jesus mean when He said, "narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matt. 7:14)?

The "good news" of the Emerging Church is "God loves everybody" and let's not talk of judgment. Whitlock might tell someone ‘God loves you,’ and all they would have to say is "That’s nice. So what?" These men have followed after the so-called wisdom of the sages of our age who sing "All you need is love." Well, we do all need love, but love is not all we need. God is love, but love is not God. This is the refrain we hear from Chuck Smith Jr. and his guest speakers such as Barry Taylor, Matt Whitlock, and Ron Martoia but all it is is a repackaging of Robert Schuller’s possibility thinking, and it just isn’t biblical. It sure is popular though and it will win the day until "the wrath of God is poured out upon the sons of disobedience."

The Apostle Paul warned about those bringing "another gospel." These are the men who entice those who only want one side of the truth. There is nothing new under the sun. Whenever the Israelites in the Old Testament rejected God’s authority they would only listen to the "prophets" who would prophesy nice things to them. Paul warned:

"Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple" Romans 16:17-18.

There is a future fate for those whose names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Matt Whitlock, Chuck Smith Jr., Barry Taylor and Ron Martoia’s efforts to water down this truth so as not to offend will only wind up condemning people to this end:

"And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:13-15).

‘Oh, don’t tell me that – that’s so negative! I don’t want that in my Bible. Strike that right out of there!’

If you do, here’s your judgment:

"If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" (Revelation 22:19).

♥♥♥

Lord Jesus, please open the eyes of these men to the truth of the Gospel of repentance for the remission of sins.  We don't want to see these men being deceived and deceiving others.  Show Your love to them by bringing them a love for the truth - Thy Word is Truth!  Release them from the snare of the devil who would blind their eyes in exchange for a popular message.  Protect Your sheep from error.  Thank you, Lord Jesus.  Amen! 

 

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