June 17th 2003, 10:21 PM #1
Why Poor, Starving Africans Go to Hell
The following is an article I have posted at www.rightperspective.com. Someone suggested I post it here to get feedback/discussion.
Why Poor, Starving Africans Go To Hell
Another Christian minister has recently left the confines of sound Biblical doctrine to promote what he calls a “more inclusive” gospel message.
I recently received an email from a good friend of mine pointing me to some newspaper articles in the Tulsa World. I was shocked and bewildered as I read about this pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma who had recently decided to become very public about his views concerning salvation. He has been actively teaching his congregation what he calls the “Gospel of Inclusion.” The main precept of his teaching is that the sacrifice which Jesus made has automatically freed all men from the consequences of sin regardless of their acceptance of that gospel, or even the God of that gospel. Of course, this “Gospel of Inclusion” is just a new name for an age-old heresy commonly known as Universalism.
This certain pastor's name is Bishop Carlton Pearson, and is the pastor of a large pentecostal church numbering in the thousands.
Now, I could write a book about the fallacies of Universalism, and many people have, but I want to focus on what Pearson said began the development of his theology. According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Pearson's “inclusive” theology began to develop “after viewing a TV program about starvation in Africa that had grim footage of hungry children.”
"I said, 'Those poor people.' I asked God, 'How could You drop them into hell, hungry and starving?' And I heard the spirit of God say, 'Is that what you think I'm doing?' "
What came next, the bishop says, was a conversation with God that revealed to him the futility of Christians trying to save a world of billions. Besides, Jesus' death had already done that, the bishop said.
According to Pearson, the spirit of God told him that He was not sending these poor people to hell. Well, I'm going to have to disagree with the “spirit” and answer his initial question with truths from Scripture.
It was only out of necessity that God created a place called Hell as a prison to contain and punish His enemies. When God created mankind as eternal beings, he did so with the intention of having intimate fellowship with us. After the rebellion of his first man and woman, that that plan was altered.
Adam and Eve had brought the desire for sin into the world and their children clung to those desires and began developing new and more vile ways to defame their Creator. Adam and Eve's very first son, Cain, discovered the depths of pure hatred and murdered his own brother. Men's perversion only grew with time until, after only ten generations from the first man Adam, God decided to destroy his creation sparing only a few, because of the promise he had made to redeem mankind.
Why did God decide to destroy man? The Bible tells us plainly in Gen. 6:5;
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
[Genesis 6:5 KJV]
God saw that the only imagination of men's hearts was to do evil continually. But we think that after Noah, men started to behave better, but that is a lie. It is only because of God's mercy that they are not destroyed in God's anger and wrath. But God's mercy does not last forever. In fact, God said it will last only a maximum of 120 years.
And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.
[Genesis 6:3 KJV]
God decided to give men, a lifetime of 120 years (max) to decide whom they will serve.
In Hebrews we are told:
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment
[Hebrews 9:27 KJV]
In his mercy and grace, God will strive with men through a lifetime of rebellion and wickedness, but once they pass into eternity, judgment will come and they will be found guilty before a holy God.
So, why does God send the poor, starving Africans to hell? Because, every imagination of their hearts is only evil continually. Whether their pockets and stomaches are full or empty, in the end God will expose the corruption of their hearts. And the Judge of all the earth will do right, by sending his enemies to their just reward.
In light of these facts, and the darkness of our own hearts, the Gospel of Salvation becomes a light piercing the darkness and a bright beacon of hope. Through the Gospel we can escape the wrath of a righteous and holy God, and instead enter into an eternal fellowship with our Creator, Savior, and Lord.Broad is the path that leads to destruction and many are they follow it; but narrow is the path that leads to life and few are them that find it.
June 17th 2003, 11:08 PM #2
I am appaled at your ignorance
Yours is the main reason the masses are deceived. This man Calton Person you point out, is no more a represenative of God than you are. I cannot contain myself, but then again i must. I oppose you, to the wonderful end. Let the record show that i am against your mentality, your view of salvation. You are in charge now, but the time comes when your pious views will be revealed.
June 18th 2003, 02:33 AM #3
Re: Why Poor, Starving Africans Go to Hell
Well minuteman I don't agree with Universalism, but I think your view is far worse insofar as your "God" is evil.
I don't know about Person's theology, but you may want to be careful before classing it as "Universalism" as there is a huge difference between "starving african children do not necessarily go to hell" and "there is no hell".
The main precept of his teaching is that the sacrifice which Jesus made has automatically freed all men from the consequences of sin regardless of their acceptance of that gospel, or even the God of that gospel.
It was only out of necessity that God created a place called Hell as a prison to contain and punish His enemies.
When God created mankind as eternal beings, he did so with the intention of having intimate fellowship with us. After the rebellion of his first man and woman, that that plan was altered.
God's plan wasn't "altered" at all - he knew the fall would occur and decided even before the creation of the world to send Christ. Read Ephesians 1.
In his mercy and grace, God will strive with men through a lifetime of rebellion and wickedness, but once they pass into eternity, judgment will come and they will be found guilty before a holy God.
What you are proposing is an eternal infinite punishment, with no corrective aspects, done out of wrath. That's like, kinda, well... evil.
And the Judge of all the earth will do right, by sending his enemies to their just reward.
Through the Gospel we can escape the wrath of a righteous and holy God, and instead enter into an eternal fellowship with our Creator, Savior, and Lord.
I second Mickiel. I am a committed Christian who is not a universalist: Your "theology" is just sick, and it is sad to think that there are many people out there teaching what you teach.
Some verses for you to go and read and meditate upon:
Mat 7:17-23; 25:31-46, Rom 2:9-10, James 2:19, John 3:19-21, All of 1 John.
Read those, think hard, and then we'll talk if you want and/or I'll give you some more verses to help un-mess-up your thoughts.
June 18th 2003, 05:55 AM #4
Re: Re: Why Poor, Starving Africans Go to HellToday @ 02:33 AM post located here
Who would want to know such a "God"? It would be far better if such a being did not exist.
Do I believe babies go to hell? No. But I do not think that was his point. His point was that rejection of God is rejection of God whether or not people are poor or rich, full-bellied or starving. At least how I see it.
June 18th 2003, 06:50 AM #5
Re: Re: Re: Why Poor, Starving Africans Go to HellDee Dee Warren:
Well God is not depending upon popular vote my friend. I am not a Calvinist thus I do not agree with every point made by Minuteman but I share his strong rejection of Universalism.
But the God of the Bible is righteous and holy and will exact justice.
No less than Martin Luther himself wrote:
I greatly longed to understand Paul's Epistle to the Romans, and nothing stood in the way but that one expression, "the righteousness of God", because I took it to mean that righteousness whereby God is righteous and deals righteously in punishing the unrighteous... Night and day I pondered until.. I grasped the truth that the righteousness of God is that righteousness whereby, through grace and sheer mercy, he justifies us by faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise. The whole of Scripture took on a new meaning, and whereas before "the righteousness of God" had filled me with hate, now it became to me inexpressibly sweet in greater love
-Martin Luther, 1516
Does this [judicial] conception of justice have anything to do with the justice that God revealed to us? Does the phrase "justice of God" have this meaning in the Old and New Testaments?
Perhaps the beginning of the mistaken interpretation of the word justice in the Holy Scriptures was its translation by the Greek word dikaiosune. [please excuse my possibly mistaken transliteration of his greek] Not that it is a mistaken translation, but because this word, being a word of the pagan, humanistic, Greek civilization, was charged with human notions which could easily lead to misunderstandings.
First of all, the word dikaiosune brings to mind an equal distribution. This is why it is represented by a balance. The good are rewarded and the bad are punished by human society in a fair way. This is human justice, the one which takes place in court. Is this the meaning of God's justice, however?
The word dikaiosune "justice", is a translation of the Hebraic word tsedaka. This word means "the divine energy which accomplishes man's salvation". It is parallel and almost synonymous to the other Hebraic word, hesed which means "mercy", "compassion", "love", and to the word, emeth which means "fidelity", "truth". This, as you see, gives a completely other dimension to what we usually conceive as justice. This is how the Church understood God's justice. This is what the Fathers of the Church taught of it. "How can you call God just", writes Saint Isaac the Syrian, "when you read the passage on the wage given to the workers? 'Friend, I do thee no wrong; I will give unto this last even as unto thee who worked for me from the first hour. Is thine eye evil, because I am good?'" "How can a man call God just", continues Saint Isaac, "when he comes across the passage on the prodigal son, who wasted his wealth in riotous living, and yet only for the contrition which he showed, the father ran and fell upon his neck, and gave him authority over all his wealth? None other but His very Son said these things concerning Him lest we doubt it, and thus He bare witness concerning Him. Where, then, is God's justice, for whilst we were sinners, Christ died for us!"
So we see that God is not just, with the human meaning of this word, but we see that His justice means His goodness and love, which are given in an unjust manner, that is, God always gives without taking anything in return, and He gives to persons like us who are not worthy of receiving....
So in the language of the Holy Scriptures, "just" means good and loving. We speak of the just men of the Old Testament. That does not mean that they were good judges but that they were kind and God-loving people. When we say that God is just, we do not mean that He is a good judge Who knows how to punish men equitably according to the gravity of their crimes, but on the contrary, we mean that He is kind and loving, forgiving all transgressions and disobediences, and that He wants to save us by all means, and never requites evil for evil....
-Dr Alexandre Kalomiros (Eastern Orthodox Theologian), 1980
In placing such an emphasis on the "just punishment" of God, people seem to forget that justice has another meaning: The opposite of injustice, ie to not oppress, to be kind, to help, to save. God's Justice is His saving power and His Righteousness His goodness and everlasting love.
Again, the Old Testament saints were just and righteous. Just insofar as they were not given to injustice -they did not oppress the downtroden- but rather helped the needy and dealt generously. Righteous insofar they did the good, because the loving nature of God dwelt in them. When we say God is likewise "Just", "Righteous" or "Holy" we do not mean that He dishes out punishments mathematically equivalent in degree to that of the offence or that His pride is infinitely offended by sin! We instead mean that God is loving, kind and compassionate: That in His perfection He makes no distinction between those who love Him and those who don't - He is perfectly good to all (Mat 5:43-48).
Thankfully for us He is also merciful and has provided an escape through Jesus Christ.
His point was that rejection of God is rejection of God whether or not people are poor or rich, full-bellied or starving. At least how I see it.
Sorry if I'm a bit upset, but the story of Bishop Pearson really stings. Here's a guy who's honestly searching and the answers are all there in the Bible and well expounded by many Christian theologians throughout the centuries, but because Evangelicals buy so heavily into the non-sensical non-biblical Judicial paradigm of salvation, Pearson just can't find the answers he's searching for and ends up perrilously close to Universalism instead. -Though reading the article carefully, he is not a universalist, and his theology looks pretty much close to spot-on (though he clearly doesn't understand why) - given that he seems to have arrived at it by his own reasoning without help, I am quite impressed.
Last edited by Tercel; June 18th 2003 at 07:03 AM.
June 18th 2003, 06:58 AM #6
I am running off to work soon, but your redefinition of justice forgets one fact. The Cross. I don't mean that as an insult, but keep in mind that this is somethikng God required!!! Think about what actually happened, and you may have a different view.
June 18th 2003, 07:28 AM #7I am running off to work soon, but your redefinition of justice forgets one fact. The Cross. I don't mean that as an insult, but keep in mind that this is somethikng God required!!! Think about what actually happened, and you may have a different view.
In short, my understanding of the Cross is this:
God is Life and Light, Truth and Love, Freedom and Joy. Insofar as we sinned and rejected the truth and rebelled from God, that far did we depart from God and from our union with Him. This inevitably caused our corruption and death - not as a "punishment" imposed by a wrathful God but as the results of our sinful condition. And in our sinful condition we lose our freedom become addicted to sin, slaves to its power, we come to hate the light and the truth for it shows up our evil nature. God in His boundless Love and Forgiveness would welcome us back - He would run back to welcome the prodigal Son, taking ten steps towards us for every faltering one of ours. The problem is not God's willingness, nor some imaginary need for punishment, but rather our condition - our separation from God and slavery to evil.
Our final salvation will be our complete reunification with God, our participation in the nature of the divine being (2 Pet 1:4). In complete union with His Energies we will be fully in His likeness as Sons of God. The redeeming work of Christ cannot be understood apart from a proper understanding of our fallen condition and our final condition. God hence needed to free us from the power of sin and bring us into union with Him. We were incapable ourselves coming to righteousness to be again in union with Him. So He came to us, to restore the union with us. Becoming Man, He took on our nature and our likeness, so that by His sharing in our poverty so we might share in His glory (2 Cor 8:9). In Christ the God Man, the union between man and God is restored. God has taken on the fullness of the human condition: Being born as Man, tempted as Man, suffered as Man, died as Man. God is become one with man, so that man might be one with God, free from sin's power through Christ who was free from sin's power, beings of incorruption as God is a being of incorruption.
That is how I understand the Cross. If you have anything insightful to add, I would be greatful.
June 18th 2003, 07:30 AM #8
So, if God's goodness and mercy to the undeserving is his justice/righteousness, then what is his punishment, temporally and/or eternally, of those who have rebelled and sinned against him? And you say his justice is not about proportionality of response, but did not the Lord jesus himself say, as we judge so shall we be judged?
I find it incredible that we are to believe that the language used by the Holy Spirit in conveying his revelation to us is criticised as being unclear. If God chose to use dikaiosune as the greek eq. of tsedekah, that that is how it is.
The OT concept of justice/righteousness does indeed convey the idea of salvation, but it is within a legal framework, in which we find that God
a. Undertakes for his own cause, for his own sake, justifying himself against his opponents
b. is called to the aid of those who are oppressed - and also to deal with the oppressors,
c. and also to show mercy in spite of our own sins: God be merciful to me a sinner; lit, God be propitiated with God for me.
How did he do these things?
a. By seeking his own glory in the salvation of the ungodly.
b. By defeating his own enemies, and the enemies of his people - death, hell, sin, etc
c. By taking the judgement due for my sins into himself, in Christ.
The pastor mentioned above is, quite frankly, a fool. You do not do theology by listening to voices; you do not do theology by bringing forth what appears to be a tough moral case - poverty, children, starving, africa: all emotive terms in this day - and then driving over it, with complete disregard for all that has gone before - that is how most heresies start. In earlier years such concerns led men and women to lay down their lives in Africa for the sake of the souls of the poor starving children there. In the comfort of his well furnished manse said pastor has accomplished the salvation of the african population at the cost of a few anguished tears regarding some texts. All this incident tells me is that he probably had a very meagre grasp of God's trtuh in the first place - highly likely being a Pentecostal, by my personal experience - and he found the answer he was after in the first place.
June 18th 2003, 07:41 AM #9
June 18th 2003, 09:31 AM #10
Tercel, you are brilliant. I thoroughly enjoy reading all of your posts, and find you help clarify a lot of my own ideas. I look forward to reading your published works!
June 18th 2003, 09:36 AM #11
Re: Re: Re: Re: Why Poor, Starving Africans Go to HellYesterday @ 11:50 PM post located here
If you believe God will eternally torture people (whos lives have been terrible anyway) because they never had a chance to believe or because they did not believe in a particular uncertain truth, then adding the idea that God predestined that is peanuts."Personally though, I won't use psychoactives because of the possibility of contacting a demon." - Kelp
June 18th 2003, 09:43 AM #12The pastor mentioned above is, quite frankly, a fool. You do not do theology by listening to voices; you do not do theology by bringing forth what appears to be a tough moral case - poverty, children, starving, africa: all emotive terms in this day - and then driving over it, with complete disregard for all that has gone before - that is how most heresies start. In earlier years such concerns led men and women to lay down their lives in Africa for the sake of the souls of the poor starving children there. In the comfort of his well furnished manse said pastor has accomplished the salvation of the african population at the cost of a few anguished tears regarding some texts. All this incident tells me is that he probably had a very meagre grasp of God's trtuh in the first place - highly likely being a Pentecostal, by my personal experience - and he found the answer he was after in the first place."As yesterday's positive report card shows, childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured."
George W. Bush, on the No Child Left Behind Act, Washington, D.C., Sept. 26, 2007
June 18th 2003, 10:24 AM #13
Re: Re: Re: Re: Why Poor, Starving Africans Go to HellToday @ 05:50 AM post located here
Calvinism is merely the cherry on the cake. If you believe God will eternally torture people (whos lives have been terrible anyway) because they never had a chance to believe or because they did not believe in a particular uncertain truth, then adding the idea that God predestined that is peanuts.
Here's the picture of God I perceive from your post. He will humble himself to become a man who then lives a humble life, teaching and doing good, with the intent of dying for the redemption of mankind. The only condition for this redemption is repentance driven faith in the sufficiency of the sacrifice/death. But somehow He will not see to it that everyone who would believe would also hear the message of salvation.
That requires great faith in a God who is evil. That is not the God I worship.
My God will see to it that everyone who would believe will hear the message.
Jacob"I sure hope these evil men begin to understand our peaceful nature. My trigger finger is blistering."
June 18th 2003, 10:25 AM #14
What about the unforgiveable sin? If you think God is merciful to everyone - then why is there one sin he will not forgive?
Mat 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy [against] the [Holy] Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
Mat 12:32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the [world] to come.
I would bolden the last part of that passage, but I don't know if I can use HTML.
Obviously blasphemy of the Holy Spirit isn't "Ah, that Spirit of God is a stupid poopie head." It's not believing in Jesus Christ - shutting Him out of your life. And they will NEVER be forgiven of this, including in the next life!
Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Joh 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Joh 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
Obviously you can't be born of the Spirit when you don't have faith in Jesus, because the earlier verses show it is an unforgiveable sin to not believe! You can't be born again and have an unforgiveable sin still with you.
Now, why do we have to believe all people are saved, whether or not they believe? Do we feel it's not fair that an atheist friend would have to go to Hell? Or a Buddhist friend?
Well... even Paul was concerned for his Jewish people.
Rom 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
Why pray for their salvation if Christ saved them regardless of belief?
What about... Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Last edited by Jawa Man; June 18th 2003 at 11:01 AM.O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all O Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the Ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides. - St Athanasius of Alexandria
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Another Orthodox apologetics site: http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/ - Not a supporter of all his views however.
Orthodox Church history lectures: http://orthodoxchurchhistory.com/
June 18th 2003, 10:38 AM #15
If you want a proof text against universalism, read Romans 8:1:
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." If everyone is saved, why the qualifier?
Michael"... engage your brain before you engage your weapon." - Gen. James Mattis, USMC
I don't care how systematic your theology is until you show me how biblical it is.
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