Delivered from the bondage of believing eternal torment

Postby Mary » Sun Mar 08, 2015 4:49 pm

(This is an archived correspondence at The Path of Truth. We have sent notification to the correspondent.)

Dear Path of Truth,

Forgive me for not searching your site to learn your actual name(s), as I just had to stop reading and immediately write you:

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! THANK YOU for writing and sharing your wise words.

Below is an email I sent my pastor. He is a good, good man, whom I deeply respect. However, we simply cannot come to terms with our differences about hell.

“Dear Pastor Xxxx,

What if a person just makes the wrong choice?

Why would they convert from loving their god as they were raised to do
(being obedient to their parents), simply because they were exposed to another way, for 20 seconds or 20 years?

If it were truly "the only way" to salvation, wouldn't they feel it was the only way? What if they were raised to believe that their way was "the only way"? How have they erred? How is that sin?

Why would they have ever even been allowed to love a god who was going to damn them to eternal torment, anyway?

I loved God as a kid, and I still do. I was obedient to my parents when they led me to Catholicism, as they were obedient to theirs.

I love Jesus Christ with all my heart, because I know He loves me with all of His. My heart is small compared to His, but it's all I have.

I cannot believe He can love me so much as to die hideously for me - and then forsake me to burn in hell forever.

I'm sorry, Pastor Xxxx. I can barely see the screen through tears, as I type this. But I can't believe in your hell. I reject that there are demons who cut off your head and stab you with knives for all eternity. I cannot embrace that my father, or a little girl who died of cancer - or any CHILD, for that matter - writhes in agony for all eternity.

God is very disappointed in me. He is saddened and sick over the sins I've committed. He may not accept me into His House. I am not a good Catholic, and certainly not a good Christian. But I love God SO MUCH that I feel I sin when I even dare to consider that He would ever, ever forsake me. I feel thinking He could ever feel otherwise about me is a sin. It is doubt. Doubting is sin. Did He not say, "I am the Light and the Way. There is no other before Me."

Who am I to doubt that?

If God wants me to believe in Him by scaring me with promises of hell, then He's done it; I'll make no bones about it: I am terrified at even the thought of it. But wouldn't that just be bullying?

I guess I've sealed my fate if I am wrong. But I would be sealing it any way to say I accepted such cruelty, for I'd be lying.

I am sorry.”

I know there are probably things on your site with which I don't agree, and you might not agree with much I believe. That's okay. I don't agree that the kind and good Pope John Paul resides in hell ... not the little Polish boy who watched every single childhood friend mount the back of a truck, and be taken to a Nazi death camp.

But, I praise you - I thank you - with all my heart - for bringing some peace and solace and comfort to me, today, for I was in sore need of it.

God bless you!

In His Name,
Mary Elizabeth

Re: Delivered from the bondage of believing eternal torment

Postby Paul Cohen » Sun Mar 15, 2015 5:28 am

Hi Mary,

You're welcome! It's our pleasure in the Lord to see people experience liberty that comes by believing the truth in Him. Thank you for letting us know about how you've been helped. And what you express to your pastor about the false god he worships is so true - what a hideous monster!

There's something very important we can tell you, regarding what you've written in your letter. That much greater love of the Lord Jesus Christ you allude to, which far transcends man's capacity to love, is not only available TO us, but is something He places IN us.

Yes, it's true - this is the Good News! This is what His salvation is all about, here and now, because there's nothing good in any of us and furthermore, there's absolutely nothing we can do about it except by His grace.

Do you remember what Jesus said about man being good?

“And Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me good? None is good except One, God” (Luke 18:19 MKJV).

Here's what the Scriptures say about every one of us, including you and your pastor, who you say is a “good, good man”:

Romans 3:9-31 MKJV
(9) What then? Do we excel? No, in no way; for we have before charged both Jews and Greeks all with being under sin,
(10) as it is written: "There is none righteous, no not one;
(11) there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God."
(12) "They are all gone out of the way, they have together become unprofitable, there is none that does good, no, not one."
(13) "Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they have used deceit, the poison of asps is under their lips;
(14) whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness;"
(15) "their feet are swift to shed blood;
(16) destruction and misery are in their way,
(17) and the way of peace they did not know."
(18) "There is no fear of God before their eyes."

And on to the answer to our great need:

(19) But we know that whatever things the Law says, it says to those who are under the Law; so that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may be under judgment before God,
(20) because by the works of the Law none of all flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law is the knowledge of sin.
(21) But now a righteousness of God has been revealed apart from Law, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets;
(22) even the righteousness of God through the faith of Jesus Christ, toward all and upon all those who believe. For there is no difference,
(23) for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,
(24) being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus;
(25) Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness through the passing by of the sins that had taken place before, in the forbearance of God;
(26) for the display of His righteousness at this time, for Him to be just and, forgiving the one being of the faith of Jesus.

None of us chooses God - He chooses us. It's His work, Mary, all the way. The righteousness true saints (believers) walk in is His righteousness, which comes by the faith He's given us:

(27) Then where is the boasting? It is excluded. Through what law? Of works? No, but through the law of faith.
(28) Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the works of the Law.
(29) Or is He the God of the Jews only, and not also of the nations? Yes, of the nations also,
(30) since it is one God Who will justify circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
(31) Do we then make the Law void through faith? Let it not be! But we establish the Law.

And what is the First Commandment of God's Law? Loving Him, the Lord your God, with all your soul, heart, mind, and strength. Can we do this acceptably to God? Not on our own, but we can through the Lord Jesus Christ, Who doesn't leave us wondering whether we will be “accepted into His House,” but we will know that not only are we in His House now, but we are His House, built by Him.

Hebrews 3:4-6 MKJV
(4) For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.
(5) And Moses truly was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken afterward.
(6) But Christ was faithful as a Son over his own house; Whose house we are, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.

We tell you these things not to condemn you, but to unburden you, if you can receive Him Whom we're preaching. There is so much more awaiting you, if you hear our words and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. You will be disillusioned with yourself and man, which God, in His mercy, will do for you because He is the Light of All Men Who comes to save you.

John 3:16-21 MKJV
(16) For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
(17) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.
(18) He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only-begotten Son of God.
(19) And this is the condemnation, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the Light, because their deeds were evil.
(20) For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
(21) But he who practices truth comes to the Light so that his works may be revealed, that they exist, having been worked in God.

Some writings that may help you:

What Is Faith?
Holy Waters
How One Is Saved
The Church

Let us know how you do, Mary, and what happens after your pastor gets your letter. By the way, I didn't know they had pastors in Catholic churches. Am I missing something?

Paul Cohen
Posts: 452
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:01 am

Re: Delivered from the bondage of believing eternal torment

Postby Mary » Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:29 am

Dear Paul,

Oh, my! I'm so sorry: I must've confused you in my letter.
No, no, the pastor to whom I refer is a Christian. It is I who was raised Catholic, and who has, only recently, sought this Christian pastor's help, for I "belong" to no established religion, presently. (Yet, I call him "my" pastor, for it comforts me.)
In fact, I think you might find him more aligned to your beliefs, than myself - that is what I meant to portend. My apologies! He really is a lovely man; I am the “hideous beast.” I just have such a hard time with his concept of eternal hell, or hell, for any length of time. I know that is weak and misguided of me. But I feel so far away from the God I know, when I think of Him abandoning any of His children to hell. The thought of Pope John Paul there sickens me and wounds me to my core. God's become so different to me; I am scared to know Him. I do not recognize Him. And I'm ashamed.
My pastor says that Jesus only asks me to simply take each concept one at a time; that fully accepting Jesus Christ into my heart will eventually help me to understand all that must follow.
Paul, thank you for writing back to me. I truly did not expect a reply. I am struggling and scared and although it may turn out that you and I have different ideologies and beliefs (as I mentioned in my first email), I am touched by the thoroughness and helpfulness of your reply.

May God Bless You!
Very Best,

Re: Delivered from the bondage of believing eternal torment

Postby Paul Cohen » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:51 am

Thanks for the explanation, Mary.

Why do you say it's “weak and misguided” of you to have a hard time with your pastor's “concept of eternal hell”? Haven't we given ample Scriptural evidence to show that his concept is an atrocious abomination and character assassination of God?

Read (and take your time - enjoy!):

Diabolical Doctrine: Never-ending Torment
The Good News
The Reconciliation of All Things
The SIGN: The Book of Jonah, the Book of God
The True, Scriptural Meanings of “Forever,” “Everlasting,” and “Hell”
The State and Fate of Hell
The Great Promise of the Lake of Fire and the Second Death
Who Then Can Be Saved?!
The False and Misleading Gospel of “Accepting” Jesus Christ

No need to be afraid of what we're saying, Mary. Be afraid of not trusting the Lord your God, Who is the Light of All Men and in Whom there is no darkness or lies. You'll not find our writings in disagreement with anything He says in the Scriptures, but rather confirming His Words. See for yourself with the eyes and the sense that He's given you. You're right and your pastor is wrong.

As for “John Paul,” he hasn't been abandoned. He was never with God to begin with, however, as he and the Catholic Church presumed, so he's in a place of correction, which is a good thing. You need to face these things and go on to learn of God if you will ever know Him as He is, and not as unknowing men have taught you or as you've imagined.

Paul Cohen
Posts: 452
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:01 am

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