The title of the article read, “No fire or brimstone, but hell’s real, pope says” (The Houston Chronicle, July 29, 1999, p. 28A). In the article, the pope was reported to say that hell is not a physical place, but an experience in this life. Note the following quotes from the article and the very sharp contrast between them and the inspired Word of God.
“‘Hell is not a punishment imposed externally by God, but the condition resulting from attitudes and actions which people adopt in this life,’ he [the pope] said.” Jesus said, “But I will show you whom you should fear: FEAR HIM WHO, AFTER HE HAS KILLED, HAS THE POWER TO CAST INTO HELL; YES, I SAY TO YOU, FEAR HIM!” (Luke 12:5). “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather FEAR HIM WHO IS ABLE TO DESTROY BOTH SOUL AND BODY IN HELL” (Matt. 10:28). Yes, man’s life does play a role in whether or not he will experience hell, but it is God who will put his soul there (2 Cor. 5:10).
“The pope described hell…as ‘the pain, frustration, and emptiness of life without God.'” How can this be when the Lord said, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched–where ‘Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched'” (Mark 9:43-44). Hell is not an experience in this life, but the next. People who in this life experience great pleasure, riches, and abundance are often the ones who will end up in hell (cf. Lk. 16:19-31; 1 Tim. 6:9-10). Many people who live “without God” have no idea of the pain and frustration of such a condition, that is, they are oblivious to their separation from God.
Yes, hell IS a place of fire and brimstone, for the Spirit said so! “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8). Hell is the place where “their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” (Mk. 9:47-48).
Dear reader, do you believe the pope or Jesus Christ the Son of God? Won’t you reject the doctrines and commandments of men, and accept only what the word of God teaches (Matt. 15:8-9; Col. 3:17)?
Steven F. Deaton