A well-known pastor from Arkansas has come under fierce criticism after suggesting that the notion of Hell was nothing more than a “fairytale.” 38-year-old pastor Timothy Rogers, an evangelist and singer, made the remark during an hour-long funeral of a young man he said he did not know.
“Is he (the young man who passed) going to Hell? Did he accept Jesus as his …?’ See, y’all have been sold a lie. You’ve been bamboozled. All that stuff is a fairytale. To believe in Hell means you have to believe in Santa Claus. I don’t care how you cut [it]. Hell is an imaginary place. And I was told that if anything that does not have an explanation must be imagination,” Rogers declared.
“So that’s why you can talk about a Hell that you don’t know nobody went to. For a billion years ain’t nobody ever came back and told you that they were hot. For a billion years, ain’t nobody ever came back and told you that they up in yonder singing around in a choir. I didn’t come for you to agree with me. I know how to lay it out to y’all salted but I don’t care. I didn’t come for you to agree with me,” Rogers said to applause from the congregation.
Rogers declared that God wants his people to “do whatever you want to do with your life,” adding that “Hell is what you create,” and certainly not a place anyone goes after their die. “That’s why when you read the Old Testament, Hell wasn’t under the earth. When you read the Old Testament, Hell was on the earth. When you read the Old Testament, Heaven wasn’t beyond the sky, when you read the Old Testament, Heaven was in the Garden of Eden. Heaven was Canaan,” he noted. “What I came to tell you is you’re waiting to go to Hell and you went and turned your life into a living hell. Why? Because you have become a worshiper of death.”
Robert Matthews, senior pastor at Kingdom Vision International Church in Mississippi, immediately pushed back against Roger’s preaching, saying it was highly heretical. The erroneous teaching of Pastor Tim Rogers (whom I do not know personally, but am praying for fervently) proves the necessity of discipleship and sound doctrine in our times. The description of hell (subsequently heaven) as fairy tale, is both a dangerous, deadly and demonic doctrine designed by Satan to steal the souls of men who live with no fear of judgement. The counter for this is anointed sound Biblical doctrine. (1 Tim. 4; 2 Tim. 4:2-5),” Matthews said in a statement posted to Facebook Thursday.
“As leaders, we must do more than assimilate people through church systems and church culture. We must seek to develop them in Chrislikeness (which seems to be a lost term). As believers (members, Christians), we must commit to grow beyond milk and not settle for cotton candy sermons that taste/sound good but lack life-transforming Scriptural substance. Believers must also commit to Bible Study (personally and corporately), prayer, Godly fellowship, and meditation on the Word beyond online snippets & soundbites.”
Others reacted to the pastor’s controversial remarks with messages posted to social media:
Pray for pastor Tim Rogers don't scandalize his name or make fun of him but pray for that brother. Pray he gets biblical correct understanding of God's word and Jesus teachings. ??☝
— Adam Lorenz (@AdamLorenz615) June 20, 2018
Others believe the sermon should be seen as a positive thing as it raises key questions in the minds of Christians – questions that should be addressed from the pulpit on a regular basis. “How many of your Pastors are preaching on hell were you understand the depth of hell? What was the scripture? What was the points?” asked Mike Pembleton Jr. on Facebook. “Pastor Rogers has caused a debate that we should not be offensive as educating parishioners. Most parishioners don’t know because leadership isn’t touching the subject.”
Pastor Tim Rogers really got y’all bent out of shape….
— JP Photography (@JPPhoto2012) June 22, 2018
In his impassioned address, Rogers declared that the Bible should give provide believers with “instructions” on how to live their lives, but should not be used to condemn people to a place of eternal torment. “God didn’t give you a Bible to send you to Heaven or Hell. He gave you a Bible to give you instructions,” he bellowed. “You can either make your life heaven or you can make your life hell. Look at your neighbor and say ‘use the instructions.”
“What does the instructions say about your very life? The instructions says ‘Love the Lord your God and it says ‘love your neighbor.’ You know what it’s called? It’s called doing good,” he continued. “I don’t believe in a lot of stuff that church gave me. I quit. Matter of fact, I don’t want church. I want good. I don’t want to do church, I want to do good because everybody that doing church, ain’t doing good. Most folk who doing good don’t even go to church.”