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Romans 14 & understanding that each believer is different.


Recently I have had a dispute with a relative on some doctrinal differences.  We are both believers in Jesus, as our savior, but this person (I will call him Matt) was talking about immortal worms that will eat people forever (and alive) in Hell.  I told him that I do not support the traditional 'hell' doctrine (of endless pain) because it is not supported by clear and literal scriptures such as Romans 6:23 and John 3:16, which plainly tell us that Death is the penalty for sin, something stated by God himself in Genesis 3.  At this point his face became very hot and red (no pun).  He became rude about it suggesting that I am not really a Christian.  As I expected he also pointed out the parable of the Richman and Lazarus in Luke 16 but was more heated up when I explained it to him that it is a parable and not literal.  I further explained to him that when formulating doctrinal positions one must use clear words and literal scriptures rather than symbolic.  At this point Matt got in his car and took off.  The next day he was back at it with a few scriptures in Revelation 20 about the smoke of their torment rising forever and ever....   He then wondered what I had to say about it.  I pointed out that the Book of Revelation is highly symbolic and full of judgment metaphors.  At this point he basically implied that I do not believe in the Bible and got a little insulting.  I just said, 'sorry Matt'..  Weeks before this Matt even nearly condemned me because I do not favor King James Onlyism.  I pointed at some clear facts that to show him that the KJV has errors or imperfections.  I showed him how Psalm 145 is an acrostic poem but it got lost to both the masoretic text and the KJV.  He just ignored all I said. 

I use these two disputes I have had with Matt and others to illustrate how some Christians behave toward other believers.  They almost act as if they are a one person cult that demands that others believe as they do on each issue, needless to say they are not showing a kind attitude or following the good advise of the Apostle Paul in Romans 14, that we are to accept that we are all different.  One believer holds a certain day as more sacred than another.  Some eat meat, whereas some favor more salads and such.  The same can be said for Bible translations. If someone can't accept that we all vary then it shows that they are weak or some positions they hold to are weak.  We are not to fight, carp, and condemn fellow believers but work to honor the Lord. The focus is on Jesus!

I have also noticed that if you do not follow the most popular trends on 'endtime' and rapture teachings you might even get shunned.  This is not to say that everyone that promotes these things is rude toward those that disagree, just the same,  I have experienced this rudness.  It is simply not a very Christian thing coming from other Christians..!!

Pastor Zomok

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  • This reply was deleted.
    • I  do agree that this subject, and the Bible is confusing on this subject.  Yes, the parable of the rich man and Lazarus is a 'story' meant to illustrate a point, but that point is not that there is a hell.  In reality the word 'hell' or it's Greek equivalent does not appear in the early texts the word 'hell' does not appear, Jesus uses the vernacular of the time, 'the Bosom of Abraham' and the Greek word 'hades' neither of these have the same meaning as 'hell'.  'The Bosom of Abraham' was used in the same way we would say, "Gone to be with Jesus" which is meant as a comforting comment.  The word 'hades' is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew 'Sheol' literally translated as "is a place of darkness to which all the dead go, both the righteous and the unrighteous, regardless of the moral choices made in life, a place of stillness and darkness cut off from life and from God."  In other words 'the grave'; the concept of hell as we know it came from the Old English hel, helle first attested around 725 and literally means something hidden or a hidden place.  It wasn't until around the eleventh and twelfth century that the Roman church started using it as weapon to get people to conform to their laws and promoted the idea of torment.

      The Bible give little hint, other than this parable, that both the good and the bad, or the saved and the unsaved, go to be tormented until judgement day.  Being forgiven our sins through Jesus and then to be punished for our sins in Hell, does not sound very just to me.  However in the same parable Lazarus and Abraham converse, but this is both against God's law and is stated as an impossibility. Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 tells us:  "For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun. "  "When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish." [Psalm 146:4].  "The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any who go down into silence.[Psalm 115:17].  "So a man lies down and rises not again; till the heavens are no more he will not awake or be roused out of his sleep."  [Job 14:12] 

      I could go on with these, but remember God gave us a law that we should even try to contact the dead, plain language in Deuteronomy 18:9-14 ". . .one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord."  Listen if you will to the opinions of others with regard to Hell, personally I would rather refer to what God tells me in His word.

      All taken from the ESV Bible



    • Well Malachy all I can do is suggest that you research the subject in an objective way and listen to many people (such as Edward Fudge).  The three positions are: Traditional hell view, The Annihilation view, and the Christian Universalist view.  If you listen to Edward Fudge on youtube you will see a cordial older gentleman that supports destruction of the wicked.  He goes into it pretty long and deep but he seems to be an example of someone who is kind toward others. Debates are good to listen to also. 

      I listened to Dr. James White debate with a Catholic guy on the subject of the 'Apocrypha', as to whether these extra books are divine scripture or not.  Although I am protestant I feel the Catholic guy won the debate but they were both under control and did not condemn one another.  Romans 14 was followed.  Believers in Jesus have got to get along...

  • I have noticed that many of the KJV-only believers are like this, the KJV seems to be creating a cult of some kind and they get very abusive when challenged, really not sure how this comes about.  However it is not restricted to these people, one thing I have noticed that it happens when there are vested interests involved.  I may have mentioned this before, but the pastor of our last church was like it, he organised a six week course to encourage a few people in the church to preach.  I went along to see if I could help, have done two courses on the subject, one of which was an ordination course.  During the third session he make a statement, that was contrary to scripture, which I challenged and showed the scripture verse that proved it.  He became angry and ignored me, the following week he threw the notes for the course across the table as said he wasn't continuing the course, he never spoke to me for the next two months.  However, when I analysed things, I could see that he really was in the numbers or empire building game and would do anything to manipulate the congregation.  I just wondered how this compared with your 'Matt'?

    • This reply was deleted.
      • Hi SS, there are currently over two-hundred versions just in English, and every one cannot be the right one, seeing as how they are all different.  True, most have the same core message, but some are very misleading, and are no more than someone's opinion or personal gospel.  The Living Bible and the Good News for Modern Man bibles are very inaccurate because someone has paraphrased them.  When looking for a Bible the first thing to look for is to make sure it's a 'Literal' translation.  As good as the KJV may there are many glaring errors, less than the NIV however, one I love is the YLT (Young's Literal Translation), Robert Young set out to produce a totally literal translation and to preserve the grammar of the Hebrew, Hebraic-Greek and the Greek, it is about as difficult to read as the KJV but so much more accurate.  I generally use the ESV, which is in near-modern English but has fewer errors than many of the other translations, including the KJV.


    • 'Matt' seems to have an attitude much as the pastor you mention.  Strange that he would get all fussy and discontinue the course, which he could have constructively modified.

      To those reading this: Do not think I am against the KJV.  I look at it as a beautiful translation and have several, but it is just not perfect because human language is not perfect.  It is not so marred as to destroy the truth that Christ is Lord.  Most translations are fairly good.  I have about 50 different translations and like to compare.


  • I get how you feel. My mom and dad were catholics. Sometimes a few people don't always reflect the church's stance. I chose to leave the catholic church for something I believed was better and more accurate. The nice lady from this different church opened her Bible and explained some verses to me. I took it from there. My parents for years said I was living in sin. What's interesting is when they were ill towards the end of their lives, I was the child fighting for them. Although I didn't agree with the catholic church, in my mind they should hold my dad's funeral. He supported them for years, now it's their turn. Mom and dad were stuck in a nursing home towards the end and could not go to servics. Then there was a big to do over flowers for my mom's funeral. I called and left a recording at the parish. I think I had a meltdown. Flowers, we fought over red poinsettas. My mom's favorite. Why shouldn't she get her favorite?

    After all this mess and heartache, I got a letter from the church apologizing. They offered me counseling. They have this website. Sometimes people get into the heat of things and can't see their way through it. A really big thing is people hate to admit they are or could be wrong. It's odd, because if you look at Psalm 23, thy rod and thy staff comfort me. The rod and staff are comfort. The shepherd will protect the flock with the rod and pull the straying sheep back to the flock when they've strayed. Maybe we have looked at the rod and staff in the wrong way. Just thinking.

    Psalm 23 New International Version (NIV)

    Psalm 23

    The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
        He makes me lie down in green pastures,
    he leads me beside quiet waters,
        he refreshes my soul.
    He guides me along the right paths
        for his name’s sake.
    Even though I walk
        through the darkest valley,[a]
    I will fear no evil,
        for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
        they comfort me.

    You prepare a table before me
        in the presence of my enemies.
    You anoint my head with oil;
        my cup overflows.
    Surely your goodness and love will follow me
        all the days of my life,
    and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

    Great post. It got me to thinking.

    God bless,


    Bible Gateway passage: Psalm 23 - New International Version
    A psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my s…
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