Baptists/Baptists and Hell
Greetings, and thank you for your time. I have a question that I am sending to several Baptists here, and it is about a current discussion on the Jehovah Witness forum. I want to ask you about your teaching of Hell, and it is a simple question.
There is a Jehovah Witness there who said that Baptists teach that “only bad people go to Hell”. On that JW forum there is also a Baptist minister who came back and said that this was a lie and a misrepresentation of Baptist belief. I have questioned this Baptist minister several times because he is the object of much venom and attack, because he exposes the false teachings of the JWS. He has always answered me kindly, and with much better answers than any of the JWS give. Truth is, I have only had one Jehovah Witness who would even answer my question. The rest of them rejected my questions.
But could you please clarify who is right on this? The Jehovah Witness said that Baptist teaching is that “only bad people go to Hell”, and the Baptist minister there said that Baptists do not believe being good or bad has anything to do with it, but being saved through faith in Christ. Naturally a saved person should be good, but that being good doesn’t save, and even good people can still go to Hell.
Who is correct? Thank you so much for your time.
Marie, thank you for your question. Let's keep in mind what Jehovah Witness believe and what they are. Jehovah Witness is a false religion that teaches many false doctrines. Mark Willis in his article titled “The Jehovah's Witnesses: A False Religious Organization” in Truth Magazine gives some very good points about this false religion. I will emphasize four of them to help answer your question.
Willis makes these points:
1. The Jehovah's Witnesses deny the deity of Jesus Christ. The Witnesses do not believe that Jesus is "God with us" (Matt. 1:23). The apostle John wrote, "In the beginning was the word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (Jn. 1: 11). In commenting on this verse, the Witnesses state that "the Word was a powerful godlike one" (The Truth That Leads To Eternal Life, p. 24), but deny that He was God. They teach that Jesus is a created being, not having the same deity as God the Father.
A number of Bible verses show the deity of Jesus. The child to be born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14) was to be called, "Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6). Thomas confessed Jesus saying, "My Lord and my God" (Jn. 20:28). Paul said that in Jesus "dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9). He stated that Jesus existed on an equality with God prior to coming to this earth (Phil. 2:5-9). Jesus was "God manifested in the flesh" (1 Tim. 3:15; Jn. 1:1,14).
One of the reasons for concluding that the Jehovah's Witnesses is a false religion is that they deny that Jesus is God. By making Him a lesser God, they teach a polytheistic concept of deity (a pantheon of gods with some having greater power than others).
2. The Jehovah's Witnesses deny the deity of the Holy Spirit. The personality of the Holy Spirit is denied by the Witnesses. They describe Him as "God's active force" (see Let God Be True, p. 108; The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life, p. 24). Hence, they deny that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit constitute the Godhead by teaching that neither the Son nor the Holy Spirit is God. With reference to Jesus, they affirm that He was a created being; with reference to the Holy Spirit, they assert that He is merely "God's active force," denying that He is a separate personality from the Father and the Son.
The Holy Spirit has personality. He speaks (1 Tim. 4: 1), witnesses (Jn. 15:26), teaches (Jn. 14:26), and guides.(Jn. 16:12-13). He has mind (Rom. 8:27), knowledge (1 Cor. 2: 11), affection (Rom. 15:30), and will (1 Cor. 12: 11). He can be grieved (Eph. 4:30), despised (Heb. 10:29), blasphemed (Matt. 12:31-32), resisted (Acts 7:5 1), and lied to (Acts 5:3). He has all of the attributes of personality; He is not an impersonal, active force.
He has the attributes of deity, including eternity (Heb. 9:14), omniscience (1 Cor. 2: 10-11), omnipotence (Mic. 3:8), and omnipresence (Psa. 139:7-10). He is called God in Acts 5:3. By denying the deity of the Holy Spirit, the Witnesses teach a false doctrine about God. By denying the deity of both the Son and the Holy Spirit, they are fundamentally wrong in their concept of God, just like the pagans are.
3. The Witnesses deny that man has an immortal soul. They believe that when a person dies, no part of him continues to live. They believe that the dead are not conscious (The Truth That Leads To Eternal Life, p. 41 WatchTower).
However, the Bible teaches that man has a soul which survives the death of his body (cf. Matt. 10:28; Acts 127; Rev. 6:9; 20:4; Jas. 5:20).
Jesus taught the lesson of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk. 16:19-3 1). In that lesson, the soul survived the death of the body. Some souls were rewarded with heavenly bliss and others were punished with everlasting destruction in torment after the death of the body. Hence, the soul survived the death of the body.
The Scriptures reveal that a person can be "absent from the body but at home with God" (2 Cor. 4:16-5: 10). Paul actually desired to die in order that he might be at home with Christ (Phil. 1:21-24). Jesus described Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as "living," in spite of the fact that their bodies had been dead for centuries (Matt. 22:32). Peter said (1 Pet. 3:4) that man has an incorruptible (Greek: aptharto) spirit; the word used there is translated "immortal" in 1 Timothy 1:17 when applied to God. The Witnesses deny that man has an immortal spirit.
4. The Witnesses deny the existence of Hell (cf. The Truth That Leads To Eternal Life, pp. 41,44 of Watch Tower).
Jesus spoke about Hell more than any other person in the Bible. He used it in Matthew 5:22,29; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15; Mark 9:43,45,47; and Luke 12:5. The place of eternal torment of which Jesus spoke is described as follows: (a) a place of outer darkness (Matt. 8:12; 22:13); (b) a place of pain (Rom. 2:5, 8-9); (c) a place of fire and brimstone (Rev. 21:8); (d) a fate worse than death without mercy (Heb. 10:29); and (e) a place of torment (Rev. 14:11).
There is a place of eternal torment prepared for those who disobey God. Wicked men are not annihilated at death; rather, they will be raised from the dead (Jn. 5:28-29) and judged (Matt. 25:31-36). The wicked will be placed in hell to be punished forever and ever. By denying the existence of hell, the Witnesses find themselves in conflict with the word of God.”
I want to explain little more about Number 4 listed above as it is one of their false doctrines which refers back to your question. The JW believe in annihilation which is a false doctrine that denies the conscious, eternal punishment of the lost.
Instead, humans who do not receive eternal life will be destroyed and cease to exist. As already mentioned by Mark Willis:
“Jesus taught the lesson of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk. 16:19-3 1). In that lesson, the soul survived the death of the body. Some souls were rewarded with heavenly bliss and others were punished with everlasting destruction in torment after the death of the body. Hence, the soul survived the death of the body.
The Scriptures reveal that a person can be "absent from the body but at home with God" (2 Cor. 4:16-5: 10). Paul actually desired to die in order that he might be at home with Christ (Phil. 1:21-24). Jesus described Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as "living," in spite of the fact that their bodies had been dead for centuries (Matt. 22:32). Peter said (1 Pet. 3:4) that man has an incorruptible (Greek: aptharto) spirit; the word used there is translated "immortal" in 1 Timothy 1:17 when applied to God. The Witnesses deny that man has an immortal spirit.”
Here is your biblical proof.
Hell is a real place and lost souls will live in eternal torment if they refuse to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Baptist believe that salvation “involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification” (SBC website).
Marie, salvation is by accepting the Lord Jesus as Lord and Saviour plan simple. It has nothing to do with one is good and earning one's way to Heaven. So Baptist do not believe “only bad people go to Hell.” Romans 3:23 states “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” This includes all people good or bad.
We can not earn our Salvation. Point to remember: Good people go to HELL, but ONLY BORN AGAIN PEOPLE SAVED BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB GO TO HEAVEN. Plain and simple. We can EARN our SALVATION BY BEING GOOD.
Marie, why are you looking a false religion forum like the Jehovah Witness anyway. You need to read you BIBLE and believe what the Word of God says not some stupid false religion forum like the JEHOVAH WITNESS. READ THE FORUM OF TRUTH CALLED YOUR BIBLE.
You NEED to make sure you are saved and accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. That is all you need to worry about. Forget about all false religions.
Dr Don Howe, RN, PhD, ThD