A controversial religious paper from the pen of convicted Maurice Bishop assassinator, Major Leon “Bogo” Cornwall has caused a stir among religious clerics.
Cornwall, a former Methodist preacher, is advocating that God will “Save All” which has angered many religious preachers who over the centuries have been telling their congregations that some will go to heaven but the evil ones and sinners will end up in Hell.
One Grenadian Pastor has condemned the Leon “Bogo” Cornwall doctrine for advocating that no one will go to Hell which has been mentioned 165 times in the Bible.
Heaven has been described in the Bible as the dwelling place of God in 2 Chronicles 30: 27 where Jesus has gone to prepare a place for those who love him (John 14:2) while Hell was created for “the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41.”
Cornwall is known to have quit the Methodist Church to join forces with Pastor Stanford Simon at his Baptist Church in Springs to preach the Gospel of the Lord.
However, there are reports that he is no longer performing in a leadership role in the church where it is believed that he had penned the controversial Gospel that “no one will go to Hell” as God will save all.
Cornwall is no longer playing a leadership role in the church due to the controversial sermon which is believed to have upset many of the followers.
As a public service, THE NEW TODAY brings Part 4 of the controversial Leon “Bogo” Cornwall religious edict:
The Savior is the Judge
Salvation of all affirms that there will be a final judgment. The question is – who is the Judge and what is the purpose of the judgment?
The Judge is Christ Himself who is the Saviour of the world. This ought to signal to us that we should not take to earthly law court judgment as the model and standard of the final divine judgment.
By having the Saviour as the Judge, it is as if the process has been somewhat set up in favour of those being judged. Imagine an accused person having his defense lawyer working for his release as his judge!
The thing however is that the general position of the churches is that death seals forever the fate of everyone. If that is true, it means that at the point of death the destiny of everyone is determined. What then would be the point of a post-mortem judgment?
It would appear to be more like a verification of what has already been determined. A rubber stamping! But can we call that a real judgment?
The Parable of Sheep and Goats as a Model
For reasons known only to God, there is no revealed spelling out of the process of judgment. The clearest that we get is the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (cf. Matthew 25: 31-46). But even so, we have to remember that it is a parable.
The judgment in this parable gives two results:
* those going away into everlasting punishment and
* the righteous going into eternal life.
I was given a terrifying God
But is that the end of the matter? Is that proof that some persons (the unrighteous/those who did not serve Christ) will be cast in the fire of never-ending conscious torture, as we have been told?
I once thought so, because that was what I was told from childhood. Admittedly, it never sat easy with me, because I could not reconcile that with the Jesus who refused to call down fire on the Samaritans who rejected Him (cf. Luke 9: 51 – 56).
How could that be reconciled with the Jesus who prayed for the forgiveness of those actually killing Him? (cf. Luke 23: 34). People might say because He came to die for the sins of the world, praying for His crucifiers’ forgiveness at that time had to be part of the package.
Nevertheless, this praying-for-forgiveness Jesus and this Jesus condemning people to never-ending fiery torture struck me as two different Persons.
Most disturbing was this. Not only patently bad people would be roasted forever in hell but also many good people who made important beneficial contributions to humanity. Their only crime worthy of such an eternal torture is that they were not good church-going Christians.
And to worsen the matter, I often heard some religious groups condemning to hell all other churches and groups not associated with them. People even told me of revelations they had of apparently good zealous Christians not making it to heaven but are burning forever in hell.
Being around such Christians was real hell for me in my youthful years. Ironically, peace came to me when I became an atheist. There was now no angry God, no ugly devil, and no never-ending torture chamber of hell. I was given a terrifying God – and had to reject and deny His existence.
When I became a Christian in my later years, I returned to a belief in the never-ending torture chamber hell, because it came as part of the package. It was even sold in a way that if you don’t believe in hell, even if you believe all other Christian teachings, you will still go to hell forever. It was as if God’s attitude is like this. Because you don’t believe that hell is as you have been told, I will let you feel it yourself.
It was easy to fall into hell. One misstep – and you gone! It was as if Jesus saves you but didn’t really save you because He is waiting at the judgment to cast you into hell if you had any sin you didn’t confess. This was why at every church service and prayer meeting there must be prayers begging for forgiveness.
The whole salvation business was very tenuous, despite the official doctrine of the assurance of salvation. And the more people are afraid of the judgment and hell, the better for the church. Some preachers would gladly use funerals to pound this fear into people, without realising that they are making up a monstrous God who is far different to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When God is presented that way, some people come away with the idea that God the Father and Jesus Christ are very different in character.
Something is wrong here
Interestingly, a trend developed amongst some evangelical preachers, claiming that God throws no one into hell but that people go there on their own free will because of their choices.
I could not find any biblical support for saying this is how people end up in the everlasting hell. Indeed, Revelation says that “anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20: 15). They did not freely walk into hell. Who would do that?
But this move by some evangelicals to put the onus on the recalcitrant sinners is a sign that these preachers are having difficulty reconciling the idea of a loving, life-redeeming God with the idea of a horrific, torturous place of no escape.
These preachers feel that something is wrong with that. But because they still want to hold onto this horrendous version of hell, they place the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of those outside of Christ. It is their fault that they find themselves in the worst imaginable place forever.
Coming to the liberating truth
I began to be liberated from this ideology of a torturous hell when I looked at the Greek from which Matthew 25: 46 was translated as “everlasting punishment.”
The Greek is kolasin aionion. The Greek word kolasin, from kolasis, means a fitting correction. It is correction that is appropriate to the revealed problem. It is like pruning so the plant could grow properly and flourish. Be the best it could be, as a result of the corrective pruning. The pruning does not destroy it or hamper it.
Then the Greek word aionion, from aionios, can mean eternal if the context warrants it. But it often means of an age duration or a necessary time period. Therefore, what Jesus is really saying in the parable is that the goats, having lived contrary to how they should have lived, in the judgment they will be shown the truth of how and why they should have lived differently.
The falsity of their living will be exposed by the truth of what should have been. As a result, they are taken away to be retrained in correct living. And the duration of that correction would be as long as it is necessary for them to be transformed.
I have no doubt that this kolasin can be agonising and full of regrets, as selfish and self-centered “lives” are being stripped away so the true, transformed Christ-centered persons can emerge and flourish. So, entry into the heavenly Kingdom is not an easy walk in the park for those who die without accepting Christ.
It seems that the judgment is aimed at Christ making plain and public the truth about who God is and who human beings are. It is on these two matters that we are often ignorant and thus fall into sin. Thus, the divine judgment has a revelatory dimension.
In this life, because of the flesh, there can be doubts and misconceptions about God and human beings. But in the postmortem judgment, there isn’t such hindrance, because we shall see Him as He is. In the light of that revelation, the life we have lived is evaluated. This process lays the basis for the appropriate corrective measures.
It is important for us to realise that the judgment can be cast in different symbolic forms. John signified it as the great white throne judgment with books being opened, judgment taking place according to their works
. Those not named in the Book of Life are cast in the Lake of fire. This lake of fire is not to destroy or torture them forever. The lake is fire and brimstone – and this has profound meaning.
Fire is often used symbolically to refer to God. It is the passionate presence of God empowering and setting people on a new path, as in the burning bush at the call of Moses or the tongues of fire on the day of Pentecost. It is God burning away all that is contrary to His will and thereby purifying people.
We find reference to purifying fire in the call of Isaiah (cf. Isaiah 6: 5 – 6). Drawing on Moses, the writer to the Hebrews said, “For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12: 29). We cannot forget that it is a lake of brimstone also.
The Greek word for “brimstone” is theion, from theios, which means godlike or divine. Moreover, burning brimstone was regarded as having power to purify and ward off disease. Thus, this is a very powerful symbolism, not about destroying life but about saving it.
By a combination of fire and brimstone, the writer is trying to convey the intense divine presence and power of God bringing about the ultimate end of all that is wrong and evil through a purifying process.
Interestingly, the kings of the earth who are considered to be the sworn enemies of God, are thrown into the lake of fire. But they are not there forever, nor are they utterly destroyed.
We later find them bringing their glory and honour into the New Jerusalem (cf. Revelation 21: 24). They can only enter because they have emerged purified, since nothing ungodly can enter the gates of that City (cf. Revelation 21: 27).
Leon “Bogo” Cornwall