BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. — Concerns are being raised after the leader of Prince of Peace Church in Blytheville, Arkansas recently claimed at a young man’s funeral that “Hell is an imaginary place,” and that Hell is just what a person creates upon the Earth.
Footage of the funeral was posted to social media this past week, showing Timothy Rogers asserting that people have been “bamboozled” into believing in Hell, and suggesting that Heaven isn’t an eternal destination either.
“If he’s asleep, he ain’t got to endure the pale horse or escape the pale horse no more,” he said, the casket just feet away. “You see, because when you’re dead, you’re done.”
“I know they told you … ya’ll wondering, is he going to Hell? Did he accept Jesus as his [Savior]?” Rogers asked of the man who died. “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,” Rogers claimed, as a woman called out, “Come on, pastor!”
“And I was told that if anything that does not have an explanation must be imagination,” he said.
Rogers asserted that no one has ever come back to say that they went to either Heaven or Hell.
“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,” he stated, with some applauding.
“Pastor, tell it, and I got your back!” the woman who had called out moments earlier shouted out.
Rogers claimed that Hell is simply what a person creates on the Earth, and that Heaven was in the garden of Eden.
He went on to assert that God didn’t give people a Bible to send them to either Heaven or Hell, but rather to give them instructions for the here and now, to make their life on Earth a Heaven or Hell.
“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,” Rogers stated. “I don’t want to do church; I want to do good because everybody that doing church ain’t doing good.”
“Most folks who are doing good don’t even go to church,” he claimed.
Rogers’ remarks may be viewed in full here. His comments begin at approximately 33 minutes into the recording.
Rogers’ claims have generated deep concern, including from Robert Matthews, leader of Kingdom Vision International Church in Columbus, Mississippi.
“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,” he wrote on social media on Thursday. “The description of Hell (subsequently Heaven) as a 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 judgment. The counter for this is anointed sound Biblical doctrine (1 Tim. 4; 2 Tim. 4:2-5).”
“As leaders, We must do more than assimilate people through church systems and church culture. We must seek to develop them in Christlikeness (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,” Matthews urged. “Believers must also commit to Bible study (personally and corporately), prayer, godly fellowship, and meditation on the word beyond online snippets & soundbytes.”
He said that it is important that those who claim the name of Christ understand the foundational doctrines of the faith, which include eternal judgment.
“I am an advocate of expository preaching but not even that is enough by itself. We must ensure that people understand the elementary doctrines of Christ mentioned in Hebrews 6:1-2, one of which is eternal judgment,” Matthews outlined. “Without elementary principles, we will never master spiritual trigonometry if we cannot master addition, subtraction and multiplication. Some Christians cannot answer what the Great Commandment and Great Commission are. Can we explain John 3:16? Sermonizing without sound doctrine may draw crowds but it will never build strong disciples.”
Hebrews 9:27 says, “[I]t is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Jesus also warned in Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul, but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.” In Matthew 25:46, He spoke of those who “shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.”
Revelation 21:8 additionally teaches, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”