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Oscar-winning legend: ‘There is no hell, this is heaven’

In an extensive Wall Street Journal interview with world-famous director Francis Ford Coppola of “Godfather” fame, he shared about his new film project presenting utopia here on earth. He also told us that, “There is no hell, but the other news is that this here is heaven!” (WSJ Aug. 17, 2019). Coppola was raised in a strong Catholic, Italian family, so obviously he’s embracing a different wordview than that of Scripture and Roman Catholicism.

In his classic, Oscar-winning “Godfather” series, the brilliant director featured a Mafia kingpin delivering a memorable line often repeated to this day: “I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse.” It’s apparent Mr. Coppola offers listeners a “deal” if they accept his belief that there’s no eternal judgment and that they can escape accountability to a loving but holy and just God.

According to the Bible, the wisest human being who ever lived was Solomon. In his collection of divinely inspired wisdom, he stated, “A prudent man foresees the evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished” (Proverbs 27:12).

He also summarized his lifetime of learning with these words: “Now all has been heard. Let us hear the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

Jesus came to redeem us but made it clear we must repent and trust Him alone for salvation. He reinforced the doctrine of eternal judgment in which hell is real and real people go there.

Secular vs. scriptural worldview

A biblical worldview refers to the lens through which we view reality. It’s our personal belief system based on convictions riveted rock-solid in the authoritative, divinely inspired Word of God.

God’s charge to us: Be courageous amidst opposition and live by convictions, not necessarily what’s popular or politically correct. This has become increasingly important in light of the Barna Research report showing that only 1 in 10 Americans have a biblical worldview – and only 4 percent of Millenials!

“… all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But continue in the things that you have learned and have been assured (convinced of)” (2 Timothy 3:13-14 NIV).

Beliefs are what we hold. Convictions are what hold us!

It’s enlightening to contrast prevailing unbiblical worldviews circulating in our culture with those grounded in sacred Scripture. Examining these worldviews side-by-side helps us to grasp the stark differences between authentic and counterfeit perspectives.

In our culture today, many are deceived into believing we can accommodate error, look for “common ground” and then gather to sing “Kumbaya” in sentimental interfaith services. A Methodist university in Virginia recently hired a Muslim chaplain to complement a cleric who’s an LGBTQ advocate in their Spiritual Life Office. The message is: “Hey, we’re progressive … this is diversity … we all pray to the same God anyway, and we’re committed to being welcoming and all-inclusive!” They’re in serious error, in fact heresy!

Professing Christian leader Rob Bell sells books and propagandizes people on campuses and in churches peddling his secular, heretical belief on the absence of eternal judgment.

“Secular” doesn’t necessarily mean atheism. It comes from the Latin word “saeculum,” which means “time or age” – focusing on this age alone, rejecting religion and eternity.

What you believe determines how you live and where you’ll go when you die. People flourish or flounder and face eternal separation from God based on their worldview.

The Scriptural “Sweet 16”

The following is not an exhaustive list, but it helps us with some core beliefs of Christianity. These are non-negotiables – fundamentals of our historic Bible-based faith.

Truth: subjective and experiential vs. objective and biblical

Bible: religious book with stories and helpful insights vs. inerrant and inspired revealed will of God

Origins: evolution and man-centered vs. creation and God-centered

Man’s Condition: inherently good and ever-evolving vs. originally sinful and hopeless without redemption

Source of Problems: ignorance, environment, victim mentality vs. fallen condition and need for personal responsibility

God: whoever, whatever or denial vs. loving Creator, merciful Savior, righteous Judge

Plight: ignorant of potential; evolving vs. separated from God (spiritually dead)

Sin: redefined as sickness, addiction or weakness vs. willful violation of God’s commands given for His glory and our good

Solution: legislation and education vs. regeneration (spiritual rebirth – supernatural transformation)

Provision: education, science, technology and therapy vs. The Person and finished work of Jesus Christ, mankind’s only Redeemer

Jesus: one of history’s many religious leaders vs. Son of God, Sovereign Lord and mankind’s only Savior

Response: better self through human effort and possible charitable activity vs. change direction (repent) and trust Jesus Christ alone for
salvation

Change: excuse, blame shift, plead ignorance, rationalize vs. by God’s grace “put off” harmful habits and “put on” responses of obedience reflecting His character

Afterlife: denied, ignored, reincarnated, all saved; hell only for history’s worst vs. body decomposes awaiting future resurrection while spirit/soul enters heaven or hell based on one’s response to Gospel

Judgment: nonexistent as “God is Love” vs. obedience rewarded and disobedience punished by a just, holy and loving God

Purpose of Life: self actualization, pursuit of pleasure and pleasing oneself, acquisition of fame and fortune vs. glorify God and fulfill one’s destiny by joyful service, obedience and pleasing God

Here’s the Deal: Living in a time like one spoken of in Scripture when “Everyone did what was right in his eyes” (Judges 17:6), we must prioritize developing an uncompromisingly biblical worldview. Then with confidence and compassion let’s be “salt” as Jesus directed as a bulwark against the avalanche of deception rampant today.

Look for the debut of the “Here’s the Deal” podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network to engage and encourage you to be an informed influencer in these days of deception but incredible opportunity.

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