It’s 4:30 am and the Lord just woke me up from a dream. In the dream My sister and I are visiting my maternal grandmother “Leoncia Alvarez” the matriarch of the Alvarez-Bosque family who passed away in 2001. In the dream I was there to tell her before she passes away that what I had previously shared with her about God was not the truth. In the dream I tell her that I am sorry, the God I shared with her is not the God of Love. She listens to me intently with those kind eyes she had, and the dream ends.
I remember like it was yesterday sometime around the early eighties sitting on my mother’s couch with her and sharing with her the “plan of salvation” via the “Romans Road. “I remember the passionate plea that burned in me from my recent decision to “enter the ministry” and how I didn’t want her or anyone in my family going to Hell. I remember her words to me as tears ran down my cheeks, “yes, I will pray with you but please don’t cry.”
Alvarez-Bosque people were not allowed to cry. My grandmother had lost my maternal grandfather suddenly to a massive heart attack at the early age of 36 and he left her with five children. Women in those days knew nothing of a man’s affairs so by the time the relatives and the neighbors took what they wanted she was left without a home and penniless with five children. Whether it was to keep her own wits about her or keep from having to watch the children crying for their father she told them “your father is dead and there is to be no more crying! She gathered a few things, sold them, and moved to the big city, Havana.
She was a beautiful woman and could have easily remarried but she denied herself and spent the rest of her life, almost fifty years, totally and selflessly dedicated to raising all five of her children and making sure they all got a good education. In the Cuba of the 1940’s most single women either worked as prostitutes or washed and ironed clothes by hand. She was too dignified and dedicated to her family, so she chose the latter. It was “one for all and all for one”, as they struggled to keep the family together at all costs. She was very close to God in her own way and I remember her taking me to Catholic Church for the first time.
So there I was sitting on my mother’s couch telling a woman who for fifty years epitomized the selfless life and sacrifice of Christ, that if she did not repeat a prayer with me, she was doomed to hell. All five of her children now professionals, she just looked into my eyes, bowed her head, and prayed.
I remember I was so happy! I had just pulled my grandmother from the fiery pits of hell which an angry God created for people who did not repeat the prayer. How stupid can you be and still breath? I am sorry! Religion and its human invented theories make a mockery of a God who so loved the world that He sent His only Son to make a way for us where there was no way. The success today of the entire Alvarez-Bosque family points to the fact that my grandmother knew that God long before she prayed with me.
In my dream she just smiled as I shared with her that I no longer believed in Hell as I had explained it to her originally. I told her that I now believe in a loving God who made a way for ALL men on the cross of Calvary and not just men who think like I do.
Wow, you might say, “you sound like a heretic!” Yes, I am a proud heretic and can’t wait for the day when I will come to know the greatest Heretic of all time, the Lord Jesus Christ face to face. I now recognize I have been a heretic all my life. I was a heretic when I protected the Jewish kid from the school bullies. I was a heretic when in the South I played with the black kids at recess and got kicked out of school for fighting. I was a heretic when as the oldest male of the new generation of the Alvarez -Bosque clan I walked away from my life quest to be a lawyer to serve the risen Christ. I was a heretic when as a Baptist I led an entire generation of Hispanic kids to speak in tongues and be open to the Holy Spirit. I was a heretic when I realized and accepted what Christ was doing in my life by pulling me away from the religious system and its quest for money, fame, and fortune in the name of God. So, is it so hard to believe that Jose Bosque does not believe in hell anymore? At least not the hell the 18th century religious system invented to instill fear into men so they could keep them close enough to put their hand in their pocket weekly. Yes, I said it!
If what I say makes you uncomfortable ask God don’t just label me. After 33 years of study and experience in the Lord do not waste your time trying to hand pick out of context verses to change my mind. I did not arrive here in one day and I am not under the teaching of any one man, except the Man Christ Jesus. I am sorry but I haven’t lost my mind.
Then why do I share this? You might say, “Why can’t you just keep your personal opinions to yourself?” Because I AM sorry! This title is not a marketing ploy to attract humanity’s inquisitive nature. In my world, we called it being a “chismoso” or being nosey.
My life is public and for many years I have taught many people. I do not intend with this article to change anyone’s mind. As you can see, I have not intentionally fought on behalf of or tried to defend my argument.
My God is unchangeable but my understanding of Him is not. I do wish for all I have had an influence over that you open your heart to the REAL nature of the Loving God who died for you. He is not an Angry God but a God who “was reconciling a world to himself in Christ.”
My prayer is that the Lord would continue to draw you to Himself by the power of the Holy Spirit. May His wisdom be yours and may you come to know the real God through Christ’s life. Christ in ALL of us the Hope of Glory!
Jose L. Bosque
I, too, spent many years on “The Romans Road.” And I, too, am sorry. I have seen many radical changes in my 85 years. Religious practices seem to change as the world turns. But the religious strongold of “the sinners’ prayer” still dominates.
I made a public “confession of faith” and was baptized at age 16. By the time we were married three years later, Barbara played the organ and I led the choir. I was on the church board, chairman of the Evangelism Committee, nine years before I was born again.
But I had repeated “the sinners’ prayer!”
What are your thoughts on hell?
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“My God is unchangeable but my understanding of Him is not.”