ELCA Presiding ‘Bishop’ Claims: ‘There May Be a Hell, But I Think It’s Empty’

CHICAGO, Ill. — The presiding “bishop” of the apostate Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) opined in an interview this week with the Chicago Sun-Times that Hell is empty because God doesn’t give up on those who reject Him.

Elizabeth Eaton was interviewed on Wednesday by reporter Robert Herguth during his podcast “Face to Faith.”

Herguth asked Eaton a variety of questions during the 42-minute discussion, from whether she has ever had doubts since becoming a minister, to how she has been received as the ELCA’s first female presiding bishop, to what Jesus will look like when He returns, to what she thinks Heaven is like.

“Do you think there’s a Hell?” Herguth also asked.

“There may be,” Eaton answered after pausing for a moment, adding, “but I think it’s empty.”

When asked why, she explained it was because Jesus said He would draw all men to Himself and that she doesn’t believe God will give up on people.

“Jesus was clear in John 3 that when He is raised up, He will draw all people to Himself,” Eaton stated. “And if we take a look at salvation history, ever since we got booted out of the garden, it has been God’s relentless pursuit to bring His people to God.”

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“Now, people wonder, ‘Well, can you say no?’ I imagine you can say no to God, [but] I don’t think God’s going to give up on us. And if God has eternity, then God can certainly keep working on those folks,” she said. “That might be a little bit of heresy along the lines of origin, but I don’t think God gives up.”

Eaton also outlined during the interview that while she believes that the Bible is inerrant, the ELCA does not view all Scripture as literal.

“How much of the New Testament do you think is literally true, in terms of Christ—how He operated [and] how He lived?” Herguth asked.

“Lutherans—at least our understanding—we’re not biblical literalists, and I would say that no one is a biblical literalist,” Eaton replied, “because Jesus said if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. Well, I’m seeing a lot of people with both eyes and both hands, and you can’t tell me there’s not been some sin going on there.”

“And also, when our Lord said that the mustard seed is the smallest seed, it isn’t,” she continued. “Does that mean He didn’t know what he was talking about? No.”

She said that rather Scripture needs to interpret Scripture and should not be cherry-picked, but that it should be accepted as a whole because it got the gospel right.

“I remember being with congregations after our decision in 2009 [to allow homosexuals to serve as clergy], where they thought, ‘Well, I heard the Bible describing human sexuality this way, and now you’re saying it’s another way.’ And you can see the arc going on (correlating), ‘So, if that’s not true, maybe [we’d think] the resurrection isn’t true.’ However, the entire New Testament was written after the resurrection of Jesus, so it has authority for us because it got that right.”

Listen to the interview in full below.

Jesus warned about Hell numerous times in the Scriptures, outlining in Matthew 25 that the wicked “shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.”

He also explained in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not every one that saith unto Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven, but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in Heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works?’ And then will I profess unto them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.'”

Revelation 20:12-15 likewise warns, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God. And the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hell delivered up the dead which were in them, and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”


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  • Amos Moses – He>i

    “There may be,” Eaton answered after pausing for a moment, adding, “but I think it’s empty.”
    When asked why, she explained it was because Jesus said He would draw all men to Himself and that she doesn’t believe God will give up on people.
    “Jesus was clear in John 3 that when He is raised up, He will draw all people to Himself,” Eaton stated. “And if we take a look at salvation history, ever since we got booted out of the garden, it has been God’s relentless pursuit to bring His people to God.”

    “MAY BE” …….. /SMH …… there are only two positions …. limited atonement or universalism ….. this woman is a universalist ….. God does not pursuit people …. He DRAWS them ….. and many will not hear Him ….. the ELCA is such a mess …………….

    • Nabukuduriuzhur

      Christ paid for a pardon for everyone, but not everyone will choose to get Saved. There is no limit to atonement, but there is a limit to the number of people who choose to get Saved.

      1 John 2:2
      “and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

      Matthew 7:13-14

      “13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

      • Amos Moses – He>i

        it is not our choice …. and scripture says whose choice it is … it is the Fathers … who then gives them to the Son …. and He will in no wise cast any one of them out …… and it was decided before the foundation of the world ….. and the Lamb of God was slain …. before the foundation of the world ………….. and many are called …. but FEW are CHOSEN …. they do not choose … they are CHOSEN ……….. and BTW …. you limit atonement …….

        • Nabukuduriuzhur

          The key is in verse 29. God knows who will choose Him. And thus they are predestined.

          • mr goody two shoes

            No we all are depraved unable to come to faith. were dead in our sins .dead men can’t choose life Any more than Lazurus could choose to be alive or the child Jesus made alive again. Could choose to live . God has to do it. Were Just like Esau every one of us deserving of Gods hatered . Only God make us willing to believe like just as sinful Jacob .

        • mr goody two shoes

          And God choose is based soley on his Mercy. And not on peoples works or desires.!
          Romans 9:13 just as it is written Jacob I loved ,but Esau I hated..14 what will we say then?Does this mean God is unjust? Absoulutly not! For God says to Moses.I will show mercy to whom to whom I show mercy and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.

  • Roland

    A perfect example of the “spirit of Antichrist” as originally coined by John. Avoiding the cross at all costs, (remaining in sin) and who Paul called them enemies of the cross. The whole of Galatians speaks about these peoples.

  • Reason2012

    Matthew 7:13-15 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

    Isaiah 5:14 “Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.”

  • Mr. David

    Hell is loaded with all kinds of folks. What this woman thinks about it is irrelevant.

  • Nabukuduriuzhur

    A good example of someone trying to use one part of Christ’s Words to nullify another part of Christ’s Words.

    • mr goody two shoes

      Yes exactly . you nailed it right and on her church door to boot.

  • Paulo

    This is why it’s so important for every Christian to know the Bible and the spirit – the ability to discern.

    Not only preachers or pastors or leaders should spend hours with God. We are all called to know Him.

    And H, E, double hockey sticks is definitely not empty – God gave us freedom to choose; majority choose not the narrow.

  • TGOHUSA

    2 Peter 2:1 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the LORD that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

  • mr goody two shoes

    Preacher with vaginas and boobs are not Lutheran at all. Right their shows her higher critical view of the bible she allowed her self to be trained in that our first pastor Dr Luther would have had her excommunicated for. Luther only allowed the historical gramatical view of the bible that we Lutherans hold to .you can bet on her rejecting creationism to. She is as Lutheran as I am Baptist.

  • Jack-b-Quicker

    Nicolatians?

  • Chet

    Lady, you have no source document for your ridiculous pronouncement. And for sure, you do not get such trash from the Word of God, the Holy Bible… Wise up!

  • Trilemma

    Why is believing there’s no Hell apostasy? There always has been Christians who believed there’s no Hell. The Apostles Creed doesn’t even mention Hell. Is believing there’s a Hell necessary for salvation?

    Why doesn’t God save everyone?
    1. Is it because He is not able to even though He wants to?
    2. Is it because He doesn’t want to even though He is able to?

    • Robin Egg

      Yes it does.

    • Amos Moses – He>i

      “Why is believing there’s no Hell apostasy? There always has been Christians who believed there’s no Hell.””Is believing there’s a Hell necessary for salvation?”
      Because God and Christ has said it exists and they are not liars, and to say there is not is to call them liars, and thus they are NOT christians.

      Not believing in Hell is NOT believing Christ. NT mentions of Hell …..
      Mat 5:29
      Mat 5:30
      Mat 10:28
      Mat 11:23
      Mat 16:18
      Mat 23:15
      Mat 23:33
      Mark 9:43
      Mark 9:45
      Mark 9:47
      Luke 10:15
      Luke 12:5
      Luke 16:23
      Acts 2:27
      Acts 2:31
      Jas 3:6
      2Pet 2:4
      Rev 1:18
      Rev 6:8
      Rev 20:13
      Rev 20:14

      Christ mentions hell 13 times:
      Mat 5:29, Mat 5:30, Mat 10:28, Mat 11:23, Mat 16:18, Mat 23:15, Mat 23:33, Mark 9:43, Mark 9:45, Mark 9:47, Luke 10:15, Luke 12:5, Luke 16:23 …. so not believing is calling Him a liar ………

      • Trilemma

        Jesus mentioned Gehenna in Mat 5:22, Mat 5:29, Mat 5:30, Mat 10:28, Mat 18:9, Mat 23:15, Mat 23:33, Mark 9:43, Mark 9:45, Mark 9:47, and Luke 12:5. Gehenna is the name of a valley on the south side of Jerusalem. Many Christians like to interpret this place name figuratively as a place of eternal conscious torment. But that’s their interpretation and not actually a translation of Gehenna.

        • Amos Moses – He>i

          G1067
          γέεννα
          geenna
          gheh’-en-nah
          Of Hebrew origin ([H1516] and [H2011]); valley of (the son of) Hinnom; gehenna (or Ge-Hinnom), a valley of Jerusalem, used (figuratively) as a name for the place (or state) of everlasting punishment: – hell.

          • Trilemma

            “Of Hebrew origin ([H1516] and [H2011]); valley of (the son of) Hinnom; gehenna (or Ge-Hinnom), a valley of Jerusalem,”

            That’s translation.

            “used (figuratively) as a name for the place (or state) of everlasting punishment: – hell.”

            That’s interpretation.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            IN CONTEXT it does not say that ………. FAIL ….. you read things and determine their meaning IN CONTEXT ………….

          • Trilemma

            How do you determine the context? If you assume the context is the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, then Gehenna refers to the valley south of Jerusalem where all the dead bodies were burned. If you assume the context is the afterlife, then Gehenna could refer to eternal conscious torment or it could refer to annihilation of the soul or even something else. The trouble with taking a word figuratively is that its meaning can be made to fit the translators biases.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            the context in this case …. begins at Matthew 5:1 …….. and ends at Matthew 7:29 …. and the context is heaven and hell and the judgement of God ………… and how He judges and how we should judge ………

          • Trilemma

            The Sermon on the Mount does not have a context. It is a collection of sayings taken out of the original context in which Jesus said them.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            yes it does and it is the context of the passage ………….

        • Amos Moses – He>i

          Matthew
          5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

          IN CONTEXT here is NOT Christ saying they are in danger of going to the south of Jerusalem ….. that would be STUPID …………….

          • Trilemma

            Those who did say, “Thou fool,” to Jesus and His warnings against rebelling against Rome did end up having their dead bodies thrown into Gehenna, south of Jerusalem, in 70ad.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            not what that passage was discussing … it is the sermon on the mount ….. FAIL ………

    • Amos Moses – He>i

      “Why doesn’t God save everyone?
      1. Is it because He is not able to even though He wants to?
      2. Is it because He doesn’t want to even though He is able to?”

      neither 1 or 2 …….. there are exactly three options ….. God saves everyone …. then all this does not matter ….. and that brings no Glory to God ………. or He saves no one ….. then all this does not matter ….. and that brings no Glory to God ….. OR … He saves whom He chooses to save and He saves perfectly and EVERY TIME ….. because it is His desire to do so …. and this brings Glory to God …………. and nothing else …………..

      • Trilemma

        You just chose option 2 which is consistent with Calvinism. If God chooses to save only a few then He is choosing not to save many. Why does God choose not to save those many people? It’s because He doesn’t want to. There is no glory in only saving a few. If a ship comes upon a hundred people drowning in shark infested waters and the captain chooses to perfectly save only five even though he could have saved all, he would not receive any glory, only condemnation.

        • Amos Moses – He>i

          that is incorrect as God would like for all to be saved ….. but He knows not all will …. because he is omnipotent …. so He chooses those whom He desires to save ……. not sure your captain metaphor is in anyway accurate to the circumstances …. the captain is not omnipotent …. God is …. God knows who those are that will remain in rebellion …. even if saved …. and will rebel again … and the purpose of this life is to demonstrate that God is God …. and those in rebellion who want to be in control are not ……….. and that bring glory to God … to demonstrate His power over all things ….. and to be the God of justice ….. and those who would condemn Him do so already and demonstrate their rebellion and need for His justice …………

          • Trilemma

            Again, you’re saying God doesn’t want to save everyone even though He is omnipotent and able to do so. You’re saying God doesn’t want to save those He knows, “will remain in rebellion …. even if saved …. and will rebel again.”

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            God has a desire …. not all desires are fulfilled ……….. and God knows this …. God is a JUST God and must execute His justice ….. and he is not going to wink and say “ok, no problem, you are in rebellion but i do not care” ……… He will not let the murderer off who is not truly repentant ………

          • Trilemma

            I never said there wouldn’t be punishment for sin. The Bible says there will be corrective punishment in Heaven to bring about repentance. The Bible does not say this punishment is eternal.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            nope … once in heaven it will be too late ….. where heaven and God is, there is no time … only eternity ……..

          • Trilemma

            Even in Heaven with God, events still happen in time with a beginning and an end. So, there can be a start and an end to punishment.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            there is no time where God is … God had to create time ……… that is Genesis …..

          • Trilemma

            The Bible describes a battle in Heaven where Satan was cast out. This battle had a beginning and an end. It lasted for a finite period of time.

            Where in Genesis does it say God created time?

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            “In the beginning” ….. that was time being created ……. the beginning of time …. and it finishes with “1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” ……… so if it was the FIRST day …. then there were no days before it …… as there was no time …………

          • Trilemma

            Gen 1:1 is saying that at some point in time, God created the Earth and skies. It doesn’t say God created the Earth, skies and time. Time doesn’t need Earth to exist in order for time to exist. These was a time when Earth didn’t exist and then there was. The days merely give the age of the Earth as creation proceeded.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            nope … there was no time … God exists in eternity …. so no time ……… “Time doesn’t need Earth to exist in order for time to exist” … right …. but God created time and then created the space for the creation and then created the matter to fill that space …. “And the earth was without form, and void”, so it was just matter not yet formed …….. and this is Gods revealed truth of the creation ……….. He created time, and then space (the heavens), then all matter (the earth), and then He added His energy in the form of light ……….

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            God will not act outside of His nature ………..

          • Trilemma

            I agree. We disagree on what His nature is.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            i agree with what God has said His nature is … and you disagree with God …..

          • Trilemma

            1John 4:8 says, “God is love.” That is God’s nature, love. Love does not create people for the purpose of torturing them for all eternity. That is cruelty beyond comprehension. God is love. God is not cruelty.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            yep ….. it says that … but it says FAR FAR more than that and you are trying to build a theology out of less than HALF a verse …… and you are sitting in judgement of God ….. and while you are allowed to do that here …. it is not biblical and it is not christian and what you are saying is NOT in Gods nature of Wrath and Justice ……… Justice is not cruel …… that is just your flesh talking about your idolatry ……….

          • Trilemma

            I do not judge God. I judge what people say about God.

            True, justice is not cruel. Eternal conscious torment in a fiery Hell is not justice; it’s cruelty.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            and so you affirm again that you sit in judgement of God ………… and against the scriptures …….. below …. they are tormented ….. “for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night” …. and in the PRESENCE OF THE LAMB ….. “in the presence of the Lamb” ….. who is Christ ……………

            Rev
            14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
            14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
            14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
            14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

          • Trilemma

            And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. – Revelation 14:11 KJV

            and the smoke of their torment doth go up to ages of ages; and they have no rest day and night, who are bowing before the beast and his image, also if any doth receive the mark of his name. – Revelation 14:11 YLT

            The KJV gives an interpretation of this verse where the YLT gives a translation. The Greek word translated “for” in the KJV and “to” in the YLT is “eis” This Greek word is used to denote movement toward a destination in location, condition or time. This verse is describing a destination in time and not a duration of time. The time in torment is not eternal. The time in torment ends when the ages of the ages is reached.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            G165
            αἰών
            aiōn
            ahee-ohn’
            From the same as G104; properly an age; by extension perpetuity (also past); by implication the world; specifically (Jewish) a Messianic period (present or future): – age, course, eternal, (for) ever (-more), [n-]ever, (beginning of the, while the) world (began, without end).

          • Trilemma

            “Unto the eternities of the eternities,” doesn’t make sense. There is only one eternity not multiple eternities. But, even so, the eternities of eternities is a destination in time. It is not a duration of time. When the eternities of the eternities is reached, the torment would stop.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            nope …. etermity is a state of NO TIME ……. the bible does use poetic language to say what it says from time to time ……. does not alter what is described ……….

          • Trilemma

            So the destination of torment is a state of NO TIME. So, when the destination of NO TIME is reached, the torment will stop.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            it will never stop ……. it says it will be continual ……….

      • mr goody two shoes

        The reason God does not save every one ? Jesus says lt is because of peoples unwillingness not Gods. See Mathew 23:27

    • mr goody two shoes

      The bible the Lutheran’s pope says those that are saved .Are saved by Gods grace alone in Jesus. And those that are not saved its their ; own ; fault. And that’s what we Lutherans believe .its as unreasonable as God putting his own people
      Between the army of Pharaoh that wants to kill them and the Red Sea that will
      Drown them with escape Impossible. We have a Unreasonable God . who word is always true. And most likley laughs at us when we think its impossible .

      • Trilemma

        For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; – Ephesians 2:8 NASB

        Why doesn’t God give this gift of grace through faith to everyone?

        • mr goody two shoes

          Jesus says certain stiff necked people always resist the holy Spirit work in giving it to them.. God did not make his Grace in Jesus non resistable . The package he put it in WaS bloody and beaten and ugly.

          • Trilemma

            You appear to be saying that God is not able to save everyone because His grace is resistible.

  • mr goody two shoes

    The leaders of Even Lesbians Can be Acolytes. The ELCA they are into a socialistic Gospel .They have made their churches whole purpose
    For charity to make things better for the poor and down .trodden. Tbey spend billions on charitty work So of course lesbians can be Acolytes or
    southern baptist and they and there beliefs both will be Welcomed at their Lords supper.

    .

  • Matthew 7:15-20 (KJV)
    15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
    17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
    18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
    19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
    20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

    Amen!

  • mr goody two shoes

    ElCA presidents Snuggle Bunny no penalty in hell Gospel ..is still easier to recover from than many protestants work righteous gospels!

  • Craig B.

    “And [the Father] hath given [the Son] authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (John 5:27-29)