The Rev. Timothy Rogers, the popular pastor of Prince of Peace Church in Blytheville, Arkansas, said Wednesday that hell is an “imaginary place” invented to scare ignorant believers, adding that “when you’re dead, you’re done.”

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Speaking at the funeral of a 30-something man he said he had not known, Rev. Rogers told the congregation they had been “sold a lie” and “bamboozled” into believing in hell.

“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. And I was told that if anything that does not have an explanation must be imagination,” he said.

The celabrated African-American preacher said that hell is part of a “fantasy” created by church leaders for their benefit.

“Church is corrupt,” he said.

“The Church don’t want to address what’s really wrong with you, they just want you to be quiet, sit down and act nice,” he said. “You want a baby to be quiet, just tell them Santa Claus is coming to town. Only until their eyes come open and they realize that Santa Claus has never come to town,” he said.

“I didn’t come to feed you a lie today, I came to feed you the truth.”

“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 said. “I don’t want to do church, I want to do good because everybody that doing church, ain’t doing good.”

“Most folk who doing good don’t even go to church,” he said.

Pastor Rogers said that the lie extends beyond the existence of hell to the entire idea of an afterlife, insisting that heaven doesn’t exist either.

“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. I didn’t come for you to agree with me. I know how to lay it out to y’all salted but I don’t care. I didn’t come for you to agree with me,” he said.

God gave us life so that we can do “whatever you want to do with your life,” Rogers said, adding that the Bible is merely a self-help manual on how to live a successful life.

When your earthly life comes to an end, he added, “you’re done.”

In his sermon, Rogers downplayed the Bible as “ancient literature” that younger generations have never understood, saying that the church has failed them by feeding them a “fantasy” that only benefited those in leadership positions.

Other Christian leaders, such as Pastor Robert Matthews of Kingdom Vision International Church in Mississippi, were quick to denounce Rogers’ message, noting that it does not square with Jesus’s message.

The erroneous teaching of Pastor Tim Rogers, Matthews said in a statement Thursday, “proves the necessity of discipleship and sound doctrine in our times.”

“The description of hell (subsequently heaven) as 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,” he said. “The counter for this is anointed sound Biblical doctrine.”

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