Pastor Dennis Hodges: “[Repentance] is only real when subsequent change is inevitable — meaning that when you repent, you truly turn from your behavior. “
8334 Clairemont Mesa Blvdc, San Diego
Pastor: Dennis Hodges
Formation: Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL; International Theological Seminary, Bradenton, FL; Ashford University, Clinton, IA
Years Ordained: 7 years
San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?
Pastor Dennis Hodges: Repentance. To me, it is the Gospel. The definition of repentance is a change of behavior. There are seven laws that I teach at the church — the first being that repentance always distinguishes itself from regret. There’s a reordering of our lives. It always means more than saying, “I’m sorry.”…Repentance never attempts to dictate against restitution and never retaliates. It’s only real when subsequent change is inevitable — meaning that when you repent, you truly turn from your behavior. If once you were an angry, prejudiced person and you repent, now when those angry thoughts crawl up from the directive of your flesh, you know how to repress them because of your repenting behavior.
SDR: What is your main concern as member of the clergy?
PH: My main concern is that everyone should be saved. God means for no one to perish but everyone to have everlasting life. I hope that people would come into the saving knowledge of Yeshua Ha Mashiach — that is Jesus the Messiah…. So, my concern is that we would stop practicing sin and start practicing righteousness and that we would come together and love each other because God is the essence of love. God is color blind and there is only one race — the human race….
SDR: What’s the mission of your church?
PH: We want to introduce and connect people to the living God. We are teaching the Gospel of the king, and training a new generation of believers how to live and walk in the authority that God has given each of us.
SDR: Why did you become a minister?
PH: I grew up in Chicago, and it was a calling. It was an undeniable, irresistible tugging on my heart, on my life, to go out and be a tool, an instrument of righteousness, a mouthpiece for God…. Even years ago as a youngster, I was taken by my mother to a Catholic Church. I was eight or ten years old, and I can remember being an altar boy. Then I got away from living righteously, but I had some foundations in my youth.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PH: One who has accepted Jesus Christ as your lord and savior goes to heaven. I base that on Luke 16, which tells of the rich man having the conversation with Abraham as the poor man was in Abraham’s bosom. The poor man was escorted, the Bible tells us, carried into heaven, and the rich man ended up dying and buried…. The rich man was in Hades, in torment, and lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and the poor man at his side. Those then who receive Jesus Christ as their lord and savior will go to heaven and those who do not receive him as their lord and savior will go to hell. I do not believe that God sends anyone to hell; people write their own ticket. The only unpardonable sin is unbelief.