Charisma magazine retold the famous story of William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army.
Booth was famous for saying, “Most Christian organizations would like to send their workers to Bible college for five years. I would like to send our workers to hell for five minutes. That would prepare them for a lifetime of compassionate ministry.”
Booth believed, with every ounce of his being, that hell was not only real, it was a place of eternal horror. He knew that if anybody saw that kind of suffering they would do whatever it took to keep people out. Sadly, Booth said he saw, prophetically, the church losing track of hell’s reality. He said the church would become a place of “forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration … a heaven without a hell.” Booth said this around 1912. Today, we are seeing the truth of his words.
Universalism is growing in acceptance in the Christian church. It teaches that there is no eternal judgment. There doesn’t need to be since Jesus died for all and eventually everyone will be saved and go to heaven.
What does the Bible say about this new trend?
- Jesus said you had to repent or you would not be saved. “But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
- There will be judgment. Not all will enter heaven. “As it is appointed for men to die once, but after this comes the judgment” (Heb. 9:27).
- There is an entire list of those who will not be in heaven. “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the abominable, the murderers, the sexually immoral, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars shall have their portion in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone. This is the second death” (Rev. 21:8).
- Jesus taught that most people were on a broad path that leads to destruction and in the end He will not let them into heaven, but tell them to depart. “Strive to enter through the narrow gate. For many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. Once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ He will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from. ‘Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets. But He will say,’ ‘I tell you, I do not know you, or where you come from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity’” (Luke 13:24-27).
- Jesus said there was a place of judgment that we translate “hell” and it is quite real. “The Son of Man shall send out His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who do evil, and will throw them into a fiery furnace. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:41-42).
- Jesus gave eternal options. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
- The Apostle Paul wrote to people that had a similar question. Paul’s answer, “give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. They shall be punished with eternal destruction, isolated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thess. 1:7-9).
- Jesus always taught about choice. Some made good choices and went to heaven, and some did not. “Truly, truly I say to you, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
- Jesus did not teach that all are saved and always will be, or that all are saved but potentially might not be. Jesus taught that you are condemned and will stay that way without him. “He who believes in Him [Jesus] is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).
- Perhaps the clearest statement simply states the obvious, not all names will be found in the book of life, and the alternative is hell. “Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15; see also 21:27).
Next time somebody wants to tell you that it’s all good, remind them what the Bible says about heaven and hell. If they believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior, things just might be all good, but if not, you might just save an eternal life.