Do Non-Christians Go to Hell?

Rev. Mark Schaefer
Part 3 of the series “Questions of Faith
Kay Spiritual Life Center
October 2, 2011
Joel 2:26-29; Colossians 1:15-20; John 12:27-32

Illustration by Kathleen Kimball

Joel 2:26-29   ¶ You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I, the LORD, am your God and there is no other.
And my people shall never again
be put to shame.
¶ Then afterward
I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female slaves,
in those days, I will pour out my spirit.

Colossians 1:15-20 ¶ He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

John 12:27-32 ¶ “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

I. BEGINNING

The best thing about having a club is who’s not allowed to be a member.  Little kids figure this out pretty quickly.  The first time boys get a tree fort or similar hideout, the first thing they do is hang a sign on it that says “No Girls Allowed”.  Girls themselves have elaborate qualifications to join what secret clubs they have usually requiring several oaths of fealty and pledges of the utmost secrecy.

As adults we still recognize the attractiveness of exclusivity. It was the initial appeal of Facebook—that it was limited to college campuses—that drove its early success. Its continued success is that it allowed limited access to view people’s profiles, creating a sense of being “in” that was coveted.   “Membership has its privileges” reads a famous marketing slogan from American Express, suggesting that belonging to this particular club (for which you even have to be willing to pay an annual fee), there is a benefit not available to just anyone.  In fact, it is the exclusivity of clubs that makes them attractive. Clubs where just anyone can belong don’t hold the same appeal.  It’s why Groucho Marx famously said, “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.”

Sometimes it seems that the same phenomenon holds true with our understandings of heaven.  It’s the ultimate club, isn’t it?  It’s got all the best food, everyone is really happy, lots of celebrities like the Apostles and the Prophets.  Beautiful landscaping.  And soooo exclusive.  I mean, they don’t let just anyone in.  No, this club is reserved only for Christians and even then, we’re not sure it’s all Christians.  I’m reminded of the old joke where a man dies and goes to heaven and is given the tour.  The angel walks him past the grand halls where the the Buddhists are meditating, the Jews study the scriptures, the Muslims are praying, until finally he comes across one room and the angel says, “We have to be very quiet around this next room.  It’s full of Christians and they think they’re the only ones here.”

That joke wouldn’t be funny if it weren’t true.  In fact, the whole reason we talk about this issue today is because this question—what happens to people of other faiths—is one of those questions of faith that resurface time and time again.  And it does so because the presumption is that non-Christians do not have access to eternal life and instead are cast off into the outer darkness.  That presumption is shared by many Christians and non-Christians about what it is that Christianity actually believes.  But is it?  Need it be?

We’ll take a look at this issue using the time-honored Methodist tradition of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, exploring the question through the lenses of scripture, tradition, reason, and experience.

II.  SCRIPTURE

When we look at scripture, we are surprised to discover that the Bible doesn’t speak much of anyone going to heaven.  In the Bible, heaven is God’s dwelling place and has little to do with where we wind up after death.  No, in the Bible, to the extent life after death is talked about, it is usually described in terms of a resurrection of the dead that takes place here on earth.  The Kingdom of God comes to earth, the dead are raised to new life, and God dwells with us forever.

In the same way, the Biblical understandings of hell are not quite the same as our contemporary ones, much of which have more to do with Dante than the Bible.  The earliest versions found in the Hebrew Bible speak of “Sheol” or the Pit—the shadowy afterlife where the dead exists as mere shades of their former selves.  It was much more akin to Hades, but was neither a place of rest nor punishment.  It was a shadow.  By the New Testament era another metaphor was used to describe the final resting place of the wicked.  The garbage dump of Jerusalem was in the Valley of Hinnom outside the city, where fires burned constantly.  In Hebrew, Valley of Hinnom was “Gei Hinnom” from which the word “Gehenna” comes—which is usually translated in the New Testament as “hell”.  As a metaphor, it did not refer to eternal punishment, but to annihilation and destruction.  Luke does refer to Hades in one place as a place of torment, but, from the majority Biblical point of view, no one goes to Heaven or Hell, they are either resurrected in the Kingdom of God here, or they are cast into the fire and consumed.

Having said that, “heaven” and “hell” are a convenient shorthand to talk about those who attain life with God after this life and those who do not.

It’s somewhat surprising to note that in the New Testament hell (either “Hades” or “Gehenna”) is mentioned only 23 times.  Among the things that get you thrown into hell are: Calling a fellow Christian a “fool” (Matt. 5:22), sinning via hand, foot, or eye (Matt 5:29-30//Mark 9:43-47), failing to recognize and repent after witnessing ‘deeds of power’ (Matt. 11:23), and murdering the prophets and persecuting the righteous (Matt. 23:33), and for not taking care of the poor (Luke 16:23).  That’s pretty much it.  There is not nearly as much description on the damnation of the wicked as we imagine there is in the Bible.

On the other hand, if we look at verses that speak of salvation we find that those who will be saved include: the one who “endures to the end” (Matt. 10:22; 24:13//Mk. 13:13), those who ‘lose their lives for the sake of the gospel’ (Mk. 8:35), those who enter through Jesus (Jn 10:9), everyone who calls on the ‘name of the Lord’ (Acts 2:21), ‘believing on the Lord Jesus’ (Acts 16:31), everyone who has faith (Rom. 1:16), “all Israel” (Rom. 11:26), loving the truth (2 Th. 2:10), for those who obey Jesus (Heb. 5:9), and those who have faith (Heb 10:39).  Those who will see the Kingdom of Heaven include: those who follow the commandments (Matt. 5:19), being more righteous than the scribes and Pharisees (Matt. 5:20), and doing the will of God (Matt 7:21).

Now, it is not a stretch to say that people of other religions would, by default, be denying Jesus’ deeds of power or failing to ‘call on the name of the Lord’ (if you interpret ‘Lord’ here as referring to Jesus, not God), or obeying Jesus.  And so, those who claim that non-Christians fall outside of those who are saved is not an irrational argument from the basis of these verses.

But, it is instructive to note that much of the distinctions between who is saved and who is lost is internal, among members of the community.  Much of the condemnation of others is usually of others within the same religious group.  That is, one group of Jews (or, later, Christians) declaring particular members of the same group as unworthy of inheriting the kingdom of God.  It’s important to remember, that for most of the time when the New Testament was written, Jews and Christians were considered to be members of the same religion.  (This is how we might understand Jesus’ statement that “Not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord” will see the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father in heaven.”) There are sometimes references to the ‘ungodly’ or the ‘heathen’ but the modern question of what the fate is of other people who practice other religions, particularly those who ‘call on the name of the Lord’ such as Judaism or Islam is not really contemplated.

And so the question of what fate befalls a Muslim, or a Buddhist, or a Hindu, or Sikh, didn’t really occupy much of the attention of the Biblical authors as compared to the competing claims of the various sects of First Century Judaism (among which, Christianity was one).

And when we look elsewhere in the scriptures, not just at questions of heaven and hell, salvation and damnation, we discover some interesting things.

In the book of the prophet Joel, which we heard from earlier, there is an oracle concerning the restoration of Israel.  In the middle of the guarantees of restoration and plenty is this verse, “Then afterward, I will pour out my spirit on all flesh.”  All flesh.  That’s a fairly expansive category and along with Isaiah’s “all flesh shall see it together” suggest a God whose purpose is to reconcile not with some small group of people, but with all people.  In fact, it may even include all creatures.  I confess, I’m a big fan of that verse from Joel.  I have it embroidered in Hebrew on the stole I was ordained in.

But it is not a solitary sentiment in the scriptures.  In the other readings we heard from tonight, we see a similar line of thought.  In the reading from Colossians we read:

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

This is even more expansive than Joel and Isaiah’s “all flesh”. Here we understand that God was pleased to “reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven.” Through the blood of the cross, God has, through Jesus, already done this.

Even in the Gospel of John, the most sectarian of the gospels, the most likely to draw a high wall of separation between insider and outsider, we read: And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”   This is not a narrow vision of God.

We find other evidence of a broader inclusion throughout the scriptures.  In Acts, Peter is quoted as saying, “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” And then in one of the great scenes before the throne in the Book of Revelation is the author’s vision of “a great multitude that no one could count” from every nation, tribe, people, and languages.  Revelation was written at a time when the Christian church was very small indeed and therefore the vision must have included so many more than just those who professed themselves as Christians.

And so what are we to say ultimately about the scriptures?  The same thing we are forced to say about virtually every other issue: the scriptures do not speak with one voice on the topic.  There are verses that are narrow and verses that are broad and expansive.  Some that would limit salvation to a chosen few, or an elect, and some that would include the whole of creation.  And so, in the final analysis, we can come to no one conclusion by looking at scripture alone.

III. TRADITION

And so we move on to look at the traditions of the church.

The first thing that should be noted is that prior to relatively recent history, the question of what fate befell members of other religions was not really one that Christians asked very often.  For so long, the only people a Christian would have encountered in daily life were other Christians. In the early going, there were a lot of pagans around but as Western history progressed, the overwhelming majority of people in Europe were Christian with occasional Jewish minority populations.  So, it’s fair to say that Christians didn’t spend a lot of time reflecting on this issue.  And when they did, their answers might surprise us.

The early church leaders, although they were unequivocal in their condemnation of paganism and idolatry, nevertheless did not see members of those faiths as outside God’s plan and purposes. Many early church leaders had an expansive view.  Irenaeus wrote: “There is only one God, who from beginning to end, through various economies, comes to the help of humankind.” [1] A sentiment echoed centuries later in recent years by the Orthodox Bishop of Lebanon who said, “There is a divine dialogue with humanity, outside the Abrahamic and the Mosaic, because of the covenant in nature with universal man. The liberty of the Spirit is not confined to the frontiers of the Church as the ‘New Israel’.” [2]  These attitudes are inherited from the Jewish tradition of seeing the peoples of the world as God’s people, even if they did not yet realize it.

In the Western Church, St. Augustine developed a doctrine known as the Magna Ecclesia, the “Great Church”.  Augustine realized that the church included both good and bad people.  In addition, there were a great many good people outside the church.  As a result, the church is a mixed body and cannot be synonymous with “the saved”.  In fact, Augustine would argue that it was not the church’s business to decide who is saved and who is not.  (Of course, that hasn’t stopped us from trying.)  It was also St. Augustine who provided a theology that defended the Jewish right to continue to exist as a separate faith who should be permitted to worship in their own way, something that modern scholars have seen as instrumental in protecting the European Jewish populations. [3]

In the Methodist tradition, Wesley articulated an understanding of God’s grace that shapes our attitudes on this.  Wesley believed that God’s grace operated in three distinct ways: prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying.  The prevenient grace of God was that grace of God that was everywhere present, at every time, to every one.  What that meant, practically, was that Christians do not bring grace to people who are not Christian.  That grace is already present, and may have already been experienced in the ways that that non-Christian might have understood according to his or her own tradition.  Affirming prevenient grace is affirming God’s universal jurisdiction over and care for the entire world, not just the Christian pieces of it.  It’s why Methodist missionaries don’t try to go around the world and bring God to people, they try to help them to see where God is already at work in their midst.

As it turns out, there is a wide diversity among Christians as to the fate of the n0n-Christian.  Some believe non-Christians will be saved if they worship some deity (since God works through all religions) but that those who don’t (Buddhists, atheists, etc.) go to hell.  Some believe that those who aren’t Christian are those who God knew wouldn’t accept the Gospel anyway.  Some believe that after death everyone is given one last chance to accept the Gospel.  Some believe that all the religions of the world offer salvation, and one need not accept Jesus to receive it.  Some believe that everyone will be saved. And some believe that we just cannot know. [4]

And so, while there is a fair amount of history in our tradition of being condemnatory to people of other faiths, we have often seen a fair amount of belief that God’s purposes are broader than the boundaries of the church.

IV. REASON

If we put the question to the test of reason, we run into all manner of problems with an exclusivist position.  First, we run into the question of whether it is just to condemn to eternal punishment the vast majority of the human race who never encountered the message of Christianity.  If we, with such a limited sense of justice, can perceive that to be manifestly unfair, how can God whose justice is perfect, admit such a state of affairs?

Furthermore, one’s faith is largely shaped by one’s parents and upbringing.  While many people come to faith later in life, there are very few who stray too far afield from the faith in which they were raised or the faith of their community.  In fact, most people are members of a religion because they were born into it.  And being born into something is about the least just way of obtaining something.  It’s why Americans have traditionally been suspicious of inherited wealth and prefer people to earn their wealth themselves, rather than just be born wealthy.  And so, I might rightfully ask, is it fair that I, born to a Catholic father and Methodist mother, luck out and get to inherit eternal life, while around the globe someone with the bad fortune to be born to Hindu parents or Muslim parents does not?  This is the perfect system of justice established by God?

Some years ago, a Jewish friend of mine told me of an unfortunate conversation she’d had with a Christian friend in college.  Over the course of their conversation, her friend lamented the fact that they would not be in heaven together.  “Of course,” the friend had said, “If it were up to me, you’d get in, but that’s just how it works, unfortunately.”  “If it were up to you, I’d get in?” my friend replied. “Tell me, do you think God is more or less merciful than you are?”

If we are to admit that God by definition must be more just and more merciful than we are, can we accept any system that fails to meet even our poor limited understandings of justice and mercy?  No, our reason propels us toward another conclusion.

V. EXPERIENCE

And finally we come to experience.  When we say ‘experience’ we mean ‘our experience of God in something.  And it is here where the issue really comes to a head.  For, as I noted before, up until relatively recently, Christians didn’t encounter people of other faiths in their daily lives.  Jews were isolated into shtetls and ghettos.  The only Muslims anyone had encountered were likely on the battlefield during the Crusades or the Reconquista.

But now we live in a society where it is not unusual to encounter people of different faiths on a routine basis.  We have things like interfaith councils and interfaith beach parties.  As children we go to our Jewish friends’ bar mitzvahs and sympathize with our Muslim friends fasting during Ramadan.  We come to a campus like this and see the Hindus celebrating the Diwali.  And suddenly the “other” isn’t so other any more. Suddenly, these non-Christians who would have a couple of centuries ago been known as “Mohammedans” or “Turks” or “infidels” are now just Yasmin, and Amir, and Steve.  They are people with whom we are in relationship, no longer just some religious stereotype of a people in some exotic corner of the world.

And most of all, in these people we experience the love and grace of God.  Our experience tells us not just that people of other faiths are good people, but that they are Godly people, even if they would never understand it that way.  We see in people of other faiths—and people of no faith—the same divine spark, the same presence of God, that we see in one another.  And so our experience of the non-Christian is not one that can be defined by simple categories.  It is defined by the spirit and presence of God that we encounter in them.

In fact, it is for this very reason that a majority—68%—of Evangelical Protestants now believe that people of faiths other than their own can attain salvation. [5]  68%! Of Evangelical Christians no less!  That shows that as we encounter each other, far from encountering a people lost and without hope, we encounter people through whom we ourselves encounter the living God.

VI.  END

We like clubs and their exclusiveness.  They make us feel better about ourselves.  Knowing that we’re “in” helps us to feel that all the uncertainty about the rest of our lives is okay.  But we also like knowing that other people are “out”.  This helps us to feel like we’ve accomplished something.

And therein lies the problem.  Our salvation is not something we accomplish.  It never has been.  Our salvation, our hopes for restoration in this life and in the world to come, has always been dependent on God’s grace, on God’s initiative.  Our responses to that grace are important, but ultimately it is God who does the saving.

Even when we look at a statement of Jesus’ like “No one comes to the Father but through me” it doesn’t change the fact that the locus of salvation, the place where our deliverance comes from, is with God through Jesus, not with us.  As Bishop Schol said last week, we can trust God to work that all out.  If God is the God of grace, love, and mercy that we proclaim, then we should trust God to do precisely that.

And if we reflect on the mystery of God’s grace and the power of God’s love, we have to leave ourselves open to the possibility that God’s love is greater than we could ever imagine and that this includes people outside the narrow circles we are inclined to draw.

Ultimately, this is one of those questions we cannot possibly know and we often get in way over our heads.  We like to imagine that God keeps a narrow list of who’s in and who’s out, perhaps because we, too, keep those same lists and for some reason we will not stop trying to make God in our image.

The answer to this question is wrapped up in the answer to another question that Jesus asked us long ago: who do you say that I am?  If we understand Jesus to be a vengeful ruler, come to judge the sinful world and destroy those who oppose him, we will come to one conclusion.  But if we understand Jesus to be the one who welcomed all, without distinction, who extended grace and mercy to those his contemporaries found objectionable, and who ‘came into the world not to condemn the world’, then we see a far wider reach of the purposes and love of God.


Notes

[1] http://intraweb.stockton.edu/eyos/arhu/content/docs/djc%20archive/The%20Attitude%20of%20Orthodox%20Christians….pdf.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Paula Fredriksen, Augustine and the Jews: A Christian Defense of Jews and Judaism. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008.

[4] http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_savn.htm

[5] Ibid.

34 thoughts on “Do Non-Christians Go to Hell?

  1. The Princeton Religion Research Center (PRRC) 2estimates
    that 6 in 10 Americans ” completely agree that the only assurance of eternal life
    is a personal faith in Jesus Christ

  2. The Princeton Religion Research Center (PRRC) 2estimates
    that 6 in 10 Americans ” completely agree that the only assurance of eternal life
    is a personal faith in Jesus Christ

  3. I agree with some of what you said and helping bring more compassion and sensitivity to the subject of hell, but your non-answers and leaving things us unknowable I think are wrong and problematic, and goes against the official United Methodist Doctrine-which you are a pastor of, yes?

    You say: “Ultimately, this is one of those questions we cannot possibly know and we often get in way over our heads. We like to imagine that God keeps a narrow list of who’s in and who’s out, perhaps because we, too, keep those same lists and for some reason we will not stop trying to make God in our image.”

    Jesus says, “”Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” So it seems God DOES keep somewhat of a narrow list.

    The Bible says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12) in reference to faith in Jesus. You say we can’t ultimately know, but the Bible, John Wesley, and Methodist doctrine say other wise.

    UM Doctrine: Article XII, The Confession of Faith, The Book of Discipline: “We believe all persons stand under the righteous judgment of Jesus Christ, both now and in the last day. We believe in the resurrection of the dead; the righteous to life eternal and the wicked to endless condemnation.”

    Endless condemnation is pretty strong words.

    And finally, why can’t one come to a more holistic understanding than your conclusion of EITHER a judge of sinful humanity OR one who extends grace and mercy? That’s called historical and biblical Christianity.

    And please don’t pick verses in isolation. You say that Jesus did not come to condemn the world and that is true, but read on… “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

  4. I agree with some of what you said and helping bring more compassion and sensitivity to the subject of hell, but your non-answers and leaving things us unknowable I think are wrong and problematic, and goes against the official United Methodist Doctrine-which you are a pastor of, yes?

    You say: “Ultimately, this is one of those questions we cannot possibly know and we often get in way over our heads. We like to imagine that God keeps a narrow list of who’s in and who’s out, perhaps because we, too, keep those same lists and for some reason we will not stop trying to make God in our image.”

    Jesus says, “”Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” So it seems God DOES keep somewhat of a narrow list.

    The Bible says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12) in reference to faith in Jesus. You say we can’t ultimately know, but the Bible, John Wesley, and Methodist doctrine say other wise.

    UM Doctrine: Article XII, The Confession of Faith, The Book of Discipline: “We believe all persons stand under the righteous judgment of Jesus Christ, both now and in the last day. We believe in the resurrection of the dead; the righteous to life eternal and the wicked to endless condemnation.”

    Endless condemnation is pretty strong words.

    And finally, why can’t one come to a more holistic understanding than your conclusion of EITHER a judge of sinful humanity OR one who extends grace and mercy? That’s called historical and biblical Christianity.

    And please don’t pick verses in isolation. You say that Jesus did not come to condemn the world and that is true, but read on… “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

  5. I wish you were my pastor! This is truly what I believe. I was looking online for what Methodists believe about salvation and found this. Yes, I also know “No one comes to the Father except by Me” and I interpret that, no one really understands the Father unless they know me (since Jesus is God in human form). Right after Jesus says this, He says something like, from now on, you KNOW me and have seen me. Enjoyed reading your sermon!

  6. I wish you were my pastor! This is truly what I believe. I was looking online for what Methodists believe about salvation and found this. Yes, I also know “No one comes to the Father except by Me” and I interpret that, no one really understands the Father unless they know me (since Jesus is God in human form). Right after Jesus says this, He says something like, from now on, you KNOW me and have seen me. Enjoyed reading your sermon!

  7. I am confused about something.the Bible states that “The dead in Christ shall rise up and face the final judgement and be judged according to their works” So it sounds to me that only Christians go to heaven,and it is no assurance they will be worthy to enter…If their names are not in the Book of Life they will be cast into the lake of fire. The simple thought of salvation through the belief in Jesus doesn’t seem to make much difference in the end. It also sounds like a non-Christians just stay dead.Would a non-believer be better off than an unworthy Christian? Staying dead sounds better than eternal damnation to me.

    1. Just a couple of thoughts for you Jeffery.

      Truly, no one is worthy for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Yet, Jesus is worthy. He has given His worthy or righteousness to all who will believe.

      Those whose names are written in the book of life are also those who are “worthy” to enter. Because of Jesus, they are called righteous.

      Galatians 3:6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”. (also Romans 4:3, and James 2:23 recalling Genesis 15:6)

      The works they are given credit for are only seen through Jesus.

      See Matthew 25:31-46 Whenever the believer has done any work God sees it as perfect. Whenever an unbeliever fails to keep even one part of the law, they are held accountable for keeping the whole law.

      In short, there is no such thing as an unworthy Christian is God’s eyes. Christians are made worthy by His work.

      All the dead will be raised 1 Corinthians 15, Daniel 12:2 The Apostles Creed “I believe in the resurrection of the body.”

      There is no staying dead and avoiding damnation. “10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11

      Sorry for the scattered nature of this message. I hope it helps.

  8. I am confused about something.the Bible states that “The dead in Christ shall rise up and face the final judgement and be judged according to their works” So it sounds to me that only Christians go to heaven,and it is no assurance they will be worthy to enter…If their names are not in the Book of Life they will be cast into the lake of fire. The simple thought of salvation through the belief in Jesus doesn’t seem to make much difference in the end. It also sounds like a non-Christians just stay dead.Would a non-believer be better off than an unworthy Christian? Staying dead sounds better than eternal damnation to me.

    1. Just a couple of thoughts for you Jeffery.

      Truly, no one is worthy for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Yet, Jesus is worthy. He has given His worthy or righteousness to all who will believe.

      Those whose names are written in the book of life are also those who are “worthy” to enter. Because of Jesus, they are called righteous.

      Galatians 3:6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”. (also Romans 4:3, and James 2:23 recalling Genesis 15:6)

      The works they are given credit for are only seen through Jesus.

      See Matthew 25:31-46 Whenever the believer has done any work God sees it as perfect. Whenever an unbeliever fails to keep even one part of the law, they are held accountable for keeping the whole law.

      In short, there is no such thing as an unworthy Christian is God’s eyes. Christians are made worthy by His work.

      All the dead will be raised 1 Corinthians 15, Daniel 12:2 The Apostles Creed “I believe in the resurrection of the body.”

      There is no staying dead and avoiding damnation. “10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11

      Sorry for the scattered nature of this message. I hope it helps.

  9. This whole treatise shouts universalism. So why should I ever “get saved”? Regardless of how I live my life, according to you, I will have another chance after I die to have eternal life. These are perfect excuses for someone to live as they see fit and not have any guilt. It seems to me you are fitting God’s plan into how you WANT it to be rather than how it really will be. If all you say is correct, why then did Jesus give us the Great Commission – go to all the world, preaching, teaching and baptizing? I think the Baptists have it right – on all fronts! God is a jealous God. He is also a just God – meaning fairness, you get what you deserve. My prayers go out for you, sir. I respectfully believe you are mistakenly preaching false doctrine.

  10. This whole treatise shouts universalism. So why should I ever “get saved”? Regardless of how I live my life, according to you, I will have another chance after I die to have eternal life. These are perfect excuses for someone to live as they see fit and not have any guilt. It seems to me you are fitting God’s plan into how you WANT it to be rather than how it really will be. If all you say is correct, why then did Jesus give us the Great Commission – go to all the world, preaching, teaching and baptizing? I think the Baptists have it right – on all fronts! God is a jealous God. He is also a just God – meaning fairness, you get what you deserve. My prayers go out for you, sir. I respectfully believe you are mistakenly preaching false doctrine.

  11. The wonderful world of religion.. Let’s say a serial killer, seconds before they put the needle in his arm at San Quentin, honestly and truly accepts Jesus. He goes to heaven but a Jew or a Muslim or a Hindu or a Buddhist who has done many good things here on earth — but does not accept Jesus as his savior – goes to hell?…YES

  12. The wonderful world of religion.. Let’s say a serial killer, seconds before they put the needle in his arm at San Quentin, honestly and truly accepts Jesus. He goes to heaven but a Jew or a Muslim or a Hindu or a Buddhist who has done many good things here on earth — but does not accept Jesus as his savior – goes to hell?…YES

  13. Thanks for this. I was just in my Modern Britain class the other day sitting through a lecture on early evangelical Christianity and my professor noted that at this point, in the 19th c., the idea of non-Christians being damned was new to people, popularized by new forms of evangelical Christianity. I found that surprising. And it certainly begs some questions. Are people who say they adhere to the “traditional” or “biblical” interpretations of the non-Christian going to Hell really adhering to a traditional or biblical interpretation? Or a very recent interpretation that biblical scholars like Augustine didn’t even see in the Christian Scriptures before the >>1800s <<? And when people bust out verses that seem to unquestionably say non-Christians go to Hell, is it just the fact that we've been conditioned to believe Christianity does and has always taught this doctrine that makes us think it is unquestionable, when in fact earlier Christians interpreted it completely differently? Certainly, we blind ourselves with modern lenses and it hurts our religion and those it is presented to.

    For the record, I don't believe in Hell in the first place, but that's a whole different rant on how modern interpretation screws things up.

    1. (Why did only part of my comment appear??? I guess I’ll write it from memory.)
      <? And when people bust out verses that seem to unquestionably say non-Christians go to Hell, is it the fact that we have been conditioned to believe Christianity does and has always taught this doctrine that makes us think it is unquestionable when in fact earlier Christians interpreted it completely differently? When for example, slavery was a divisive issue, Southerns arguing that Ham seeing his father naked was evidence that God made Africans inferior and to be slaves of the white man was actually considered "unquestionable" to Christians of that time, even vehement abolitionists. Certainly, our modern lenses are hurting our religion and those it is presented to.

      For the record, I don't believe in Hell in the first place, but that's another rant about how modern interpretation screws things up.

  14. Thanks for this. I was just in my Modern Britain class the other day sitting through a lecture on early evangelical Christianity and my professor noted that at this point, in the 19th c., the idea of non-Christians being damned was new to people, popularized by new forms of evangelical Christianity. I found that surprising. And it certainly begs some questions. Are people who say they adhere to the “traditional” or “biblical” interpretations of the non-Christian going to Hell really adhering to a traditional or biblical interpretation? Or a very recent interpretation that biblical scholars like Augustine didn’t even see in the Christian Scriptures before the >>1800s <<? And when people bust out verses that seem to unquestionably say non-Christians go to Hell, is it just the fact that we've been conditioned to believe Christianity does and has always taught this doctrine that makes us think it is unquestionable, when in fact earlier Christians interpreted it completely differently? Certainly, we blind ourselves with modern lenses and it hurts our religion and those it is presented to.

    For the record, I don't believe in Hell in the first place, but that's a whole different rant on how modern interpretation screws things up.

    1. (Why did only part of my comment appear??? I guess I’ll write it from memory.)
      <? And when people bust out verses that seem to unquestionably say non-Christians go to Hell, is it the fact that we have been conditioned to believe Christianity does and has always taught this doctrine that makes us think it is unquestionable when in fact earlier Christians interpreted it completely differently? When for example, slavery was a divisive issue, Southerns arguing that Ham seeing his father naked was evidence that God made Africans inferior and to be slaves of the white man was actually considered "unquestionable" to Christians of that time, even vehement abolitionists. Certainly, our modern lenses are hurting our religion and those it is presented to.

      For the record, I don't believe in Hell in the first place, but that's another rant about how modern interpretation screws things up.

  15. “And then in one of the great scenes before the throne in the Book of Revelation is the author’s vision of “a great multitude that no one could count” from every nation, tribe, people, and languages. Revelation was written at a time when the Christian church was very small indeed and therefore the vision must have included so many more than just those who professed themselves as Christians.” ~Rev. Mark Schaefer
    Would you reference a scripture out of context, dear Reverend? This is a ridiculous conclusion, and I must say that I am surprised. By concluding that because Christianity was small at the time (as you have said, a sect) this vision must have been including non-Christians, you are limiting God and the vision of the Christ. I know that you have read the Great Commission (Matthew 28). Jesus specifically instructs us to make disciples of “all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” and teaching them what Jesus had taught us. OF COURSE the author’s revelation depicted so many people! It would be bizarre if it didn’t! If all he saw were the Jews and the Greeks who had already been saved at that time, then that would mean that the disciples had expressly chosen NOT to follow the final instructions of the Christ. Furthermore, these visions were of the future; of course Christianity will have grown in the future. This is a silly point, and if that isn’t enough for you, just read one verse past what was referenced here:
    “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
    ‘Salvation belongs to our God,
    who sits on the throne,
    and to the Lamb.'” ~ Revelation 7:9-10
    So, what were these numerous people crying out in a loud voice? Who does salvation belong to?

    And if that’s STILL not enough, how about a few verses later:
    “Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?’
    I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’
    And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'” ~Revelation 7:13-14
    Who are these in white robes? Sir…I think you know.

    “Some that would limit salvation to a chosen few, or an elect, and some that would include the whole of creation. And so, in the final analysis, we can come to no one conclusion by looking at scripture alone.” ~Rev. Mark Schaefer
    This is a clear indicator of where your heart is at. With all due respect, there is no grey area when it comes to idolatry or false religion; there never has been, and there never will be. You wish to answer this question with the speculation of leaders in whatever “denomination” they happen to be a part of; however, with all due respect, I will answer this question with the inerrant word of God.
    2 John: “I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.” Does everybody acknowledge Jesus as coming in the flesh?
    Also 2 John: “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” Do people of literally any other religion continue in the teaching of Christ?
    1 John: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” Does every religion acknowledge that Jesus is from God?
    2 Corinthians: “And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” You should really read all of 2 Corinthians 11. I mean, you should read the entire Bible, but 2 Corinthians has a lot of convicting stuff that are easily applied to contemporary life.
    1 Timothy 4: “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.” Does any religion you can think of forbid certain people to marry, any religion at all? Oh, yeah. What about foods? Any religions forbid the eating of certain foods? That’s right. [side-note: this concept is not to be confused upon the reading of Romans 14. 1 Timothy speaks of people FORBIDDING people to marry and ORDERING that they abstain from foods; Romans 14 actually affirms this in saying that one should not condemn another by what they eat or do not eat. In the same way, 1 Timothy tells us not to order people around based on our own, non-scriptural opinions. This is an entirely different subject which requires a deep understanding of ancient Jewish culture and is worthy of another long explanation for another time and place.]
    Matthew 24: “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” I like how you referenced the “one that stands firm,” but you don’t address the whole that came before it. If the love of MOST grows cold, who will stand firm? The minority.
    Isaiah 29: “For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I can’t; it is sealed.” Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I don’t know how to read.”
    The Lord says:
    “These people come near to me with their mouth
    and honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
    Their worship of me
    is based on merely human rules they have been taught.””
    Speaking of trusting the speculation of leaders in denominational Christianity! Not as trustworthy as you want to believe, let me tell you. Mark talks about this too.
    Oh, here’s a fun one:
    Revelation 20: “The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” This isn’t the only time fire is used to describe hell, not that it matters. There are lots of fun adjectives they use to describe it. Honestly, I’m not even going to TRY to address the scriptures which speak of idolatry. Too many.

    [side-note: “But we also like knowing that other people are ‘out’. This helps us to feel like we’ve accomplished something.” Please don’t make that assumption of everyone, friend; this sounds to me like a personal issue, albeit a common one. I, for one, detest the thought that some of the people closest to me are ‘out,’ but it does not drive me to bitterness or false doctrine that would comfort me saying that they’re ‘in.’ Instead, it drives me to teach them, out of love for them and love for Christ, most of all the love OF Christ. I do the same to the best of my ability with the people who are admittedly the most difficult for me to love.]

    MAKE NO MISTAKE, I am not trying to be a Diotrephes here (3 John 1:9-10). I am not trying to exclude other believers; believe me, you couldn’t be FURTHER from the truth. Rather, as it says in 2 Corinthians 10:5–
    “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

    It is my fondest wish that no one is deceived about the afterlife. Dear Reverend, I wish you nothing but pure joy, and I will pray for you, but these things that you are teaching…they are not correct. They are pretensions, and, ultimately, they will lead people astray. They likely already have, at least one person that I know of. There is only one way to heaven, and there is only one way to the lake of fire; one path is much wider than the other. The Messiah said so.

    Dear Reverend, I love you with the love of God in me, and I pray that you and all who read this will come to a knowledge (or an acceptance) of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4).
    Peace be with you.

  16. “And then in one of the great scenes before the throne in the Book of Revelation is the author’s vision of “a great multitude that no one could count” from every nation, tribe, people, and languages. Revelation was written at a time when the Christian church was very small indeed and therefore the vision must have included so many more than just those who professed themselves as Christians.” ~Rev. Mark Schaefer
    Would you reference a scripture out of context, dear Reverend? This is a ridiculous conclusion, and I must say that I am surprised. By concluding that because Christianity was small at the time (as you have said, a sect) this vision must have been including non-Christians, you are limiting God and the vision of the Christ. I know that you have read the Great Commission (Matthew 28). Jesus specifically instructs us to make disciples of “all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” and teaching them what Jesus had taught us. OF COURSE the author’s revelation depicted so many people! It would be bizarre if it didn’t! If all he saw were the Jews and the Greeks who had already been saved at that time, then that would mean that the disciples had expressly chosen NOT to follow the final instructions of the Christ. Furthermore, these visions were of the future; of course Christianity will have grown in the future. This is a silly point, and if that isn’t enough for you, just read one verse past what was referenced here:
    “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
    ‘Salvation belongs to our God,
    who sits on the throne,
    and to the Lamb.'” ~ Revelation 7:9-10
    So, what were these numerous people crying out in a loud voice? Who does salvation belong to?

    And if that’s STILL not enough, how about a few verses later:
    “Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?’
    I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’
    And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'” ~Revelation 7:13-14
    Who are these in white robes? Sir…I think you know.

    “Some that would limit salvation to a chosen few, or an elect, and some that would include the whole of creation. And so, in the final analysis, we can come to no one conclusion by looking at scripture alone.” ~Rev. Mark Schaefer
    This is a clear indicator of where your heart is at. With all due respect, there is no grey area when it comes to idolatry or false religion; there never has been, and there never will be. You wish to answer this question with the speculation of leaders in whatever “denomination” they happen to be a part of; however, with all due respect, I will answer this question with the inerrant word of God.
    2 John: “I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.” Does everybody acknowledge Jesus as coming in the flesh?
    Also 2 John: “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” Do people of literally any other religion continue in the teaching of Christ?
    1 John: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” Does every religion acknowledge that Jesus is from God?
    2 Corinthians: “And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” You should really read all of 2 Corinthians 11. I mean, you should read the entire Bible, but 2 Corinthians has a lot of convicting stuff that are easily applied to contemporary life.
    1 Timothy 4: “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.” Does any religion you can think of forbid certain people to marry, any religion at all? Oh, yeah. What about foods? Any religions forbid the eating of certain foods? That’s right. [side-note: this concept is not to be confused upon the reading of Romans 14. 1 Timothy speaks of people FORBIDDING people to marry and ORDERING that they abstain from foods; Romans 14 actually affirms this in saying that one should not condemn another by what they eat or do not eat. In the same way, 1 Timothy tells us not to order people around based on our own, non-scriptural opinions. This is an entirely different subject which requires a deep understanding of ancient Jewish culture and is worthy of another long explanation for another time and place.]
    Matthew 24: “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” I like how you referenced the “one that stands firm,” but you don’t address the whole that came before it. If the love of MOST grows cold, who will stand firm? The minority.
    Isaiah 29: “For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I can’t; it is sealed.” Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, “Read this, please,” they will answer, “I don’t know how to read.”
    The Lord says:
    “These people come near to me with their mouth
    and honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
    Their worship of me
    is based on merely human rules they have been taught.””
    Speaking of trusting the speculation of leaders in denominational Christianity! Not as trustworthy as you want to believe, let me tell you. Mark talks about this too.
    Oh, here’s a fun one:
    Revelation 20: “The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” This isn’t the only time fire is used to describe hell, not that it matters. There are lots of fun adjectives they use to describe it. Honestly, I’m not even going to TRY to address the scriptures which speak of idolatry. Too many.

    [side-note: “But we also like knowing that other people are ‘out’. This helps us to feel like we’ve accomplished something.” Please don’t make that assumption of everyone, friend; this sounds to me like a personal issue, albeit a common one. I, for one, detest the thought that some of the people closest to me are ‘out,’ but it does not drive me to bitterness or false doctrine that would comfort me saying that they’re ‘in.’ Instead, it drives me to teach them, out of love for them and love for Christ, most of all the love OF Christ. I do the same to the best of my ability with the people who are admittedly the most difficult for me to love.]

    MAKE NO MISTAKE, I am not trying to be a Diotrephes here (3 John 1:9-10). I am not trying to exclude other believers; believe me, you couldn’t be FURTHER from the truth. Rather, as it says in 2 Corinthians 10:5–
    “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

    It is my fondest wish that no one is deceived about the afterlife. Dear Reverend, I wish you nothing but pure joy, and I will pray for you, but these things that you are teaching…they are not correct. They are pretensions, and, ultimately, they will lead people astray. They likely already have, at least one person that I know of. There is only one way to heaven, and there is only one way to the lake of fire; one path is much wider than the other. The Messiah said so.

    Dear Reverend, I love you with the love of God in me, and I pray that you and all who read this will come to a knowledge (or an acceptance) of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4).
    Peace be with you.

  17. Problem is there are too many contradictions in this writing. It appears only verses that might magnify one’s predisposition (and opinion) on the matter were cited at the convenience of leaving other verses out, granted it is not a pleasant thing to consider at the forefront. But if there is some thing else in the bible that can tie things together rather than a random selection of verses to justify one’s own predisposition of ‘believisms’ we might get somewhere. Perhaps in the ‘parable’ of the sheep and goats.and ‘He who is not against us is for us;..yet on the other hand, ‘He who is not for us is against us, and he who does not sow, scatters’. The Goats did NOT know The LORD ..and surely it is also written, ‘Many on that Day will say, But Lord”..and He will say, “I never Knew you”. The post hedges on Universalism and is walking a very fine line ordering on an emotional appeal without Understanding of Fear of The Lord. which is the first step in all other subsequent misunderstandings…beside which…Salvation is of The LORD; otherwise, why bother ‘believing’ anything? In the end, if this is true as written, the crucifixion in the end meant nothing nor did The LORD’s Words by Whom all Things were made – it also brings God’s Sovereignty into Question and assumes we know what is going on within another person’s being which only God by the Spirit of Truth can Know. It appears that the understand that His Spirit would be poured out on all persons may be have been misinterpreted or misunderstood and from there, anything goes. If all have the Self Same Spirit ‘poured out on them’ then that would be to say that ALL have been Baptized into Christ..even the sociopathic lying murders who see no need for repentance or even some so-called Christians who never really ‘think or feel’ they truly need to be forgiven for anything..where does one draw the line? In short, the post introduces more questions than the proposed ‘answer’. Those who are Truly in Christ are Judged not on merit and those not in Christ might well be judged by a totally different set of standards.. but why would anyone by self will deny “Such a Great Salvation Such as this!”…the bible explicitly makes it clear that being ‘born into a ‘family’ of a so-called faith system does not guarantee anyone anything as it is…to imply otherwise then is to discredit all those suffering in other countries who have been Been Converted and are suffering for it, even at the hands of their own family members. *just me” but really at this point have to say there are no ‘necessarily’ ‘pat answers’..the moment one attempts to ‘figure it all out’ they are playing God…being able to Trust yet in ambiguity of final outcomes is part of The Faith..Where is the HOPE that is within Us? Otherwise, to imply otherwise is an insult to the Work of God in His Christ.

  18. Problem is there are too many contradictions in this writing. It appears only verses that might magnify one’s predisposition (and opinion) on the matter were cited at the convenience of leaving other verses out, granted it is not a pleasant thing to consider at the forefront. But if there is some thing else in the bible that can tie things together rather than a random selection of verses to justify one’s own predisposition of ‘believisms’ we might get somewhere. Perhaps in the ‘parable’ of the sheep and goats.and ‘He who is not against us is for us;..yet on the other hand, ‘He who is not for us is against us, and he who does not sow, scatters’. The Goats did NOT know The LORD ..and surely it is also written, ‘Many on that Day will say, But Lord”..and He will say, “I never Knew you”. The post hedges on Universalism and is walking a very fine line ordering on an emotional appeal without Understanding of Fear of The Lord. which is the first step in all other subsequent misunderstandings…beside which…Salvation is of The LORD; otherwise, why bother ‘believing’ anything? In the end, if this is true as written, the crucifixion in the end meant nothing nor did The LORD’s Words by Whom all Things were made – it also brings God’s Sovereignty into Question and assumes we know what is going on within another person’s being which only God by the Spirit of Truth can Know. It appears that the understand that His Spirit would be poured out on all persons may be have been misinterpreted or misunderstood and from there, anything goes. If all have the Self Same Spirit ‘poured out on them’ then that would be to say that ALL have been Baptized into Christ..even the sociopathic lying murders who see no need for repentance or even some so-called Christians who never really ‘think or feel’ they truly need to be forgiven for anything..where does one draw the line? In short, the post introduces more questions than the proposed ‘answer’. Those who are Truly in Christ are Judged not on merit and those not in Christ might well be judged by a totally different set of standards.. but why would anyone by self will deny “Such a Great Salvation Such as this!”…the bible explicitly makes it clear that being ‘born into a ‘family’ of a so-called faith system does not guarantee anyone anything as it is…to imply otherwise then is to discredit all those suffering in other countries who have been Been Converted and are suffering for it, even at the hands of their own family members. *just me” but really at this point have to say there are no ‘necessarily’ ‘pat answers’..the moment one attempts to ‘figure it all out’ they are playing God…being able to Trust yet in ambiguity of final outcomes is part of The Faith..Where is the HOPE that is within Us? Otherwise, to imply otherwise is an insult to the Work of God in His Christ.

  19. So then what was the point of the crucifixion? He died in Vain..it would have meant nothing unless before that time God was just decided to reconcile the world to himself by dying as a man at the hands of his own creation when in reality it could have been totally unnecessary? What does it mean to ‘die in your sins”? Unless you believe in Me you will die in your sins. I know , we can just all go home, forget going to church and blow the whole thing off altogether, not to mention that all these people across the word that are being converted by an act of God and then being killed for it are dying for no reason?

  20. So then what was the point of the crucifixion? He died in Vain..it would have meant nothing unless before that time God was just decided to reconcile the world to himself by dying as a man at the hands of his own creation when in reality it could have been totally unnecessary? What does it mean to ‘die in your sins”? Unless you believe in Me you will die in your sins. I know , we can just all go home, forget going to church and blow the whole thing off altogether, not to mention that all these people across the word that are being converted by an act of God and then being killed for it are dying for no reason?

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