Why Hoping All Men Will Be Saved is A Sign of Unbelief

The Popular Heresy of Universal Salvation and Why We Should Not Hope For It

Universal Salvation(1) – the belief that Christ will save all men regardless of their beliefs - is a hot topic lately.

This is largely due to the popularity of The Shack.(2) 

As Christians, it should be our heart's desire to share Christ so men and women can come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).

But hoping God will save unrepentant men who reject Christ means hoping God is lying about salvation in His Word. We should never hope for that (Titus 1:1-3).

The Popular Heresy of Universal Salvation and Why We Should Not Hope For ItIf we can't trust what God says about hell, how can we trust what He says about heaven or anything else?(3)

When confronted with clear Biblical principles, I sometimes hear Christians say, "Well that depends on how you interpret Scripture."

Christians interpret a number of non-essential doctrines differently.  But we agree on the essential doctrines of faith in Christ which are clearly presented in Scripture, and hell is one of those doctrines.

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Footnotes: 

(1) Universal Salvation is different from Universalism. Universalism teaches that many paths lead to God. Universal Salvation teaches that through Christ all men will be saved whether they repent and turn to Him or not. 

(2) The current popularity of Universal Salvation has been fueled by The Shack’s message that God forgives all men and saves all men regardless of their beliefs. Please see:

5 Errors About God in "The Shack"

5 Errors About Salvation in "The Shack"

(3)  Former mega pastor Rob Bell suggested in his 2011 book Love Wins that it was "fitting and proper" for Christians to long for Universal Salvation. It should be no surprise that Bell no longer sees the Bible as God's Word (Source).  

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10 comments:

  1. Hi Gail, I always love coming over here and reading your posts because they are practical and informative.
    God bless
    Tracy

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  2. Gail I have been so blessed each day with Bible love notes it's a wonderful witnessing tool because it's quick and easy as attention spans may very among nonbelievers and most important packed with truth

    The Holy Spirit often moves me to pray for you I can imagine the oppression and persecution you may sometimes endure

    May the Lord continue to bless your ministry

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    1. Dear Lisa, thank you so much for your prayers. It means so much to me to have readers pray for me. Yes, this is not a popular subject and I've had negative feedback, but it's precious to hear from people like you. Thanks.

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  3. I am a Christain Universalist. I believe Jesus is the Savior of the world. He came to seek and save the lost. All will be drawn to Him. We will be saved from corruption for He overcame sin and death.

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    1. Hi Cathy,
      You will have to delete a great many Scripture passages and deny a great many words of Christ in order to keep your belief in universal salvation:

      These top passages are quotes from Jesus:
      John 3:18: 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.

      Matthew 5:29: If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

      Matthew 7:13: "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

      Matthew 10:28: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

      Matthew 13:36-43: – the Parable of the Weeds also explains these truths.

      Matthew 16:26-27: What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

      Matthew 23:33-34: “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.

      In Matthew 25 Jesus tells three parables highlighting eternal rewards and punishments.

      Luke 12:4-5: “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.

      Luke 16:19-31: “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
      22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
      25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
      27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
      29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
      30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
      31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

      The comment won’t allow too many words, so I’ll continue in the next comment block.

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    2. Some additional passages from the Epistles about Hell:

      2 Thessalonian 1:6-10: God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.

      Jude 1:7: In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

      2 Peter 2:4-9: For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell,putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless 8 (for that righteous man,living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.

      Revelation 20:14-15: Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

      I'm going to trust God's Word to tell the truth about Salvation - all of it, not a few passages taken out of context. And my prayer is that you will do the same.

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    3. Gail, I recently read an article about Universal Christianity on Facebook that both angered and saddened me. I even wrote a blog about it ... and then I came across this blog and posted it on my Facebook page just now. Thank you for this discussion. This false religion needs to be brought to the light before more people are deceived. I wish you oceans of Easter blessings. (I was at the WW Blog Seminar last week).

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    4. Thanks so much for your encouragement, Sharon.
      God bless you.

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  4. Hi there. I won't go to in depth but some things need to be made clear. "Universal salvation" is not a trendy idea. It was taught by 4/6 early churches until 500AD. There is no "hell" in the Bible. Hell is translated from 3 words. Sheol=the grave. Where everyone goes. Gehenna= a garbage dump where criminals bodies were burned and Tartarus=where the demons were bound (I'm not 100% sure of this bits it's still not an eternal torture chamber) Universalism meaning all are going straight to heaven is a mockery. Universal reconciliation is the biblically accurate doctrine. Meaning, all will be judged, there will be punishment, and there will be reconciliation. 1 Timothy 4:10 "savior of all men, especially those who believe" 1 Corinthians 15:22 "so as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive" Adam=all died Christ=all will live. The "especially" is not exclusionary of the "all men". Matthew 25:46 "eternal torment" in Greek is "aionion kolasin" which can be translated "age-abiding correction" this is perfectly in line with "the reconciliation of all things" 1 Colossians 1:20 "Christ will reconcile all things to himself" so God can be "All in All". If hell is Gods wrath then explain Psalm 30:5 "his anger last only but a moment" ? Most bible versions are not only a translation but also an interpretation. It has so many contradictions it's not even funny. Any Greek literal translation is the closest you could get to the Greek manuscripts. Things get so much more consistent. And why is believing that God will eventually save all a sign of disbelief? We have great faith that God will bring his epic plan to a close, and none will be eternally tormented. Christ himself said "I did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world" did he accomplish his divine mission? Thankfully he did. I like to judge things by the fruit they bear. The fruit of eternal torment has permanently turned people away from God, made people have no peace at all, and has tormented believers over loved ones deaths. What kind of goods news is that? The fact that you said believing all will be saved is a sign of unbelief is disturbing. I have faith that God as he has said in his plainly worded scripture is true. One would have to twist and contort scripture to the point it looses all meaning to take away what is so plainly said. This isn't the book of revelation where you have to get creative to make sense of it. Most verses that are used as proof text of ETC (eternal conscious torment) are easily explainable by looking at the different ages (there are 5 I think) mis-translations, and context. This doctrine throws a monkey wrench in the works and clogs up everything. There is much more to be said but please research this for yourself. Universal reconciliation has the most scriptural backing and is perfectly inline with Gods justice/mercy/ and love. This is said in charity because causing one to doubt their salvation because they believe a perfectly scriptural doctrine does more harm than good. And if this is a "doctrine of demons" why isn't this the prevailing doctrine? If the case can be made by a brief look at passages then this should be leading the pack. Instead what is? No peace, constant fear of eternal torment if we fall, and hatred. In Christ-Mitch

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    1. You're right, unknown. There's nothing new about heresies. Paul addressed many of them during his lifetime and the heresy of Universal Salvation has been around a long time. It's adherents have had time to develop a creative explanation as you've put forth in this comment.

      However, there are huge errors in what you've written, but I'll address just one as I think that one is enough to refute your entire argument:

      If Scripture doesn't mention hell, according to you, then when Scripture says, "He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed" (2 Thess. 1:9-10) and when Christ says in Matthew 25:46 that the wicked “will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life" you actually believe people will be eternally punished in a garbage dump or in their earthly graves? No matter what you think about the location of hell, Scripture clearly teaches there will be eternal punishment for people who reject Christ. These two passages I mention are only two of many.

      I'm sorry, but no matter how hard you try to explain away the eternal punishment of hell, you have to deny the words of Scripture and the words of Christ to do so.

      In addition, you give non-believers false hope that they can live a life that rejects Christ and still go to heaven.

      This philosophy is neither kind nor Biblically accurate, and I grieve for those who are being deceived by it.

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