This post is a response to a comment from Chris Niarchos to my post An Open Letter to Mick Mooney. His comment had so much content, I needed a little more room to answer it adequately.
I Loved the response and felt it was very well written and explained. I also agree with everything you said in it. Spot on, and yet said with love. I didn’t feel there was condemnation, but confrontation. You didn’t spout your “knowledge” (opinions) but let Scripture speak. I enjoyed it so much after reading the original post by Mick, and thinking much of what you said in my mind. I usually simply avoid these “internet arguments because they often “go nowhere” in my mind, but I felt like this was absolutely helpful and hope the Lord uses it to lead some towards Him.
I do however have a question about the above statement in this response:
“I am convinced from the Scripture that everyone is going to heaven, but to say that this means sins don’t matter, or that there is no judgment for them, is to completely misunderstand the mercy of God.”
Where in Scripture does it say that everyone is going to heaven?
Chris, I answer this at length in the book The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven. I provide this book for free at the link. You will also find there an audio player to listen to me read it, or you can download the audio as a podcast to a smartphone. I take great pains to be true to the Scripture. I also wrote a sequel book titled The Implications of Everyone Going to Heaven, and it is available in all the same formats.
I read your post even and am more concerned because for whatever reason you have also bought into the above mentioned lie (“Creating a Jesus of their own imaginings instead of accepting Jesus as the Scriptures present Him.”).
I’m sure it seems this way to you, Chris, but I assure you that I never imagined that Jesus would take everyone to heaven. Like all other evangelicals, I was taught and believed that some had to go to eternal conscious torment in hell. But God told me “great and mighty things which I did not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). He showed me from the Scriptures that “He is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). Who was I to tell Him He was wrong?
Believe what you would like, even use the original languages, but Scripture states:
1. Everyone Needs Salvation in order to go to Heaven
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21
Note that this verse is not talking about the place of heaven but rather the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven was something we should seek and that was in our midst (Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21). The place of heaven is where we go when we die and, of course, we won’t have to seek it because we’ll be taken there.
2. Jesus Died For Our Salvation – This is the “Good News”
But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
And would it really be considered “Good News” if God just LET EVERYONE into heaven in the end?
Yes. If I consider it to be good news that I’m going to heaven, wouldn’t it be even better news to learn that everyone I love is going to heaven? And if Jesus teaches me to love even my enemies, shouldn’t I consider it good news if they get to go to heaven, too?
Wouldn’t it simply be NO News.
How could it be “no news”? The good news of Jesus Christ is that death is not the end of existence. No one need be afraid of death (Hebrews 2:14-15). Now if some are going to eternal conscious torment in hell when they die, that is not “good news” at all. Rather, that would make the proclamation of Jesus Christ a good/bad news scenario. In fact, the bad news is so bad that people were better off when they thought death was the end of everything.
Because weather you know it or not matters little. In the end we all get to be in heaven so lets not worry about it.
But this was just my point to Mick: righteousness matters! Just because everyone is going to heaven, doesn’t mean that we should “insult the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:29) or “turn the grace of our God into licentiousness.” On the contrary, we who formerly lived for ourselves should now live entirely for Him who so loved us (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). Let “everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness” (2 Timothy 2:19).
3. Salvation Is A Gift
The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
Yes, salvation is a free gift! Why then would we want to deny it to anyone?
4. We Are Saved By Grace And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. (Romans 11:6)
Yes. And if you can see that “it is no more of works” then why do you want to attach conditions to who gets to receive it?
5. Salvation Comes Through Faith To him that … believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (Romans 4:5)
Yes, but once people die, the blinders come off and there are no more obstacles to their believing. Their flesh can no longer tempt them to disbelieve.
6. God Saves All Who Call Upon Him Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)
Yes, and if someone hasn’t called upon Him by the time of death they will certainly call on Him then. In fact, even if there were a hell of eternal conscious torment, the second people started calling upon the Lord from that place He would set about delivering them.
I have stopped because after reading further into your “discussion” on your other article I have realized you aren’t seeking truth and you are not open to it.
I seek truth from the time I wake up in the morning until the time I go to bed at night. His truth is my nourishment and I always have more to learn.
You have made up your mind and those who read your writings and fall away because of it I fear for.
When I came to the Lord at age 28 (which was about 35 years ago) I embraced the standard evangelical position. I even obtained two degrees from respected evangelical seminaries. However, through my study of the Bible I came to see that there was some “leaven in the bread” of evangelicalism. Those who taught me to be an evangelical taught me to regard Scripture more highly than tradition. Therefore, when I saw a place where evangelical tradition departed from Scripture I had to cling to Scripture.
I pray that the Lord can change your mind because it will have to be Him.
But don’t you see that He has changed my mind! For I would never have believed that everyone was going to heaven unless He taught me that this was so.
You cannot avoid what Scripture says.
I don’t want to avoid what Scripture says. I want my life conformed to it, or, more specifically, to the Lord Jesus about whom Scripture testifies.
You cannot simply apply Scripture the way you want it.
You and I are in complete agreement on this. The Spirit of God is our guide to Scripture. None of it is subject to private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20 KJV).
There is a heaven and there is a Hell. “Good” people go to both. Sinners go to both.
You are right that there is a heaven and a hell, but you are confused about their location. Read the Bible and see that Sheol (Hades) was the place below where everyone went after death – everyone. Evangelical tradition pretty much ignores this. What Jesus spoke of as hell is on this earth in this life. It is the judgment of God against our sins.
Why would Christ have come to die if everyone goes to Heaven?
Because if Jesus had not come and died, no one would be going to heaven. Everyone would still be below in Sheol (Hades).
I would love to believe what you say here, but its not what Scripture says. It would be nice to believe that everyone around me will end up in heaven, but that’s not what Christ says.
If Christ hadn’t said it to me, you would never have heard me say it. But if Christ does say it, and the Scriptures support it, how can I not believe it?
I hope you take this response to heart.
I did. The sincerity and substance of my response was intended to match the sincerity and substance of your comment.
Don’t simply seek to refute it, but think about it and allow the Spirit to work.
I can only hope that you’re one of those people who practice what they preach.