I came across an interesting article by Dan Kimball in Outreach magazine. Here is a very perceptive excerpt in light of the recent cultural conversation regarding Love Wins by Rob Bell and its impact on evangelism:
Evangelism de-emphasized further. Another critical concern centers on the potential evangelistic ramifications of believing that all are saved (even through Jesus). Some have said that if we even resist the possibility that all are saved in the end, we have a “stingy” view of salvation. I find that comment almost offensive. As I said before, I would love to believe that all are saved in the end. But my personal convictions and years of studying Scripture and church history won’t allow that.
Read the rest of this article.
Believing in the cross as a substitutionary atonement for our sins and the reality of hell isn’t “stingy.” It would be if I delighted in the truth that all aren’t saved or became self-focused and didn’t do anything about it. But I and many others want to see God’s forgiveness shared so abundantly with other people that we have devoted ourselves to being on mission. We have started churches, taken risks and given our all to see people experience the grace, love and freedom found in Jesus in this life—and after we die.
Thinking about someone who will not experience being with God in heaven for all eternity grieves and horrifies us. And then motivates us to do something about it. That’s so much of what the church’s mission has been and is about. It’s what you see driving Jesus’ disciples in the book of Acts as they went out to speak about judgment, repentance, being “saved” and explained the Gospel as both kingdom now and future. How would Acts read if the disciples had believed everyone was eventually saved? We do need to study Jesus’ wise words on experiencing the kingdom in this life, but don’t forget that He also talked about judgment and afterlife, as did Peter, Paul, John and the writer of Hebrews. It seems that if the disciples had embraced a universal reconciliation view of everyone being saved, it would have totally taken the steam out of their message of urgency. How would Paul’s famous message at Mars Hill be different if he believed that all those worshipping other gods would eventually be saved in the end?
Labels: Apologetics, Bible, Christianity, Evangelical, Evangelism, Truth, Worldview