If it is true that all mankind will ultimately saved, and if the Bible clearly reveals this, why is it not more widely known?
I was raised within the church. I studied my Bible. When I first encountered writings concerning the ultimate reconciliation of all I was very skeptical. The reality of an eternal hell was quite clear in my Bible, and I did not want to be led astray.
I had gone so far as to become an ordained pastor, first within the United Methodist Church where I served two small churches in southern Indiana for 3-1/2 years, and then within the Free Methodist Church where I served a church in central Kentucky for 5 years. As I preached, I continued to study and to ask questions. After much study and deliberation I came to the point where I could see in the Bible that it was possible that God would one day save all mankind, and I prayed that this was true. I continued to study, and to think for myself as I studied. I eventually reached the point where I became totally convinced that universal reconciliation was most definitely true.
At this point I began to search for a successor in the church I was serving, so as to provide a smooth transition. I did not feel it would be proper for me to remain within a church that adhered to a belief in an eternal hell, and I did not feel it would be proper for me to preach against this doctrine as it would create disunity and division. But this was a very difficult move for me. My wife and all of my five children, along with two daughters-in-law, had become a part of the church I served. What a wonderful thing to worship together as a family, and to be a part of the same church family. But it became very difficult to preach and to teach, because the ultimate salvation of all is found throughout all of God’s Word if it is translated and interpreted correctly.
Furthermore, I had by this point become very convicted to share the truth of universal reconciliation openly. As the orthodox church proclaims a God of love who is willing to condemn many souls to an eternity in hell, I had come to see that God’s character was being slandered. The church, for the most part, had become a false witness concerning God. “The Gospel” had become corrupted, and most leaders today preach and teach falsehoods.
It became clear to me that many individuals were driven away from God because of the falsehoods being proclaimed by the church. I think of my late father-in-law, Dr. Howard Maynard, who was a very intelligent man. He stayed out of churches for most of his adult life, unless he was in town for a visit, on which occasions he would attend our church. But I know from some of his questions and observations that he could see some serious problems with the gospel that was being proclaimed by the church. I wish I had been further down this path while he was still alive, so as to share these discussions with him.
When the Bible is translated so haphazardly and inconsistently, God’s Word becomes distorted. The church has created a God Who is all wise and all powerful, but Who is forced to condemn most of His creation to an eternity in hell, despite the fact that it is His will that all mankind be saved. We have created a God of infinite love who is quite satisfied to look upon many of His creation burning forever in torment, even though many of these souls lived a better life when they had the chance than some who would be in heaven with Him.
But again, if universal reconciliation is so clearly taught in God’s Word, why is it not more commonly proclaimed?
IT WILL PROMOTE SIN
“If all mankind will be saved, and if people know this is so, there is nothing to prevent them from sinning.”
In other words, some would say that “we need hell” to hold the wicked in check. If they did not have hell to fear, the wicked would run rampant.
But look at the world in which we live! The threat of spending an eternity in hell, as it is commonly preached and taught today, has not restrained mankind! It seems that everyone persuades himself that he is not one of the wicked whose fate is hell.
Another problem is that there is such a great disproportion between eternal punishment and temporal human actions, so that few people who really think about the issue of eternal punishment really believe it is true. A punishment that is more proportioned to man’s offences would be more believable, and more of a prevention against sin. And this is exactly what the Bible truly teaches ... temporal sin and evil resulting in a temporal suffering/discipline, with the purpose of restoring mankind in accord with the will of God.
Furthermore, the real question is this ... “Is there an eternal hell, or not?” If there is not (which the evidence provided in this book is intended to show), then we should not be proclaiming it, regardless of what we think the wicked in this world need!
WHAT ABOUT MISSIONS?
“If people believe in universal reconciliation they would not support missionaries.”
First, let’s not put the cart before the horse. Are we saying that even if universal reconciliation is true, we should preach the falsehood of an eternal torment so we do not adversely affect our missions program? Are we saying that we should perpetuate a falsehood (that God will send souls to hell forever) so that missionaries will have the motivation to carry on?
Missions, like any other type of preaching or teaching, should follow from the truth. Truth should not be altered, biased or suppressed to keep the missions program going.
WHY SHOULD WE PREACH AT ALL?
“If all mankind will eventually be saved, why bother preaching at all?”
Are we saying that our only motivation for preaching is to prevent people from going to hell? Paul preached and taught, and he did not ever mention hell. Isn’t that interesting?
We proclaim the evangel (gospel) because God instructs us to do so. We proclaim it because it is a wonderful truth. We proclaim it because we are God’s Ambassadors, as if He is pleading through us. We proclaim it because we are dead to ourselves, and it is Christ who lives in us.
Once we come to understand that God is truly the Saviour of all mankind, telling others becomes even more of a joy. What an awesome God, who is wise enough to work through the ages to bring all mankind to the point of acceptance, despite the work of Satan and the evil devices of a rebellious mankind!
Next: More reasons why the truth concerning God’s plan to save all mankind is not more widely known.