The Doctrine of Hell and Need for Missions
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.
If we don’t believe there is only one way to heaven, then we have to surrender the reality of hell. If universalists are correct and everybody’s going heaven, then no one will be in hell. If pluralists are correct and only religious people are going to heaven, then very few people will go to hell: rapists, murderers, and drug dealers. If inclusivists are right and heaven includes the billions of people around the world who have never heard the gospel, then the population of hell is miniscule, right? That is a contradiction of what Jesus said. If the population of heaven is greater than the population of hell, then hell isn’t real because Jesus was a liar and didn’t know what He was talking about. Consider what Jesus said about the population of hell compared to the population of heaven in Matthew 7:13-14: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Jesus said the way to heaven is small. If heaven will have more people in it than hell, then Jesus should have said, “Enter through the wide gate; for the gate is narrow and the way is small (or nonexistent) that leads to destruction.” But that’s not what Jesus said, is it? If we surrender the exclusivity of Christ, then we have to give up the reality of hell.
Finally, if there are ways to God other than faith in Christ, we have to give up on evangelism and missions. Christ’s final words to His disciples before He ascended into heaven were, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19). Now, if I had been in that group and knew there were other ways to heaven besides faith in Christ, I would have respectfully raised my hand and asked, “Why bother to go into all the world if everybody is going to heaven anyway?” If pluralists are right and all religions are equally valid, why would we risk offending people if their religion is just as good as my religion for getting to heaven? If the inclusivists were right, why would we sacrifice to send people around the world to preach the gospel to those who haven’t heard if they would be okay anyway? In fact, if the inclusivists are right, the best thing would be not to tell people about Jesus, so they would automatically go to heaven because of their ignorance. The only motivation we have for sharing the gospel is that Jesus is the only way to heaven. You and I are God’s messengers, and it’s time for us to reclaim the gospel from those who would pervert it into a message of hate, and instead present it as God intended–as a message of love. The most loving thing we can do is to share the truth: there aren’t many ways to God. Every other way is a dead end that leads to eternal separation. There is one way to God through Jesus, who said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Sharing an Exclusive Jesus in an Inclusive World” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.