There’s an old tale – I don’t recall where I first heard it, or I’d give credit where it is due. Perhaps it was from a family member, who got it from whence I don’t know. The story goes:

Old Woman: I hear there is a new pastor in town.
Old Man: Oh? Is he any good?
OW: An excellent speaker – everyone who goes enjoys the sermon.
OM: None of that “fire and brimstone” eh?
OW: Oh, no! Certainly not! This young man actually insists that there is no hell. Everyone will be saved.
OM: Well, if he’s right we don’t need him, and if he’s wrong we don’t want him.

The old man’s common sense hits a form of universalism on the nose. If there is no hell, and everyone goes to heaven, it would seem that there is no real point in believing this doctrine.

There are, of course, other branches of universalism. One branch that is making its rounds these days calls its “Evangelical Universalism” and tries to convince folks that eventually everyone will be saved – though some will have to go to hell first, because they fail to believe in this life.

In some ways, this is a less serious error than the more traditional “there is no hell” form of Universalism. It’s still plainly wrong because the Bible teaches the finality and perpetuity of hell. For example, Scripture both in the Old Testament and the New Testament speaks of this:

Isaiah 66:24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Mark 9:44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. (identical statement at vss. 46 and 48)

Yes, there is a hell, and yes it is eternal – not of finite duration. Therefore, there is an urgency to repent and believe now, not simply to avoid a stretch of unpleasantness in hell but to avoid an eternity there. If you have not done so, repent of your sins and place your trust in Christ alone for salvation.


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