Saviour of All Fellowship
September, 2001

I received the following request in a letter today:

    “Please reconcile for me the doctrine of universalism with the 19 suicide terrorists who killed more than 5,000 innocent civilians.
    “More than ever, it seems to me that this is an extremely dangerous doctrine -giving false hope to thousands (millions?) of people who have never been born again, regenerated by the Spirit of God. (‘Ye must be born again.’)
    “I hope and pray you can see the danger of misleading unregenerate sinners into thinking they are on their way to heaven.”

I reply as follows:

    There is danger in teaching error. In the 15th Century, the Roman Catholic Church taught Queen Mary of England the error that the Protestants were all going to hell for all eternity. By her own admission this teaching lay behind her severe persecution, torment and execution of Protestants. The terrorists who killed what is now estimated to be over 7,000 people in New York and Washington D.C. on September 11 evidently held to the error that the murder of Non-Muslims is not a crime since they are going to hell anyway, besides believing that killing such "infidels'' would insure themselves everlasting bliss in paradise.
    It may be that some “Universalists” teach the error that there is no accountability for human action, and that everyone “goes to heaven” immediately when they die, though I do not teach that. It does not accord with the Scriptures which tell of future judgment and speak of a special, eonian salvation for the believer whose realm is in heaven (1 Tim.4:10; Phil.3:20).
    But the Scriptures do teach that God is the Saviour of all mankind. That is truth, and there is no danger in teaching it. In fact Paul enjoins Timothy to charge and teach both that God is the Saviour of all mankind and that He is the Saviour in a special way of believers. The Scriptures tell us that this salvation is achieved by Christ Who gave Himself a Ransom for all. Those who believe this gospel are believers! They pray for all mankind, knowing that God wills the salvation of everyone. There is no danger in teaching this truth.
    But there is danger to ourselves and others in twisting the biblical truths of judgment into the theory of everlasting damnation.
    I would be more than happy to discuss, from a scriptural standpoint, any of these points where my thoughts seem unclear or contradictory to you. In the meantime, I would like to add a request of you which the events of September 11 have made more critical to me than ever before:
    Please reconcile for me the fact that the sinless Son of God came to this world to save sinners, emptying and humbling Himself in faithful obedience even to the death of the cross, with the doctrine that says that millions (billions?) of sinners, including most all the thousands of people who died in terror on September 11 will never benefit from Christ's death and resurrection but instead will suffer terror infinitely more terrible than any horror they experienced in this life, and that for all eternity, without relief.
    I pray you will come to glory more and more in the cross of Christ, that you will see it means that evil is not eternal, and God will never allow His claim of being the Saviour of all mankind to be belied.

Yours in His grace,
Dean Hough


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