For nearly two years now I’ve been asking Christians to read an article I wrote which explains why I believe the Bible teaches what I believe it does about heaven, hell, judgement, death, and salvation (which you can find here), and for nearly two years it’s been the exact same result: a small handful read it and end up telling me they’re now convinced the Bible actually does teach that everyone will eventually experience salvation, and a few promise to read it and but don’t (oh, some claim they read it, but from their responses it’s evident they merely skimmed a few paragraphs but didn’t actually read the whole thing). However, the vast majority simply outright refuse to read it.
The problem is, if I’m wrong about what I believe, I need to know it, which means I need someone to actually read it so they can show me where my scriptural interpretations and arguments in it went wrong, and until someone does that, I have absolutely no basis for thinking I’m wrong (especially after 20-plus years studying the Scriptures carefully to see what they have to say about soteriology). Today, however, I was finally told the reason that so few are willing to even give reading it a try.
Now, I’ve long since assumed this was the exact reason, but at least two of the Toronto street preachers I’ve mentioned many times in my articles over the years outright confessed to me, at two separate times in the last couple hours, that it’s because they’re afraid to read it. One of them, a fairly pleasant young man named David, said to me, “I’m a sinner, so if I read it I might be convinced you’re right,” as an explanation of why he won’t read it. And a less pleasant member of their troupe who goes by the name of Ted also admitted that he was afraid to read it.
And while the reason is sad, it’s also very refreshing to finally hear sincerity from a Christian (from two Christians within such a short period of time even, something so rare that I almost can’t believe it actually happened), and it confirms my long-held suspicions that this is the exact reason most of the Christians I’ve asked to review and refute my article on soteriology for me refuse to even try to do so. I’d say I don’t know what came over them to reveal their hearts, but I know exactly what it was. For a fleeting moment, God inspired them to tell the truth for a change.
It’s almost funny, or at least it would be if it weren’t so sad, because outwardly they sound so certain that they’re right and I’m wrong, and that their interpretations of Scripture can’t possibly be mistaken, yet they know deep down that their doctrine is built on a foundation of sand, not stone, and so they realize that if they read it they might have to admit they’re wrong about at least something. The truth is, their admission demonstrates just how little confidence they actually have that their theological views are correct, but also just how much they desperately want to hold on to their opinions regardless of how accurate they might be.
I don’t think they even realize now that this is the reason for their brief moment of uncharacteristic honesty, but listening to me proclaim what the Gospel that Paul preached means might have, just for a moment, given them a clue as to what the true Gospel of salvation is. Sadly, the god of this world has blinded their minds, so any flash of light that might have oh-so-briefly shone on them was quickly blocked from sight, but for just a second I believe that at least one of them (David) was able to see why he might be wrong about some of what he believes, and that scared him so much he had to quickly run away from it.
Thankfully, at the end of the ages, even they’ll enjoy salvation, despite the fact that they’ve rejected Paul’s Gospel, but they’re going to miss out on so much in the meantime if they don’t repent and believe the good news, so I pray that God will open their eyes to the truth before then. That said, if He doesn’t, we’ll know that‘s what His will for them was from before the foundation of the world, and I suspect I’ll get to have an interesting “Joseph and his brothers” type conversation with them at the Great White Throne.