A parent of one of our martial arts students recently asked me to read an online article called “The Hell Test.” What she saw there concerned her, so she asked me to look at it. The Hell Test is made up of dozens of questions, most presented in short, rapid fire methodology. I say “methodology” because The Hell Test is a method of attacking what people believe about hell. In martial arts we call it “sensory overload” – causing the body pain as quickly as possible in as many parts of the body as possible. It’s a process of dominating someone physically through “pain control.” When the body’s senses are overloaded with pain, the brain shuts down a physical response until the pain stops or becomes tolerable. Bullies know how to use sensory overload to dominate and control their victims. What we teach in self defense is how to effectively respond to bullies and take back control of our response mechanisms.
The same is true in spiritual warfare. Questions about what you believe come at you so rapidly that your mind shuts down any effective spiritual response until the pain stops or becomes spiritually tolerable. One way Christians respond to those kinds of spiritual attacks is to back down from their beliefs that lead to pain. They believe it is easier and less painful to get along with everyone and not cause problems. However, in faith defense we learn methods and techniques to effectively respond to difficult challenges until we can take back the control. Our purpose in testing The Hell Test is to do just that – take back control of our spiritual beliefs.
“The Hell Test
(A test every pastor, Bible teacher and seminary professor should be required to take before being allowed to teach.)
One would be amazed how little the average pastor knows about the subject of Hell. Most of their knowledge comes from what Jesus called “The traditions of men which make the word of god of no effect.” Matt. 15:6-9 Give a copy of this test to those to whom you have submitted yourself. See whether they know their subject. If salvation is indeed deliverance from a Hell of everlasting punishment, then the answers to these questions are vital to your well being.” (The Hell Test)
That is how The Hell Test begins – with a direct, head-on attack on the people most Christians depend on to know the answers to difficult spiritual questions – their pastors, Bible teachers, and even seminary professors. That’s similar to physically taking out the strong men in the house or the lead officers on the field of battle. Take out the officers and the soldiers will turn and run. Take out the strong men and the family will cower in their own home. So, how do we respond to these attacks? First, find out who’s behind the attack.
The author of The Hell Test identifies himself as a Christian who used to believe in hell, but struggled with the hypocrisy of it all until he asked God to take him out of this world. The author wrote – “God answered my prayer not by killing me, but killing a lot of ‘traditional teaching’ I had swallowed which did NOT come from Him NOR from the Bible in its original languages.” Here’s how he describes himself today –
“Many consider us experts on the topics of universal salvation and proving that Hell is not scriptural. Our sites are considered the leading sources for materials on these subjects.” (tentmaker.org)
The attacks continue with the words “traditional teaching,” and “did NOT come from Him NOR from the Bible in its original languages.” After taking out the pastors, Bible teachers, and seminary professors, the next technique is to cause Christians to question what they had been taught for all of the years they had been under the ministry of those people. Could it be that my pastor, my Bible teacher, my seminary professor, was lying to me or just doesn’t know? Could it be that what they taught me is not from God nor from the Bible “in its original languages?”
I have no problem being challenged about what I believe. If what I believe is not from God, not from the Bible in the original languages, then I don’t want to continue to believe it. That’s been my goal in more than 40 years of studying the Bible – to get it right. So, let’s see what we have here as we get ready to put The Hell Test to the test.
The author claims to be an expert on “the topics of universal salvation and proving that Hell is not scriptural.” He calls his belief system “Christian Universalism” and defines it as the “Ultimate Reconciliation in Christ.” You may have heard of Unitarian Universalists, but have you heard about Christian Universalists? They are quick to distinguish themselves from Unitarian Universalists and say they believe Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, the promised Messiah, the only begotton Son of God, the Second Adam, and the only way to the Father. In addition to the term Christian Universalism, they also use the following to describe themselves: Ultimate Reconciliation, Gospel of Inclusion, Blessed Hope, Victorious Gospel, and Irresistible Grace. Here is what they believe about salvation:
“Christian Universalists believe that the correct interpretation of Christianity and the Bible is not the exclusive fundamentalist view (‘convert or burn’), but an inclusive view of salvation in which all people — even the sinful and unbelieving dead — will eventually find reconciliation with God by repenting of their sins and going through a transformation process, so that nobody will spend eternity in hell. God’s judgments work for the purpose of correction and reform; they are not the expression of vindictive rage.” (christianuniversalist.org)
The following is taken directly from the Christian Universalist’s Statement of Faith:
“We believe in the ultimate triumph of divine mercy and grace: that no being ever created will be condemned or allowed to suffer forever, but God has arranged through a benevolent plan of learning and growth for all souls to attain salvation, reconciliation, restoration, and reunion with the Source of All Being, in the fullness of the ages.” (christianuniversalist.org)
They go on to say that the cornerstone of Universalism “is belief in universal salvation, the idea that there is no such thing as eternal hell or annihilation because God has planned the universe to produce a positive outcome for all sentient beings He has ever created.” (The Christian Universalist Association)
As I mentioned at the beginning of this study, a Christian parent brought The Hell Test to my attention for the purpose of my responding to it, and respond to it I will. I believe that hell is a real place with “everlasting fire” that God “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). I believe that at the end of the ages God will cast into the lake of fire “anyone not found written in the Book of Life” (Revelation 20:15). As Jesus explained to His disciples about the approaching time of His Great White Throne Judgment, “these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46). I believe there is a major difference between Biblical Christianity and so-called “Christian Universalism.”
Join me next time as we put The Hell Test to the test.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
Building Confidence Through Evidence
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”