Justice Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.

How would you feel about a book that claims that everyone eventually goes to hell?
Several years ago we had an art show at our church and people brought in all kinds of sculptures, and paintings, and we put them on display. And there was this one piece that had a quote from John Newton in it; and lots of people found this piece compeling. They’d stop and sort of stare at it, and take it in, and reflect on it—but not everybody found it that compelling. Somewhere in the course of the art show somebody attached a hand-written note to the piece, and on the note they had written: “Reality Check—He’s In Heaven.”
John Newton’s in heaven? He is? And someone knows this, for sure; and felt the need to let the rest of us know? Will only a few, select, people make it to hell? And will billions and billions of people rejoice forever in heaven? And, if that’s the case, how do you become one of the few? Is it what you believe; or what you say, or what you do, or who you know—or something that happens in your heart? Or do you need to be born with original sin, or be an atheist, or become apostate, or blaspheme, or simply live in unrepentant sin—how does one become one of these few?
And then there is the question behind the questions, the real question: What is God like? Because millions and millions of people were taught that the primary message—the center of the Gospel of Jesus—is that God is going to send you to heaven, if you just augment your life with him. And so, what gets, subtlely, sort of caught and taught is that Jesus is merely and example or a therapy and you don't have to stand as holy before God. But what kind of God is that; that we would need this therapeutic God? How could that God ever be just; how could that God ever be trusted? And how could that ever be bad news.
This is why lots of people want nothing to do with the Christian faith. They see it as an endless list of psychological crutches; and they say: “Why would I ever want to be part of that?” See, what we believe about heaven and hell is incredibly important because it exposes what we believe about Who God is, and what God is like. What you discover in the Bible is so stunning, unexpected, and terrifying, that whatever we’ve been told or taught, the bad news is actually worse than that;worse than we could ever imagine.
The bad news is, that justice wins.
Upset yet? Too harsh? I hope you're as upset about the other one...

(Note: See this video as a reference.)

1 comment:

Nicholas said...

I have not read his book, but if anything contradicts "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life," or "I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the father except through me," or absolutely anything written in the Bible, then it is kindling.
That said, I guess it is unfair for me to judge this unless I read it, but the hipness of the advertisement, and the Gandhi namecheck, which is apparently REALLY hip right now (I want to just work in a million digs at hipster Christians drifting into Universalism, but I'm not sure comments can be that long),are pretty big turnoffs for me, and make me hesitate to even give it a shot.
Well, one dig at hipster Christians--I like that they drift toward John as the love Gospel, yet fail to notice or acknowledge this is the very book where we find Jesus' boldest claims.
Okay, Nicholas, stop.