THE HELL CARD
If I were to draft a statement that would encapsulate the American Christian witness procedure – which statement far too often reveals our entire concept of Christianity – it would of necessity read:“Get saved (like I am and like I did) and you will go to heaven when you die; if you don’t, you’re going to hell.” If the candidate agrees with our proposition of heaven when he dies and submits himself to our “repeat after me” prayer, he is saved. If he disagrees and we cannot change his mind, or, God forbid, he becomes hostile, then we play the Hell Card.
Biblical Christianity is infinitely larger than “go to heaven or go to hell.” In fact, biblical Christianity already includes all of us, even all of the fallen creation:
2 Cor 5:18-21
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ [God holds no wrath toward anyone anymore], and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world [That’s all of us] unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God [This verse is our biblical evangelistic appeal].
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him [This verse removes the traditional Hell Card from the deck].
If we will not respond positively to this appeal, or if we choose to be hostile toward this Witness, we have no Hell Card to be played, but we are compelled by our love for you to play the Truth Card:
16 For God so loved the world [That includes all of us], that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned [Can’t play the Hell Card!] but he that believeth not is condemned already [No need to play the Hell Card!], because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil [This verse is the Truth Card]
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
The biblical truth is that God has already included all of us in His reconciliation plan. He has already reconciled us all to Himself. If we refuse to be reconciled to Him and sense hell at the door, it is not God, his Witness or anyone else that is condemning us. Our own lust for darkness and its evil deeds actually holds - and will effectively play - the Hell Card.