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Emergent Church Teaches Everyone Goes to Heaven!

Published Oct 10, 2008
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Emergent Church leaders’ distaste for absolute truth and their desire for embracing everyone have led many of them into the heresy of universalism—everyone will go to Heaven.

Dallas Willard, a graduate of Tennessee Temple University, and professor at University of Southern California (and a Southern Baptist) said, “I am happy for God to save anyone he wants in any way he can. It is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved.” (Dallas Willard, Cutting Edge, Winter, 2001.) That is universalism!  You have heard from Willard, now hear from God in Acts 4:12:  “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” In bygone years, all believers would have charged Willard with heresy, but today we are much more refined, so we prefer to say that he is confused. I say he is a heretic.

Billy Graham made an incredible statement in a Robert Schuller television interview. Graham said:  “He’s calling people out of the world for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ, because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus, but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don’t have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think they are saved, and that they’re going to be with us in heaven.” That is universalism!

On Larry King Live, Graham was asked, “What about Mormons, Jews, Muslims? Will they go to Heaven?” Graham replied, “That’s in God’s hands.” How pathetic!

Smilin’ Joel Osteen, pastor of America’s largest church, was asked by Larry King, “What if you’re a Jewish or Muslim, you don’t accept Christ at all?”  Joel replied, “You know, I’m very careful about saying who would and wouldn’t go to heaven. I don’t know ….I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don’t know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don’t know. I’ve seen their sincerity. So I don’t know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.” Double pathetic!

Smilin’ Joel was in deep weeds and struggling to get out and got a chance to clarify his contorted statement when a caller asked him to clarify his previous statement. She quoted John 14:6 and told him that such verses were the truth. Osteen agreed with her, then King said, “So then a Jew is not going to heaven?”

Joel replied, “No. Here’s my thing, Larry, is I can’t judge somebody’s heart. You know? Only God can look at somebody’s heart, and so — I don’t know. To me, it’s not my business to say, you know, this one is or this one isn’t. I just say, here’s what the Bible teaches and I’m going to put my faith in Christ. And I just I think it’s wrong when you go around saying, you’re saying you’re not going, you’re not going, you’re not going, because it’s not exactly my way. I’m just…”

Then Larry tosses Joel a softball: “How about a God-defying atheist?” And again, Osteen will not confess that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way of salvation.

Osteen said, “You know what, I’m going to let someone — I’m going to let God be the judge of who goes to heaven and hell. I just — again, I present the truth, and I say it every week. You know, I believe it’s a relationship with Jesus. But you know what? I’m not going to go around telling everybody else if they don’t want to believe that that’s going to be their choice. God’s got to look at your own heart. God’s got to look at your heart, and only God knows that.” Joel also told Fox News that Mormons believe in Christ and are Christians!

Joel Osteen is a very confused young man. He received hundreds of messages about his statements and sent out a clarifying statement saying he was sorry that he was not clear as to what he meant; however, he was very clear. He is pastor of the largest church in America. He said that he believes a relationship with Jesus is the way to Heaven but he was not willing, after many opportunities, to state that anyone without Jesus will go to hell! That is incredible confusion and causes many younger pastors to get off track and drink at the noxious well of universalism.  There are not many paths to Heaven. It is my opinion that Smilin’ Joel should be selling used cars!

Spencer Burke is another EC leader who has written a book that clearly teaches universalism. It teaches that unbelievers and pagans can possibly be saved without personal faith in Christ (A New Kind of Christian, p. 92).

In a recent book, Burke declares that all people are born “in” and some “opt out.” He declares that Adam and Eve were “in” but they chose to be “out.” Therefore, everyone is born “in” by God’s grace but each person can opt out. (A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity, Spencer Burke and Barry Taylor, p. 200.)  Burke admits to being a universalist but with “tongue placed firmly in cheek.” “I’m attracted to universalism insofar as it acknowledges that many of the world’s religions contain true and valuable insights” (p. 196).
Another universalist praised Burke in his review: “Spencer has taken not a small step, but a huge leap from the traditional Christian position that all in heaven will be Christians and all others will be in hell. For that, I applaud him.” (Brian Smith The Beautiful Heresy website, Review.)

McLaren, of course, came to Burke’s defense in the book’s foreword: “It’s easy for inquisition-launchers to go on fault-finding missions; they have lots of practice and they’re really good at it. What’s more challenging, and regarding this book, much more worthwhile, is to instead go on a truth-finding mission. And yes, even in a book with ‘heretic’ in the title, I believe any honest reader can find much truth worth seeking.” (From the Foreword of A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity, Brian D. McLaren.)  McLaren never met  a heretic he didn’t endorse!

In A New Kind of Christianity, McLaren asserts that pagans can possibly go to Heaven without trusting Christ! (p. 92.) That is universalism. These universalists would say, “Look, Christ died for everyone and any sincere person, of whatever religion—even no religion, will go to Heaven even if they have never heard the name of Christ and will discover that they got to Heaven because of His death.”  If that is so, then the Bible is a farce; hell is a fraud; preachers are fakers; tithers are fools and martyrs are fanatics.

Everyone is not going to Heaven. In fact, I’m convinced that many EC leaders are not Heaven-bound.


4 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

Pieter Steyn
Dec 23, 2008 1:27pm [ 1 ]

I am a South African citizen and we experience exactly the same things in our churches in RSA in such a way that I don’t know which church to go to anymore. The church leaders it seems are all just looking out for what they can get from the church’s coffers. We have a five minute session in the mornings on one of our radio stations and different preachers and preachers of different denominations are invited to preach for a week at different times during the day and you can not believe what some of them are preaching. Even Muslims have their own session on Friday mornings. Then we also have the African cultures and their different believes and rituals. It is so difficult to teach them about Jesus Christ because they accept Him as their Saviour just to run off to their rituals and spiritualists for help with sicknesses and so on.

Anyway, I know that there are a few preachers out there that do preach a sincere and honest Gospel to the people and I just want say Bless God for that.

May God bless you too for the work that you do to unmask these un-biblical preachers.

Pieter Steyn

George Calvas
Feb 11, 2009 12:16pm [ 2 ]

Bro Don,

Thanks for your many clear stances to biblical truth. I am an open-air evangelist and minister with other evangelists throughout the Midwest. I have seen this corruption of doctrine effect many that we preach to, causing much confusion to the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is important to teach the things that become sound doctrine. We must continue to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. Galatians 1, 2 Peter 2 are clear about those false teachers that bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them. Therefore, they are those whom the devil has used as ministers of righteousness according to 2 Corinthians 11, but whose god is their belly, deceived and being deceived. I also have no doubt that God himself has sent them strong delusion to believe a lie that they all might be damned who hath pleasure in UNRIGHTEOUSNESS (See Romans 1:18-19). This country hates the God of the Bible because Christians have no backbone to believe the truth, live it, preach it and be willing to die for it!

Let us endure hardness as soldiers of Jesus Christ and continue to run the race that is set before us as true Ambassadors, the sons of God, standing for what is right with our conscience void of offense before God and before men.

A servant of Jesus Christ, and your brother in Christ,


Harley Schrock
Apr 2, 2010 6:24pm [ 3 ]

I have been seeing this toning down of doctrine from all that are in the emerging church and church growth super church movements.

Kyp Matthews
Aug 29, 2017 8:31pm [ 4 ]

The quotes of Dallas Willard and Billy Graham do not in any way exclude the thought that peoples of other religions do not have to receive Jesus as Lord. There is no such implication of universalism. You are in a witch hunt. Their quotes simply show that God does save people that did not have a history of Christian influnces. Not that they remain of a nonchristian persuasion, but that the hear the truth and are saved bu faith in Jesus name.

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