Ugh: “Most Evangelicals Believe Good People are Heaven-Bound”

Sad but true: via StreetFishing: Author: Most Evangelicals Believe Good People are Heaven-Bound

The majority of Protestants and evangelicals believe that good people and people of other religions can go to heaven, according to author David Campbell.

Campbell, who co-wrote American Grace, How Religion Divides and Unites Us, contends that surveys of 3,000 Americans, used to write the book, show that American people of faith, though devout, are very tolerant. So much so that most believers also believe that good people, despite their religious affiliation, can go to heaven.

I wouldn’t describe those people as “tolerant.”  A more accurate term would be “ill-informed,” “wrong,” or even “rebellious.”

The Bible teaches 100+ times that Jesus is the only way to salvation and you can’t flip too many pages in the Old Testament without seeing strong warnings not to worship other gods.  Here is just one of those passages:

1 John 5:12-13 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Those things aren’t what make the claims true, of course.  We have other evidence for that.  But no Christian should ever claim that other paths lead to God.  At best people who say that are “saved and confused.”

Biblical ignorance in the church is appalling, especially on matters as clear and foundational as this.  It isn’t like I’m expecting people to compare and contrast the various views of eschatology (end times).  This is simple “everyone is a sinner, Jesus is the Savior” stuff.  If churches can’t get that right, then why do they exist?

If you are a Christian, please commit to doing everything you can to study more yourself and encourage others to do the same.

10 thoughts on “Ugh: “Most Evangelicals Believe Good People are Heaven-Bound””

  1. But … Neil, it’s TRUE! Good people go to heaven. Of course, Paul says “There is none good, no not one” and Jesus said that the standard of “good” was perfection “like your Father in heaven”. Still, if you measure up, you don’t need a Savior and you do go to heaven. Sigh, Neil … so … intolerant.


      1. Jokes aside, it really is sad that so many Christians get the basics wrong (or, more commonly, distort them in the face of criticism).

        I make a vow to myself every time I’m faced with an “I don’t know moment,” to study harder and be a more knowledgeable witness.

        Sadly, I don’t know even a quarter of what I should, given how long I’ve been saved, but I do still feel convicted to quit being lazy and read my Bible more.

        I actually wrote something one day for an old church group of mine called “I won’t grow up: Peter Pan Theology in the Modern Church” basically commenting on how so many Christians almost refuse to move from the milk to meat stage. The psychologist in me thinks it some fear of losing the romance and mystique of faith…I dunno.


      2. Good points, PJ. I think the key is for churches to ensure that everyone has the basics down (Hey, maybe if we adopted a creed or something?) and if everyone would just keep learning at a reasonable pace.


  2. Of course it’s worse that this. Some think everyone goes, no matter what.

    Recently, my pastor lost his brother. As he told the story of this guy, one could be forgiven for believing this brother was made up for the sake of some point of a sermon. He was the stereotypical “black sheep”, whoring, drug/alcohol abusing, gambling, bi-sexual and living with a hooker at the time of his death.

    Despite all this, my pastor spoke as if this dude awaits him in heaven. I was stunned to hear him speak in this manner and wondered if I missed something by dozing off or something. But then, even more recently, he spoke of dead family members “visiting” him, including this brother. Talk about non-Biblical!

    I think the deal here is that no one wants to believe they are at risk, or that their loved ones could be as well. They defer to their acts and works and wonder how that can’t be enough. “They’re such nice people” they think. “I think I’m good enough” they think. But they are basing all on human terms and not His.


    1. That is doubly said when someone who should know better speaks like that. I don’t expect him to say, “Yeah, my brother is certainly in Hell right now,” but he could at least note that if his brother didn’t repent and believe before dying then he would be there. People are so selfish that they’d rather prop up a false view of God rather than share the truth that others desperately need to hear.


    2. I believe the reason so many believe that men like your pastor’s brother are in heaven is because they are probably not saved themselves. I hate to bring this up, but so many base their faith on something that they have done, exercising that old idolatrous free will, instead of being truly born again. Being born again doesn’t come by something we do, but is purely by God’s grace. Too many in Christianity are nothing more than Muslim Christians… those not born again, however committed to the religion known as Christianity like many commit themselves to Islam. They like the benefits and ideas of Christianity, but are not truly saved because the Spirit has not moved in them to bring about true repentance, and true faith.

      Those who are truly saved are not resting on their exercised free will for salvation, but on the fact that God moved in them, redeemed them through the atoning work of Christ on the cross, and is saving them through sanctification. In that kind of salvation, ALL the glory goes to God because the one saved knows it purely by grace, and nothing in and of ourselves that we are redeemed and brought into the family of God. The quicker the call of Armenius dies, the better off the church will be.


    3. Marshall, I could handle it if he said he hoped his brother had come to faith before his death or something like that. But to imply that his brother is definitely in Heaven misleads his congregation. Maybe he’s self-deceived too.

      And as for the visitations of the dead…

      I think it may be time to find a different church. 😛


      1. “I think it may be time to find a different church.”

        Workin’ on it.

        But I think it is as I believe, that some just can’t deal with the notion that a loved one won’t be in heaven. Even “better” believers don’t really want to think in terms of how the overwhelming joy of being in God’s presence may indeed mean that we may then have no thoughts regarding loved ones at all! Is this how it is? Who knows? But as we know “till death do we part” means that we are no longer married to our spoused after one or both of us dies, the implications are heavy indeed.

        I hope everyone I know goes to heaven. I don’t think everyone will. The most “Christian” person might not based on his real level of faith and belief. But it is a lie to tell one’s congregation the things my pastor told our congregants. I just think he does so out of good, though misguided, intentions. A lie nonetheless.


  3. The problem is that people are too afraid of being considered nasty for implying that not all “nice” people go to Heaven. They are afraid of being nasty and unloving. They believe it’s nasty and unloving because they keep on being told it is.

    So they create a “reality” with which they are comfortable. This is foolhardy in the extreme because reality doesn’t morph to fit our preferences. We need to face reality and help other to see reality. Lying to people is far from loving on a matter of such import as their eternal salvation.


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