When I was about ten years old, my cousin was killed in a motorcycle accident. He was younger than me and had a twin brother. I was terrified that he was in hell now because my aunt and her family did not attend church, in fact her husband was an alcoholic. Those two things doubled my cousin’s chances for entry into hell. The main reason he was going to hell, though, was because he had not invited Jesus into his heart. I was pretty sure about this because, after all, he had probably never heard the good news, having never been to church and all. And by good news I mean this; if you don’t have Jesus in your heart, you are definitely going to hell. Needless to say, my cousin’s death and the very real possibility of him experiencing the eternal torment of burning fire was extremely disturbing to me personally, seemed really unfair and down right cruel. My mother, bless her heart, could not answer my questions, except to say, “we don’t know for sure that he didn’t have Jesus in his heart”. So we could hope that he did…but what if he didn’t?
I loved God. I loved Jesus. But why were they so mean? If I didn’t want to go to hell, I just had to accept and believe the in-congruency of the doctrine of my conservative Baptist upbringing. What the…hell?!?
Spoiler Alert! I am NOT now calling myself a Universalist. I agree with Dr. Brad Jersak who said, “ I can not presume that all will be saved. I can not presume that even one will be lost. I can not presume period. What I can do is put my hope in Jesus Christ. That he is the Lord of mercy who gets the last word on these things and happily his mercy endures forever.” So at this junction, or this part of the journey that is my life in Christ, I am coming clean with you all and saying I have serious doubts and I have serious faith, but mostly I have serious hope in the unfailing, never ending, stronger than death LOVE of God.