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A VAST MAJORITY IN HELL
In the Christian Register, a Unitarian paper, we find the following:
„The Examiner (Baptist) freely concedes the point we have pressed in regard to the damnation of the vast majority, at least of the adult portion, of the race. It says: ‚The idea of a probation in this life does imply the possibility of salvation, but the possibility may never be realized. As a matter of fact, we believe that, for the vast majority of the heathen, this possibility never is realized, and we never yet heard of an orthodox theologian who held any other belief than this.'”
In its comments, the Christian Register makes the following remarks:
„This is meeting the issue fairly and squarely. The Examiner does not seem to be afraid to show its colors. Now let it print its weekly edition on black paper
with a small margin of white, and its
color will correspond with its doctrine.
We are glad, however, that the Examiner is consistent. In these days of word-twisting and mental reservation, consistency is a notable virtue.”
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Another writer copying the above adds: „The suggestion is good, but if the white margin is to represent the few saved, even from christendom, saying nothing about heathen lands, according to church creeds, the white margin will be so very small as to hardly be discernable. The hell into which our Baptist brethren would thrust the whole world, except the few who accept their terms of salvation, is described by the Christian poet, Dr. Watts:
‚Tempests of angry fire shall roll
To blast the rebel worm,
And beat upon the naked soul
In one eternal storm.'”
Here we see the difficulty which is rapidly overtaking intelligent Christians everywhere. It is a struggle between old creeds and reason, and the cause is that they falsely suppose their creeds to represent the Bible’s teaching, and hence neglect the Bible and seek not in it, for the wisdom of God which alone is able to solve the question now rising prominently before men’s minds, viz.:—What is the fate of those who have died in ignorance of the only name given under heaven or among men whereby we must be saved?
In the above controversy the Examiner seeks to hold on to the Bible statements, that only believers in and accepters of the Lord as their Ransomer will be saved. But it failed to see that the present age is for the selection of a little flock, and that an age is coming in which all the blind eyes shall be opened and the deaf ears unstopped, when the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth, and when all shall know [believe in] him— when the „little flock” shall have become the Bride, the Lamb’s wife, and as such shall say unto all the world, „Come,” to the waters of truth and grace and live. (Rev. 22:17.) And failing to see this, it is forced to the position it takes, that the „vast majority” of the race never have had, and never will have a chance for life through Christ’s ransom sacrifice—hence his ransom was not a ransom for all to be testified [to all] in due time.” This in the Examiner’s creed implies that the vast majority of humanity go into an eternity of torture because God did not make ample provision for them, either in the ransom or in the granting of a knowledge of that ransom as a basis for belief, without which they cannot be justified.
Would that the Examiner and all could see that God’s „due time” for granting a knowledge of the only name, is not limited to the present age and present adverse conditions: that As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are his ways and thoughts higher and wider than those of the vast majority of his children whose fear toward him, and too narrow views of his character and plan, are taught by the precepts of men.—Isa. 29:13 and 55:9.
The Christian Register’s views of the subject are broader and more reasonable when it repudiates the thought that God will consign the vast majority of mankind to endless torture simply because they knew not of Christ, and did not believe on him of whom they had not heard. But its reasonings are human merely. Not seeing the plan of God as set forth in the Bible, of a ransom for all and a due time for all to partake of the benefits of that ransom and believe in, and accept of Christ, it rejects the Bible’s teachings entirely and represents a large and growing class who while professing a respect for the Bible, and calling Christ the Redeemer, in fact deny the teachings of the Bible and reject Christ as a Redeemer; denying that there was any need of a ransom for all, or for any. They virtually make everlasting life a reward for every man who will wear the filthy rags of his own righteousness, claiming that every man who lives the best he knows how, avoiding gross sins, will be accepted of God and granted everlasting life as a reward therefor. With such a view where was the necessity of testifying it now, or in any other „due time?” In such a view where could Paul’s statement apply—”There is none other name given under heaven or among men whereby we must be saved?”—or where is the sense of urging men now, or at any time to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved, if they are to be saved without believing, and on the basis of works merely?
— February, 1887 —