“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”
In the above parable, you do not find Abraham saying to the rich man, “Don’t worry, old chap, this is just until you have been cleaned up a bit, and pretty soon you will be in heaven along with Lazarus and me.” Instead you find him saying that there is great gulf fixed between them, and that it cannot be crossed. Universal salvation may be one of the more comfortable heresies preached today, but it is also incompatible with anything which is to be found in the Bible. Given the false sense of security, and the disastrous consequences, such a doctrine could give rise to, heresy does not seem to strong a word. The Wrath of God is as real as the Love of God, but the latter is the only thing you will generally hear preached today. Avoiding the unpleasant doctrine of eternal damnation will only create the false sense of security which will ensure that more people end up there. Without going back to the days of the fire and brimstone preachers, it is about time the Wrath of God became a fashionable subject for the pulpit again.
Liberal twenty first century theologians do not have a firmer grip on reality than Jesus Christ, who certainly didn’t preach universal salvation.