In Counterfeit Gospels, Trevin Wax presents several different understandings of the Gospel that are biblically incorrect. Wax dubs one of these counterfeit gospels the “judgmentless gospel”. This understanding of the Gospel deemphasizes or totally disregards God as the ultimate Judge. Consequently, proponents of this belief often deny the existence of hell, or misrepresent whom exactly goes to hell. Unfortunately this belief, which is very contrary to the teachings of the Bible, has become very common in our culture today; this is evidenced by the teachings of a very famous American pastor who has been interviewed by Larry King in a video that shows his controversial beliefs.
In this video, King asks the pastor what happens if you are do not accept Christ and you die. The pastor does not give a very definitive answer. He says that he is not very sure, and that he does not like to judge whether someone will be going to hell or not. He says that God looks at a person’s heart and judges them accordingly. He goes on to say how he has visited India many times and he has seen how the people there love god (mind you, he is not referring to the God of the Bible), and that he just doesn’t know where they’ll go after they die. Then a woman calls in to the show to ask him why he is being so noncommittal and references John 14:6. The pastor says he agrees with her that Jesus is the only Way to the Father; however, when King then asks if a Jew wouldn’t go to heaven the pastor says no. Overall the pastor being interviewed is extremely vague on who will go to heaven, and does not accurately represent the Bible.
There are several problems with the gospel message supported by this pastor. To start, the reality of hell is indeed biblical. Luke 9:43b describes it as, “‘..the fire that shall never be quenched.’” Now this pastor did not necessarily deny the existence of hell, but did not want to say that those who do not accept Christ will go there. As unfortunate as it may seem, those who do not accept Christ will go to hell, in fact Matthew 25:32-33 talks about God separating those who accepted Him from those who haven’t, “’All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.’” How do we know who is considered a goat, and whom a sheep? Well as the woman who called into the show pointed out to the pastor, John 14:6 shows us that we will only get to the Father through the Son, Jesus Christ. Although the pastor wouldn’t commit to saying that only Christians will get into heaven, this does not change the fact that this is indeed the truth.
The judgmentless gospel is a fallacy that too many in our culture have believed. It changes our view of God, and of our mission here on earth. If anyone can get into heaven, or if there is no judgment, then our call to go into all of the world and share the message of Christ is no longer important, and we can live our lives in our sheltered Christian environments, never needing to bring others to Christ. Because this is not the case, we must instead be bold evangelists for Christ so that we may bring more people to a relationship with Christ, and consequently eternity in heaven.