Is there a hell?
a reply

by Andrew Maclarty

Recently we were given a recorded address by a brother who made it his subject to deal sincerely with what he thought was scriptural teaching on the fate of unbelievers. As this teaching is dishonouring to our Father, contrary to His inspired word, and contradictory to the counsel of His will, we composed the following letter.

Dear Brother in the Lord,

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Do we need anything more ? A friend has passed on to me your taped message (on Hell) to which I have listened with interest in its entirety. Being aware of the great demands on your time I will endeavour to be brief.
As a first matter, any listener could not fail to be impressed by your sincerity, and the gracious manner in which your address was put across. For this reason my mind has been exercised to write to you. It is not my intention to attack you for what you most sincer¬e¬ly be¬lieve, but only to show that the wisdom of our grac¬ious God and Father has been able to unite His love and His righteousness. Is this not an excellent matter, one which enhances the glory of God ?

My own background is in evangelical circles, and for 20 years I believed in eternal punishment and preach-ed it with great sincerity. The Bible spoke of hell, and no matter how dreadful it may be said to be, if God has said it, then it is true. God must be true, even if that means every man has to be a liar. And surely the devout and scholarly men who had founded our denomination had searched these matters through, and had handed down an accurate appraisal of God's truth, and that appraisal included the scriptural teaching of the eternal torment of the damned, those not numbered among God's elect.

But there were scriptures which seemed to contradict either the foreknowledge, or the righteous¬ness, or the wisdom, or the love of God, and there were questions we dared not address. If we raised these matters we were told it was not for us to question God (it was not out intention to do so, rather to reassure ourselves that we had correct understanding). Yet these questions would not go away even though we refused to face them, for they impugned the love and righteous¬ness of our loving Father, or suggested He had been overtaken by events He was unable to forestall.

Implied were other matters too terrible to con¬tem¬p¬-late. If God had once been prevented, due to the caprice of a creature who had appeared without His sanction and carried off a substantial portion of creation, might it not happen a second time ? A thousand time no! When understanding came to us, due to attention given to God's word, we began to see, slowly at first but with increasing clarity, the tip of the iceberg — the salvation of the non-elect! Previously we had not seen this truth, partly because it had been obscured by ambiguous translation, made by good, de¬vout and sincere men who had allowed their preconcep¬tions to modulate God's truth, and partly because we failed to see that God's righteous¬ness requires that creation should be brought back to Christ, Who was it's earliest Head.

All must proceed in absolute righteousness. The question of sin cannot be swept under the carpet, nor consigned, together with its victims, to a place of tor¬ment, but must be fully removed from the universe, so that Christ shall see of the travail of His soul and be sat¬is¬fied. The glory of our God requires nothing less than the comp¬lete reconciliation of all to Himself. Why not cleansing? Why not pardon? Why not forgiveness? Because these are not good enough. Only reconciliation will satisfy the heart of our Father.

Reconciliation requires there is peace, and peace cannot be, unless established in righteousness. This God has achieved for the one who believes the evangel now. He has saved: some Jews —followed by some Gentiles. In the next eon He will save all Jews: followed by all Gentiles, then ultimately the entire creation including all spirit beings, the spiritual forces of wickedness among the celestials, the powers of darkness. All must be reconciled to Himself, that God may be All in all. Nothing less than the complete reconciliation of all to Himself will satisfy our Father's heart of love, and His absolute righteousness. In the course of your address you said many things which seem to support the teaching of endless punishment. None of these points have been addressed here, but every single one can be met head on and shown to be either the result of ambiguous translation or failure to rightly divide the word of truth. It is my prayer that our God will open your eyes to the glorious truth of universal reconcilia¬tion, the only outcome of creation which upholds the love, right¬eous¬ness and majesty of God, and will lead the entire creation to exult in His praise.

There are many other things that could be said, but time and space will not allow at present, and I have no doubt from your address that you are steeped in the scriptures and well able to make a study of the purpose of God. My intention has been not to attack anything you have said, for I also was once bound by these same teachings, but to draw your attention to the require¬ments of God's love and righteousness, which are but two sides of the same coin.

Could our God, whose very nature is love, and Who is all knowing and all wise, proceed with creation, in the certain knowledge that the conclusion would be an outcome that not

only dishonours Him but is repugnant to all right-thinking people, and that the majority of those He loves will be eternally tormented. Would this not mean that He Himself would be eternally tormented?
Our prayer is that God will bless your ministry, and will lead you to rejoice in the certainty of His becoming All in all at the conclusion of the eons.

May He grant to us a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the realisation of Himself.

Yours in His grace,

Andrew Maclarty.

"His achievement are we!" (Eph. 2:10).

This reprint of a letter to a sincere preacher of God's word is being reproduced to open minds to the ultimate glorious outcome God has prepared for creation. That will be when all is headed up in Christ, Who will bring a saved and reconciled universe back to His Father, in perfect righteousness, sin —and all its consequences —forever gone.

If you would like to know more of God's ways and His purpose to reconcile all to Himself, write or call "Grace and Truth" for a free leaflet and cassette tape on "God's Purpose of the Eons." We are not a religious sect, we don't want to make converts and are not after your money. We just want you to rejoice in realisation of God's love, wisdom and righteousness which will issue in the blessing of His entire creation.

Grace and Truth Magazine,
28 Burlington Rd., Sherwood,
Nottingham NG5 2GS England
Tel. 00-44-(0)115 962 6346

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