When I ask Christians if they believe Endless Conscious Torment (ECT) is an essential doctrine, most often they say that it is. Some understand that it is not a doctrine over which we should divide, but the vast majority of Christians feel rather strongly about this doctrine. They genuinely believe that the doctrine of ECT is an essential doctrine. To those who feel this way, I have one simple question for you. Are you ready?
If ECT turns out to be false, would your faith have been in vain?
Many say, “I would love to see everyone saved, but unfortunately that will not happen.”
Really? Is it unfortunate? For you? For God? Will it certainly not happen? Must it not?
Granted, many will die just as lost as ever, but must the story end there? Must it!? Why can’t God pursue His handiwork until all is made well? Until He has mended that which is broken? Why won’t He? Because of free will? Or some irrevocable judgement? What limits or ceases God’s pursuance of mankind? His “Day of Judgement”? Does God limit God when it comes to doing good?
Many appeal to the fact that the Bible doesn’t explicitly say that people can be saved after they die. Well, does it explicitly say otherwise? If not, then this is an open question. And open questions are full of possibilities. And where there is possibility, there is hope.
FAITH IS THE SUBSTANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR . . .
Where is your faith? Have you no hope? I certainly do, and it is in the God of grace, mercy, love, and justice; none of which are mutually exclusive, but are rather mutually inclusive. Neither is quite itself without the others. They are not combative, but complimentary.
Will your faith have been in vain if God reconciles all things unto Himself? My faith is not in vain. It is in Christ alone—the Savior of the [entire] world. The substance of my faith is in He who will reconcile, restore, and unite all things in heaven and on earth.
One day, the Kingdom of God will envelop all of creation. And that requires His righteousness to be established, in its fullness, throughout all that He has created. ECT circumvents God’s decrees and ultimately His own victory.
We have been given the ministry of reconciliation because God wants us to participate in the recreation of creation. Does God do things half-heartedly? Does He take off early or procrastinate? He created everything in six days and THEN rested. He will not rest until ALL things are made new. Neither should we rest until our ministry is complete, until everyone has been reconciled—because He certainly won’t.
Charles Watson, Sr. is Works of MacDonald's Senior Hellologist; read his blogs on his website.