Edwards emphasized the imminent danger of living in sin and the urgency of seeking salvation. His exclamation, “There is nothing between you and hell but the air; ’tis only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up,” is a stark reminder of the precariousness of life without Christ. Edwards’s message was a call to self-examination, repentance, and acceptance of salvation only offered through Jesus Christ, reflecting the profound biblical truth that salvation is found in no one else but Jesus.
In his famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” eighteenth-century theologian Johnathan Edwards boldly proclaimed, “Almost every natural man that hears of hell flatters himself that he shall escape it; he depends upon himself for his own security; he flatters himself in what he has done, in what he is now doing, or in what he intends to do.”
According to Edwards, the natural man is engaged in a lifetime of struggle, ignoring the clear judgment of damnation. Imagine being at a funeral where the pastor boldly states that the departed, despite appearing outwardly “good,” was destined for eternal suffering in hell. This thought alone is shocking. Such a proclamation would cause outrage, confusion, and perhaps even fear.
Edwards was right. The natural man shies away from self-examination, honest introspection, and repentance. Many reject the truth of their inherent depravity and subsequent damnation. Denying this truth means ignoring the only message that saves, causing them to miss out on the hope found in the gospel.
We all possess an innate sense of something beyond this life. However, neglecting the gospel leads to creating false narratives about eternity. These assumptions ignore the need for Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, forcing some to believe that entering heaven requires a lifetime of virtuous behavior. Consequently, universalism—the idea that all souls will be in heaven—is becoming increasingly prevalent.
Our contemporary approach to faith has led to a prevailing culture of functional universalism, significantly impacting society and eroding the message of hope within Christ’s gospel. Has the modern mind lost its grip on the idea of Jesus’s sacrifice?
Celebrity Faith and Heaven’s Gate
In a society that often avoids discussing weighty matters like hell, damnation, and the necessity of salvation, we tend to divert our attention to the spectacle of celebrities. As we near the end of 2023, it is customary to contemplate the lives of notable individuals who have departed from this world. Among the famous and infamous names that come to mind are the legendary rock-and-roll queen Tina Turner, late-term abortionist Leroy “Lee” Carhart, and the lesser-known, yet respected, rap artist David Jolicoeur of De La Soul.
During his eulogy for Tina Tuner, Pete Townshend, the renowned rocker from the band The Who, hailed her as an “astonishing performer, an outstanding singer, and an R&B groundbreaker.” Townshend shared that Tina had been battling illness for some time and expressed his heartfelt desire for her to finally “have some peace now” in death.
As the condolences regarding Tina’s death came in, many echoed the feelings expressed by Kristina Love. Love, a renowned actress from the West End Stage, portrays the indomitable artist in “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.” Love passionately proclaimed during her address to the theater audience, “We’re here tonight because of one woman who boldly lived her life, from cotton fields to stardom. . . . So tonight we are going to party because we know there is a huge party in heaven right now.”
While some may argue in favor of rewarding Tina Turner with heaven due to the challenges she endured, applying the same standard to LeRoy Carhart becomes more complex. Carhart, a self-proclaimed abortion activist and one of the few remaining late-term abortionists, passed away in April. Throughout his lifetime, he terminated the lives of 30,000 unborn babies and trained 300 doctors in abortion procedures.