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White Horse Inn: Conversational Theology

Does Everyone Go to Heaven?

Not long ago, Netflix released a film about the life of Pentecostal preacher Carlton Pearson who stopped believing in hell after he claimed that God spoke to him and revealed that Jesus’ death on the cross saves everyone in the world, including unbelievers. In fact, in an NPR interview Pearson asked, “How can mercy … and torment endure forever? One would cancel out the other.” But is this logic sound? What does the Bible really teach about the afterlife? On this program, Shane Rosenthal continues his conversation with St. Louis University professor Michael McClymond, author of The Devil’s Redemption.


If you want to understand the typical American making the average salary, you have to compare us to a king of the ancient world. We actually eat better than kings. I mean, one way to look at it is we’ve all become kind of kings in our mind and I think the culture of entitlement has even increased in the last 10 to 20 years on personal identity issues.

Michael McClymond



Scripture clearly presents heaven as a place. Christ ascended to heaven, which can only mean that he went from one place to another. It is described as the house of our Father with many mansions, John 14:1, and this description would hardly fit a condition. Moreover, believers are said to be within, while unbelievers are without, Matt. 22:12–13; 25:10–12. Scripture gives us reason to believe that the righteous will not only inherit heaven, but the entire new creation, Matt. 5:5; Rev. 21:1–3.

The fullness of this life is enjoyed in communion with God, which is really the essence of eternal life, Rev. 21:3. They will see God in Jesus Christ face to face, will find full satisfaction in him, will rejoice in him, and will glorify him. We should not think of the joys of heaven, however, as exclusively spiritual. There will be something corresponding to the body. There will be recognition and social intercourse on an elevated plane.

(Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p. 737)

More from this Series: What Does Your Neighbor Believe?

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  2. What Do Hindus Really Believe? Listen Now ›
  3. Walking in Wisdom Toward Outsiders Listen Now ›
  4. The New Spiritual Landscape Listen Now ›
  5. Reaching the Next Generation Listen Now ›
  6. Why Do People Believe in Hell? Listen Now ›
  7. Does Everyone Go to Heaven? Listen Now ›