USA (MNN) — According to Barna Group research, most Americans believe they're going to heaven. Some believe everyone's going to heaven. Others have a more exclusive view on the afterlife suggesting only the "good" go to heaven.
Barna recently explored whether Americans embrace inclusive or exclusive views of faith, as well as how they operate within the context of religious pluralism, or the multi-faith nature of U.S. society.
Universalism is the belief that all human beings will be saved after death.
However, American Evangelist Sammy Tippit says there's a problem with universalism theology. "If you believe that everyone ultimately is going to go to heaven, then why did Jesus have to come to the earth? Why did Jesus have to die? Who is Jesus Christ? Why did He have to go to the cross? There was no need for the cross if universalism is true."
Tippit suggests that many "seeker-sensitive" churches in the U.S. today tend to stay away from talking about sin, the holiness of God, or anything else that's offensive. "When the focus gets there and you lose that central core focus on who Christ is, then you start teetering in what you believe."
This kind of preaching will ultimately be bad for the church. "It might be popular and you might have some temporary growth, but ultimately there will be a very fast decline in the church because there's no motivation to reach out to other people. Why share that message if everyone is going to heaven."
Barna reports that 43% of those responding agreed, while 54% disagreed with this statement: "It doesn't matter what religious faith you follow because they all teach the same lessons."
However, seven out of 10 Americans agreed with the idea "in life, you either side with God, or you side with the devil; there is no in-between position." Half of American believe "if a person is generally good or does enough good things for others, they will earn a place in heaven."
If the evangelical church gets sucked into this mindset, it's doomed says Tippit. "The church will be powerless to effect the culture and transform the culture if we don't have a strong message that Christ is our only hope, that there are eternal consequences to our sin in what we do and how we live, and Christ can change that and put us in a different direction."
Sammy Tippit Ministries has a number of resources to help you in your Christian walk. Click here to find more.