Universalism is one of the greatest threats to Christianity in our time. Universalism believes almost everyone is going to Heaven. Hell either only exists for really bad people like Hitler, or it doesn’t exist at all.
The Bible clearly teaches Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no-one goes to the Father except through Him. Universalism declares the Bible is inspired by God but not God-breathed. They believe parts like like loving your neighbor, but those parts about Hell and immorality they consider old concepts that are to be dismissed.
God does love mankind. That’s why He died on the cross for our sins. But He is a holy and just God who can’t allow sin. That’s why Jesus died for our sin. Most children’s pastors don’t believe universalism, but they have allowed some of it to creep into their ministries.
Here are some of the ways to know if universalism has crept into your children’s ministry and your church.
Doctrine is not taught. Children grow up not knowing doctrinal truths or why they believe what they believe. We teach cool lesson and play fun games instead of teaching what the Bible says. They are taught they should love God and others, but without doctrinal truths to build their faith on, they will be swayed by any lie. It’s not that we can’t ever have fun games or teach the Bible in cool ways, but we need to teach doctrine.
Children are taught to be good. There’s nothing wrong with teaching children our values, but if we teach them the goal is to be good or good enough, we’re teaching them another way of salvation other than through Jesus Christ. We’re teaching them we can be good enough on our own. If we introduce them to Christ, He will convict and convince them when it comes to morality.
Children aren’t taught to memorize Scripture. Remember in the past, during Sunday School, where we would get prizes for memorizing Scripture. Teachers drilled the Word of God into the hearts of children so they would know the truth when a lie was presented. When we don’t expect children to read of memorize Bible verses, they won’t know the truth. It isn’t unreasonable to expect them to learn Scripture when teachers expect hours of homework every night.
Being successful in the world has become more important than following after God. When we keep children home from church to do their homework or to play a sport, aren’t we doing that? The church community used to be important to Christians. It was what the early church was built upon. Now we teach children church isn’t that important. If church isn’t important, children will come to believe God isn’t important.
Evangelism isn’t stressed. The martyrs of the early church died to share the Gospel of Christ. It is sometimes said the church was built on the blood of the saints. Many churches never mention the martyrs, even the ones in the Bible. They encourage children not to talk about Christianity, or they teach that we all worship the same God. We don’t.
Children aren’t included in prayer and worship. It used to be children were included when a church had a prayer meeting or a worship night. They were taught how to pray and expected to pray, and they were expected to worship during worship times. Now, they never have the opportunity in church to pray for anyone, and if they ever are in the main service, they sit or play during worship time instead of being encouraged to participate.
These are some of the ways children’s ministries and the church have failed children. Is it any wonder they fall away when they’re older. They never knew the real Christ to begin with. I’d love to hear your thoughts.