If Non-Christians can Go to Heaven, Why should Christians Evangelize?

Here is a Spiritual Conundrum submitted to Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life by a reader named SeunAlaba:

In 1 of your articles-“If there is one God, why so many religions; & is it only Christians that go to heaven”, you revealed some very enlightening points, but then, there’s just 1 question which seems irreconcilable to the things you wrote. From what I was able to gather, it seems to me as though there would be no point of evangelizing any longer; so my question is are Christians still supposed to evangelize; if yes, to who, & for what end & to what purpose?

SeunAlaba went on to say in a recent comment on the same article:

Thanks for this article Sir. I just have an observation & a question. if it is just as this article suggests it is, it then means we are not supposed to evangelize. Perhaps, my deduction could be wrong, hence the question- what exactly is evangelism? To whom is it to be directed? who should do it? How is it to be done? & to what end & for what purpose should it be done?

These are all excellent questions. Thanks for asking!

The commandment to evangelize comes straight from Jesus Christ himself. Here are Jesus’ final words to his disciples in the Gospel of Matthew:

All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18–20)

Christians have been following this “Great Commission” ever since—leading to the great spread of Christianity throughout much of the world.

One of the driving forces behind the Christian compulsion to evangelize has been the belief that non-Christians go to hell. Many Christians put tremendous energy into converting non-Christians because they believe that they are doing an eternal favor to all the people they manage to “save” by inducing them to believe in Jesus. That is why they are so persistent.

On the other hand, Christians who believe that non-Christians can go to heaven don’t have that driving force compelling them to convert everyone from the corner grocer to major pop stars and sports heroes. And quite frankly, it’s made many of them lazy and complacent about “making disciples of all nations” as Jesus commanded his followers to do.

Perhaps that’s one reason why, under God’s providence, so many Christians are allowed to believe that only Christians can be saved. While they are missing the greater point, at least someone is following the Great Commission and spreading Christianity to all the nations!

But there are better reasons for evangelizing. Let’s dig into your questions, and tease out some of those reasons.

Jesus is God

We’ll start by looking more closely at the Great Commission itself.

In the Gospel of Matthew, on the morning of Jesus’ resurrection, two women identified as “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary” (Matthew 28:1) went to Jesus’ tomb. There they encountered a powerful angel who gave them the good news of Jesus’ resurrection, and instructed them to tell Jesus’ disciples to meet him in Galilee. As they hurried away to do this,

Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:9-10)

This set the stage for the Great Commission:

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16–20)

First, notice that when the eleven disciples saw Jesus, they worshiped him. This means that according to the Bible, Jesus is God.

How do we know this?

In the book of Revelation, the apostle John twice made motions to worship the angel that was speaking to him. Here is what happened:

Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10)

And again:

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me; but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!” (Revelation 22:8–9)

Here the angel twice says that only God is to be worshiped. If Jesus were not God, he would have prevented his disciples from worshiping him. Instead, he not only accepted their worship, but went on to say, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

All power in heaven and on earth? Only God has all power in heaven and on earth. Jesus Christ is the human presence of God. All of God’s power is expressed in and through Jesus Christ. (See the article, “Who is God? Who is Jesus Christ? What about that Holy Spirit?”)

Why did Jesus command us to evangelize?

One reason to evangelize, then, is to spread the good news that the all-powerful God of the universe has become human and present with us as Jesus Christ our Lord.

Think about it.

In the Great Commission, Jesus did not say, “All non-Christians are going to hell. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.”

No, he said, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.”

Christians who evangelize because they think all non-Christians are going to hell aren’t doing it for the reason Jesus Christ commanded us to evangelize.

Jesus Christ commanded us to evangelize because he is God, and he wants everyone to know that. When we know and realize that Jesus Christ has all power in heaven and on earth, we gain access to that power of God so that God can work personally in our lives.

Even non-Christians are saved by the Lord God Jesus Christ. There is no other God, and no other power to save. (For more on this, please see the article, “Is Jesus Christ the Only Way to Heaven?”) But those who know their Savior are able to know directly and personally the God who saves them.

There is power, joy, and peace in having a direct and personal relationship with God. This is a power, joy, and peace that only Christianity offers. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.”

As I said in the article If there’s One God, Why All the Different Religions? all religions have the basic beliefs and teachings needed to believe in God, live a good life, and find our way to heaven. Further, every religion has its own unique perspective and insights to offer to its adherents and to the world.

If the Bible is correct—and I believe it is—then what Christianity has to offer is the fullest and most direct understanding of God as an infinitely loving, wise, and human presence with us here on earth. This human God, who is Jesus Christ, is the same God who has infinite power to give eternal joy and peace in heaven to all people of every religion who are willing to accept it by loving God and loving their fellow human beings.

That is the good news we are commanded to spread to all the nations. It is the good news that the infinite, almighty God of the universe is present with us as Jesus Christ our Lord.

What, exactly, is evangelism?

Evangelization is, quite literally, spreading the good news.

The word “evangelize” comes from the Greek word euangelizo. This word is formed from two Greek words: eu, meaning “good, well, happy” and angello, meaning “to bring a message.” (“Angels” in Greek are messengers.)

So when we evangelize, we are bringing good news to people.

In the case of Christianity, it is the good news of Jesus Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection, his love and compassion for us, and his teachings for our life both here on earth and forever in heaven.

Whom should we evangelize?

Most Christians would agree that evangelizing means spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.

The next question is, to whom should we spread that message?

Jesus said, “Make disciples of all the nations.”

So the first point is that the good news of Jesus Christ is meant for people of every nationality and race. As the apostle Paul put it, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

We are not commanded to evangelize those who aren’t interested

However, in practice, when Jesus sent out his disciples to evangelize, he told them not to waste their time with those who did not want to hear the message:

Jesus said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” (Mark 6:10–11)

Yes, in other places Jesus had harsh words for those who would not listen to the good news. But notice that he did not tell his disciples to keep trying over and over again to convert those who would not listen. Instead, he told them that when they encountered such people, they should “shake the dust off their feet.” Among other things, this means letting those people go and leaving them behind.

To put it in more contemporary terms, our job as Christian evangelists is not to try to convert people who are not interested in the message we’re offering.

If people have a religion or a belief that works for them, and they are happy with it, it is not our job to try to change their minds and get them to see things our way.

Once again, as I said in the article “If there’s One God, Why All the Different Religions?” God is present in all the religions of the world. If people believe in God and are living a life of love and concern for their fellow human beings based on their particular religion, God is already active there. We can happily think of them as fellow members of God’s universal church, or spiritual community, on earth.

We are commanded to evangelize those who are confused, searching, hurting, or on the wrong track

Instead, our job is to offer the good news to people who are struggling and seeking answers. We are also commanded to reach out to those who are enslaved to selfish, materialistic, and destructive ways of thinking, feeling, and living. When Jesus sent out his disciples to spread the good news,

They went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. (Mark 6:12–13)

“Repenting” means leaving behind selfish, greedy, and destructive thoughts and actions, and turning our life over to God and goodness instead. And spiritually speaking:

  • “Casting out demons” means helping people to overcome inner “demons” such as hopelessness, despair, and a sense of personal worthlessness.
  • “Anointing with oil” means offering love, compassion, and concern to those who feel that no one loves them or cares about them.
  • “Curing those who are sick” means helping people to overcome the mental sickness of false and crippling beliefs that prevent them from moving forward with their lives.

In short, Jesus commands us to spread the good news to all who are engaged in evil and destructive lives, and to all who are hurt, confused, searching, and in need of God’s love, wisdom, and presence.

How should we evangelize?

Just as there are many different kinds of people in many different situations, there are many different ways to evangelize.

The primary message that John the Baptist, Jesus, and Jesus’ disciples proclaimed on their travels was, “Repent, for the kingdom of God and heaven is near.” See, for example, Matthew 3:1–2; 4:17; Mark 1:14–15; 6:12; Acts 2:38.

Of course, not everyone listened to their message. Many kept right on living evil and destructive lives. But for us, the message is that when we see someone whose life is on the wrong track, and whom we think we may be able to reach, it is our job as Christians to reach out to that person and call him or her to leave behind evil and destructive ways, turn his or her life over to God, and begin a new life.

Exactly how we do this depends on the situation. But at a minimum, it should be done, not with a message of condemnation and a sense of superiority, but with a message of love, truth, compassion, and reconciliation. Our job is to be Christ’s messengers in raising people up to a better and happier way of life.

Jesus’ disciples also went out to tell people about Jesus Christ and his message. And so it is our job as Christians to teach and inform those who are seeking understanding and enlightenment.

To do this, of course, we must first read and study the Bible for ourselves, and learn from good and enlightened teachers about the Bible’s meaning and message. And as we learn, we can share what we have discovered with anyone whom we think may be interested, and who may appreciate it also.

Once again, it’s not our job to shove anything down the throats of people who are not interested. There are, however, many people who are searching for answers. We can offer them the answers we have found in our own spiritual searchings, and in our own walk with Jesus Christ.

Building on this, one of the most effective ways of evangelizing is simply to tell your story. Why did you seek out Christ and Christianity? What was your life like before you were a Christian? How has your heart, your mind, your life changed for the better since you accepted Jesus Christ? People who will not listen to a doctrinal dissertation may be much more willing to listen to your personal story of what your beliefs and your faith in Jesus have done for you.

And one more for now. Jesus sent out his disciples to cure the sick. This is a form of evangelization that goes beyond words, teachings, and beliefs.

Of course, missions of mercy to those who are physically sick are an excellent way of spreading God’s love. However, even those of us who are not doctors and nurses can heed Jesus’ call to heal the sick. There are millions of people out there who are heartsick, who are spiritually sick, who are struggling with emotional and spiritual distress of all kinds. By offering them our love, our compassion, our understanding, our support, we can help them to rise up from their emotional and spiritual sickbed, and walk forward on their journey of life (see John 5:1–9) .

These are just a few of the many ways we can spread the good news of Jesus Christ. If you are ready and willing to serve as God’s messenger, Jesus will suggest to your heart many more ways that you can spread the good news to your fellow human beings.

What is the purpose of evangelizing?

By now, perhaps the question of why and to what purpose we should evangelize is becoming clear.

There are many people out there who are in pain and are struggling through life. There are many people who are walking on a path that leads toward personal and spiritual destruction. There are many people who desperately long for answers to questions that perplex their minds and tear at their hearts.

Jesus Christ sends us out to bring good news to all of these people.

There are so many who need help, and so few to do the work:

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:35–38)

You may be only one person, but God put you here on earth for a reason. There are people you can reach that no one else is in a position to touch. They may be family members. They may be friends. They may be co-workers. Or they may be people you meet on the street or get to know in the local diner where you eat breakfast.

When you see someone who is hurting, or on the wrong track, or seeking help and answers, Jesus Christ is commanding you to “go and make disciples of all the nations.” It doesn’t matter who the person is. It doesn’t matter what race or nationality. It doesn’t matter if it’s a man or a woman. It doesn’t matter if they’re rich and successful or poor and downtrodden.

No matter what someone’s situation may be here on earth, we have a message of spiritual good news to offer. It is a healing message. It is a message of comfort and hope. It is a message that can turn people’s lives around. It is a message that can bring joy, purpose, and meaning to the lives of those who have only struggles, sorrow, and pain.

That is why Jesus sends us out to make disciples of all the nations. The Lord God Jesus Christ loves every single person on earth. And God has sent us to proclaim that good news to everyone who is in need of it, and has ears to hear it.

The spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
(Luke 4:18–19; Isaiah 61:1–2)

This article is a response to a spiritual conundrum submitted by a reader.

For further reading:


Lee Woofenden is an ordained minister, writer, editor, translator, and teacher. He enjoys taking spiritual insights from the Bible and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and putting them into plain English as guides for everyday life.

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Posted in All About God, Spiritual Growth
20 comments on “If Non-Christians can Go to Heaven, Why should Christians Evangelize?
  1. Walt Childs says:

    I like this article a lot. It is clear and helps us to know who God is and what we should do out of our love for him. It also clears up a lot of confusion I have had concerning this topic. Thanks for sharing it, Lee.

  2. SeunAlaba says:

    Thank you so much sir for the article and for the beautiful insights you shared. It adequately and exhaustively answered my questions,& it has been most helpful. Thanks

  3. Paul Hierholzer says:

    Good stuff Lee. I totally agree that evangelization should NOT be motivated by damnation. I contend that witness on the basis of fear of damnation is worthless. I LOVE Jesus and I identify Him as Lord and Saviour. But there are many pieces of scripture, much to my chagrin, that do condemn the faithless (those that do not believe He is God). You cited one in this article: “If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” You addressed the shaking off of the dust nicely, but you did not address the “testimony against them.” Why did he instruct this? Why do those people need to have a “testimony against them?” (I am assuming that the thing they would not accept was Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Perhaps that wasn’t it. Perhaps they were living destructive lives and he instructed a testimony against that. But certainly there are other places in scripture where non-Christians are condemned: Mark 16:16: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” John 3:18: “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:36: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” etc

    I truly believe that “good” people will go to heaven, weather they believe in Jesus or not, which is of course an outrage to fundamentalists. I truly believe that whoever lives as Jesus instructed (whoever lives a “good” life), but for whatever reason is unable to connect with Jesus as Lord and Saviour is still going to heaven. But I admit there are parts of scripture that say otherwise. What do you say?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Paul,

      It’s a great question–one that deserves an entire post of its own. For now, here are a few thoughts that might help:

      When Jesus sent his disciples out to evangelize, their job was not to tell people about Jesus Christ and condemn those who didn’t believe what they said about him. They were sent out to call people to repentance, to cast out demons, and to heal the sick. Whether or not people believed in Jesus has to be read in that context.

      What sort of people refuse to repent from their evil deeds, and harden their hearts against people who come among them to cast out demons and heal people who are sick?

      This is not a matter of mere belief in some teaching about Jesus Christ. It’s a matter of refusing to leave behind evil ways of life, and rejecting and turning their backs on those who come to help and to heal.

      When the Bible says “belief,” it is not talking about a mere intellectual faith and acceptance of some teaching. Rather, it is talking about a willingness to repent, reform ourselves, and accept the power of God into our lives. People who reject these things are not merely rejecting correct beliefs as we think of them today; they are rejecting the power and goodness of God because they are engaged in selfish and materialistic lives, and are unwilling to leave those selfish and materialistic–i.e., evil–ways behind.

      This is what Jesus was talking about when he said to Nicodemus:

      “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” (John 3:17-21)

      The world was at a very low ebb spiritually, morally, and ethically when Jesus came to save us. Most people were focused on themselves, and on money and power in this world. If they rejected the message of Jesus and his disciples, they were rejecting repentance, goodness, and God. That rejection of God and rejection of goodness in heart, mind, and life–and not mere intellectual rejection of some religious doctrine–was what condemned those who refused to hear and believe the message.

  4. Paul Hierholzer says:

    I agree. More than He wants us to worship Him, He wants us to imitate Him.

    I have this ongoing tension and resentment with fundamentalism (which I so need to let go of). I see much of scripture from that tension perspective. But as you pointed out, I think, at least they’re waving Jesus flags and offering altar calls while the rest of us are pondering deeper elements of our walk with the Lord. It just seems their “Believe this or your doomed” approach turns a lot of people off and has the opposite effect of pushing people AWAY from the Lord. Who wants to be coerced by fear into a relationship with God? Maybe some people need that. Certainly the Old Testament would suggest they do. Scripture is not always easy and cohesive. It has an innate tension as well. Perhaps it needs to in order to embrace the whole range of us–the dogmatists, the rebels, and the moderates. Thanks for your writings.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Paul,

      Yes, the purpose of worship is to get us to imitate the Lord. The whole purpose of our life on earth is to create us as new beings in the image and likeness of God. There are other ways of expressing it, of course. Still, everything else, including faith, belief, worship, ritual, doctrine, and so on is useless unless it is leading us to be more like our Creator. And that means becoming more loving and wise, and being useful and helpful to our fellow human beings.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Paul,

      About fundamentalism, it might help to understand that there are three basic levels of spiritual development, and three basic types of religion adapted to those levels:

      1. Obedience
      2. Understanding
      3. Love

      For those on the level of obedience the mindset is that if God says something, you believe it and do it without question. There is often a strong element of fear of punishment if one does not obey. Any sort of questioning or reasoning about God’s commands is considered hubristic and dangerous.

      For those on the level of understanding, religion moves toward study, learning, questioning, comprehending God’s will, and pressing our lives into harmony with God’s will because we know and understand that that is the right thing to do and the best way to live. This level of religion tends to involve a lot of self-compulsion and inner battles.

      For those on the level of love, it’s all about feeling God as a loving presence, and expressing that love to others. There is a great deal of inner peace, joy, and gladness in it, because when we are in this state we are acting from the heart, and our head and hands are in harmony with our heart.

      Another way of looking at it is as being led by the hands, by the head, or by the heart.

      Though people are naturally sorted out into hands, head, and heart types, these also represent a progression that we pass through in the process of our spiritual rebirth.

      Fundamentalists, of course, are largely on the level of obedience. They have a rather simple, black-and-white view of the Bible and of God’s will, and they don’t consider it their part to question what they see as the teaching of the Bible. God, after all, is the one in charge, so even if God’s system may be highly suspect by human standards, who are we to question God? (However, there is a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation about what God’s system actually is.)

      The corollary to this is that fundamentalism can serve as a gateway to further growth into the later stages of Christian life. Starting out, many, if not most of us are motivated by rewards and punishments. Fundamentalism serves ’em up. It is popular because it is adapted to the low stage of spiritual development at which much of the population is living.

      So as much as I agree with you that fundamentalism is annoying and off-putting, for many people it is the pathway into a Christian faith and life.

      And the Bible, as you suggest, must appeal to that level of spiritual development just as it must appeal to the others. God had a very complex job to do in writing a Bible that could reach people at all levels of spiritual development or lack thereof. So we find in the Bible everything from horrible tales of war, abuse, and bloodshed to sublime spiritual philosophy that stretches our minds to powerful love that moves and inspires our hearts.

      • I think the appeal of fundamentalism is certainty and, specifically, certainty about your eternal destiny. You can be sure that you will go to Heaven, no matter what. That’s what motivated me to switch from Catholicism to evangelical Christianity. Ephesians 1:14: “When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” Your are guaranteed Heaven and the Holy Spirit is given to you as a deposit. Obviously, in spite of my more critical attitude of evangelical theology, that is something I would really like to hold on. The other theologies leave me wondering if I am “good enough.”

        • Lee says:

          Hi deepthinkingdave,

          Yes, many people do like a sense of certainty and security in the midst of this uncertain and insecure life.

          In fact, the article, “Did Jesus Really Die to Pay the Penalty for our Sins?!?” was originally a sermon—one of the first I ever preached way back in the fall of 1996—in response to a fundamentalist tract that someone had slipped through the church’s mail slot. On its cover in big letters was the question, “Are You 100% Sure?” And if that teaser was enough to get you to open it up instead of delivering it straight to the circular file, the next thing you’d see was, “Here is how you can be 100% sure that you are going to Heaven . . . .”

          Unfortunately, there really is no guarantee of certainty that human beings can give. From my perspective, there is the certainty that God wants to save every one of us. But the choice of whether to accept that salvation remains in our hands. And that’s not something we can do merely by believing the right thing and saying the right words.

          I think the “certainty” appeal works best for those who feel they have little control over their lives, and who feel the need of some sort of crutch to grab onto.

          That’s not necessarily a bad thing. People who can’t walk in faith often need crutches to get going. It’s just a limited thing. Because people on crutches still can’t walk freely. And salvation still depends on turning sinners into righteous people—which happens only through a lifelong process.

          I do think that once people take their first serious step toward heaven by repenting from their sins (i.e., their wrong and destructive ways of living), believing in the Lord (for Christians), and starting a new and more Christian life, they will be heading to heaven instead of to hell even if they die early on in the process. It would be better for them to get farther along that path here on earth, but our ultimate home in heaven depends, not on where we’re coming from or even where we are, but on what direction we’re going in at the time of our death. We may still be pretty close to hell, but if we’re on our way out of hell when we die, we’re still heading toward heaven.

          Personally, a guarantee of certain heaven isn’t really a big draw for me. I think it would make me lazy, thinking that I’ve already arrived, so that there’s no need for me to really put my back into it. Just relax and let Jesus do the work. That, to me, is not a good attitude for growing in Christian life and faith. So I do think of it as a crutch for those who are weak in faith—a crutch that should be left behind when one’s faith has been strengthened enough to walk more freely.

          About not being “good enough”: That, I think, is a result of a sneaking suspicion, or an outright belief, that God really is a judgmental, condemnatory, angry sort of guy who constantly has his finger on the “smite” button, ready to push it at the least provocation from us poor slobs down here on earth.

          God at His computer

          But that’s not how I think of God. I think of God as pure love, pure forgiveness, pure mercy—a being who dearly loves us and wants to give us happiness and heaven if we will only open our hearts, minds, and hands and let God in. As a result, I don’t really worry about being “good enough” for God, or for salvation. I am concerned more about getting the devil in me under control (but not by my own power), and doing my best for God and for God’s children here on earth.

          I fall short all the time. But since I believe in a God of love, I don’t believe God judges me harshly, but rather has compassion on me in my poor attempts to live up to the incredible love and mercy that God has shown me. So I pick myself up and keep going on the path that God has shown me, doing what’s in front of me, and leaving my ultimate salvation in God’s loving and wise hands.

    • There is a positive side of evangelicalism as well. You are guaranteed Heaven. Ephesian 1:14: “When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” This has tremendous appeal. So it’s not just fear of God that motivates them, it is the gift of Heaven.

  5. Paul Hierholzer says:

    Well put Lee.

    I hope to read the Swedenborg books on my desk which I bought recently after learning about him here. Sounds MOST interesting.

    God Bless and Happy New Year. May your ministry find great success.

    • Lee says:

      Thanks very much, Paul. I appreciate it.

      Let me know how it goes with the Swedenborg books. And if you have any questions as you read, please don’t hesitate to ask.

      Best blessings in the new year to you and yours!

  6. Roy Firus says:

    Hello! ” Casting out demons” means helping people to overcome inner “demons” such as hopelessness, despair, and a sense of personal worthlessness.” How do you know that this does not refer to the actual casting out of demons as in demonic possesion ? Do you believe that demonic possesion is not possible ? It so -do you have any Biblical statements to support your position ? Thank-you.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Roy,

      Demonic possession in the New Testament sense of being physically possessed by demons against one’s will is no longer possible because Jesus overcame the Devil and took that power away from the Devil.

      However, that doesn’t mean that demons can no longer possess people. Just that it is a mental possession rather than a physical one. And it can be hard to tell the difference, because the mind controls the body, so that people whose minds are under the influence of evil spirits will physically act out based on the messages those evil spirits are putting into their minds.

      Every time we have negative thoughts and feelings that urge us toward destructive actions that harm ourselves or other people, that is the influence of evil spirits on our mind. The inner demons such as hopelessness, despair, and a sense of personal worthlessness are not just metaphorical demons, but actual demons and evil spirits that are surrounding us and doing their best to drag our heart, mind, and spirit down to destruction.

      I’m well aware that this is considered “unscientific” and “superstitious” today. But science today generally rejects the spiritual world altogether. In doing so, it deprives us of some of the greatest and most effective tools in combating depression, despair, and what is medically called “mental illness.”

      For more on this, take a look at the YouTube channel of Dr. Jerry Marzinsky. See also my two-part article on “Facing our Demons of Darkness, Depression, and Mental Illness,” and the discussion following each part.

      • Roy Firus says:

        I agree with your concept of demons and evil spirits trying to influence people but there have been many examples of demonic possesion that include superhuman strength . I suppose these could be a extreme example of mind over matter but the Roman Catholic Church I believes that there are 4 possible signs of demonic possesion ( I’m not 100% sure on this-there could be more )1.Talking in a foreign language with no prior training.2.Telling the furture.3.Disgust and anger when seeing a Bible or a Cross with Jesus on it.4.Super human strength. (P.S. I’m not Catholic.) May I ask you :1…”.is no longer possible because Jesus overcame the Devil and took that power away from the Devil.” Do you have any Biblical support statements for that belief ? 2.Do you believe that evil spirits are the same as demons or do you belive there is a difference? Thank-you.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Roy,

          The difference between physical possession and mental possession is a rather small point. This sort of thing isn’t detailed in the Bible. In physical possession, a spirit actually inhabits a person’s body and takes direct control of the person’s senses and muscular system, so that the spirit is living in the person’s body. In mental possession, a spirit gains at least partial control of the person’s mind, and can cause the person to say and do things physically, but the control is not so complete, and the spirit is not living in the person’s body.

          Perhaps there are still some cases of physical possession. If so, they are very rare. Mental possession, though, is much more common, though it is usually given the name of some mental illness.

          In loose talk, “evil spirits” and “demons” are commonly used to refer generally to evil spirits. In more technical talk, as Swedenborg uses the terms, “evil spirits” is a general term for all evil spirits, “satans” refers to evil spirits that focus on falsity and deception, and on attacking people’s ideas and thinking mind, and “demons” refers to the more malevolent evil spirits that are focused more directly on hatred, anger, and attacking and destroying people’s will, emotions, motivation, and love.

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Lee & Annette Woofenden

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