Steve Chalke: Will only Christians go to Heaven?

Steve Chalke is really enjoying himself. He’s such a rebel, taking on the evangelical establishment, challenging its most cherished teachings and fundamental principles. He’s attacked penal substitution and traditional views on gender and marriage. The latest target upon which his sights are set is entry to heaven. God does not reserve heaven for Christians alone, asserts Chalke, but all people. Saying that only Christians go to heaven is God playing a "geographical lottery":

"What if the good residents of Kent had been raised instead in Kurdistan, or those born in Bournemouth had found themselves starting life in Baghdad instead? Are not many of us who are Western Christians, Christians only because we are Western? Surely, if the most devout Christians had been raised in an Islamic context they would be, very likely, devout Muslims?"

“Is the God of love really content to consign the vast majority of the population of earth to judgement & some kind of hell? Would God - a God who is universal love - ordain that only the Christian minority of the human race can be rescued?”

In his first point, he assumes that all or most people in Kent are Christians. I’m sure the churches there would beg to differ. The vast majority of people in Britain are apathetic or hostile to the Gospel. I like Roger Carswell’s oxymoronic description: militant apathy. Chalke discounts all this. His gospel of social justice and community development reduces Christianity to a set of moral principles. That’s his error. Chalke has therefore misunderstood the meaning of ‘Christian’, which is odd, but no longer surprising. A Christian is not someone who has white skin and western values. A Christian is a repentant sinner saved by Christ’s death on the cross. Such people come from all races, tribes, languages and peoples. They are found in China, India, Africa, Europe and the Americas. As the ‘vast majority’ of people reject God’s offer of sins forgiven, they will pay for their own crimes in eternity.

Let’s take his argument a little further. Could ‘a God of universal love’ consign a tiny minority, rather than ‘a vast majority’, of people to ‘judgement & some kind of hell’? Presumably not. The god described here is a god of Chalke’s own imagining. The God of the Bible combines His wonderful love with a terrible sense of justice. 

We should really stop reporting this man’s outbursts. It’s only newsworthy because he was once at the heart of the evangelical camp. He’s now well without it, and the sooner we acknowledge he’s just another well-meaning but tedious, old-fashioned liberal, the better.