Today [circa 1985], in the Christian world, we see a spectre rising in the greatest of all the [non-Christian] cults; it is the doctrine of universalism. Karl Barth taught it; neo-orthodoxy teaches it, it is the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees—and it reaches out—and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale [mentor to Robert Schuller] has become a convert to it. Dr. Peale no longer believes in the existence of hell; he no longer believes in a personal devil, he no longer believes in everlasting punishment.

Well then, what are you saved from? What did Jesus die for; to tap you on the wrist and say, “All-ee, all-ee in free.” Christ died for our sin; because the penalty of our sins is eternal spiritual death. I’m concerned about the kingdom of the cults and the occult—there’s 84 million people, going to hell. Somebody says, “You don’t really think that.” Well let me tell you, if you deny that Jesus Christ is God eternal, where do you think you’re gonna go?

And if you don’t think anybody’s going there, you had better get into your Bible—and as quickly as possible—because without the preaching of hell, there’s never revival. You’ll never have revival in the Christian church unless you warn people of what’s going on. You know one of the reasons evangelism has died on the mission field; because people have given up believing that God intends to punish! Well, He does.

I’m not a hard-shelled Southern Baptist preaching hell fire and brimstone because that’s my background. It isn’t my background. I’m a liberal Episcopalian, Roman Catholic, agnostic, that got saved. Hallelujah. I come by my witness of the Spirit the hard way… I want to tell you something, I have nothing against Dr. Peale; I have nothing against…people in the Christian world who are doing things like this.

But you better believe I have something against the doctrine that they’re preaching! And if I keep quiet, the stones’ll roar; because God will not let Himself [be] without a witness. We cannot afford to have heresy leavening the [visible] Christian church because we are afraid to offend people in high places. The minute you sell the truth; the minute you are willing to give in on your position as a representative of Jesus Christ, the nose of the camel is in your tent.

And it won’t be long before you’ll be on the outside, and the camel will be inside. I want you to look at something; and I want you to look at it hard. The leaven of the Sadducees and the Pharisees and the Herodians is all around us. Whatever denomination you go into and you find a man who says Jesus Christ is other then God Himself in human flesh; there it is. Wherever you go and you find a person saying Jesus Christ is not risen from the dead, in His own body; there it is.

Wherever you find a person saying Jesus is one way for the Christians, but Mohammad is for the [Muslims], Buddha is for the Buddhist; that is the leaven of the Sadducees. And wherever you go in and you hear people proclaiming that there is no eternal judgment, that God is not going to deal finally with sin—as Jesus said—then you are dealing with the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and perhaps, even of the Herodians.

The main thing is, the danger is here. Now people, characteristically and historically, do not like to be told about danger. That’s a living fact of history. People never take kindly to being warned; because they don’t want to be disturbed. Jesus disturbed everybody; He upset everyone. Now, you’ll find the Apostle Paul echoing this also. 1 Corinthians, chapter 5, “purge, therefore, the old leaven”; verse 7, “that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened.”

“For even Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians, chapter 5, tells you that the Christian is to purge out the leaven. Well, it [doesn’t mean] purge out the leaven in your life. It means purge out the leaven in the church. And if people are teaching false doctrine, and if they are leading people astray with it, they should not be permitted the free exercise of [their teaching within] the Body of Christ; because a little leaven can make the whole lump sour.[1]

Walter Martin (1928-1989)


End notes:

[1] Walter Martin, The Annihilation of Hell, CD Rom).

See also: