Two Young Men
Aug 30, 2009
I spoke at a conference in northern Minnesota yesterday. There I met two young men. The first approached me and told me that he had previously been greatly troubled that God would torture people in hell forever. Someone had given him a copy of Creation's Jubilee, and this had helped to set him free of his bitterness against God.
While we were talking, another young man walked up to us and began to question me about my belief that God would save everyone. He spoke of Scriptures talking about "eternal damnation" and "the lake of fire" and all the usual Scriptures that I grew up knowing so well. This young man was not at truth-seeker, but a heresy hunter.
What a difference.
The heresy hunter had been given a list of heresies to hunt, no doubt by some Bible teacher or preacher that he loved and admired. He had obviously been told ABOUT the restoration of all things, but had never read anything by one who actually taught it. All he knew was what an opponent had told him, and he was on a mission to stamp it out wherever it could be found.
He would ask about six questions at a time, which was totally unfair, because it was impossible to answer even one question before he had voiced another six questions. While I was answering his questions, he was reloading his heresy shotgun without bothering to listen to what I was saying.
I know this because his next questions completely ignored what I had just said. It was as if he had heard nothing. His ears needed to be circumcised.
No one really understands the truth of a matter until he has honestly read or heard the viewpoints that he opposes. A person may read The Kingdom of the Cults and think that he now knows all about cults, but the fact is, unless he has walked a mile in their shoes, he really knows nothing. Worse yet, because he now fancies himself to be educated, his "light" is even greater darkness than before.
It made no difference to the heresy hunter that in my early years I had zealously held his viewpoint for longer than he had been alive. I knew his viewpoint better than he did. But he had no interest in knowing about my journey and how I had discovered that my hell-fire upbringing was unbiblical. He had absolutely no curiosity as he concentrated fully on shooting and reloading.
I gave both of these young men a copy of my book, The Restoration of All Things, knowing full well that the first young man would read it carefully and look up the Scriptures to see if these things were so; but the other man would probably burn it to prove his devotion to Jesus. Great will be his reward in heaven, no doubt.
I have learned over the years to look for truth-seekers and to avoid heresy hunters. Truth seekers may conclude differently from my point of view, but they are people that I can be friends with, regardless. The other type, however, are people to avoid, because if they don't kill you, they will most certainly waste your time.
When I teach the Word, it sows the word in many different types of soil. Then comes the time when we find the few who represent fertile ground, where the Word can take root and flourish. Those are the "fields" that are worth taking the time to weed and cultivate.
It was very helpful to me years ago when I discovered that I was not personally responsible to evangelize the whole world. When I learned that this was the job of the Holy Spirit, I was able to relax and enjoy life. And rather than beat anyone into subjection by the Word of God, I learned to find out who actually was a truth-seeker, and then help them find what they are looking for. Rather than form adversarial relationships, I learned to be a helper and a servant to assist them in their search for truth.
I guess it took a few years under my belt and a few gray hairs (or fewer hairs) to learn to calm down and enjoy the simple life of serving others.
Dr. Stephen Jones