147,000,000 Orphans Spared from Hell

2011/07/haiti_orphan_600px.jpg

As many of you know, orphans have captured my heart. In my inspirational book for American parents, One Million Arrows: Raising Your Children to Change the World, I urged them as, at least part of their family mission, to invest in the plight of orphaned and abandoned children worldwide, whether via relief organizations or adoption. I’ve also spent significant time working with rescued orphans, listening to their impossibly heart-wrenching stories of rejection, abandonment, fear, abuse, starvation, and complete desperation.

In short, I love orphans and I believe God loves them infinitely much more. But not so long ago, I honestly thought (because I was taught this growing up in church) that all orphans who didn’t hear about Jesus and accept Him before they died, were going to hell.

How utterly depressing.

There are an estimated 147,000,000 orphans in our world today, most of whom will be going to hell according to mainstream Christianity. What’s odd though is that while God commands throughout his Word for us to assist orphans and widows (feed them and defend their rights), he never once commands us to to share the Gospel with them or to help snatch them from the fiery eternal flames.

“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress…” (James 1:27).

Never once does He (or anyone else) say to share the Gospel with them or snatch them from eternal flames.

If God were planning to send most of the world’s poorest of the poor to hell because they don’t (and can’t) believe in Him now, why would He care about meeting their physical needs while they’re alive? I don’t see what difference it would make for these outcasts to have a few extra years of full stomachs while living in a “hell on earth” in every other way. We’d basically be prolonging their suffering and giving them a little pat on the back before sending them off to everlasting doom.

Many of the orphans I’ve met would welcome a quick departure from the horrible existence they face daily in this world—sickness, starvation, terror, loneliness, abuse, complete rejection, sex slavery, and many other forms of exploitation. Should I expect that because nobody shared the Gospel with them that they will endlessly burn in hell after a few years of hell on earth?

The simple fact is that all orphans and widows are very near and dear to the heart of the Father and He has no intention of rejecting them or sending them to hell. His intention is for us to demonstrate His Fatherly heart toward them, feeding them and caring for their needs as an extension of “God’s love with skin on.” In fact, isn’t that the purpose of the Gospel—to impart the life we’ve been given to others, beginning right now?

Happy orphans in West Bengal

Happy Dance!

Perhaps, as we contemplate the plight of orphans, we will come to recognize that we are also orphans who have needed a hand out of the gutter of life. Because of sin and separation from our true Father, we have all been orphaned and hung out to dry. Yet we will all be found—adopted back into the family as sons and daughters—every last one. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18).

Though their lives in this world are so difficult, orphans and widows are the very heartbeat of God. I feel so much happier knowing that ALL those that we are unable to reach will someday be given a front row ticket to provision, protection, and happiness. Every tear will be wiped away, and every want will be filled. Can you imagine the happy heart of the Adoptive Daddy when He brings all of His children home from the gutters?

Adapted excerpt from my latest book, Raising Hell: Christianity’s Most Controversial Doctrine Put Under Fire. Order your copy on Amazon today!

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  • Dee

    I downloaded a copy of your book and spent days reading and studying and researching. I was raised in an ultra-conservative Christian home and heard fire and brimstone preaching all the time. I grew up thinking that God was always angry with me because that is what was lived out in my home and church. We were screamed at if we did anything wrong, threatened with severe punishment (eternal!) and told that God's love would be turned away and we would experience His Wrath.
    I struggled with this until at some point in my adult life, I started thinking for myself. At some point, I realized that if there were "levels" of reward (see Corinthians "wood, hay and stubble") and even the "worst" Christian would not "lose their salvation" but would just receive no reward, then I believed there must be levels of punishment as well. I saw that people would be judged based on their works… I no longer accepted that everyone else would go to hell without being given a chance by a God who loves justice and mercy. I realized that the New Jerusalem in Revelations was prepared for "The Bride" which was the elect who did receive God's gift of salvation and were washed without spot or blemish. But on earth were many who were rulers and judges over the rest of the inhabitants of the New Earth…
    But I was still stuck… I could not bring myself to share the gospel with others because of the negative reputation that Christians have made for themselves in our society. Most people I met were happy and content without all the heavy weights that came with being a Christian. Somehow, I still had not found what Jesus had promised "my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
    Once I read your book and understood that Universalism does not mean "all roads lead to heaven" but that all would still come through Jesus Christ, it was easier to open my mind.
    I have followed your posts for several years now and always welcome those that challenge me to think and study. This is the first time in many years that I spent days digging and reading and studying for myself. I don't go to church anymore because I can't find one that truly demonstrates the love and grace of Christ and welcomes questioning of traditional dogma…

    Thanks for making the download available!

  • Joy

    Congratulations Julie on the work you are doing. I am sure that you are sharing the gospel with all the orphans you meet and with all other persons with whom you come into contact. God has prepared good works for us to do even before the foundation of time, let us continue to praise Him as we live in obedience to His Word. That, I believe, is what is required of us. When we fulfill the great commission given to us in Matthew 28:19 -20 He will take care of the rest.

  • Acushla

    Our LORD YAHSHUA has said these words about children. "Of such is the Kingdom of heaven." All the children who have died are now in heaven.This includes all the babies in the womb who have been aborted. The agony of pain babies go through when they are aborted will be visited on them in Eternity. There are those who have repented and are now involved in preventing abortions. Our LORD knows everyone who will repent, so they will hear the Gospel and Love our LORD YAHSHUA. They will all be in the Kingdom when HE comes for HIS Bride.

  • Steve

    This post is awesome!!

  • Spocker

    "Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? " – James 2:5

    I think about Lazarus in Luke 16. There doesn't seem to have been any indication that he heard the gospel of Jesus. Yet there he was, safe in Abraham's bosum. And even Abraham had this to say about the matter of Lazarus:

    "…likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted…" – Luke 16:25