If I Don’t Accept Christ,
Am I Going To Hell?
This is the same question shown in the Challenging Statements section, and I’ve included it here in the event that you’ve not yet read that section. I would recommend going to that section to see the detailed response to a question like this.
Click HERE to open that more detailed response.
In summary, Greg Koukl presented this question on his radio program and then demonstrated his Tactics methods to respond to the person asking it. He showed that it’s important to answer this question carefully and skillfully, and not get pulled into responding with just a single yes or no answer. The reason for this is because if you only use a single word answer, your answer can cause the one asking the question to completely misunderstand the principal of salvation and the gift Christ provides through his sacrifice.
If you answer “Yes”, they will believe they are going to hell simply because they picked the wrong "belief flavor". If not familiar with the phrase, read the Truth section. Answering only "yes" will seem to them very trivial on God’s part, that they might have lived a “good” life but still go to hell. If you answer “No”, they will mistakenly think that living a good life really is what matters, and not the decision to accept Christ’s payment for their sin. Hopefully, you can see how if only a single word answer yes or no is given the questioner will end up with the wrong impression.
This is why a question like this needs to be answered very tactfully so that the person asking the question comes to a full understanding of what they are asking. A single word answer cannot provide this needed understanding.
Review Greg Koukl’s very tactful method in responding to this question:
Do You Think I'm Going to Hell?
A Few Other Links
A Girl Asks Frank Turek If She's Going to Hell
Dr. Frank Turek to Atheist- Why God Sends People to Hell
Another consideration when sharing the truths of Christianity is the terminology many Christians use when talking to others. At the start of this guide I mentioned terminology to become familiar with as a Christian so that you gain a greater understanding of the subjects. It is also important to be careful in how and when you use many of these terms. It is important to realize the confusion that can occur using certain terms with non-Christians. You’ll notice that throughout this guide I’ve tried to avoid using the word “Witnessing”, and tried to use “Sharing the truths of Christianity”. Most Christians understand the meaning of the term witnessing and other terms and phrases common to Christianity, but many non-Christians don’t. For us as Christians to use these terms with non-Christians does nothing to provide them with a better understanding of the truths of Christianity.
Here are some terminology examples:
The ‘Word’ - The Bible
Ask Jesus into your heart
How about terms or phrases that probably sound quite disturbing or confusing to non-Christians:
Filled with the spirit
Washed in the blood
Again, the first question of the Tactics method is, “What do you mean by that?” A non-Christian can be left feeling like an outsider if we’re not careful in the choice of terms and phrases we use, and they probably won’t ask what the terms and phrases mean if they don't know. I know I have been in conversations where a term I didn't understand was used, and I gave the impression that I knew what the other person was talking about. I did this simply because I didn't want to seem to the other people in that group that I was less informed. I actually felt somewhat left out. Remember, we want to draw others to the truths of Christianity, not make them feel like they are an outsider to those truths. If they feel like an outsider they will probably become uninterested in the truths we share and probably think we are rude, even though that is not our intention.
We should heed Paul’s example in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
Verse 22b: “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”
Whenever possible, we should make our message as easy to understand as possible to others we speak with.
How NOT to Speak Christianese
Here are a few sites defining many of these terms/phrases that can be confusing to those we talk with. It might be a good exercise to see if you can come up with your own terms for these potentially alienating terms and phrases. This way you will be able to better communicate with those you want to converse with in terms they understand.
Confusing Christian Terminology
Ten Common Christian Expressions Requiring Translation
Why Christian Case Makers Need to Learn a New Language
Watch Your Language - Mentoring Letter October 2012
3 Things to Remember While Sharing Your Beliefs
Here are a few links which show the importance and effectiveness of Apologetics. Remember that apologetics is being able to provide reasons for what you believe, and in a way that conveys your concern for others.
What I Needed to Hear When I Was An Atheist
A Harvard University student explains how evidence changed her mind about God:
Professor Anthony Flew was a very famous Atheist for most of his life. He debated many Christians over the years and became a Deist before his death. A Deist is one who believes that a God exists, but that this God isn’t involved in the workings of humans. Typically not the God represented by any particular religion. Although Flew did not accept the God of any particular religion nor accept the salvation gift of Christ. He came to this belief because of the design and complexity that he found in DNA. Here is a quote from him:
“What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together. It’s the enormous complexity of the number of elements and the enormous subtlety of the ways they work together. The meeting of these two parts at the right time by chance is simply minute. It is all a matter of the enormous complexity by which the results were achieved, which looked to me like the work of intelligence.” - Interview in 2004
Anthony Flew realized that random chance couldn't have brought the incredible complexity of everything into existence. Once again, a belief in God by itself doesn't save anyone. And while there doesn't seem to be evidence that Anthony Flew ever accepted Christ, the move from a belief in No God to a belief that there is a God is far greater than the move from a belief that there is a God to believing in the God of the Bible.
Anthony Flew Never Converted to Christianity
What is the Deal with Anthony Flew's Conversion to Theism?
Antony Flew and his conversion to theism
Antony Flew on God and Atheism
I want to emphasize again the importance of our character and how others perceive our character. When we talk with others about Christianity, our character is critical as to how much credibility others place in our message.
In the Apologetics section, I listed a reference for Greg Koukl’s presentation, Ambassadors for Christ. (link below)
If you haven’t already listened/viewed the message, I really encourage you to do so through the links below. As mentioned in the original reference, this is a very important presentation showing how our character can significantly affect the impression we leave with others about Christ and Christianity. Again, how would you feel if you found that another person rejected Christ because of the character you've demonstrated?
The Best Question to Ask When Starting a Conversation about God
Ambassadors For Christ: The Essential Skills
http://vimeo.com/13049510 (video – shorter than the audio)
This audio is Free, but must be downloaded to listen