Philip Gulley: Good Writing about Bad Theology.

Reader Interactions


  1. Reading Mr. Gulley’s interview made me sad. He doesn’t believe in hell because he didn’t like the idea that someone he cared about might have gone there. He has become sympathetic to the homosexual lifestyle because he loves his brother and doesn’t want to consider the fact that his brother might be eternally lost. It was interesting to note, though, that Mr. Gulley is a Quaker. The Friends have many fine qualities but fidelity to scripture is not one because of the high place experience is given in their belief system. How very sad. I agree with your assessment: “a kind heart and a clouded mind.”

  2. Do you REALLY REALLY believe in hell?

    Would you send your sons and daughters there if they rejected you?

  3. My hope and my glory is in the cross where Jesus paid for my sin. My daily prayer is that my children will all believe unto eternal life. (they have) My faith is not in my own sentiments, but in the living word of God. Jesus very clearly and consistently taught the reality of hell and warned people of it. He also made a way at great cost for them to avoid it. God is gathering to himself people for His name who have the righteousness of Christ to populate heaven. If he welcomed sinners into heaven-it would be no more heavenly then the fallen, sin-plagued world we live in now.

  4. I’ll tell you right now. You CANNOT love a God who would burn and torture his own children, or anyone else.

  5. If hell were not real, if it were not a possibility, then Jesus would not have had to suffer and die a sinner’s death to save us. The horrors Christ suffered for me are all the evidence I need of God’s love for me. Realizing I have earned by my sin all Christ suffered (and more) is all I need to love Him with everything inside of me and wish I had more to give Him. God does not “burn and torture” anyone. He gives us freedom to choose and then honors our choices. Eternity apart from Him is only a continuation of choosing a life apart from Him. I would love to pretend there is no hell. But God loved me enough to tell me the truth about it. And that is why I love Him back.

  6. Dear Ken, I appreciate your writings, and enjoy reading your website here. Thank you for your honest opinion of Phillip’s book. I probably would mostly agree with your assessment, however, I have not read this book and don’t plan to, but some of the things you mentioned regarding hell, provoked some thought in me. I am aware of three schools of thought on the subject of hell, and while I do not question the reality of hell nor the deity of Christ Jesus, I do question the reliability of the statement that hell is eternal. I leave you with these questions:

    Regardless of what we have been taught in today’s modern theology, Can you fathom any definition of mercy which causes some to be burnt for eternity, without the possibility of an end to the punishment?
    This does not appear to fit the character of God, throughout scripture. However, I do allow that He alone is God, and who are we to question His ways. -except, if this is the case, it is not mercy persay, but something entirely different!

    We all know that it is not his will that any should perish, but we all seem to think that we have the capability of overturning His will. I reject this notion, because He would no longer be all- powerful and all-knowing. It would mean we serve a God who wants to save everyone, but can’t. I believe that our God is bigger than that.

    Does “every knee”, exclude those who are currently in hell? Romans:14:11 “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”

    And is this not how we are saved?:
    Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
    10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
    11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
    12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
    13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
    14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?… ”

    Does “all”, mean all?
    1Cor 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

    1 Tim 2:3 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
    4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
    5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
    6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

    Perhaps “all men” doesn’t really mean all men…?
    1 Tim 4:9 “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
    10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
    11 These things command and teach.”

    If death is destroyed, how can anyone be dead?
    1 Cor 15:24 “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
    25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
    26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
    27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
    28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
    29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
    30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?
    31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
    32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.”

    Is there the remotest possibility that hell lasts for an age-, and then is destroyed? Scripture tells us that hell is destroyed. (Revelation 20:13-14)
    -Aion (the Greek word used for “eternal”, which nowhere in the writings of the day was used to mean eternal.)

  7. According to your theology, For God so loved all the Christians that he gave his only begotten son.

    And according to your theology, not even all those that think they are Christians either because what about those who say “Lord, Lord, did we not do wonderful works in your name?” and they are rejected.

    The thing I find funny (disturbing) about when anybody talks about hell is .. It is always the OTHER people who are going there.

  8. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Joanne and Ralph. I will be teaching on what the Bible says about Hell in a series coming up. I will post the notes here.

  9. Hey I enjoy your writing thanks a ton!

    As I read through the comments on here I am pretty amazed at how so many people long to break God down into a box that will in their lifestyle.

    Keep up the good work

  10. I’m reading IF GRACE IS TRUE, and to be quite honest, I wish the message of the book were true. It’s interesting that Gulley and Mulholland based their belief in universal redemption upon a strong view of God’s sovereignty and grace — that it is God’s will to save everyone, that by his power and sovereignty he is capable of achieving his will, and his grace is broad enough and compelling enough that it overcomes the brokenness of all humanity. Their belief is also based upon the God they’ve come to know in Christ — a loving God who is constantly initiating salvation for fallen people, who’s interested less in judgment than in mercy. They also would likely accept (although they don’t develop this much in their book) that what judgment God would require for the sin condition of an individual was satisfied on the cross in Christ’s death.

    The appeal to God’s love, sovereignty, grace, and the finished work of Christ, recognizing that God is the authorr and finisher of a person’s salvation, are compelling arguments to base their case on. So is a passage such as Rom 5:12-2, particularly verse 18: “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” What is off-putting are comments made by the authors in interviews in which they content that the Bible is just wrong about eternal judgment, and particularly that either the writers of the gospels were mistaken about what Jesus taught about judgment, or that Jesus himself was wrong. Their theology is based upon the authority of the reader to pick and choose what parts of scripture are actually the word of God.

    Again, I wish their belief is true. I’m afraid, though, they don’t offer much to support it.

  11. I found this book 2 1/2 years ago and after reading the first chapter, I immediately wrapped it up and mailed it to a friend of mine who was dying of cancer. (I also bought myself another copy.) We had had several conversations about hell and she was questioning her belief in hell because she was questioning the Christian belief that only Christian’s go to heaven. She wondered why heaven was reserved for the Christians only and what happened to the good people we knew and loved of other faiths? This book made perfect sense to me and for the first time in my life I actually felt the magnitude of God’s love. I suddenly felt that everything was ok, that we’re all in this together and there needs to be no more separation of people. There doesn’t need to be us against them, there only needs to be ‘we’ and when you look at all of humanity as ‘we’, you have a whole new tolerance and acceptance of everyone and are able to really feel that we’re all in this together. To paraphrase Mother Teresa, “There will never be peace on this earth until we all realize that we belong to each other.” Amen

  12. Thanks for your comments, Dale. If the Bible is true, and of course I am confident that it is, your friend can simply come to faith in Christ and be confident of her eternal life. How we feel has little bearing on what is true. One of the most important things in life is to take our feelings and conform them to reality. Thanks for taking a minute to send along your views.

  13. I’ve read both books, and I’ve read the comments on this page. thank you for allowing me to add my own.

    Ken, it seems to me that you have held to the traditional view of eternal damnation without acknowledging the truth of the many scriptures that run counter to this view. I don’t have to repeat them, as Ralph has shared many of them in an earlier post. So, who is actually the one who is denying scripture? And even if there were those who spent eternity in hell, how does one get there? If you read Matthew 25, you will see that it has nothing to do with not coming to faith in Christ. It has everything to do with how one ignores the the sick, the naked, the imprisoned, etc. So, which is it?

    How could a person believe in a god whose power is somehow trumped by a supposedly lower being like satan? How could satan win out over God?

    It is a fact that Christian universalism has been around since Origen, but his and other beliefs were condemned by later Church fathers.

    Also, the writer of one of the 20th century’s most beloved New Testament commentaries, William Barclay, wrote an essay on why he is a universalist.

    So, I have decided that I cannot believe in a god who would condemn so many people to an eternity in torment. I look forward to Philip Gulley’s latest book, “If the Church Was Christian”

  14. These comments are from a long time ago, but I couldn’t help but add my own 🙂 There have been several times when I have wished that there was a Plan B where heaven is for everyone and hell does not exist. But the Bible does not teach that, and I have to say, “Let God is true and every man a liar.” For those of you who wrestle with understanding a God who could send someone to hell, please read the Old Testament. There are plenty of things God did in the Old Testament to assure you that yes, He does bring judgment on the wicked. Without judgment, there is no mercy. You ask how we could believe in a God who would send people to hell. I ask, could you really believe in a God who would not call the Saddam Husseins of the world to account? Jesus did not die on the cross to give us a happy life. He died on the cross to pay for our sins and to give us the hope of ETERNAL life.

  15. In reference to your comment about calling the Saddam Husseins to account…The reason people are condemned to hell is their rejection of His Son Jesus Christ. Yes the works of the unrighteous will count toward the severity of punishment but the works of a Saddam Hussein have little to do with his presence in hell. Romans 5:12 to the end of the chapter explain “the righteousness that is in Christ as opposed to the unrighteousness that is in Adam”. John said that those who rejected the belief that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh were not Christian. Jesus said “I am the way” to the exclusion of all others. Also I noticed that many of the verses used to support universalism were sadly taken out of context used to believe something that is not there.

  16. If I have been deceived how do I know it?

    When courageous, god-fearing people are willing to show me where I have left the path, then I should wake-up and listen.

    If someone claims that there is no judgement, no hell, then they also imply that Jesus did not really have to die – the righteous for the unrighteous to bring us to God. Which of us would allow our son to die for people who hated us? If there was any other way to save us from the death we chose, then wouldn’t God have taken it.

    God did not create death. He created life. He did not create darkness. He created light. We chose death, even though we were deceived.

  17. Ken,
    I have been a long time enjoyer of the Home To Harmony series. I recently searched Phillip Gulley on the Internet to see if there were more to listen to. I listened to all I could-until I came across an interview. I was shocked and dishearten! How could such a gentle spoken man believe so contrary to what the Bible so clearly teaches. The more I listened and searched, the more disheartened I became. This man is truly lost and unfortunately leading others down the same path with his gentle homespun charm. He “lulls” you into what the natural an wants to hear. So sad. This man needs the True God of the Bible!