"Why would there be any Christians if this supposedly false doctrine has been the terrible deterrent you say it has been for so long? What about Church history full of amazingly devout Christians?"

It is undeniable that the Church throughout history has been a persistent force encompassing myriads of highly devoted and influential converts. But in light of the power, growth and reputation the Church possessed in its early days, history reveals a downward decline in those same aspects since that time. Rodney Stark in The Rise of Christianity tells us that the early Church had a 40% growth rate per decade! While there are many factors that fueled this growth it is a known fact that even up until the time of Augustine there were by his own observation, "very many in our day, who though not denying the Holy Scriptures, do not believe in endless torments." We believe that this understanding gave the early Church great power through their own assurance of God's unfailing love in conjunction with the confidence of the absolute Lordship of Christ. Consider this thought by Clemet of Alexandria:

"All men are Christ's, some by knowing Him, the rest not yet. He is the Savior, not of some and the rest not. For how is He Savior and Lord, if not the Savior and Lord of all?"

To enter into the arena of the world (some literally into "the Arena") with the absolute rock-solid assurance that they were loved and redeemed by God coupled with the conviction that the restoration of God was an unstoppable force destined to conquer, by His love, every man on earth was the early Church's foundational strength and impetus. We must admit that the motivation of this mindset had to have been considerably more potent.

But I will address the part of the question as to how is it that there are as many Christians as there are since we accuse this doctrine as being such a hindrance. In short I believe it is on account of first, the absolute desperation of the human soul for redemption, and second, the absolutely breath-taking beauty of Christ. When Jesus is presented as Savior and God as a loving Father He is irresistible. The fine print is often eclipsed or forgotten until later down the road. Very often people are presented with the gospel without this element ever being mentioned or emphasized. The person of Jesus is so stunning and so compelling a reality for the person aware of their own need and bankruptcy of love that frankly it puts to rest any qualms about issues they don't "get". At least, for awhile. They just quote "His ways are not my ways" and trust in His inherent goodness to work it all out somehow. But I do not see this as true faith but more of an example of the human psyche to compartmentalize conflicting data. They need Jesus more than they need to understand everything about what they are told about Him, so they come. Once again the gates of hell have proven not to be able to stand against the working of the Holy Spirit among His Body. And we praise God for that.

But of course we all know that for every one "gloriously saved" there have been hundreds who could not participate in the dishonesty of compartmentalizing aspects of something so important as their religious convictions. For them if it's true it must be consistent and it must be able to fit the reality God formed and placed us in; that of our God-given sense of love, justice and morality.

So we believe if the unnecessary stumbling block of an eternal hell is removed, the true and only legitimate stumbling block can do its healing work of confronting; that of Christ and him crucified. All other obstacles are man-made traditions created by "blind guides".

We believe we need to recover the "Restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21) that equipped the early Church with the empowerment of both high assurance and the confidence in an effectual message that pronounced Christ's complete redemption of and victory over the universe.