Universalism

The belief that everyone goes to heaven.  It is similar to inclusivism but goes beyond its scope to include all of humanity.

Like annihilationism, this belief stems out of God’s love.  Proponents of this view hold that a loving God is incapable of sending people to hell.

Limited universalism is a variation of universalism that states the devout of all religions go to heaven.  This at least makes religion worthwhile and not pointless.

Of course universalism appears to go directly against teachings of the Bible about heaven and hell.  Most importantly the question must be asked why Jesus had to die on the cross if belief in Him is unnecessary to get into heaven.

For further reading on this, see the article Fate of the Unbeliever.

Limited Universalism

Although technically an oxymoron, limited universalism is a form of universalism.  In limited universalism everyone who holds to some religious beliefs and attempts to live a moral life, regardless of what moral code they are attempting to live by, gets into heaven.

In this sense, the vile and wicked, agnostic, and atheist are still doomed to hell.  However, devout believers, regardless of their beliefs are accepted into heaven.  God does not punish people just because they choose the wrong religion to follow.  They are all worshipping God, they simply recognize Him by different names and worship Him in different ways.

This view would appear to be in contradiction to scripture that states that Jesus is the only way to heaven and the way is narrow and few find it.  Likewise, it would be a watered down “works salvation” where it is not even the works of someone that gets them into heaven, but simply if they intended to do good – even if they failed.

There are numerous other problems with this view in the context of orthodox Christianity.

For further reading, see the article Fate of the Unbeliever.

Inclusivism

This is the belief that it is possible to make it into heaven without accepting Jesus Christ as savior.

Inclusivism takes numerous forms.  Some claim that those who are unevangelized or those with very limited knowledge of the gospel will either be excused or get a second chance to accept Christ as savior.  This is typically what is thought of as inclusivism.  It is also known by some as “limited universalism” although the phrase itself would appear to be a contradiction of terms.

Universalism claims that all will make it to heaven because of God’s love.  Inclusivism works under the same reasoning but with a more limited scope.

There are many who believe in an age of accountability or that those who are mentally handicapped will not be held accountable for their sins in the same way as the rest of humanity.  This is typically not considered to be inclusivism however.

For further reading on different interpretations of what happens at death, see the article Fate of the Unbeliever.