Will Protestants Go To Heaven? (Can Protestants Go To Heaven?)

At theology school, I developed a keen interest in understanding different Christian doctrines, especially heaven, and beliefs about the afterlife. I was particularly piqued by the Protestant beliefs about heaven and whether protestants go to heaven. During my research, I spent considerable time visiting the protestant churches around college and my home, interviewing pastors, and poring through numerous religious texts. Last semester, we discussed the concept of heaven in different Christian doctrines in theology class, and my students wanted to know if protestants go to heaven. They had divided opinions on the matter. Based on my research and what’s written in the scriptures, I was able to answer their questions in detail. So, will protestants go to heaven?

Yes, protestants go to heaven, but only if they are chosen by God to go to heaven. According to protestant teachings, life is essentially a pilgrimage whose destination is the eternal destination in heaven or Hell. They believe that an individual’s actions do not determine if they go to heaven and that only God chooses who ends up in heaven. Protestants believe that God chooses to forgive sins freely, and the ones forgiven are the ones that go to heaven, but other groups of protestants believe that forgiveness only happens if God shows His Grace to an individual.

In this post, I’ll share more insights into the protestant beliefs regarding heaven and Hell and their concept of salvation. So, let’s get into it!

How do Protestants view heaven and the afterlife?

Can Protestants Go To Heaven?
How do Protestants view heaven and the afterlife? Image source: Pixabay

Protestantism teaches that its believers are destined to either Heaven or Hell, where they will spend eternity. Accordingly, salvation is an important part of the life they’ll enjoy in the afterlife, but they also believe that earning a spot in the afterlife depends on God’s Grace and if God picks them to go to heaven.

Protestants reject the idea of purgatory that the Roman Catholics teach, noting that the idea of purgatory isn’t mentioned in the Bible explicitly. In other words, the protestants reject the idea that there exists a transitional place between heaven and Hell where the souls of the believers undergo purification after death.

That said, most Protestants, except the Eastern Protestant religions, believe that each individual retains their unique identity or individuality after death. Others believe that the souls of the dead go to heaven and live with Jesus Christ after death, where they await Judgment Day and the resurrection of the bodies. A group of protestants also believe in an intermediate ‘soul sleep’ period where they remain unconscious as they await the resurrection.

While most protestants believe in the existence of Heaven and Hell, there also are protestants who do not believe in Hell. Instead, they believe there are levels of heaven where different souls will be sent for judgment.

According to evangelical protestants, the bodies of the believers will be resurrected on Judgement Day, when God will pass judgment on all believers. On the other hand, liberal protestants believe that the souls of the believers live on eternally in the spirit world after death.

The protestants that believe in heaven follow the teachings in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 which talk about the existence of a non-physical home in heaven where all the Christians will be in the afterlife. These verses also encourage Christians to aim at going to heaven. John 11:25 notes that the people who believe in God will live with God forever, even if they die. 

What is the protestant concept of salvation?

Most protestants believe that salvation is attained through having a proper and deep relationship with God and living a life in which they are gradually transformed into Christ/ likeness of Christ. Generally, they believe that salvation is by faith alone, through Jesus Christ alone, and not through actions. Ultimately, salvation means being filled with the Holy Spirit, but they also believe the process would be complete in the afterlife. 

Protestants don’t believe in doing good works to gain salvation, as with Catholicism and other Christian groups.

How do protestants get saved?

Will Protestants Go To Heaven?
How do protestants get saved? Image source: Pixabay

Salvation, also called redemption or deliverance, comes to protestant believers through having faith in God. They don’t believe that acts or good deeds play a role in salvation, and unlike Catholics and Anglicans, they don’t deem baptism a necessary step toward salvation. All they need to do is to have faith in God and to believe in the Church (of Christ) for them to make it to heaven.

So, Protestants like the Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, and the Assemblies of God do not believe in the use of baptism as a means of salvation. Instead, they argue that baptism is merely one of the ways of obeying God’s commands. 

Do Catholics believe Protestants will go to heaven?

Yes, for some, and no for others. According to the Catholic Church’s teachings in the Catechism, even the Christians who don’t know His church or follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ completely will still go to heaven, as long as they seek out God with a sincere heart, and if Grace moves these believers. By following the will of God, these believers will go to heaven and enjoy eternal salvation. Protestants that obey the Scripture and the teachings of Jesus Christ will go to heaven. They also believe faith and baptism will allow believers to go to heaven.

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