The Heresy of Missing Heaven By 18 Inches

By David J. Stewart
September 2010 | Updated October 2017

John 6:47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”

       A popular heretical cliché used by many preachers is that there are 18-inches between the mind and the heart. And so they'll say that for many people it is the difference between Heaven and Hell. We're all guilty of doing it. We hear a cute sounded cliché and then go around repeating it because it sounds good, but when tested against the inspired Word of God, it falls short of being the truth!

Here is an example of what I am saying. This quote is from a popular Gospel tract titled, “Missing Heaven by 18 Inches,” that can be found in most Baptist churches today, which is of the Devil...

The distance between the head and the heart is 18 inches. Unfortunately, a “head” knowledge of Jesus Christ—fully knowing and giving mental assent to the plan of salvation…without a “heart” acceptance that brings the personal relationship that the Bible demands—avails nothing to anyone.


This is heresy! I would agree that just because someone is familiar with the facts of the Gospel is not enough to be saved (Hebrews 4:2, “not being mixed with faith in them that heard it”), but a person “fully knowing and giving mental assent to the plan of salvation” is saved!!! It is ridiculous and unbiblical to say that a sinner who hears and chooses to place their trust in the Gospel of Jesus Christ can still not be saved, unless they also believe it in their heart. That radical idea no where found in the Holy Bible. In the Bible, you either believed or you didn't. The apostle Paul never taught any such junk theology.

Another popular unbiblical cliché is to “invite Christ into one's heart.” The heart is a muscle about twice the size of your fist, which pumps blood 100,000 times each day. A muscle cannot trust Christ, so using such terminology confuses people, thus obscuring the clarity of the Gospel. 2nd Corinthians 4:3, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.” Therefore, we should NEVER tell an unsaved person to “invite Jesus into your heart” to be saved.  How do you let Jesus come into your heart? That terminology is not even found in the Bible! Some Christians will try to use Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” But it doesn't mention the “heart,” does it? The Bible never says to “open your heart to Jesus,” nor does it say to “allow Christ come into your heart”; but it DOES SAY, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Romans 10:10a). The only requirement to be saved is to believe. The words “believe” and “trust” are used interchangeably in the Bible.

The Bible makes no distinction between the mind and the heart concerning getting saved. There is no distinction between believing with the heart verses only with the mind. They are one in the same. Since the heart is the seat of one's intelligence, it is a part of the mind. Now, it is possible to superficially live the Christian life, doing everything that a good Christian is supposed to do, without ever having been born-again. The churches are filled with religious people who are unsaved. They faithfully attend church, tithe, sing, worship, praise, give, love and do everything that a Christian person does, but they have never submitted to God's righteousness through faith alone in Jesus Christ. Romans 10:3-4, “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”

As we just read, a lot of people go to church every Sunday (or Saturday for the Seventh-day Adventist cult), who are “IGNORANT” of God's righteousness. They are not saved. They have never been born again. They are living the Christian life without ever having submitting themselves to God's righteousness, which is only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, apart from all human effort. Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” That is how to have eternal life my dear friend.

It is not possible to believe in your mind, but not in your heart. So the whole concept of missing Heaven by 18 inches is unbiblical. Yes, you can live a religious life without being born-again (and that is no doubt what some people mean when they say you can miss Heaven by 18 inches), but the problem is that those religious people are not fully trusting Christ, not that they are believing only in their mind. They may have no faith in Christ at all, like the Pharisees, merely playing church (Matthew 5:20). Or they may have partial faith in Christ plus human effort, like the cult of the Galatians in the New Testament (Galatians 3:1-3; 1:6-9). Lordship Salvation is the false teaching that since God did something for me, I ought to do something for Him, and along with that comes salvation. That is not the Gospel my friend. That is not how you get saved. In true salvation, God does ALL the saving! Our only part in salvation is to completely trust upon what Christ did on the cross to pay for our sins...

“He [God] did everything, so that you would have to do nothing, except receive it as a free gift! And God says, 'I love you so much that I gave My Son to pay for your sins. Will you believe it? And if you will (“believe/trust,” used interchangeably in the Bible), will you simply believe that Jesus Christ died for you? And God says, 'If you'll do that, I'll promise you on the authority of My Word, that you'll never perish, but you'll have everlasting life!'” —Pastor Max D. Younce, a quote from the Bible study titled, “SO GREAT SALVATION,” Part 7 | MP3.

If you believe (trust) in your heart, you have also believed in your mind. Any attempt to divide the mind from the heart causes much confusing and cannot reasonably be explained. The heart is the seat of a person's intelligence. The human soul is composed of the mind, heart and will. These three cannot be divided, all part of our brain. The Bible says we think in our heart. Proverbs 23:7a, “For as he thinketh in his heart...” The human soul is composed of the mind, heart and will. These three things work together and exist as one. Every decision that we make requires use of all three. The decision to trust Christ as one's Savior requires the mind, heart and will. It is foolish to try to separate a man's soul. A man either believes (trusts) the Gospel (i.e., the Good News of Christ crucified, buried and risen) as his only hope for Heaven or he does not. It is not possible to believe in the mind, but not the heart, because they exist and function as one.

2nd Corinthians 4:4 teaches that Satan blinds the unsaved person's “mind” from seeing the Gospel, lest they should believe and be saved. 2nd Corinthians 4:3-4, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” And we know from Romans 10:9-10 that a person is saved by believing “with the heart.” But these Scripture passages don't make a distinction between believing with the heart verses the mind. Satan blinds man's intellect with evolution, false religion, atheism, communism, humanism and other isms and schisms. 2nd Timothy 2:25, “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” Biblical repentance is a change of mind unto the Gospel itself, acknowledgment of THE TRUTH. Anyone who hears and believes (trusts) the Gospel message of Christ crucified, buried and risen is immediately, irrevocably and eternally saved.

It is unbiblical to tell someone that they can have a head knowledge of saving faith in Christ, but not a heart belief. When analyzed, such a statement is very difficult to explain, and senseless. Granted, you can be religious, but not saved (Cornelius in Acts 10). You can be familiar with the details of the Gospel, but not believe it (Hebrews 4:2). But you cannot place your confidence in the truth of the Gospel, trusting that Christ died on the cross for your sins, and yet still not be saved because your heart has not followed. That is unbiblical. Beware of unjust critics who split hairs and complicate the Gospel. If your only hope for Heaven is what Christ did on the cross to pay for your sins, believing that He was buried, and raised up from the dead three days later, you are saved! Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith. God will not save anyone who is trying to be saved, He will only save those who are trusting to be saved.

“A demonic spirit's favorite activity is making a person feel religious without an understanding of the Word of God.”Pastor Max D. Younce

Souls Are Dying!

Our conscience will tell us to do right, but only the Word of God can tell us what is right!

SO GREAT SALVATION (Bible study series by Dr. Max D. Younce)
(Here's MP3's of awesome “SO GREAT SALVATION” Bible study series)

“Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling!” —Rock of Ages, hymn (1763)

Ye Must Be Born Again!

You Need HIS Righteousness!