Showing posts with label Universalism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Universalism. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

What Does Your Proof Text Prove? (23)

The website was an outreach of the UK-based Christianworld Church headed by the late Tony Sharpe that published occasional posts promoting the doctrine of Universalism after Sharpe’s death from a failed heart surgery in June 2004 until some time in 2016. The website does not specifically credit the articles there to Sharpe, but they appear to represent his views on scripture.

Like many other defunct websites, we only find Universal Salvation in The Wayback Machine’s archives. I can think of several possible reasons it is no longer active: (1) the church disbanded; (2) the person who maintained the blog died, as will happen to us all at one point, and subsequently discovered his beliefs did not represent reality; or (3) the person who maintained the blog discovered his error in this life and deleted it (we can only hope).

Either way, we don’t need to caution anybody at Universal Salvation about proof-texting. The same cannot be said for its former readers.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Too Hot to Handle: When We ALL Get to Heaven

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

The Huffington Post headline reads “Pope Francis Says Atheists Who Do Good Are Redeemed, Not Just Catholics”.

The Post adds, “Pope Francis rocked some religious and atheist minds today when he declared that everyone was redeemed through Jesus, including atheists. During his homily at Wednesday Mass in Rome, Francis emphasized the importance of ‘doing good’ as a principle that unites all humanity.”

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

Two Central Facts

“If righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”

Back in 1993, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope gave astronomers their first glimpse of what appeared to be a distant galaxy with a double nucleus. That just doesn’t happen, so a number of possible theories were immediately floated. To the best of my knowledge, no definitive explanation for this anomaly has ever been found.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Anonymous Asks (56)

“Will we have a second chance to go to heaven?”

There are at least three different reasons a question like this gets asked. One is very Catholic, a second very Protestant, and the third ... well ... universal.

The Catholic might best have his question paraphrased as something like “Is there a purgatory, and do we get to go to heaven at the end of it?” The Protestant is really asking “Is this ‘rapture’ thing I’ve heard about really in the Bible, and if I get left behind, do I get another shot?” The universalist is asking some version of “Surely hell cannot last forever, can it?”

But if you’re looking for an excuse to put off becoming a Christian so you can do it at a more convenient time, the answer to the question is going to be the same no matter what theological presuppositions underlie it.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: When We ALL Get to Heaven

 The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Inbox: Message and Motive

“All your goats are belong to us!”
An anonymous reader takes issue with an older post on the error of universalism:

“Why so angry?”

Good question. It was April 2014 when I wrote that one as part of our “Heavenly Myths” series. I’ve lived ten lives since then, it seems to me. I couldn’t remember how I was feeling at the time if my life depended on it. Maybe I was a bit ticked about something.

So I went back and read the post and … nope, not even close.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Ask Not For Whom Rob Bell Tolls

Universalists, as I mentioned in a previous post, are people who wrongly believe everyone, no matter how willfully and determinately wicked, will eventually be saved.

Popular pastor/author Rob Bell has been called a universalist, though I don’t believe he describes himself that way. His book Love Wins is arguably the most well-read recent exploration of the subject, stirring up a fair bit of evangelical dust upon its release in 2011. However, if you want to argue fine points of universalist doctrine (or even broad strokes), Bell’s not your guy. Even his most ardent supporters (like Greg Boyd) admit Bell prefers asking questions to providing stringent proofs, and is more of a “poet/artist/dramatist” with a “fantastic gift for communicating in ways that inspire creativity and provoke thought” than an actual Bible teacher.

Too bad, really. Those of us waiting for a well-reasoned, serious defense of universalism from scripture will continue to keep our eyes peeled.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Forever Doesn’t Mean Forever Anymore

Universalists are a funny bunch. They’d like everyone, no matter how willfully and resolutely horrible, to be saved in the end. Not a bad desire, in one sense. It certainly appears a loving and even-handed approach, provided we don’t apply a microscope to it and examine its implications too carefully.

So universalists read scripture to conform with their fantasy, redefining words as necessary and explaining the meaning of difficult verses in what seem to me to be very unnatural ways.

Thing is, they’re not always wrong.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

What Sort of Heart?

This quote has stuck with me over the past couple of weeks, maybe because it is not just those who would like the Bible to teach universal salvation that see this type of thinking as the ultimate expression of moral goodness.

“What sort of a heart could approve of eternal death for some? The doctrine of Universal Salvation teaches that all will have eternal life, including Satan and the demons. And that one day, all will have the same nature as God. What sort of a heart could not approve of Universal Salvation, eternal life for all?”

Explicitly or between the lines, it boils down to this: anyone who wouldn’t grant eternal bliss, joy, happiness and God-likeness to Satan, Hitler, Stalin and every liar and murderer in human history that hates and rejects the Son of God is, well ... insufficiently morally developed.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Unchristian, Sure … But is it Wrong?

Strictly speaking, an unchristian thought is a desire, wish or inclination that does not conform to the principles taught by Christ.

But the term is frequently used much more broadly in our culture and even in religious circles to describe things considered outright evil. If a sentiment is unchristian, the assumption is often that it is automatically wicked, uncivilized or unconscionable

And in many cases, that’s quite true. But maybe not in every case.

Is it possible, perhaps, to be “unchristian” without being wrong?

Friday, April 03, 2015

Too Hot to Handle: When We ALL Get to Heaven

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

What Sort of Heart?

A more current version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Universalism = InterpretationFail

It is awfully useful to observe how and where people go wrong in interpreting scripture.

If, say, a Universalist misappropriates a particular text to serve his cause, you can bet Calvinists, Amillennialists, Prosperity Gospel folks or whoever will use a similar bag of tricks to get where they want to go too.

In perusing Universalist websites for a previous post, I noticed many of them have this is common: they are fond of pointing to the word “all”, as though its employment in any context decisively proves their point. I suppose this preoccupation is easily understood, given the nature of their particular doctrinal aberration.

How can we go about making Scripture say whatever we’d like it to?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Debunking Heavenly Mythology VI: Everybody’s Going

For reasons only they fully understand, the Christian Universalist Association would like you to believe the following:
“We believe in universal salvation, the idea that there is no such thing as eternal hell or annihilation because God has planned the universe to produce a positive outcome for all people of all times.”
Under the banner “All God’s Children — No One Left Behind”, clutching tenaciously to their proof text “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself” and a bunch of quasi-logical justifications, these folks take the position that it’s all okay: no matter what you do, say, or think in this life, there has to be SOME good in you somewhere, and God’s omnipotence and benevolence will not allow that to be lost for eternity.

So we’re all in. Whew! Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin. Charles Manson. Paul Bernardo. John Lennon and Mark David Chapman.