Reason For Hope
At Tentmaker Ministries, we get thousands of letters, emails and phone calls from around the world on the subject of what I call "The Victorious Gospel of Jesus Christ," that is, universal salvation (called many things including apokatastasis in the Greek N.T., ultimate reconciliation, universalism, Doctrine of Inclusion, the Larger Hope, universal restoration, etc.) The reader might be surprised at how many people write to me favorably about this wonderful teaching while at the same time attending churches that teach against it. I am amazed at how many ministers believe in universal salvation yet continue to minister in denominations that have traditionally taught a Hell of everlasting punishment. The reason most people don't come out of these church that contradict their heart-felt belief is fear.
From my vantage point, I believe there are far more Christians who believe in universal salvation in traditional Hell churches than there are Christians who have come out of these traditional churches. If these millions in the traditional churches got bold enough to either step out of the traditional churches or open their mouths to express what they really believed in their hearts, I think a crisis point would ensue that would bring forth a radical and much needed change in all the denominations of Christendom. If something could stir these "luke-warm" believers in universal salvation into action, it would start a spiritual revolution of a high magnitude.
Bob Evely is a former pastor in the United Methodist Church . When he saw that the teaching of Hell was false and unscriptural, he took the step to leave his denomination. Below is a short article regarding what's going on in his old denomination regarding the wonderfully Good News that Jesus will ultimately draw all mankind unto Himself (Gary Amirault):
Reason For Hope
By Bob Evely
I was encouraged in reading the May/June issue of "Circuit Rider" (a magazine for United Methodist Pastors that I still receive). There were a number of articles referring to the HOPE that all might be saved.
Here are a few miscellaneous quotes:
"How many, in the end, will be with God? Wesley wisely does not give an answer, but he does offer some clues. That many hinder or ignore prevenient grace is a warning to everyone. That God's love is universal, and God's desire that everyone be saved, is grounds for great hope." (Henry H. Knight III, Professor of Wesleyan Studies at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City MO )
Talking about an atheist friend, another writer ponders the question, "What about Kat? Do you think she's going to hell?" Her conclusion: "Will Christ one day turn to her and say, You didn't call me by name, but you lived in my Spirit. You didn't know it was I you were feeding and clothing and visiting, but it was. Come on in my daughter? I don't know. But I sure like to think so." (Carol Cavin-Dillon, Associate Pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin TN)
An article by David Yount, a "widely read religious writer" provides the following quotations. "Michael Cooper-White, president of Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, PA, confesses to being 'a hopeful universalist - I hope in the end God saves all, and am willing to leave such decisions in the hands of the One whose wisdom is far beyond our own.'" And . "Max L. Carter, director of Friends Center at Guilford College , quotes the theologian Robert Barclay: 'Christ as tasted death for everyone,' including 'those who by some unavoidable accident were excluded from the benefit of hits knowledge.'"
How many there must be within the traditional church . even pastors and professors . that know there is a reason for hope that God will save all, but who do not know this is exactly what the Bible teaches? It is only the errant translations and errant teachings of the church that cloud this fact.
It is not that we HOPE God will save all . it is our EXPECTATION that He will do so . for the Bible tells us so!
(This article is dated 5-27-2007)