Quote - Gary Amirault is the founder of TENTMAKER MINISTRIES, an extensive, sophisticated ministry dedicated to spreading the message of universal salvation. He recently saw my books on the Internet and requested review copies. I accommodated him.
I also informed him that I believe that the Scriptures reveal a final division of mankind. All persons will be either eternally saved or lost. Amirault sent me the following challenge:
For each statement below declare out loud whether YOU PERSONALLY believe the statement is True or False. It is important that you do it verbally, not just in your mind. Or perhaps print it out and then circle the T or F.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (John 1:1) T or F
He was crucified, was buried and rose again on the third day. (Acts 2:24; 4:10) T or F
Jesus Christ's blood was shed for the remission of sins. (Matt. 28:9) T or F
"The Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world." (1 John 4:14) T or F
Jesus is "the Christ, the Savior of the world." (John 4:42) T or F
"This is good and acceptable in the sight of our God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus: Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Tim. 2:3-6, KJV) T or F"
Amazingly this list continues with additional 69 of these so-called "universalistic" passages from both the Old and New Testaments. These texts either explicitly say or strongly imply that ALL PERSONS WILL BE SAVED!
According to Amirault, if you answer "True" to all the above Scriptures then you know that those who believe in Universal Salvation do so because they find Universal Salvation "plainly written in EVERY SINGLE ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE."
I am not so vain as to think that Tentmaker Ministries collated this elaborate list simply to refute my perspective of Biblical Inclusivism. I suspect this suggested exercise is a type of brainwashing that Tentmaker Ministry uses to entrap mainline Christians into accepting Universal Salvation.
Because of what I have written in my books and on my website www.evangelicalinclusivism.com
about the so-called "universalistic" texts I am in a better position to respond to this type of propaganda than many other Christians are. If you or any of your friends, relatives, or colleagues are intrigued by the possibility of a Universal Salvation, it might be useful to consider this further exchange with Gary Amirault:
From: Neal Punt [ email@example.com
Sent: Friday, January 14, 2005 2:52 PM
To: Gary Amirault
Subject: RE: Biblical Universalism
You asked me to reply, either verbally or in writing, with either "true or false" as a response to questions you ask concerning a number of texts. What you want me to admit is that those passages:
" speak of a certain-to-be-realized salvation as Calvinist
have consistently maintained and they do so in terms of
all persons as Arminians have always affirmed."
In Posting # 2 at www.evangelicalinclusivism.com
I fully and freely acknowledge this.
According to you this should end the matter for everyone who accepts the Word of God as the standard of truth. Thus you would claim to have proven that the Bible teaches absolute universalism.
That your methodology is faulty is demonstrated by the fact that I could list a goodly number of parallel passages that say: "There is no one righteous, not even one," such as Romans 3:9-18. The number of such passages that could be assembled from both the Old and New Testament, you will admit, would be impressive. I could ask you to answer "true or false" to each of those passages and you would have to respond "true" to each one of them.
I then say, "those passages are speaking of all human beings" True or False? "True" you say.
I then conclude "Jesus" is a "descendant of the woman" and "of the seed of David" and is therefore a human being. The unavoidable conclusion is: "Jesus has sinned and has come short of the glory of God."
The only truthful way out of the dilemma I have placed you in is to acknowledge that the texts that you asked me to respond to with a "true or false" answer are not absolute universals. Because they are part and parcel of the entire Bible you have no right to ask me or anyone else to respond with a "true" or "false" answer when those text are viewed in isolation of the entire context of the Scriptures. As I point out and clearly say in Postings # 4, entitled "All Are . . . Some Are Not," those texts are like fish out of water, having no sustainable life of their own when they are removed from the only environment in which they can continue to live.
It is sad to see that you have aligned yourself with the long but exceedingly thin line of those who accept the false claim of absolute universalism that stretches way back to a few years even before Origen. This long thin line has always been outside the mainline community of Christians. Absolute universalism will not be and never should be accepted by mainline Christianity because, no matter what they considered the nature of their plight to be, mainline Christian thought has never doubted that there are those who "shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes."
The Bible does not tell us how many will suffer such an awesome fate. For all I know it may be as few as one, two or three such persons. What I do know is that the Bible teaches, and therefore what mainline Christian thought has always confessed is, that some will hear the Judge's words "depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels."
You may feel free to quote anything I send to you by email and I trust you give me the right to do the same with your emails. There is no need to do theology in secret.
With My Best Wishes, Neal firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.biblicaluniversalism.com/TentmakerMinistry.htm