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pneuma

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Confronting Universalism
« on: June 17, 2008, 03:11:23 AM »
Hi all awhile back someone posted this 5 part series on Confronting Universalism, and although I did not have the time nor the inclination at that time to make an answer to his objection I did copy it into my word processor. As I have been taking some time off from posting on any boards I decided to give it a read through and make a reply to Edwards objections. His objections will all be in BLACK and my reply to his objections shall all be in BLUE.

This is my reply to part 1 of Edwards 5 part series, as time permits I post a reply to part 2 and so on. Hopefully this is helpful for those looking into Christian Universalism.  

God bless


Confronting Universalism (Complete 5 part series)

Roderick Edwards

Universalism, as understood in Christianity is summarized as the proposition that for God to be a loving God, He will "save" all people, often regardless of their confession of Christ or even God Himself. Now, I say that is the "summarized" version, so please understand there are other aspects to Universalism, which will be detailed as we progress in this series.

Edwards here makes a generalization or as he calls it a summery version so we'll see if he does indeed confront other aspects of Universalism. For there are indeed aspects of Universalism that believe people will be saved regardless of their confession in Jesus Christ or the Father. My fear before I start on this 5 part series of Edwards is that he will lump them all together in order to make it look like Universalist all hold to his generalisation.

My name is Scott and I am a Christian Universalist who believes that every knee shall bow and tongue CONFESS that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father. Isa.45:20-23, Ro.14:11 and Php.2:10-11

And that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 1Co.12:3
And that and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Ro.10:10

So then we can see that every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, that no man can confess Jesus Christ is Lord but by the Holy Ghost, and their confession is made unto salvation. Thus we have ALL men confessing by the Holy Ghost that Jesus Christ is Lord and their confession is made unto salvation. Thus all men are saved.

Those scriptures I quoted above should bring doubt to every objection Edwards makes concerning the salvation of ALL. But lets continue on with Edwards objections.


The reason I have decided to write this series and especially focusing on "confronting" Universalism is due to the fact that Universalism is becoming more and more prevalent in Christian theological circles. Its prevalence is especially pronounced among "preterists" (the group of Christians that advocate that Bible teaches a first-century consummation of prophecy & return of Christ), and since I am a preterist myself, as we continue in this series I will focus on how Universalism is affecting preterists. [UPDATE: Roderick Edwards no longer identifies himself as a Full Preterist]



Before we begin this series in earnest, it is important to give a brief introduction to Universalism.
PART 1

As stated in the first paragraph, Universalism proposes that ultimately, all people will be "saved" or at the very least "not condemned". Let us look at some Bible texts that would seem to support Universalism. (utilizing the NASB)

TEXTS THAT APPEAR TO SUPPORT UNIVERSALISM


"So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men." – Rom 5:18 (See also Rom 5:14-18)


"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." – Rom 8:1-2


"For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive." – 1 Cor 15:22


We shall start with these three texts. Now, for preterists, these texts may even be a more powerful affirmation of the concept of Universalism, due to the fact that preterists see the Bible advocating that Christ has defeated the last enemy – death as in Rom 6:9, 1 Cor 15:26 & especially 2 Tim 1:10.



Before we examine the texts, we must understand once again the premise that underlies Universalism. It is supposed that for God to be truly loving, He must extend grace to all people. If He excludes any people, then He isn't really a loving God.



We demonstrate this from the "Winchester Profession" of 1803, which was a document attested to by some of the early Universalists in America.


WINCHESTER PROFESSION


• Article I. We believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament contain a revelation of the character of God, and of the duty, interest and final destination of mankind.
• Article II. We believe that there is one God, whose nature is Love, revealed in one Lord Jesus Christ, by one Holy Spirit of Grace, who will finally restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness.



• Article III. We believe that holiness and true happiness are inseparably connected, and that believers ought to be careful to maintain order and practice good works; for these things are good and profitable unto men.


As you can see from article 2, there is an emphasis on God's nature which is defined as "love" – no Christian would argue with this proposition, BUT, we may argue with the definition of love.

Well Edwards might want to argue the definition of love, but the scriptures make loves definition very plain.

The word charity used here is actually agape in the Greek and means LOVE, the same LOVE that scripture proclaims God to be in 1Jn.4:8, 1Jn.4:16

1 Corinthians 13:1-13


Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,  5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;  7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.   12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Now I am not going to go into all these definitions of love, the reader will have to make up their own minds as to what they believe here. But I will speak of the last definition of LOVE which states "Charity/Love never faileth". or said another way God never faileth.
Now what do the scriptures state concerning why God sent His son into the world?
Lets read the scripture.
John 3:16-17
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

God because of His LOVE sent Jesus into the world that the world might be saved by Him.

Now we have just read LOVE NEVER FAILETH so if the world is not saved by Jesus Christ then God who is LOVE faileth and the scriptures are broken.

Here is a set of scripture I have loved since first reading it.

Isaiah 55:10-11
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Praise God the WORD did come out from God, made in the likeness of flesh for the salvation of the whole world. And as the WORD was sent forth it will not return void but shall accomplish EVERYTHING that it was sent to do. Why do so many still believe His WORD came in vain? The salvation of the whole world was His purpose in coming so what can we say if He does not fulfill His purpose? There is only one conclusion, His WORD returned void. Believe what you will, I believe His WORD will do exactly what He came to do. Like it or not brothers and sisters Gods WORD Jesus Christ will fulfill to the fullest exactly what He came to do, THE SALVATION OF ALL.

Now there is one objection that opponents of Universalism like to point out in Jn.3:16-17 and that is the scripture say that one must believe in Him in order for eternal life. They point this out because they are under the impression that Christian Universalists believe that people can be saved without confession in Jesus Christ or the Father. But as I already pointed out in the opening every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father. ALL shall believe and ALL shall confess and it does not matter how many times this is pointed out to opponents of Universalism they refuse to hear it, and like Edwards make a generalisation stating that Universalist believe that people can be saved regardless of confession in the name of Jesus Christ. They like to lump all Universalism into the same pile, for some that do this is because they don't know any better never having spoken to a Christian Universalist so they do so through ignorance, others on the other hand know better then to do this, yet do it just the same and it is a shameless tactic, and it is done in the hope Christians will say within themselves Universalism must then be in error for the scriptures proclaim there is no name whereby man might be saved except in the name of Jesus.

So I'll say this as plain as I can to all readers, Christian Universalist believe ALL men must believe and must confess that Jesus Christ is Lord in order to be saved. If you have a question concerning Christian Universalism ask a Christian Universalist, don't ask an opponent to Universalism for many will use smokescreen and mirrors and lead you to believe all Universalism is one and the same belief but they are NOT, I am a Christian Universalist and I hold to and honor Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation and I lift Him up and state He CANNOT fail in that which He came to do but will bring to pass ALL that He came to do, the salvation of world.


 Does a loving God allow people to continue in rejection and rebellion? (Heb 12:7)

Lets look at Heb.12:7
Hebrews 12:7
7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

Here is another point opponents to Universalism have a hard time understanding.
They believe the Universalist does not believe in God chastening people, where they get this idea I can only guess, and that guess is from other opponents to Universalism. For the chastisement of God to His sons is central to the Christian Universalist belief, for it is through His chastisement in the lake of His Holy presence that all men will come to perfection in Christ Jesus. And if Edwards had of kept reading in Heb.12 he would have seen this in verse 10
For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.  

Praise God His chastisement is for our profit that we might be partakers of His holiness.



But more, in article 2 we see the phrase, "who will finally restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness". Is this truly the message of the Bible?

Well lets read it for ourselves
Acts 3:19-21
19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

The restitution of all things has been proclaimed since the world began by all His holy prophets, and we find that restitution in Christ yet many a Christian still refuse to believe it, thinking within themselves it is to wonderful to believe, it is to great of a thing for God to be able to do, I hope its true but God just can't do it its to big a thing even for Him.

Brothers and sisters read again

John 3:16-17
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Its not to big for God to do, it was for this purpose that He sent Jesus Christ, that the world through Him might be saved. Halleluiah, can I get an amen.




 It is interesting to note that article 3 gives a toothless warning that "believers ought to be careful" – isn't that warning pointless?

Is it pointless for a father to warn his children that if they sow something they will reap what they sow? No good father want to spank their children and we warn in order to spare the child from their spanking.



Now, let us look at the three Bible texts in question. We shall do so in reverse order.



"For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive." – 1 Cor 15:22



The first question that must be asked is HOW… How did people become IN ADAM and how do people become IN CHRIST? It would seem obvious that ALL men are born in Adam via natural birth, but NOT all men are born in Christ. Does this contradict the text? Not in the least bit. The text is NOT saying all who are in Adam will be in Christ, but rather it is contrasting that all that were in Adam were under death, and thus all who are in Christ (which is not everyone) will be made alive.

Although Edwards says NOT all men are born in Christ does not contradict the text he is in error, lets take a look at the text from whence the quote comes.

1 Corinthians 15:12-26
12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

The WHOLE text is speaking of the resurrection of the DEAD, of all those who have died in Adam, and all that are DEAD in Adam will be made ALIVE in Christ. If this is not so then Christ never rose and our preaching is in vain and we are false witness of God because we testify that God raised Christ and if Christ was not raised ye are yet in your sins.
This is why Paul goes on to say if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. Paul knew without a shadow of a doubt that the DEAD in Adam still had hope beyond this life. For he goes on to say the LAST enemy to be destroyed is DEATH, and if DEATH is eternal as so many proclaim then Christ will never put all enemies under His feet.

"For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive."

Brothers and sister if all who died in Adam are not raised up in Christ then there is no resurrection of the DEAD

Now to make this plain Paul makes a difference between the DEAD and those who have fallen ASLEEP in Christ. And even states that if there is no resurrection those who have fallen asleep in Christ perished. Both those ASLEEP in Christ and those who die in Adam are made ALIVE in Christ.

Those like Edwards who believe in eternal torment do not believe in the resurrection of the DEAD, they only believe in the resurrection of those ASLEEP in Christ.

So we can see that for as in Adam all die, that same all also in Christ will be made alive for if this is no so then there is NO resurrection of the DEAD.




pneuma

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Re: Confronting Universalism
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2008, 03:12:00 AM »
Let us bolster our argument with the discussion Jesus had with Nicodemus.

Jesus answered and said to him,



"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit." -- John 3:3-8







This text is often used by baptismal regeneration advocates to claim people must be baptized to be "born again", but it may be that the text is indicating one must be physically born (of water as in the water of a womb), and THEN reborn or born again of the Spirit – but that is not the topic, so we will interact with the fact that Jesus was telling Nicodemus that physical birth didn't automatically allow a person to "see the kingdom" let alone enter and be part of it. The person had to be born again – IN CHRIST.

This does nothing to bolster Edwards argument for as I said in the opening that every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, that no man can confess Jesus Christ is Lord but by the Holy Ghost, and their confession is made unto salvation. Thus we have ALL men confessing by the Holy Ghost that Jesus Christ is Lord and their confession is made unto salvation. Thus all men are saved, or born again.



The question Universalists have the most difficulty answering is how a person gets IN CHRIST. For instance, in a recent conversation with an avowed universalist, the universalist told me that even Muslims who have never confessed Christ are in Christ, but the person could not tell me how except to quote the three texts in our review.

Well like I said in my opening statements there are Universalist that believe that people are saved without confession in Jesus Christ and I can only presume Edwards was speaking with one of those Universalist. But as the reader can see a Christian Universalist (at least this one) believes one must confess Christ and be born again.
As to Edwards proposition that Universalist have a difficult time answering this question the reader can see I had no difficulty at all.




Our next text under consideration is Rom 8:1-2.



"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." – Rom 8:1-2



Note at the outset we are coming under the same prerequisite – "there is no condemnation for those who are IN CHRIST JESUS". It should be clear to the reader that already a pattern is forming. Indeed, ALL are made alive and indeed there is NO CONDEMNATION, but that is for those IN CHRIST, not ALL people on the planet. The pronoun "you" in the very text should clue the reader into a specificity of the subject. In fact, the rest of the chapter of Romans 8 concurs with our premise that a person must be IN CHRIST before these things are true.



"However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him" – Rom 8:9


How is it possible that some do not "belong to Christ"? Who are these people and why are they NOT in Christ?

This is another area that is misunderstood by the eternal torment crowd, they seem to think condemnation is eternal torment in a future lake of fire. But Jesus says those who believe not are condemned ALREADY. Jn.3:18

So much for condemnation being a future event in some lake of fire.

All condemnation here means is that those outside of Christ are judged worthy of punishment. There are a few different words for punishment in the Greek but as Edwards here seem to be linking condemnation with eternal torment I will use the Greek word for punishment in the same vain.
In Mat.5:46 it say

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.


Punishment here is the Greek word  kolasis and means correction, punishment, penalty

Kolasis come from the root kolazo which means 1)   to lop or prune, as trees and wings
2)   to curb, check, restrain
3)   to chastise, correct, punishment
4)   to cause to be punished

Anyone who has ever pruned a tree knows that this is done in order for more growth.

So all those outside of Christ are found worthy of pruning, chastisement, correction.

Is this not how it should be? And has not everyone been found worthy of this same condemnation?

Lets look and see if you too are worthy of this condemnation.

Romans 5:16-18
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)  18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.   

Can we not see here that all men came under the judgment of condemnation/correction because of one man?
And that it is through the free gift in Christ that we are being pruned, chastised and corrected, for judgement MUST begin with the house of God, and if God chastises us not we are not His sons.

We have all been found worthy of condemnation but this is not a scary thing when one realises the judgment of condemnation is in order to prune, correct, chastise us for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 


Let us not shy away, for a common objection by universalist is that Romans 8:1-2 is specifically speaking to Jewish Christians in the first-century. Universalists claim this by noting that non-Jews would not have been under THE LAW, but the problem is that Romans 8:1-2 isn't talking about THE LAW, as in the Ten Commandments, but rather is obvious in the text "the law of sin and death". A universalist would be wise to counter with Rom 3:20 & especially Rom 5:13.



"for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law." – Rom 5:13



"See", says the universalist, "Without the Law there is no sin, thus non-Jews were never imputed as sinners & thus didn't need to be set free".



WHAT? Then how does a non-Jew get IN CHRIST? How was a non-Jew's required "rebirth" any different? It seems to contradict the universalists' original premise that all were in Adam. Do they mean to say that a person only need be born of water (the flesh) and will automatically be IN CHRIST? This contradicts Jesus' very own words to Nicodemus.

Edwards common objection he says Universalist give to ro.8:1-2 is not so common as he would have you believe, I have believed in Universalism for 30 years and have spoken with many other Universalist and this is the first time I have ever heard of what he says is common among us. You have already read how I addressed Ro.8:1-2 so you readers will have to decide for yourselves who hold the truth here.

As to Edwards statement that the law is not the law as in the 10 commandment spoken of in Ro.8 but is the law of sin and death, I'll just point out verse,4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

What? Is there righteousness in the law of sin and death?

Again I'll let the reader decide for themselves.



But let us continue in Romans 5.



"Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come." – Rom 5:14



What do we see here? It seems to contradict what was just said in verse 13. We even should note the word "nevertheless". It is shown that even though sin was not imputed because THE LAW had not yet been established (as in the Ten Commandments), death still reigned even before THE LAW was given. How is it that death could reign if death only is supposed to come by way of sin? Does it not then follow that even though it wasn't revealed as sin, it was "nevertheless" sin, even if not in the likeness of the offense of Adam? So then, the universalists' attempt to attach Rom 5:13 only to Jews is erroneous.

Again where Edwards gets that Universalist believe ro.8 or ro.5 is only attached to the Jews is beyond me, yet he says this is our common objection, let the reader be aware this is NOT a common objection to the scriptures he has given forth.


Lastly we look at Rom 5:18.



"So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men." – Rom 5:18



Once again we are told by the universalist that justification of life was made for all men. The universalist will contrast this with the fact that "through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men", thus also all men will be justified. But wait, doesn't this contradict what the universalists tried to say about Rom 5:13, that only Jews were under THE LAW? If it was only the Jews that inherited the condemnation, in that only the Jews were under THE LAW, thus imputed with sin, then verse 18 would only result in the justification of those who were under sin – which as we are told by the universalists was NOT non-Jews. This convolution of Universalist theology baffles the mind.

Edwards you are very much misinformed as to what Christian Universalist believe, your common objection is smoke and mirrors for like I said I have believed in Universalism for 30 years and this is the first time I have ever read anything of this ilk, your whole argument here is based solely on what you call our common objection therefore your whole argument is mute in regards to what we do believe. Why don't you give us some  references from Universalist who state what you say we believe, note I asked for references from other Universalists not from others who believe as you do.



They suggest not all were imputed with sin because not all were under THE LAW, then they try to tell us that it is NOT required to be IN CHRIST to be justified.

This is pure hogwash Edwards and I think you know it is, you might be able to get those who are unenlightened as to Christian Universalism to believe this crap but when confronted with one who knows better you come across as one who is uneducated in what Christian Universalist really believe. I think you may have even talked to one or two Universalists who believe what you call our common objection and if this is true then in all fairness you should have stated it thusly and not said it was a common objection of Universalists.

So then as I have already covered Ro.8 I'll now tell you what this Christian Universalist believe concerning Ro.5

Romans 5:15-19
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)  18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.   19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

This whole discourse is concerning the offence and the free gift.
And through the offence of one man judgment came upon ALL men to condemnation which we have already seen condemnation is correction by the work of pruning.
And that the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
That the disobedience of one all where made sinners.
That the obedience of one all shall be made righteous.

Now some have agued that the scriptures do not say all were made sinners or that all shall be made righteous, the scriptures say many here not all.

And that would be a valid argument except the scriptures also tell us that the many in reference is all. Have we not just finished reading where it says For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive, and does not verse 18 say because of the offence of one judgment came upon all men as well as the free gift because of one coming on all men.

Therefore the many must be in reference to the all unless we are to believe that not all were made sinners but only many. Yet the scriptures tell us all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.Ro.3:23 They also state in 1 John 1:8-10
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 

Therefore the many is indeed in reference to the all, and just as the offence was upon all to condemnation so to is the free gift upon all to justification of life.

Does the reader not find it strange that Universalist opponents have no problem with all men being in sin because of one man, yet when the scriptures proclaim the same for all having life in Jesus Christ they just don't believe it?

Are they not making the offence greater in scope then the free gift? And yet the scriptures proclaim it the other way around by say MUCH MORE the free gift then the offence.

Readers can you not see that the free gift is greater in scope then the offence?
Or will you like many of my brothers and sisters continue to believe that Adams offence which reached to all men is greater in scope then the free gift of Jesus Christ?
Who truly then becomes the victor Adam or Christ?
I put my trust in Christ alone, I believe that He will swallow up death in victory, but if Adam offence is greater then death can never be swallowed up in victory.

 

To me, the entire universalist premise is built on an emotional argument – that for God to be loving He must not condemn anyone – it just wouldn't be fair.


Universalism is hardly built on an emotional argument, it is built on scripture upon scripture upon scripture, but more importantly it is built upon a victorious Christ, the same Christ who came, saw and conquered death and hell. All Christian Universalists belief's stem from the fact of a victorious Christ, we don't believe in a God who cannot save to the utmost, we do not believe in a God who can fail, we believe in a God who so loved the whole world that He sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world that the world by Him might be saved.

Readers do you not believe God sat down and counted the cost for the salvation of the whole world? If you do then you should know that the cost was paid and the whole worlds salvation is assured.

Jesus made this statement in Luke.

Luke 14:28-30
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 

If you reader ever wondered why the world mocks God so much here is why.
The churches of today say God did not have sufficient to finish that which He started, He laid the foundation but was not able to finish it.
They will tell you yes God sent Jesus to save the whole world, but the whole world will not be saved, is this not exactly the same as saying God laid the foundation in Jesus Christ for the salvation of the whole world but He was unable to save the whole world/finish it?

WAKE UP brothers and sisters God will bring everything He started to completion, thus the salvation of the whole world is assured.

pneuma

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Re: Confronting Universalism
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2008, 04:02:56 PM »
PART 2


As we begin part 2 of our series on Universalism let us first address some objections left over from our introduction in part 1. Some people may have objected that there is a distinction between Universalism & Christian Universalism in that Universalism posits all people partake of "paradise" regardless what they confess, whereas Christian Universalism declares that all people will EVENTUALLY confess Christ & partake of heaven.

I am glad Edwards finally took the time to point out there is a difference between Universalism and Christian Universalism, however I believe this distinction should have been clearly defined in part 1.  



In part 1, I made this distinction when I purposely quoted the Winchester Profession, which clearly states that God would "finally restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness". In Christian Universalism, this is often predicated on Rom 14:11.

The quoting of the Winchester Profession did not clearly make any such distinction between Universalism and Christian Universalism, all it showed was Christians believed in Universalism but made no distinction between the two. 

Edwards in his opening statement said Universalism as understood in CHRISTIANITY is summarized as the proposition that for God to be a loving God, He will "save" all people, often REGARDLESS of their confession of Christ or even God Himself.

This, at least to me reads as though Edwards lumped ALL Universalism together as he stated Universalism as understood in CHRISTIANITY, thus bringing the reader the conclusion that Christian Universalism is summed up in the proposition that for God to be a loving God, He will "save" all people, often REGARDLESS of their confession of Christ or even God Himself.

However he did go on to say "Now, I say that is the "summarized" version, so please understand there are other aspects to Universalism, which will be detailed as we progress in this series." However Edwards never made any distinction in part 1 as to who he was addressing, leaving the reader the impression that everything he wrote in part 1 was the belief of the Christian Universalist.
 



"For it is written, AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD." – Romans 14:11 (quoting Is. 45:23)



And also



"For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." – Philippians 2:9-11





The Universalist premise is that eventually (or as the Winchester Profession states – finally) every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. And the Universalist will say that such proves that eventually everyone will understand and admit Christ is Lord, if not in this life, then in the next.

Some problems with this premise arise both in preteristic and futuristic Universalism.






• Romans 14 context is speaking specifically of how some people were judging others for holding on to Jewish dietary practices (and other customs) & some were not and being judged by fellow Christians.



• Romans 14:10 speaks of how this bowing and confessing will occur before the judgment seat – most preterist think this was a one-time event that occurred on the "last day" of the old covenant system in the first century. Thus, for a preterist to use this "every knee shall bow & every tongue shall confess" as a univeralist proof-text is inconsistent. For it either cause judgment to continue beyond the "last day" or it negates the entire universalist premise of every knee and every tongue confessing beyond the first century – which would mean there is no more valid acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as Lord.



• Philippians 2 is speaking directly to people it supposes have already confessed Christ, how then when we get to verse 15 there is a contrast of Christians among "a crooked and perverse generation"? Do we take from the phrase that every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that even the crooked and perverse generation will so do?








Is it not more fitting to see that when a conquering king vanquishes His enemies, they all acknowledge Him but yet not all comport with Him? – that is just because a subjugated person is eventually forced to bow and confess a conquering king does not make that person a friend of that King. In the same manner, it may be seen that every knee would bow and every tongue would confess, because they have no choice when the spiritual reality is known. This does not lead to all people will be IN CHRIST, but merely ALL WILL HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO ACKNOWLEDGE CHRIST, either in this life or the next.

Contrary to Edwards proposition that there are problems with the quote from Isa.45:23 for the Universalist no such problems exist. Edwards problem with understanding the quote from Isa.45:23 stems from viewing Universalism from his own perspective, which is that of a preterist, which is clearly seen when Edwards speaks on Ro.14:10.

So moving on to the quote from Isa.45:23, Edwards says it is more fitting to believe the bowing and confession is done by FORCE because Christ as a conquering king stands before them and they have no choice but to confess that He is Lord.

However this proposition CANNOT be correct for as I have already shown via scripture that no man can say Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost 1Co.12:3, and that confession is made unto salvation Ro.10:10. Thus clearly showing every knee bowing and confessing Jesus Christ is Lord is done to their salvation.

Another point to make here is that the bowing and confessing is done to the glory of the Father, does the reader truly believe the Father would gain any glory from confession from the mouths of those who have been trodden under His feet?

Jesus said in Mt.15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. Does the reader honestly believe the Father finds glory in such sentiment? Hardly, it is only in confession made from the hearts of men that the Father finds glory in.

So lets read Isa.45:23 from which the New Testament quotes come from for a clearer understanding.

Isaiah 45:22-23
22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. 23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

Do we not see here that God is talking about all mankind bowing and tongue swearing?
And to what purpose does the scriptures state this is being done?
Is it not unto their salvation?

Look unto me, and be ye SAVED, ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.
This scripture is surely speaking of the salvation of every one who bows and confesses Jesus Christ is Lord.

So lets read what Paul says in Ro.14. And see if this confession is done by FORCE as Edwards believes it to be.

Romans 14:11
11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord,  every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

The word confess here is the Greek word exomologeo so lets see if the confession here is done by FORCE as Edwards proposition states it is, or done with a willing heart in THANKS to the Father.

We will look at the definition of exomologeo from both Vines and Strong.

Vine states

2. exomologeo (1843), ek, "out," intensive, and No. 1, and accordingly stronger than No. 1, "to confess forth," i.e., "freely, openly," is used (a) "of a public acknowledgment or confession of sins," Matt. 3:6; Mark 1:5; Acts 19:18; Jas. 5:16; (b) "to profess or acknowledge openly," Matt. 11:25 (translated "thank," but indicating the fuller idea); Phil. 2:11 (some mss. have it in Rev. 3:5: see No. 1); (c) "to confess by way of celebrating, giving praise," Rom. 14:11; 15:9. In Luke 10:21, it is translated "I thank," the true meaning being "I gladly acknowledge." In Luke 22:6 it signifies to consent (RV), for KJV, "promised."

Strong states

AV - confess 8, thank 2, promise 1; 11

GK - 2018 { ejxomologevw }

1)   to confess
2)   to profess
2a)   acknowledge openly and joyfully
2b)   to one's honour: to celebrate, give praise to
2c)   to profess that one will do something, to promise, agree, engage

Can the reader doubt any longer that every knee bowing and tongue confessing is done with a willing THANKFULL heart and not by FORCE as Edwards would have you believe?




In any case, you shall find that many Preterist Universalists are hard to distinguish from Christian Universalists or general Universalists in that as a Christian Universalist seems to say people will EVENTUALLY acknowledge Christ either in this life or the next. Many Preterist Universalists I've spoken with doesn't seem to advocate that people will ever need to acknowledge Christ. There is definitely a blurring of the lines between Christian Universalism and general Universalism. So, for the rest of this series, when I use the terms "universalism" and "universalist" I mean in the Christian sense with any connection to general universalism that may also be involved.



We will come back to this subject later, but now let us address another objection raised against part 1 of this series. The objection is more over semantics than anything else. The title of this series is Confronting Universalism, thus some people took offense saying that why does it need to be confronted. Why can't its adherents simply be interacted with? The term confront in this case was selected not to mean, "to be confrontational" or argumentative, but rather "to approach openly". The title was selected specifically in response to a recent email sent out by a well-known preterist that recommended that univeralists be banned from preterist message boards. Since, I do not agree that avoiding discussion is the approach that should be taken, I have begun thus series and called to Confronting Universalism because for so long there have been two preterist approaches to this issue:





1) Ignore universalism and hope it goes away.

2) Befriend universalism without actually biblically analyzing it.

One thing I'll say about Edwards here is he at least seems open to reasoning the scriptures with Universalist for many refuse to do so and ban Universalism from their boards.

pneuma

  • Guest
Re: Confronting Universalism
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2008, 09:30:01 PM »
PART 3


Now, let us continue: The Origins of Universalism.

Again, we are mainly addressing universalism as it is impacting preterism, but we will touch some on the traditional origins of Universalism. First, let us say that many Preterist Universalists did NOT come from a Universalist background and thus often have no knowledge of the traditional origins of universalism. However, there is a remarkable possible link in both the Christian Universalism and the emergence of preteristic universalism. It seems many preterists that advocate universalism come from a background of "Arminianism" (simplified: the position that all people have the capacity choose Christ). Why would this lead to universalism in a preterist?


Arminianism supposes that ALL people have the capability to choose Christ, in that all people are "spiritually alive" enough to seek after God. They often quote John 3:16 –



"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." – John 3:16



And then say that God loves everyone on the face of the planet and calls everyone on the face of the planet to believe in Christ and thus for that to be possible everyone on the face of the planet must have the capability to believe. For, according to the Arminian it would be unfair for God to say "whoever" and then limit the capability of some.



Arminians will pair John 3:16 up with 2 Pet 3:9 –



"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." – 2 Peter 3:9



From this, the Arminian surmises that God wants to "save" everyone but somehow God just doesn't have the power to actually do it. I mean, the salvivic model of an Arminian would go something like this:








· God wills for everyone to come to repentance but God has no power to make it happen.



· Christ died for all people but could have hypothetically been for no one if no one repented.



· The Holy Spirit convicts all people but some resist.



· Christ is advocating before the Father on the behalf of all people but for some it won't matter unless they choose.



As you can see, in the Arminian model, it is possible for the creature to completely thwart the plan of the Creator.



Perhaps the reader wonders how we got on to the subject of Arminianism when the topic is universalism. Well, we had to diverge a moment to explore a possible connection between the two.

Yes this reader surely did as one has absolutely NOTHING to do with the other.



Arminianism supposes ALL PEOPLE are in view, if God is to be loving and fair.

Universalism supposes ALL PEOPLE are in view, if God is to be loving and fair.



So, it is not a big leap for universalism to say that since God wishes that none shall perish, indeed that ultimately NONE will perish but will EVENTUALLY; all will bow their knee and confess with their tongue that Jesus Christ is Lord.

I half to ask, which is it Edwards, do ALL bow and confess or just some?
Did you not say in part 2 that ALL will bow and confess but some will do so because they are FORCED to do so?
So it is not just the Arminianism or Universalism belief that believe Isa.45:23 is speaking of ALL men but your own belief by your own words believe it is speaking of ALL men.
Therefore I could just as easily make the same conjecture you just did and say Universalism sprang from your own belief. However if I was to do this I would be just as much in error here as you are.




The universalism we see emerging today doesn't appear to have its roots in traditional Christian Universalism, but rather today's universalism is more a reactionary trend against doctrine based Christianity. That is, the origins of today's universalism is coming about as more people want to flee what they consider rigid, judgmental aspects of "traditional Christianity". To many universalistic-minded people it is more about "worship sessions" & everyone having a good time than sitting down and really hammering out what the Bible is actually saying.


Now, I already know the types of responses I will receive from Universalists; that I'm being self-righteous or overly critical. They will pretend I don't know anything about what they believe. But in actuality it is often they who are very ambiguous (read: "nuanced" is an often used catch phrase of Universalists) about what they are advocating.

Although in part Edwards is correct here, but its not because they want a worship session as Edwards eludes to, but because they cannot understand how a loving God could eternally tormenting man. This does not sit well within them so they start to question the doctrine of eternal torment or annihilation and when they do this the church leaders of today tell them Universalism is a heretical belief and if they persist in it they are on a slippery slope to hell. 

As to Edwards statement that Universalist  do not want to sit down and hammer out what the bible is actually saying that statement goes both ways. However it sit more squarely on the eternal torment crowd then on the Universalist. I can tell you how many board I have been banned from because of my belief in Universalism. Most boards don't want Universalism to rock the boat, so they either ban the individual or ban Universalism from their boards which amounts to the same thing.   
Now some might say I am just defending Universalism here and exaggerating the issue, but Edwards himself admitted that even on the board he is on he received an email recommending that Universalist be banned from the message boards. 
Although Edwards seems to be one who is willing to sit down and hammer out what the bible is really saying you can see the mentality from others by the email he received, they do not want Universalism on their boards, so the reader will have to decide for themselves which of the two parties are more willing to sit down and hammer out the scriptures.






The origin of traditional universalism is easy enough to track. It didn't come from Roman Catholicism, as it is clear that Roman Catholicism is often criticized for being historically exclusionary. It didn't come from the Reformation, as it is clear, especially from Lutheran and Calvinistic theology that what the Reformers espoused was limited to the justified faithful (hence: "justification by faith").



So when we trace traditional Christian Universalism1 we see it emerging in the 1800s, and ironically enough, about the time dispensationalism emerged. We have already discussed how Arminianism & Universalism seem to have obvious connections, but how can Universalism be connected to dispensationalism?

For someone who just finished saying that he knows what Universalist believe Edwards really fell out of the boat on this one.

Edwards states Universalism emerged in the 1800s this is so far from the truth that it makes me wonder just how much he really know about Universalism.

First as always I go to the scriptures and they state that the restitution of all things was spoken by all the holy prophets since the world began Acts 3:21

This scripture alone should tell the reader how far off Edwards 1800s proposal is.

But as I know for most they want more evidence then just scripture, so lets turn to history and see if Universalism was taught before the 1800s.

Many of our early church father believed in and taught Universalism, men such as Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Clement, Eusebius of Caesarea, Basil and many more.

Gregory of Nyssa and avowed Universalist sat on the council of Constantinople and was an integral part of drawing up the Nice code which is still the code the churches of today proclaim.

For any reader who wants further info on these men and their belief in Universalism just put their names into google and you can read for yourself what they believed.
Or there is a great book written by Thomas Allin called Christ Triumphant which quotes many of the early church fathers. ( I highly recommend this book )

So we can see not only was Universalism proclaimed by all the holy prophets since the world began according to the scriptures, we can also see by history itself that Universalism was wide spread among the early church fathers.



Well, anyone has ever interacted with dispensational theology knows it very emotional-based. Dispensationalism will often point to experiential evidence or proof-texts for its various tenets, rather than base its conclusions on the whole text. We see this same approach with many Universalists (I can almost hear the roar of objections). But in discussion after discussion with those who advocate universalism or some derivative of it, you will find yourself being accused as "mean" or wanting to see people burn in hell.


Edwards here seems to be making an emotional plea to the reader something he says the Universalist do. Although in farness to Edwards I to have seen Universalist say this to those who believe in eternal torment, this type of comment is not something I would endorse. On the other hand I have heard  those who believe in eternal torment say that when the Christian sees those who are in hell they will be glad and rejoice at their suffering. So I do understand why some would make such a statement. But as in both cases it is not something I would endorse nor do I believe Edwards would either.


But where is modern universalism coming from?



Again, as we pointed out before there are many people fleeing "traditional Christianity" in search of a feel-good brand. We see this with many of the new fad movements: Generous Orthodoxy, Emergent Church, postmodernism, Trans…whatever. As a matter of fact the various catch phrases end up meaning the same thing. Postmodernism is an almost egotistical term that technically means "beyond common". Thus, you will often find people who use the term, speaking deridingly of "traditional" or common concepts. It is as if those who espouse "postmodern" concepts are BETTER than common people – they are beyond common.



We saw this in the series on the Transmillienalism™2, how they see themselves as "beyond preterism".



Perhaps someone can say that preterism itself is "emerging" and is "non-traditional", but even a causal study of Christian theologians throughout history will show that most theologians were inconsistent in their eschatology. For example, many advocated they were currently in the "new heavens and new earth" (new covenant), yet if they were consistent they would have seen that chronologically then; Christ would have come, as He said He would at the establishment of the new heavens and new earth.



Universalism has been completely unconvincing. It is built on emotionalism, psychology, and an almost "hippie" mentality. Universalists object to what they would consider an "unfair and unloving God" unless that God makes all vessels unto honor. And lastly, anyone that objects to universalism is labeled as a mean-spirit person that just wants to be the only one in "heaven". This accusation just continues to show how universalism takes "grace" and makes it out to be nothing.

Again Edwards uses an emotional plea to the reader stating the Universalist call anyone who does not believe in Universalism is labelled mean spirited. It seem Edwards want you to feel sorry for him because some do say such things. But what Edwards fails to do here is separate, he continues to say Universalists say these things instead of some Universalist he has spoken to say such things, he is lumping everyone under one handle in order to get the reader to think ALL those who believe in Universalism are mean spirited.
So should all be lumped together as Edwards seems to do? If that is the case then I could say those who believe in eternal torment call Universalist heretics, sons of Satan, antichrist etc. for I have been called by these name by those who believe in eternal torment. Is it fair of me to lump them all together like Edwards has done? Hardly, lets be fair about this, both camps say things they should not be saying and to lump them all together is but to deceive.

This is now the second or third time Edwards has made the statement that the Universalist belief is built on emotional pleas.

I have already stated this is not true, our belief is built upon scripture and a victorious Christ. It is not based on emotional pleas as Edwards has been so fond of stating.
That does not mean we don't use emotional pleas to expound what we believe, Edwards seems to think that we should not use or emotions, but emotion are God given and He gave them to us for a purpose and that purpose is to use them.

Edwards seems to think statement like a kind loving Father would not eternal torment people in hell as wrong for people to think that way.

Yet Edwards as well as many who believe in eternal torment or annihilation fail to realise Jesus Himself used these exact same principles.
Luke 15:4
4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

Can the reader not see here Jesus using the emotional plea for the lost sheep?
He say WHAT MAN of YOU, Jesus wanted them to understand the emotion that one feels towards the lost sheep.

Now take special notice of what is being said here.

The man in reference here is Jesus Christ, the lost sheep is one wondering in sin.

So who loses something here, is the loss mans soul or is it Jesus Christ's loss? 

It is not speaking of the loss of the soul of man, it is speaking of divine loss, it is speaking of Jesus Christ losing the man.

If the sheep is not found it is Christ's loss

Does the reader really believe Jesus Christ can lose anything? Nay, the scriptures state He will go after the lost sheep until He FIND IT. Halleluiah, Jesus will lose none of which He came to save, and almost every Christian ( I've talked to some Calvinist who believe He did not come to save the whole world, just the elect) believes just as the scriptures proclaim He came for the salvation of the world. 

John 3:16-17
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

1 John 2:1-2
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.


Jesus was always pointing out that God is our Father and He did this in order for us to be able to relate to God as any son relates to their father. We are to have a personal relationship with God and how can we unless we understand the relationship is based on the father son principle.

There is nothing wrong with us using our emotions to further understand the Father, for if we do not understand the Father son principle how can we ever understand the Father?

pneuma

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Re: Confronting Universalism
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2008, 10:05:25 PM »
In the next part of this series we shall interact in more detail with some of the objections universalism (especially Preterist Universalism) raises.

PART 4

As we begin part 4 of this series we have been increasingly called upon to interact with preteristic universalism (PU), more specifically with the named advocates of PU. Up to this point we have purposely dealt in generalities, avoiding any appearance of going after any individual, so as not to be accused of "attacking" people (though the accusation has still been bandied). So, in part 4 we shall indeed interact with specific individuals, or rather the concepts of those individuals.


Before we do that, let us review our conclusion thus far and consider those conclusions as we interact with what advocates of PU have written.


CONCLUSIONS ABOUT PRETERISTIC UNIVERSALISM


It is often espoused out of emotionalism – A desire to make God love everyone.
It is often espoused from the Arminian theological perspective – That man's will plays the major part in salvation.
It often leads to ambiguity of other theological perspectives – It leads to a form of relativity.

I have already addressed these issues, the reader can go back over my replies at their leisure and make up there own minds as to whether Edwards or my point was made.



Let us quote first from one of the main PU websites -- http://www.infinite-grace.com



"Introduce the topic of universalism and many Christians will point out instantly that it contradicts Holy Scripture. And when one peruses its pages, it may appear so. But one thing is undeniable by anyone whose heart goes out to others: We intuitively hope universalism is true." -- Universalism - An Utterance of the Heart by Steve Jones (http://www.infinite-grace.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=3)



Here we are, one of the very first articles posted on the premier PU websites fully admitting that many Christians would reject universalism because why? Because when a person peruses the pages of the Bible, universalism seems to contradict Scripture.

Seeming to contradict scripture and contradicting scripture are worlds apart.

The same can be said of the Preterist view, ask someone who hold to the other view and they will tell you that the preterist view seems to contradict scriptures, ask a preterist and they will tell you the other view seem to contradict scripture.

So what has been proven by Edwards quoting that the Universalist saying that Universalism SEEMS to contradict scripture? Absolutely nothing, except to show that Universalist are more honest towards their view then some of those who hold other views.

After all I did not hear Edwards state that the preterist view seem to contradict scripture, but ask one who hold the opposite view of the preterist and they will tell you preterist view seems to contradicts scripture.


 

What is the first proposition by the writer of the article?



EMOTIONALISM:

"But one thing is undeniable by anyone whose heart goes out to others: We intuitively hope universalism is true."



This kind of reasoning is a non-starter, it would seem pointless to continue to read the rest of the article, but since I promised PU advocates that I would interact with what they have posted on their websites, we shall continue on.



The writer continues bolstering our first conclusion about PU.



"The kind-hearted and merciful wish that God might finally bring all humanity into the circle of His grace. If they could, they would decree the redemption of every person on the planet."



What? The antithesis of this statement is that people, who believe God's justice is ALSO love, are not "kind-hearted & merciful".

I have already covered emotions and shown how Jesus Christ used them also towards the lost sheep.

And as we can see Edwards again uses an emotion plea, wanting the reader to feel the injustice he feels at the implication of what he believes makes him not kind hearted and merciful.

Note: no one said Edwards was not kind hearted he just finds that because the Universalist believe a kind hearted God would not eternally torment people they are saying he is not kind hearted. Sound to me like Edwards is putting himself through hoops of his own making.



Next we see our conclusion of point 2 on PU borne out by the writer of this article:

"At this point, many will object. Rightly so, they will tell us that an ardent desire for something doesn't make it true. The church, they insist, must always be guided by Scripture only. But there is one example of a doctrine that Christians have embraced on the basis of intuition, not the Bible. It's the belief that all who die in infancy are saved. The near unanimous voice of the Church has shouted down centuries of belief in infant damnation. And this without a line of Scripture. The basis is our inner conviction. The concept of babies in hell is abhorrent to our sensibilities. The Church has, accordingly, applied universal redemption to those dying below "the age of accountability."


As you can see, the writer is appealing for the reader to abandon Scripture for "intuition", which would even confirm our point 3 of the conclusions. The entire concept of an "age of accountability" is purely an emotionally driven form of Arminianism – "God can't judge little babies – it's not fair!!!" -- Odd, I wonder how many "innocent babies" died in the Flood?

Edwards missed the point here it is not the Universalist who says anything about the age of accountability it is a church doctrine that was made up because they could not believe babies would be placed in the eternal lake of fire. The Universalist did not come up with this concept of age of accountability ( we don't need it ) the churches of today like the one Edwards and you readers might belongs to came up with this idea.

So Edwards here believes the same thing as the Universalist does which is there is no such thing as the age of accountability.

The difference of course is Edwards believes babies will be eternally torment and the Universalist don't.

Does that sound like a kind loving or just God to you readers?




Do the advocates of PU really want to build their doctrine "without a line of Scripture"?

Huh, I have made an answer to every scripture Edwards has brought up and even added my own scriptures.



Further in this article posted on the premier PU website we have this quote:



"There is also an inward pressure to make allowances for the heathen. The shrinking of our world has brought us into contact with people outside the Christian realm, making it more difficult than ever to sustain the old view. So unpalatable is the thought of entire cultures and civilizations perishing that even evangelicals are looking for ways to get around it."



This is just more emotionalism, looking for "ways around" Scripture! All of this only solidifies what we have been saying about PU & we haven't even moved beyond the first article example. But let us conclude with this author.

Again Edwards is missing the point, it is not the Universalist that has to come up with an explanation of the heathen or babies WE DON"T NEED IT, it is the churches of today just like the ones some of you readers belong to that need to come up with another explanation, for even the churches you belong to cannot see a Just God eternally tormenting babies.   


"It may be a matter of time before a new notion of heathen salvation joins infant salvation as an intuitive doctrine of the heart."



We agree, that is as more and more people begin to embrace "intuitive doctrine of the heart" (read: emotionalism) over Scripture, it is more likely to generate more PU advocates. As a side note, at the time of the writing of this part of the series, out of the 7 months of articles posted on this PU site, this article was the second most read article, so it certainly was of top interest to those who frequent that site – in case they try to claim it was simply an obscure article.


On another PU website called www.womenbeyond.com (originally called preteristwomen.com & independent it is now considered a "sister site" of the Transmil/Presence Movement) From this site we interact with an article by Tim King of Transmil called "Comprehensive Grace" (an early code term used by PU advocates trying to distance themselves from the bad reputation of universalism).



In King's article we shall see more of our conclusions validated by his very own words. (http://www.womenbeyond.com/faq-5b.htm)



"Universalism offers an alternative, but it comes at an exegetical price. For the Universalist, salvation is 100% efficacious and universal in scope. Universalism is the belief that all individuals will be saved. I finds its argumentation based upon what it feels is the inconsistency between the judgment of God regarding sin and his will for all to be saved."



Even King implies universalism is less than completely exegetical and even further he sees that universalism grapples with making God "fair" regarding judgment & salvation.

Eek gad Edwards of course God has to be fair in His judgments, you do believe in a Just God do you not?

There is absolutely no problem in the Universalist view of Gods judgments, for we believe all God judgments lead to salvation.

It is the views held by those who believe in eternal torment and annihilation who have to struggle between Gods judgments and salvation.

We do not need to explain how a Just God could send babies to be eternally torment, whereas those who believe in eternal torment must go through hoops to make God look Just for barbequing them. This is the reason they have come up with the concept of the age of accountability, a concept I have already stated the Universalist does not need. A concept Edwards himself does not believe in, which leaves only one conclusion, Edwards believes the Just God of the universe is going to barbeque babies.

Do you as readers honestly believe God would be working in Justice to eternally torment babies? If so why? What has a baby done to deserve such torment?

As for having exegetical problems I don't have any when I study the scriptures and I am a Universalist, if King sees exegetical problems I can only assume they are of his own making and are not prevalent within Universalism.

So because King states he has exegetical problems Edwards again makes the assumption all Universalist have the same problems
.

The next quote by King is the bombshell affirmation that I've been trying to warn people about whom are teetering toward PU.

"The biggest problem with the modern Universalist movement is that it tends to marginalize Christ and Scripture regarding the salvation of mankind."

WHAT? Universalism does not marginalize Christ we believe He is victorious in everything He came to do, it is those who believe Jesus Christ will lose souls to hell that marginalise Him. Saying He came and sacrificed Himself for the world, but the world cannot be saved by Him.



We keep calling for PU advocates to clearly demonstrate how someone gets "IN CHRIST", but yet they continue to tell us everyone is in Christ, even if they don't yet realize it.

I have already addressed this issue also, but like I said Edwards problem here is that he is addressing Universalism via his own view as a preterist.



King further supports our conclusion that the Christian Universalism we see today grew out of the late 1800s and typically leads to psychological & sociological movements & relativism.

Already addressed this issue also and have shown just how far Edwards missed the boat on this one.





"While the early proponents of Universalism had a high regard for Scripture and Christ as its revealer (1803 Universalists convention and 1870 reaffirmation), by the time of the 1st World War, Universalism was immersed in German rationalism, biblical criticism and the Social Gospel movement."

But lest anyone think I am trying to show how Tim King doesn't agree with universalism, let the reader continue.

King, as many PU have done, repackages universalism under other labels; Infinite/Comprehensive/Fulfilled/Common Grace.

"Simply stated, man is changed because his world changed. Man is reconciled to God because he no longer lives under the rule of sin and death as determined by the Mosaic world. Through the gift of Christ he dwells in a world of righteousness and life. The issue is cosmic and corporate, not individual and limited."

Here at the start of King's introduction to his brand of universalism we can see the problem –



1) he assumes that sin & death only had to do with the "Mosaic world",

2) he is advocating everyone is already corporately in Christ without really telling us how they get there.

Well I can only say here Kings ideas of Universalism are not mine nor are they the views of most Universalist I have spoken to. The problem as I see it here is because both Edwards and King are preterist and so only view scripture from a preterist view.

In order for them both to come unto a clearer view of Universalist they both have to give up on their preterist view.

Universalism in it true form (In my opinion) does not have a pre or post erist, Universalism hold to the view of was, is, and is to come, and until people get rid of their pre and post erist views they will always struggle with scriptures.

Thus Edwards finds fault with Kings views or the PU views on Universalism.

pneuma

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Re: Confronting Universalism
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2008, 10:11:44 PM »
As we correctly stated in part 2, the PU advocates premise is that if people don't confess Christ while physically alive, no matter, they will at some point or another, and thus everyone will eventually be "IN CHRIST". To facilitate this concept they quote Col 2:9-11 as we see King doing here.



"It is before this God that 'every knee bows' and 'every tongue confesses'--even those 'under the earth'".



But as we have stated before, just because a conquering king causes every knee to bow & every tongue to confess, doesn't mean those bowing and confessing are in accord with the king – indeed they may still be enemies, but subjugated enemies.

Already addressed this issue also and showed how confession is done with a thankful heart.


 It brings to mind Mt 7:22-23

Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'" -- Mt 7:22-23 (NASB)


Before someone objects that this verse only speaks of the impending first-century judgment of Israel, keep in mind that the people being depicted here are not Christ rejecting Jews, but people whom obviously at least feigned allegiance to Christ.

Edwards fails to realise a couple of things here.
First if people are feigning allegiance to Christ as Edwards states, then this feigned allegiance gives glory to the Father, for every knee bowing and tongue confessing Jesus Christ is Lord is to the glory of the Father.

Does the reader really believe feigned allegiance to Christ would bring glory to God the Father? Hardly.

Second these set of scriptures are talking about entering into the kingdom of heaven by the strait gate or by way destruction. It is speaking of the difference between the overcomer and the Christian who does not overcome.

The overcomer enters into the kingdom of heaven by the strait gate all other Christians as well as those who know not God enter into the kingdom of heaven by way of destruction.

This is easily seen in Rev.2 & 3, Jesus speaking to the CHURCHES (that would be Christians) says "He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death."

Therefore we can see that Christians who do not overcome go through the second death, if this was not so then Jesus would not have warned the CHURCHES that they must overcome.

I am going to paraphrase Mt.7:13-14 in order to show this more fully.

As I already said it is speaking of entering into the kingdom of heaven so lets look at it in this light.

Enter ye into the kingdom of heaven at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which enter into the kingdom of heaven that way: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 

Note: does the reader really believe only a FEW will be saved? God sent Jesus to save the world, Jesus came to save the world, but He could only save a FEW. Does the reader really believe this? Did Jesus somehow miss the mark? God sent Him to save the world but somehow He just was not able to do it. Is not missing the mark the definition of sin?
Does the reader believe Jesus is a sinner? Of course not, then is it not incumbent upon you to believe in the salvation of the world? Anything less then the salvation of the world make Jesus miss the mark. He is the saviour of the world reader, believe it.

So as the reader can see both gates lead into the kingdom of heaven, but only a FEW enter in by the strait gate, all others are hurt by the second death.

This is seen more fully when we look at Revelation 22:14-17
After everything is said and done, all judgment passed, all that go into the lake of fire already placed within we read.
14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Can the reader not see for themselves that those without the gates if they keep His commandments still have right to the tree of life and can enter through the gates into the city?

Who are these people outside the gates of the city?

 15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Can the reader not see those outside the city gates are the dogs and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

It is to these people that scriptures proclaim if they keep His commandments they have right to the tree of life and can ENTER the city.

 16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. 17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Can the reader not see here that the Spirit and the bride still say COME, and whosoever will can COME and take the water of life FREELY.

Brothers and sister the message is clear, until the last sheep is in the fold the Spirit and the bride say COME and take of the water of life FREELY. Praise God He NEVER gives up on us, even when we give up on Him.

Jesus first recorded words are I must be about my Fathers business, what was the Fathers business? The salvation of the world, and when Jesus laid done His life His last recorded words were IT IS FINNISHED, what was finished? His Fathers business the salvation of the world.

Now some might say if the salvation of the world is finished as you are saying how come is it that not everyone is saved yet?

I'll let the writer of Hebrews answer that question.

Hebrews 2:8-9
8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 




Further interesting is that many PU advocates will say there is no more law. (We aren't talking only about the Mosaic Law) But I wonder if even the "commandments of Christ" have been dissolved in the PU's reasoning?



"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." – John 14:15 (NASB)

This is total crap, Edwards is postulating something here that has NEVER been suggested. This type of postulation is unbecoming to a child of the Lord.
Let me give the reader an example of this type of postulation and hopefully they can see just how full of crap it is.

I wonder if in the reasoning of those who believe in eternal torment believe this way because they are trying to tell us God is schizophrenic, one moment He loves His creation the next He is barbequing them.

Can the reader not see just how much a load of crap my postulating is here? Those who believe in eternal torment would not state such a thing, so would it not be unbecoming of me to say that was what they are trying to say? Sure it would, just as Edwards postulating here is unbecoming.
 






Are the PU advocates trying to tell us this is no longer required? Now, everyone "loves Christ" even when they not only don't keep His commandments, but many openly ridicule Christ? Now everyone is automatically "IN CHRIST" & doesn't need to "love Him"?


An astonishing quote from this Comprehensive Grace article comes in contradiction to a fundamental preterist understanding.



"And what of the fate of the billions of others ("every creature," Rev. 5:13) who came to see and praise the One who alone possesses immortality? Was their fate to be cast aside or brought into this victory?"



First off, most preterists understand the concept of "every creature" doesn't mean every single individual on the face of the planet. It is one of the main propositions that preterists point out about the preaching of the Gospel to the entire world – to "every creature".





"if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister." – Col 1:23



It is the common preterist contention that "every creature" does NOT mean every individual, otherwise the futurists would be correct in their objection that the Gospel has not yet been preached to every individual, thus "the end" could not have come.

So, it is surprising to see a preterist using the "every creature" phrase to as to mean all people will be "saved".

Well it is obvious to this reader that most preterist view (if indeed most view it as Edwards states)  on every creature is greatly in error.

This is easily proven by scripture.

Let me ask the reader this: Did Jesus come to save the world, yes or no?

If the reader believes Jesus came to save the world just as the scriptures proclaim then to prove my point just read what Paul states here.

Romans 10:13-15
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

If every creature is not every creature then Jesus did not come to save the world for as Paul points out how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?

So let me ask the reader another question: If the gospel has never been preached to every creature is God Just in eternally tormenting them?

You simply cannot have it both ways, either God is Just and the Gospel is preached to every creature or God is unjust to eternally torment those who have never heard the gospel. After all it is God who sends the preacher is it not? And if He does not send how can they believe?

The gospel will be preached to every creature and every knee will bow in worship and every tongue will confess in thanksgiving to the glory of God the Father.



Again, the article's author assumes everyone (every knee and every tongue) will eventually "come to see and praise" Christ.



King bears out point 3 of our conclusions with this next quote from his article.



"Comprehensive Grace is content to leave the judging of the individuals to God for he alone has the knowledge of good and evil and he alone understands all that is needed to prepare the way for his holy and righteous love."



See the ambiguity in that comment? Wait, I didn't think anyone was going to be judged anymore? I didn't think "evil" came into the equation anymore?

This understanding only comes into play because of the preterist view and is in error.
Edwards is also a preterist so he is making an argument against his own belief here. Think about it.

In order to undermine the belief in Universalism Edwards is undermining his own belief.



More ambiguity:



"The message of Comprehensive Grace is not one that affords us to the luxury of determining ourselves who is "in" or "out" for eternity. We accept our humble station as servants who know only what the Father deems necessary."



What is it that "the Father deems necessary"? Is this found anywhere in Scripture? How about a profession of faith? How about a conversion? How about a rebirth? How about a heart of stone turned to a heart of flesh? How about keeping Christ's commandments to show you love Him? Is any of that necessary? Not to many advocates of PU.

Hmmm is profession of faith deemed necessary by the Father?, is conversion?, is rebirth?, is keeping His commandments?

Sure they are, and if the PU believe otherwise its not because of their belief in Universalism that is at fault but their belief in preterism.

But again and again Edwards is not so much undermining Universalism as he is undermining the preterist view to which he himself holds.

Can the reader not see that the same reasoning questions Edwards uses against PU can be asked of any preterist view?

Edwards arguments are not against Universalism, there against the preterist view.

He is trying to uphold his own belief yet at the same time he's tearing it down.

No point Edwards has made is against Universalism, it has all been against the PRETERIST view of Universalism.





Next we see both of our PU author's converging on the same point – that universalism isn't clearly in the text but must be teased out of it.



"Without a careful (and broad) reading of the text, one could arrive at the conclusion that the ministry of Jesus was indeed one of exclusivity. Exclusivity comes naturally to us."



King says this after telling us that Jesus came only to the Houses of Israel & Judah, but he as many PU advocates do, makes the mistake in trying to proclaim Christ only came to those "houses" – but they neglect that many "Gentiles" came & were "saved" as well. (Mt 15:20-28, Lk 10:33, Lk 17:15-16, John 4:9-42) So, this "exclusivity" that the PU advocates see in the Bible is indeed there, but it is not just to the Houses of Israel & Judah as they suppose, but to the faithful – those who would believe upon Christ & keep His commandments, not just anyone.

Again this has nothing to do with Universalism but rather the preterist view.
Edwards seems to be only tearing down the preterist view here again. Unbelievable that he does not see this.



We have now interacted with 2 articles by PU advocates. One article from the premier PU website, which again is the second most read article on that website, and we have interacted with an article by a main advocate of PU, thus let it no longer be said that we are not addressing what they have written, or that we are misrepresenting them.

Like Edwards keeps pointing out his problems here lay with the preterist Universalist view and not with the Universalist view. And time and time again he has torn down the preterist part of the view and left Universalism alone.

pneuma

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Re: Confronting Universalism
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2008, 11:15:53 PM »
We shall begin part 5 of the series Confronting Universalism where we are leaving off. We shall discuss the rest on Tim King's article and get more into the soteriological implications of universalism in contrast to the biblical proclamations.

PART 5

We come to the final segment of our series on universalism. It is here where we shall interact with some of the soteriological implications of universalism. More specifically, we will ask:



"Is Calvinistic soteriology more conducive for universalism?" & "Does preterism lead to universalism?"



In part 4 we interacted with an article posted on a preteristic universalist (PU) website, which although it wasn't expressly preterist, it was embraced by the site admin & others as representative of their underlying modus operandi – emotionalism. Recall, the article itself spoke of "intuition of the heart" over having a "line of Scripture" to support their conclusions. But this is not to say they don't quote Scripture, indeed just as the futurists quote text out of context, the PU's quote Scripture albeit it out of context. We'll see this, as we get further along.

This is everyone's favourite saying, if one believes in the preterits view they will tell you the futurists quote scripture out of context, but just go ask a futurist and they will tell you the preterist quote scripture out of contexts, it almost as if they think the reader cannot understand what they read for themselves so they must be told that any view other then the one we have is wrong because they take scripture out of context. Does this statement really sway anyone's minds? Does the futurists all of a sudden say O my god I am taking scripture out of context just because the preterist says they are? Hardly, so what good are such statements and why does each view say the same thing of the other? Is it not to place the seeds of doubt in the readers mind to sway them towards their own view, or if one already believes in the preterist view is it not said then out of fear that the reader might come into a different understanding and leave the fold as it were. This type of statement is no different then what is said in so many different churches when they state if you don't believe as we do then you are not saved and will go to hell. In my opinion these type of statements are used out of the fear that the readers will make up their own minds concerning scripture and leave their old views behind whether it be the preterist view or the futurist view.



We ended part 4 interacting with the article Comprehensive Grace (another term for universalism, even if they deny it) by Tim King. It is here we begin part 5.

We quote Tim King:



"…much of the biblical language regarding salvation may specifically be tied to averting the cataclysm of Jerusalem's destruction as opposed to the more conventional concept of 'saving souls.' Jesus exhorted his followers to flee the wrath to come. A strong example of experiencing the judgment of fire and yet being saved from the loss of one's relationship with God might be viewed in the 1 Corinthians 3 passage. There Paul explains that some build with gold and precious metals and their work will stand while others build with wood, hay and stubble and their work would be destroyed--though the builder himself would be saved "through fire" (v. 15). This is no doubt what the vessels of wrath experienced. They were ultimately accepted by God (Rom. 11)."


As you can see there are a couple of errors in the logic of this quote:

Edwards now make a plea out of logic, yet will tell you not to listen to logic when speaking of the salvation of all men.

Example: The Universalist will tell you that if Jesus came to save the world and the world is not saved then Jesus becomes a failure. Is this not logical? Yet contrary to all logic the opponents to Universalism say Jesus is not a failure just because the world is not saved.

If a man was drowning and I jumped into the water to save him but was unable to save him can I rightly be said to be his saviour? Hardly, the best that can be said is that I was potentially the saviour of the man.

So what opponents to Universalism actually teach is that Jesus Christ is only the  potentially ( possible ) saviour of the world and not the saviour of the world.

But you readers will be told not to listen to this logic, mind blowing ain't it? You are told to listen to logic as long as it supports the view of the speaker but as soon as logic is used against the speakers view then you are told not to listen to logic.


It supposes that the "salvation" spoken of about those enduring & overcoming in the first-century is also in relation to the salvation of those in all eternity – that is, the PU might say people post-parousia don't require salvation – they are all "saved" already, that was only a first-century thing.

This not only applies to the PU view it applies to all preterist views. Edwards at one time was a full preterist and now is only a partial preterist, and the reader should be asking how come he changed his view. Now I cannot say for sure but what it looks like to me is that in his debates with futurist they used some of the same arguments that Edwards has been using here against a full preterist view and Edwards realised he was in error to continue to believe as a full preterist. And now he is using these same argument that changed his mind to undermine the PU view of scripture. But what he fails to realise is that he is not undermining the Universalist view point but rather the PRETERIST view point of Universalism.

Judgment of any sort was only a first-century event, no one is judged anymore.
That although people were judged the vessels of wrath would ultimately be "saved".

If we conclude salvation was only coming to the first-century people, then what warrant do we have to extend any (even universalism) salvation beyond the first-century? Maybe, rather we could conclude that God wrapped up everything in the first-century & we that come after are neither in the Old Covenant or the New Covenant – after all, are WE the Bride being delivered up to the Bridegroom without spot or wrinkle or was that the first-century Church?

See what I mean, this only holds true from a preterist view and has nothing to do with Universalism by itself.


Next, the PU paradigm blurs the line between THE judgment & judgment in general – they would have it that God isn't allowed to "judge" anymore – He had His chance & gave everyone a pass – otherwise He wouldn't be fair.

Again this is only true of the preterist view. Can the reader not see this same argument given to a full preterist?



It is odd that many PU's use the term grace to describe their position when what they do is rob the word grace of all meaning by applying it to everyone – even those not "in Christ". They often call their position "Common Grace" & that may be most accurate because it takes what is precious and makes it common.

The last premise is that people will ultimately be "saved" though their "works" (presumably unrighteous works) will be burnt up. The error in what King has concluded is that he supposes this speaks of all people, but rather the context is speaking not to non-Christians but only to Christians:

"And I, brethren…" – 1 Cor 3:1

"For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." – 1 Cor 3:11



The entire context of 1 Cor 3 is speaking to Christians, who are "in Christ" so this salvation of those "saved" even though their works were burnt up is/was written about Christians, not non-Christians as King & other PU advocates try to imply.

Although Edwards has a point here which actually support what I said earlier concerning Mt.7 he is wrong in saying this judgment is only for the Christian for in Rev.20 we see the same judgment given to the dead were they are also tried according to their works.

Now the reader might ask but 1 Co.3 is specifically speaking of the Christian correct?
This is correct and the reason the Christian is judged first is because judgement MUST begin with the house of God. And as judgment BEGINS with the house of God were does the judgment end? Is it not with the dead. It is the same judgment by fire were the unrighteous works are burned up but the man is save by fire. 



We shall touch on one more quote from the Comprehensive Grace article, a quote we looked at before in part 4:


"Simply stated, man is changed because his world changed."


This is one of the huge humanistic errors of universalism (also seen in the core philosophy of King's Transmil movement) –

that if you change a person's environment, the person changes. There is no need for internal regeneration. It is comparable to whitewashing the outside while the inside remains unchanged. It is interesting to note the situation before & after the Flood account.


"Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." – Gen 6:5


Did this situation change AFTER the Flood? Certainly God had "changed man's world" – Did man change too?

Hold on there Edwards, this is not an area of error in Universalism, this is an error in Kings view, not in Universalism. Just as I said in my opening before I started on Edwards 5 part series I was afraid Edwards like so many opponents of Universalism do was that he would lump all Universalist beliefs together, its unseemly conduct from a child of God especially when Edwards says he knows there is a huge difference between one mans (  Kings) view of Universalism and Universalism in itself. To imply all Universalists hold to Kings views is but to try and deceive the reader. It would be no different then to say all Universalist hold to my views on Universalism even though I know that they don't. The only true common ground to which all Universalist hold to is the belief that the whole world is to be saved, how God effects this salvation is debated between many Universalist but all Universalists have the common ground of the salvation of all.




Actually the entire Flood account screams against universalism –


"Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark." – Gen 7:23


What?!! God punished poor innocent babies? God punished animals? Even cute little butterflies & ladybugs? (I know I'm being a little facetious but the universalists' argument can't be sustained in light of the biblical account – they even admit it themselves as we saw from part 4 wherein we quoted a universalist saying: "Introduce the topic of universalism and many Christians will point out instantly that it contradicts Holy Scripture. And when one peruses its pages, it may appear so." – Well, that's because the Bible obviously DOESN'T support the emotional impetus of universalism.)


If the story of the flood ended here as Edwards seems to believe he might have a point, but as the story does not end here Edwards point become moot.

The story is continued in 1 Peter 3

1 Peter 3:18-20
18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

Can the reader not see here that after Jesus was put to death that He went by the Spirit and preached to those who were DISOBEDIENT in the days of Noah? That he might lead captivity captive, that He first descended into the lower parts of the earth before He ascended up above all heavens that He might fill all things.? Eph.4:8-10 


Opponents to Universalism have to jump through hoops to make 1 Peter 3 fit their doctrine. Some will say that scripture only seems to be saying Jesus went and preached to those who were DISOBEDIENT  but that not what it is really saying. They will tell you that what Peter is really saying is that Christ was in Noah at the time and preached to those who were disobedient through Noah.

But can that really be what Peter was saying? Hardly, for Peter say this happened AFTER Jesus was put to death in the flesh. So unless they try to tell you Jesus was crucified in the days of Noah the reader can see their point is in error.

Another why they try to get around what Peter said is that they will tell you that Jesus did preach to those who were disobedient but He did not do it so that He could save them He did it to rub the gospel into their faces ( although they would not phrase it the way I just did ) as any child who would tease another by saying my dad love me more then he loves you, he saved me but you are going to be eternally tormented.

Does the reader really believe the preaching of the gospel is used to taunt those outside the gate? And would that not be what Jesus was doing if He preached the gospel to them and then did not save them? Does the read really believe Jesus would taunt those He could not save even after He shed His blood for them? What then would happen to the gospel which is the GOOD NEWS? Would it not then become the BAD NEWS?

This is one of the problems with the belief in eternal torment and annihilation, both those views preach a good news, bad news gospel, good for some bad for others. So let the reader be aware the gospel is of only ONE kind it is the GOOD NEWS. And as Jesus went into the prison house and preached to those who were disobedient we can be assured it was not to gloat but rather to save them.

So as the reader can see when all of scripture is used Edwards point becomes moot because the story only ends when those who are held captive in the prison house are all set free from their prison.
 


Rather, to show His mercy & grace (not a common grace, but a precious grace), God has a pattern of showing that mercy & grace to remnants, very select few, to people that display faith.

Were ALL "in the Ark"? Are ALL "in Christ"?

Once Noah & his family emerged from the Ark we are told Noah built an altar and made an offering to God. What did God have to say about this?



"The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, "I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done." – Gen 8:21



God doesn't say man's heart was no longer evil because his environment changed as the PU's try to advocate, but rather God showed mercy that the earth would never be cursed again DESPITE the fact that man's heart remained evil from his youth, even AFTER the Flood. And actually it is this verse that preterists typically would use to show futurists that God has no intent on destroying the physical world in the future.

Here Edwards brings up a good point when he speaks of a remnant or select few, also known as firstfruits.

But what is the purpose of the firstfruit?

Here is an excerpt from Thomas Allin's book Christ Triumphant that explains it much better then I can.


"The elect, we reply, are chosen, not for themselves only, but for the sake of others.
They are elect, not merely to be blessed, but to be a source of blessing.
It is not merely with the paltry object of saving a few, while the vast majority perish, that God elects; it is with a purpose of mercy to all; it is by the few to save the many; by the elect to save the world"


The firstfruits are but a promise of the whole harvest. They are not the harvest themselves but only the firstfruits of the harvest.

And it is this point that Edwards and many others seems to miss. They think the few that enter in by the strait gate are the harvest but as I pointed out earlier the few entering in by the strait gate are the overcomer or firstfruits.

This is easily seen through what Jesus Himself did and said. Jesus Himself is the firstfruit and He was sent to the lost sheep of Israel, but upon His resurrection we see Jesus sending out His firstfruits unto the gentiles that they might be grafted into the tree of life (Himself). This is exactly what Paul presents to the reader in Ro.11

Now lets look at some of the closing remarks Paul makes concerning to whom God will have mercy upon and why they obtained His mercy.


Romans 11:30-32
30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:  31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.  32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. 

That He might have mercy upon ALL. And in what state are those whom God has mercy upon? Those in UNBELIEF.

Can the reader not now understand why Jesus said They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Mt.9:12-13

pneuma

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Re: Confronting Universalism
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2008, 11:22:44 PM »

CALVINISM=UNIVERSALISM?

Now we shall move on to the question of "Is Calvinistic soteriology more conducive for universalism?" or as a good friend of mine put it:

"If Calvinism teaches the Adamic curse was universal then would it not follow that the cure would also be universal? Otherwise are we saying the cure is not as effective as the curse?"

Let us buttress this with a proof-text often quoted by PU advocates.

"For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive." – 1 Cor 15:22


"See", the PU advocate will point out, "everyone is made alive!" It is interesting how they miss the constant pattern in the Bible – exclusivity. As a matter of fact PU's hate exclusivity, it is "unfair", thus they often use the term inclusivity to contrast this constant theme of the Bible. God was always showing His grace & mercy to select groups, be they nation groups or individuals, but ultimately to individuals. It was a reproach against people who thought they were automatically "in" (as PUs try to advocate):



"And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham." -- Mt 3:9



It was by faith that people were "in", be they Jews or Gentiles – these were the true sons & daughters of Abraham in the New Covenant, but the PUs have taken this beautiful picture of precious grace & turned it into something common, all to satisfy their emotions of making God fair. They make everyone to be sons & daughters of Abraham even if the people don't even realize it.

Already just covered the what Edwards calls the select groups or firstfruits and explain what the firstfruit is for.

As to making all sons and daughters of Abraham this will take place just as Paul pointed out in Ro.11, for Gods mercy is upon all that they might be grafted into Christ.

It is not that all are sons and daughters of Abraham right now but that all will be sons and daughter of Abraham.



The Adamic curse indeed affected all mankind but just because the cure is limited doesn't make it any less glorious, it makes it more so – is that NOT the definition of GRACE?

No, the definition of grace is unmerited favour, or said in laymen's terms something you did not deserve.

Well if the curse affected all men and the cure does not affect all men why then does the scriptures say it does?

Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Going through all your hoops will not change what the scriptures state, and they emphatically state the free gift is upon ALL MEN unto justification of life.


If grace is bestowed upon every individual is it grace?

Of course it is, no one deserves grace Edwards, that's what unmerited favour means.


 If a governor pardons 3 out of 10 people on death row must he also pardon the other 7, otherwise he would be "unfair"? Or, to show his grace & mercy, it is shown even more so because he was not required to pardon any.


Well if the governor already pardoned all 10 but only let 3 go free afterwards then yes the governor would be unfair. 

1 John 2:2
2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD.

Why is it Edwards that you believe the Adamic curse came on all men because of Adam, yet refuse to believe that the free gift by Jesus Christ is not on all men?

Do not the scriptures say the free gift is upon all men unto justification of life? Yes they do, so why is it that you believe contrary to the scriptures?

Do you not realise that you make sin greater in scope then the blood of Christ? That Adams death is greater in scope then Christ's life? That death can never be swallowed up in victory if death is eternal? That you make Christ a failure in that which He came to do? That you make the gates of hell prevail against Christ? Give victory unto sin and death? Make God a respecter of persons? Make light of Christ's salvation? Make God who hates sin abide by sin for all eternity? Give eternal life to those who know not Christ? And yet do not the scriptures tell us eternal life is only found in Christ?

Edwards do you not realise you teach all these things?

How can people live eternally in a lake of fire without Christ? Think about it brother.

It is only in Christ that one has eternal life correct?

So only two conclusions can be made from that which you believe, they are

That people have eternal life outside of Christ, which scripture will not bare out.

Or that those suffering for all eternity have Christ within them, thus making Christ suffer for all eternity along with the sinner.

I do not say these things to inflame you brother, but that you might take the time before the Lord to rethink just what it is you believe.

 

 



But let us look at 1 Cor 15:22 a bit closer. Again, what is the context?



"Now I make known to you, brethren…" – 1 Cor 15:1



So when we see in 1 Cor 15:22 the use of all is this all as in every individual or as all the people who are being addressed? All the Christians were once all under the Adamic curse. Perhaps the situation becomes even clearer when we add:

Already covered this also.



"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." – 1 Cor 6:9-11

Correct Edwards none of those shall enter into the kingdom of God in such a state, but I already showed via Rev. how those outside the gate if they keep His commandments still have right to the tree of life.

Your belief ends life at judgment, but life does not end at judgement Edwards, life BEGINS at judgment.






These people were changed, regenerated, not merely their environment. They were ALL part of the Adamic curse and had ALL been made alive in Christ. So, when we come to 1 Cor 15:22, it would be comparable that if a group of Christians were all in a room & a speaker said:

And all shall be changed, they must in order to enter within the gates into the kingdom.

"We were all once sinners, and now all in Christ" – This does not follow that the speaker is trying to say that all individuals in the world are automatically in Christ. The audience and the context are of extreme importance.

This is true Edwards, but when the scriptures state he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD. It is the WHOLE WORLD that is the audience and not just those in the room.

1 Timothy 2:3-6
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 

Here again we see Jesus giving Himself as a ransom for whole world, not just those in the room. And do you not see that it says that this will be testified to in due time? Edwards the time is NOW, the churches have buried this message for the last 2000 years and God is raising up people in this day and age to proclaim the salvation of ALL. This is the real reason people are starting to leave the churches in droves, God is speaking to their hearts and minds, letting them know that He died for ALL men.

1 Timothy 4:10
10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

Can the reader not see here how Jesus is the saviour of ALL MEN, specially of those that believe.

Specially of those that believe is in reference to the firstfruits, but as the reader can see not only is the firstfruit to be saved so to are ALL MEN.




There are some PUs advocates that so despise the label Christian that they have desired to no longer be called by His name:



"Yeah, I only use the term Christian now because it is something that "Christians" can relate to, you know...a label." – Ed Burley, admin of a PU website



And what was one of our conclusions about PU? – That it "de-centralizes" Christ and leads away from Him, or as stated in part 4:

Well I have no problem being called a Christian, I call myself one, but for the readers benefit I'll point out that maybe Ed Burley would rather be called a disciple, which was the name Jesus gave to His followers. Both disciple and Christian mean the same thing, a follower of Christ. So it does not de-centralize Christ if someone would rather be called a disciple of Christ.


"[Universalism] often leads to ambiguity of other theological perspectives – It leads to a form of relativity."

I would say when a person no longer wants to be called "Christian", that person is moving away from identifying with Christ.

Here Edwards goes again lumping all Universalist together because of one mans statement.



I don't see how Calvinistic soteriology is conducive to universalism – I can see how someone can distort it as they do the Bible, to make grace common rather than precious.

That's because the Calvinistic theory of salvation has nothing to do with the Universalists views of salvation, as a matter of fact they are just as far apart as Universalism is from eternal torment theory of salvation.



PRETERISM=UNIVERSALISM?


Lastly, we ask the question, "Does preterism lead to universalism?"

According to the PUs, yes it does – but why? We have already dealt with one of their main premises that death came upon all men so when Christ brought life it had to be to all men as well – see how fair this is?



We even will quote from an article by a PU on this subject:



"But the question that most of us don't seem to know the answer to is: "How comprehensive was God's grace?" Necessary to answering this question is to answer the question of how comprehensive death was? Did it extend to all men?" – Ed Burley





The contention is that death has been swallowed up; that death has no power against ANYONE. What is interesting is what Jesus told Martha about death & dying:



"Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" -- John 11:25-26



For the PU, this is no longer required, it is no longer "ongoing" to believe in Christ – no one needs to believe in Christ – they have automatically been given life simply because their environment has changed, because death was swallowed up everyone is automatically alive.

Again this really has nothing to do with the Universalists view but rather the views of some preterits on Universal salvation.



The truth is, the majority of preterists are NOT universalists. As a matter of fact, I sort of regret interacting with PU, because after perusing their sites I noticed the inactivity of those sites. The irony is they have gained more traffic by posting comments on this site. What they advocate is a non-starter with most Christians because as the universalists themselves have stated in the articles I have quoted from them:

Well first Edwards says he's open to discussing Universal salvation but know because the PU site gained more traffic because of the discussions he now regrets interacting with them. Like I have already said most don't want a Universalist around because they are afraid people will read for themselves and make up their own mind who holds the truth.

Universalism... is accused of "contradict[ing] Holy Scripture. And when one peruses its pages, it may appear so"
Universalism… "We [universalists] intuitively hope universalism is true"
Universalism… "The basis is our [universalists] inner conviction" (& is comparable to other doctrines built "without a line of Scripture")
Universalism… gives into "an inward pressure to make allowances for the heathen"
Universalism… finds "unpalatable" the "the thought of entire cultures and civilizations perishing" because that's unfair!
Universalism… is talking "about how God can regenerate a pagan who 'lives up to the light he has.'" meaning the pagan doesn't need to be a Christian.
Universalism… advocates the "notion of heathen salvation" as an "intuitive doctrine of the heart"

I already covered all Edwards points here and leave it up to the reader to conclude before the Lord who hold the truth here.


So now I end our series on universalism. I will move on to other topics. If they want to continue to write, so be it but let someone else interact with what they write – I cannot and will not interact on a premise that has as its starting points "inner conviction", "intuition", & blatant emotionalism. All their quoting of Scripture lies under this veil of a humanistic desire to have the God of the Bible be like they want Him to be. He must be "fair" by their standards otherwise He is not a God to be RESPECTED (its not fear by the way)! A God to be loved! A God to be submitted under!

In Christ (not automatically, but by faith)

Roderick

Well as the reader is now well aware Universal salvation is not built on blatant emotionalism as Edwards would have you believe, you have seen for yourselves that it is built upon scripture and a victorious Christ. The Universalist belief is Christ centered, it all starts with Him and it all ends with Him to the glory of God the Father. Amen

pneuma

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Re: Confronting Universalism
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2008, 11:24:39 PM »
More links confronting universalism (thanks to Bill B.)


Universalism - http://www.carm.org/universalism.htm An examination of the doctrine of universalism and how it is dangerous and wrong


Is Universalism Biblical? - http://home.earthlink.net/˜ronrhodes/


Tom Logan Index - http://www.1john57.com/tom.htm A refutation of universalist doctrine.


Universal Salvation Refuted - http://www.1john57.com/unitdefeated.htm Uses Scripture to demonstrate that universal salvation is a false doctrine.


A Distorted Predestination - Christianity Today Magazine - http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/009/22.73.html "Two pastors make a case for universalism, and end up trivializing human freedom."


Leadership U - Dr. William Craig - http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/talbott2.html Dr. William Craig critiques the universalist theology of Thomas Talbott.


Why I Am No Longer a Universalist - http://www.observations.net/questions/question8.html A former universalist explains his return to Biblical Christianity.


Universalism and Some of its Quotes - http://www.carm.org/uni/uniposts.htm Matt Slick of CARM compares and contrasts universalist rhetoric with the universalist belief system. In essence, he argues that angry and hateful statements commonly made by universalists call their doctrines into question.


Concordant Literal New Testament Contradictions - http://www.1john57.com/literalerror.htm Points out translation errors in the universalist Concordant version of the New Testament.


The Universalist's Salvation
- http://www.ovrlnd.com/Universalism/UnieSalvation.html A criticism of the doctrine of Universalism.



Doctrine and Apostasy Page - http://www.ovrlnd.com/apostasy.html#anchor26602 Exposes universalism as a dangerous heresy.


Universalism: A Sure Sign of Apostasy http://www.cultlink.com/sentinel/Universalism.htm Christian Sentinel article traces the rise of universalism in contemporary Christianity -- and condemns it as unbiblical.


Universalism: It Isn't About Love - But Fear -
http://www.ovrlnd.com/Universalism/allaboutfear.html States that the fruit borne by universalists raises legitimate objections to the doctrine of universalism.


Ultra-Dispensationalism - H.A. Ironside - http://www.cnonline.net/˜rkmiller/ultradispensationalism-ironside.htm Traces a connection between the heresies of ultra-dispensationalism and universalism.


Universalism Exposed - http://www.carm.net/universalism.htm An examination of the doctrine of universalism and how it is dangerous and wrong.


Universalism - http://tear.sinfree.net/Universalism/Universalism.html A Biblical analysis of the doctrine of universalism.


Universalism - http://freechurch.org/finlayson/mans_destiny8.html An article from the Free Church of Scotland, which demonstrates that the doctrine of universalism involves gross misinterpretations of Scripture.


The Lethal Poison of Universalism - http://www.bibleprophet.com/Doctrine/ABC092.html A Biblical expose of universalism.


When We Talk About Heresy, Let's Be Honest - http://www.founders.org/FJ27/editorial.html States that universalism is a soul destroying error.


Shall Everyone Be Saved? - http://www.sgu.org.uk/pubs/prev/saved.htm States that universalists wrench passages of Scripture out of their context.


Hell Under Fire - http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/hellunderfire.htm Discusses the dangers of universalism.


Is It God's Will That All People Be Saved? - http://www.beaconofgrace.com/?subpages/Universalism.shtml Examines the universalist use of proof texts and disregard for Biblical context.


Well now I know why Edwards seems so lost as to what Christian Universalist believe and were he came up with the idea that Universalism emerged in the 1800s.

Instead of asking a Universalist  what they believe he asked those opposed to Universalism what Universalist believe.

That would be akin to asking the devil what the truth was, of course the devil is going to lie about the truth.

Now I know people will read more into that statement then what I am saying, but I would not go to a Universalist to try to understand the view of those who believe in eternal torment or annihilation and neither should the reader. If you as a reader want to understand what Universalists believe it is incumbent on you as a reader to ask a Universalist. Ask anyone else and you will get a million different answers.

And that is all I meant by that statement.