Discussions Relating to Universal Reconciliation > Bible Verses Used to Assert Not All Will be Saved

Matt. 16:18 ...and the gates of Hell (Hades) shall not prevail against it

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Many years ago, when I was exposed to anti-catholic protestant literature, I decided that the claim that the Church stopped existing when it apostates from the reign of Constantine to the Protestant Reformation or the formation of the Baptist Church (for the Landmarkists) denied the scriptures where Jesus promised the Church would not fall.  Expand that from just the Catholic Church to all professing denominations.  According to universalism, the Church went into error and taught a false gospel of a hell that only existed in pagan imaginations.  How would universalists explain the Church's falling away from truth and believing the lie of eternal torment?

That's not so easy to explain. It's just like societies gradually changes when large amounts of foreigners pour in.
Christianity started with very strong Jewish roots. For most early Christians it simply was being a Jew and replacing a few Jewish things with new Christians things. Christians even attended to regular synagoges and listened to sermons of 100% Jewish Rabbis.
Jews all looked at Christianity with Jewish eyes. They saw similarities with what they did before when they were Jews. But more and more gentiles got converted and they looked at Christianity with pagan eyes. That was no problem but there are always situations that aren't described in the Bible. Or aren't clear enough. A good example is that the Pharisees and Saducians had major disagreements. They didn't even agree when Passover was.
So (often unschooled) Jews and genitles mixed and discussed and paganism crept in. The problem is that there is very little documentation of the early days. Certainly not of insignificant people that just fellowshipped a bit. But if we read stuff of the church fathers it gets clear they were constantly in debate with pagan theologians. While the churchfathers disagreed on several/many points they all firmly agreed on the UR points. (the chairmen/leader dunno the correct word in English) of the first synodes were men with very strong UR views.
With Constantine thoses debates ended. He enforced his views with the sword. Council members who didn't agree were put under great pressure, got exiled, or killed. From that point on paganism was enforced.

Interesting, both the OP and WW's comments.  I agree that it's not easy to explain (or understand).

As one who believes God is working HIS plan, I'd have to say error and falling away must be part of His plan.  Some teach, what seems to me to be about as good as any explanation, that He's bringing us through dark times so we will be able to truly appreciate His Light.

I'd put the error and falling away right up there with Adam, Eve, and the "forbidden" fruit, in that, was God surprised?  Or did He have more to do with than that?   :2c:

Also, I beleve He's always had a remnant, a group who believed in Him and kept the faith.  That's the church - the ecclesia, the called out ones, not an organization.  Many have fallen, but the true church has not - they are the Sons of God.


--- Quote from: ww ---From that point on paganism was enforced.
--- End quote ---

I'm not sure what you mean by this or even what relevance it has.

What difference does it make that one is celebrating the birth of Jesus on the wrong day with pagan accoutrements like lighted trees?

All you have to do is look at Christmas carols to know what is in the hearts of those celebrating it.

I also agree with Jab.  The true church of believers existed, does exist, and will exist throughout the age.

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may his His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel 

Also keep in mind there was never a "the Church".
The terms "Eastern" and "Western" in this regard originated with divisions in the church mirroring the cultural divide between the Hellenistic east and Latinate west and the political divide between the weak Western and strong Eastern Roman empires.
"To illustrate the difference let me use a modern analogy. Let's say a teenager drives his car carelessly and is involved in a car accident that injures a friend of his riding in the car. He is taken to court and the judge fines him $1,000. He doesn't have the money, so his friend who was injured tells the judge that he would pay the fine. The judge accepts the offer and lets the guilty driver go free… But as soon as he leaves the court, guess what he does? He drives 60 mph in a school zone where the speed limit is 25. The young man has been forgiven, but has he changed? Not a bit. In fact, this judge is not concerned whether this teenager changes or not, because he sees his role as a judge to impose a penalty and make sure that the penalty is paid. After all, he is a judge, not a counselor, pastor, or psychologist.

But what if there was a second judge with a similar case, except that this judge said to the boy: "You are guilty, but your friend is paying the fine for you and therefore you are no longer legally liable to pay anything. You are free to go. But I'm not finished with you. You will have to go through some counseling. And you need to do some community service. You will have to attend driver's training classes. You will have to report to me every week. You will be on probation. I'm going to keep an eye on you until you can prove to me that you have changed your driving habits and you have become a responsible person."

The Western branch of the early church looked at sin and salvation the same way as the first judge.
Sin is a legal problem, a judicial problem. A man is guilty, and the guilty person must be punished, unless there is someone else who is willing to be punished in place of the guilty one.

The Eastern Church on the other hand looked at human nature differently. (second church)
The Eastern Church viewed sin as a disease in the human condition which needs healing. Forgiveness alone is not enough.

What's the correct view: (I think the eastern view) http://www.tentmaker.org/forum/post/num_replies,2/bible_verses_used_assert_not_all_will_be_saved/matt._1618_...and_gates_hell_hades_shall_not_prevail_against_it_10042.0.html


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