Author Topic: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?  (Read 1435 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Moses

  • Reg
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« on: April 21, 2014, 06:51:20 PM »
Hi everyone, I am glad to join the group.  I come from a Reformed Theology background (reformed Baptist so not exactly Calvinism).  My transition into accepting the truth of God's salvation of all His creation was not an emotional one (I know that for many people it is somewhat of an emotional change.  Not saying one is better than the other but just that mine was not so much emotional).  My change in this doctrine is based on the fact that as I have studied, I see UR in Scripture and it is based on a growing and better understanding of God's Sovereignty. (Us Reformed folk love to focus on God's sovereignty, but it seems as though we stop short of believing He is sovereign to the point of being able to redeem His entire creation). 

Anyways I am still working things out and I don't have an answer for every objection but I am convinced that a running theme throughout Scripture is that God wants to and will redeem His entire creation and that death and sin will truly be defeated.   I mentioned that it was not an emotional issue that led to me accepting this position, but I will say that it did affect me spiritually to see things this way.  How glorious is our God who is able to do all things!  How worthy of worship is He who can and will bring all people to know the joy of worshipping Him!  This truth as added to my awe and wonder and worship of our Father. 

It also has changed my emotions and attitude towards those whom I would consider enemies.  "And such were some of you" is what Paul wrote.  However bad someone is, if I believe they are beyond forgiveness then that means I do not value or understand God's forgivness towards me.  The same sin that makes my "enemy" wretched is what made me wretched.  There is nothing better in me than in them.  Praise be to God that He saved me and that He will save them.  I now feel love towards them.  I also now do not revel in the idea that "one day God will show them".  I revel in the fact that though they now are full of hatred one day they will know the joy of worshipping our loving God. 

As us reformed folk like to say "Soli Deo Gloria!".  It is good to now understand the FULL doctrines of grace!

Offline sheila

  • Gold
  • *
  • Posts: 3413
Re: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2014, 07:48:59 PM »
welcome,and wonderful testimony to the Glory of God,and not men. Realizing it is  Him that accomplishes the

 salvation of all men..and not dependant upon men[makes the election of all men to be redeemed..sure] it is a more

 sure word of prophecy.  Itis Him that gives men ears to hear,eyes to see..what He has done,is doing and will do.

   THE SALVATION OF ALL MEN IS THE GLORY OF GOD.......... the glory of man is the woman[Jerusalem above the

   mother of us all]

Offline jabcat

  • Admin
  • *
  • Posts: 8820
  • SINNER SAVED BY GRACE
Re: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2014, 08:22:52 PM »
Awesome, welcome!

I see it as Calvin got a big part of it right (election) but his doctrine missed the purpose and the "end game".
« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 08:26:48 PM by jabcat »
Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse jesting--all of which are out of character--but rather thanksgiving.  Eph. 5:4  **  Saved 1John 3.2, Eph. 2:8, John 1:12 - Being saved 2Cor. 4:16 2Peter 3:18 - Will be saved 1Peter 1:5 Romans 8:23

Offline Seth

  • Silver
  • *
  • Posts: 2209
Re: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2014, 08:49:05 PM »
Great to have you here.  :dsunny:

Offline Moses

  • Reg
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2014, 09:53:18 PM »
Thanks to all so far.  The hard part now is that I am sure that some in my church will see this view as heresy.  I do not know if they would go so far as to try to enact church discipline on me or not.  My dad is an elder there and I know he disagrees with the position but does not view it as heresy.  I have no desire to leave the church as they are my family my brothers and sisters in Christ.  My hope is that I would be able to stay and in a non-disruptive way at least get others to consider the idea. 

Offline Seth

  • Silver
  • *
  • Posts: 2209
Re: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2014, 09:58:03 PM »
In my personal experience, as well as observation over the past 8 years, peace will most likely only be maintained through your silence. That's a choice you will have to make. My church invited me to stay, only if I publicly recanted my views. I couldn't do that.

Offline Moses

  • Reg
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2014, 10:13:20 PM »
In my personal experience, as well as observation over the past 8 years, peace will most likely only be maintained through your silence. That's a choice you will have to make. My church invited me to stay, only if I publicly recanted my views. I couldn't do that.

Wow Seth, that stinks.  I am just completely baffled at how this view could be called heresy.  Even back when I disagreed with UR, I knew that the essential doctrine is believing that Jesus is the Messiah and that God has raised Him from the dead.  All other doctrines should be secondary in the sense that we can disagree without rejecting each other.  Maybe I am too simplistic.  I am not saying other doctrines don't matter but that they are not essential to the point of removing a person from a congregation.  At the same time here I am worrying if that would happen to me. 

Offline Seth

  • Silver
  • *
  • Posts: 2209
Re: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2014, 10:19:32 PM »
my view is that we humans have an instinct to protect the the tribe. When you come with a completely brand new doctrine that disagree with almost everything they believe, it makes you different and Different is a threat to the tribe. So even though it's good news is still a threat. In fact some of them have their entire livelihood staked in their doctrine  and to threaten their docterine to threaten that livelihood, even if your doctrine is so much better. Human behavior is a wacky monkey.

It doesn't suck though, to suffer rejection for his name. It is an honor.

Offline Seth

  • Silver
  • *
  • Posts: 2209
Re: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2014, 10:24:00 PM »
If it ever comes to that, you aren't alone. You can alway come here....to the land of misfit toys.  :icon_jokercolor:

Offline Moses

  • Reg
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2014, 10:57:41 PM »
Well of course suffering for the name of Jesus is always a good thing (even though it doesn't feel like it) but it stinks when it is at the hands of the people who should be your brothers and sisters in Him.  Well, I am at the point now that I will most likely be bringing it up in discussions by way of questions (Socratic method).  I will see how it goes from there. 

I don't mean to be taking a doctrine and making it more central than it is (and I believe the central doctrine is Jesus as the Messiah, crucified and risen  as the only means of salvation) but when that salvation is for ALL (not just in theory but in actuality) it is a glorious thing.  To leave the for ALL part out would seem to be selling God short or misrepresenting Him. 

It is quite frustrating because I am excited about this awesome discovery of God's great plan and I want to share it with everyone but I know that I have to do it with tact and with wisdom in order to have anyone receive it.  I have to remember what is so clear to me now was not so clear to me 1 year ago. 

Offline lomarah

  • Silver
  • *
  • Posts: 2183
  • Gender: Female
Re: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2014, 11:02:19 PM »
If it ever comes to that, you aren't alone. You can alway come here....to the land of misfit toys.  :icon_jokercolor:

Hehehehe  :icon_jokercolor:

Welcome Moses!
From Him and through Him and to Him are all things.

Offline ed

  • Est
  • *
  • Posts: 285
Re: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2014, 11:03:35 PM »
 :banana:

Happy to have you on board!

 :thumbsup:

Offline Moses

  • Reg
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2014, 04:24:50 AM »
Thanks again to all for the welcome!

Offline jasman

  • Reg
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2014, 04:31:42 PM »
Hi Moses,

It's great to read your posts so far.  Thanks for sharing.  You are almost exactly where I was about 12 years ago, and it has been an interesting ride since.  My wife and I were youth group leaders at our church, and the events of 9/11 really shook us to the core...me in particular.  I couldn't get it out of my mind how so many brave firefighters marched up those stairs of the towers, facing almost certain death, while encouraging others to hurry down to safety.  Many died and by evangelical standards, a safe estimate would be that 10-20% of them would be headed for eternal hell.  Something finally snapped for me, and I hoped and literally prayed that there was some other explanation that didn't involve eternal torment for such selfless people because those guys weren't the right kind of Christians or not Christians at all.

As I hit the web in search of an alternative to ET, it didn't take long before I hit upon Tentmaker.org.  I couldn't stop reading and studying.  At first I thought there was no way it could be true.  Gradually I came to believe there was no way it couldn't be true.  Many have tried to convince me otherwise in the subsequent 12 or so years, but I just can't see it the old way any more.

In any case it has been an interesting journey, and I have by no means arrived.  I still have so much to learn, and I am still getting (figuratively speaking) beat up pretty good from time to time. 

In any case, I can really relate to where you are right now, and I certainly can't say how exactly things will go for you.  Your Dad sounds like a great man, and he will likely be a very good one to study with and essentially sharpen your arguments.  My Dad was very similar in belief to how your Dad seems to be.  I think my Dad really, really wanted to believe it, but he was just too old and had way too much invested in his community to risk the ostracizing that would likely come his way.  He also wasn't totally convinced, and perhaps too close to seeing the Lord to risk it being wrong so late in life, if you know what I mean.

I thought you might find an email my pastor at the time sent me after we had discussed the concept a couple times.  I think it will help you anticipate where people will be coming from, although it sounds like you have a pretty good idea of how it will be already.  My wife and I knew we had to level with him and a few others since we were youth group leaders.  We didn't feel right (sad as it is to say) sharing the truth with the teens that Jesus really is the Savior of All, especially those who believe, when their parents were pretty well invested in their version of the Good News that comes with a strong eternal hell kicker.  Here is what he shared with me.  I hope it helps.  Sorry, this is all pretty long:

Dated August 2, 2002...

I spent some time on the website, tentmakers.org, and have done a fair bit of thinking about our conversation last Wednesday. I found the website to be interesting, but I found myself unconvinced. I have tried to put down in words some of the significant reasons why I think the universalistic position is wrong. Let me start with some of the "big picture" reasons why I think we need to reject this idea.

1. Why have we come so far and so long in Christianity without universalism becoming mainstream, either in America or in other parts of the world? One of the articles hinted at the idea that the early church was universalistic in its teaching. I did not really find any evidence to support this claim. My experience has shown me that you can pretty much prove any point you like by finding a so called "church father" to quote, so that does not go far in proving anything to me. But let��s assume that it was the position of the early church. Why would they change such a basic and significant doctrine? I could almost understand going from a belief in an eternal hell toward a universalistic position but I can not fathom why anyone would decide to go the other way. If the church started out universalistic, why would they make their message more difficult for people to believe and make Christianity more exclusive than Christ and the early apostles taught it to be? Also, if universalism is true, we have to assume that God wants it to be taught. Where are the large churches teaching a belief in the Bible and salvation exclusively through Christ that also teach universalism? I am unaware of a single one and certainly there could not be more than a handful. It seems impossible for me to believe that God would allow this to go on for almost two thousand years.

2. I cannot think of a single biblical passage that explicitly teaches that people are punished for a finite period of time and then come to salvation in Christ. The Bible verses that are used to support universalism are almost exclusively one or two verses here and there. There is no body of teaching in any gospel or epistle that explicitly teaches universalism. One of the articles took non-universalists to task for believing in an eternal hell that God would speak so little about. He called it unbelievable that hell could be real and eternal and God would speak of it so little in the Bible. I disagree that God speaks of it so little. There are clearly times when God has hell in mind when the specific word is never mentioned. In any case, the same argument is true if universalism is true. In my opinion, such a significant doctrine would have to be taught and it is not.

3. I believe that universalism does not pass the "desert island test". If a person knew nothing about the Bible or about God and found a copy of the Bible washed on the beach, picked it up and began to read it, he would not discover a universalist doctrine. There are too many references to judgment, two different groups of people receiving different outcomes, etc... to believe in universalism. I preface my next sentence by saying that I do not want to insult you, but I think that universalism does not come out of the scriptures but rather is read into the scriptures. You mentioned that after 9/11 you thought of the firemen that went into the World Trade Center. Is it not possible that you allowed an emotional response to cause you to be looking for something in the Scriptures that is not truly there? I think that if you reread the New Testament, especially the gospels, you would see that universalism is inconsistent with the body of truth revealed to us. For example, in Matthew 7 Jesus talks about the way to life being narrow and few are those who find it. In Matthew 13 Jesus tells the parable of the wheat and tares. It seems obvious that these two groups of people have different destinations. In Matthew 25 Jesus talks about separating the sheep and the goats. Again, we have two classes of people. In Luke 16 we have the story of Abraham and Lazarus. There is also such a sense of urgency and importance in receiving and following Christian teachings. Does universalistic thought really make sense when Jesus says that whoever keeps his life will lose it but whoever loses it for Christ��s sake will find it? People can argue over the words used and what they mean but if universalism is correct, I don��t think Jesus would have said it at all.

4. In regard to specific verses I find the universalistic argument too tied to small groups of verses. I also believe that though the universalistic argument sounds convincing, the evidence for taking the same verses in an orthodox Christian manner is compelling as well. For example, the argument is made that aionion should be translated "age" when making reference to hell or punishment. But the very same word is used in translating an eternal heaven or an eternal God. One of the articles made the point that the meaning of an adjective is defined by its object. That is an interesting point but it assumes something that is not normative for the text. There is an apples to apples comparison intended in a verse like Matthew 25:46. Why should we assume that the word "aionion" has a different meaning? There are many times where this word or a derivative of it refers to eternal life or an eternal God. We talked about Philippians 2:10-11 a little bit. Perhaps it is instructive that every person will call Jesus "Lord" but not "Savior"? Also, Isaiah 45 does not in any way to me seem to teach universalism. If it was to teach that, why not be more explicit?


My sincere suggestion is to sit down and read through the gospels again, perhaps using a harmony of the gospels so that you are not rereading material. I will gladly loan mine to you. I know that you understand the seriousness of believing in a universalistic position. In my opinion it will have negative consequences for you and your family. I applaud your desire to seek the truth from the Scriptures. I also know that you know that you are disagreeing with practically every Bible-believing Christian at this time. Perhaps you are right and all of them are wrong, but the evidence in numbers should be taken and given a lot of weight. I hope that as you continue to study this topic you will change your mind. I am still open to any additional evidence or articles that you would like me to read.

God Bless,

Pastor (Name withheld)

P.S. One website that I found with an anti-universalistic position was www.carm.org which stands for Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.





Offline Moses

  • Reg
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2014, 05:22:33 PM »
Jasman,

Thank you for sharing!  The analytical person in me wants to go through the pastor's email and point out all of the flaws but of course it is not like he would read them or care what a random person online would think. :)    Yes our experiences are very similar and it is good to know that I am not the only one going through it (although I don't mean to sound as though experiencing this view of God is not a joy.  Even if everyone I know rejected me as a heretic, I would still be overjoyed at the awesome nature of a God who is truly all in all.) 

I too was a youth minister but at a different Baptist church.  Rather than go through that whole experience we stepped down and went back to my home church where I grew up.  I have hopes of starting an apartment church and then multiple apartment churches (hopefully with the support of my church). This is where my dilema lies.  Do I hold off on sharing UR with my church family until I already have the apartment church ministry up and running or do I tackle that one first?  Ahh, but I have time to pray about it so I am really just thinking out loud here. 

Here is the big kicker on all of the people who would reject UR at my church.  If I asked them "what are the essential doctrines of Christianity?" they would not answer anything about hell.  They would talk about faith in Jesus who is the Messiah and who died and rose again for our sins.  I even am pretty sure that they would disagree with an annihilation view but that they would not view it as heresy.  What I am baffled by is how it becomes heresy when you add the "for all people" or when you say hell is not eternal but rather that the judgement will refine and bring all to God.  This in no way changes the essential gospel of HOW people are saved.  It only changes the WHO is saved and WHEN. 

Anyways I am rambling a bit with my thoughts but I appreciate the support on this board! 

Offline jasman

  • Reg
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2014, 06:04:01 PM »
Moses,

I'm curious where you live, if you don't mind sharing.

Offline jojoross

  • Reg
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2014, 09:12:37 PM »
----It also has changed my emotions and attitude towards those whom I would consider enemies.  "And such were some of you" is what Paul wrote.  However bad someone is, if I believe they are beyond forgiveness then that means I do not value or understand God's forgivness towards me.  The same sin that makes my "enemy" wretched is what made me wretched.  There is nothing better in me than in them.  Praise be to God that He saved me and that He will save them.  I now feel love towards them.  I also now do not revel in the idea that "one day God will show them".  I revel in the fact that though they now are full of hatred one day they will know the joy of worshipping our loving God.   ----


I think this is the most important aspect of the Truth in UR.  It totally draws out the LOVE of God.  You truly see "love your enemies" in your life.  So stoked for you brother!  WELCOME!  God Bless!

Jordan

Offline Moses

  • Reg
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2014, 07:19:44 PM »
Jasman, I live in Norman, Oklahoma (Boomer Sooner). 

And thanks for the ecouragement Jordan!

Offline jasman

  • Reg
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2014, 04:08:07 PM »
Oklahoma... One of the few states I haven't been to.  I'd love to make it there one day.  In any case, it is good that we can meet in this fashion when so many miles separate us.

God bless!  Jon

Offline Cardinal

  • < Moderator >
  • *
  • Posts: 8139
  • Gender: Female
Re: Hi from a new UR, reformed from reformed Calvinism?
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2014, 09:17:59 PM »
 :cloud9: Love Oklahoma.....been there twice. Blessings and welcome to the board..... :banana:

PS. Just be led by the Spirit as to when and to whom to share it with. All trees have their own seasons to bear fruit. Be instant (to either speak by the Spirit or remain silent by the Spirit) in season and out.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2014, 09:29:48 PM by Cardinal »
"I would rather train twenty men to pray, than a thousand to preach; A minister's highest mission ought to be to teach his people to pray." -H. MacGregor