Christians really are peculiar people.
We like to determine who is in and who is out. We love to draw dividing lines.
What I mean is: We can take non traditional approaches to many issues, women in leadership, order of service, glossalia, head coverings, and many more, but we still want to draw that line. Which is weird because some other group of Christians already determined we were heterodox due to our belief about the things like Eucharist or credo-baptism (or whatever).
I just read a comment about Rob Bell (why are we still so obsessed with someone we already excluded from orthodox evangelicalism?). The comment said that what Rob believes about the fate of everyone has changed Christianity into something unrecognizable. Basically that Christian universalists worship a different God than 'the rest of us'. That, essentially, Bell worships a false god.
I am not a universalist but there are a couple things that bother me about these types of comments.
Some historic church fathers were universalists.
Gregory of Nyssa comes to mind, but check out this link for some interesting quotes.
Eternal conscious torment isn't a fundamental christian belief. As much as we would like to think that all of our beliefs are orthodox because we read the bible properly, it just isn't true. If we haven't spent time looking into other views before attacking straw men we have done ourselves and other christians a disservice.
A lot of people that criticize Bell haven't actually read Love Wins. Unless I missed something Bell just advocates a possibility for universalism. What would be called 'hopeful universalism'. A view that someone like CS Lewis has been accused of having and he is practically the protestant pope.
There are many theories about hell. I would argue that conditionalism or annihilationism should be considered? Again, historic christianity has had varied beliefs about hell and the afterlife. See the link in the first point for more examples.
The pop Christianity that is so popular in the west today is unrecognizable from historic christianity. Except for the fact that both affirm the saving power and lordship of Jesus Christ (the only fundamentally required belief) many of the secondary points are completely different.
So, if our Christianity is unrecognizable what makes universalism any different? I am convinced that we have been conditioned to immediately denounce universalism.
It may be that, after studying it, we are still not convinced of it's truthfulness but at least we will understand why we don't believe it.
I am not a Universalist but I feel compelled to correct a few misunderstandings about it.
Christian universalism isn't pluralism. There is only one way and that is Jesus. Jesus saves people not because they follow Muhammad or Buddha but in spite of it .
Christian universalism isn't fatalistic. God does not save people against their will. There are different ideas about how this happens but, basically, the love of God is so overwhelming that no one can resist forever.
The words to describe hell (Gehenna, Sheol, Hades, etc) don't have to be literal. This is a good article that explains them.
Now, does that seen so bad? Surely God does have the power to save everyone. That is unless we think that God only saves people out of obligation or because they recited some magic words.
We have leaders in the church that are hurting people, promising things and not delivering, slandering the name of God and profiting off of pain and we are concerned that some people think that God will save everyone.
Really? That really is a thing?
CONNECT WITH US
SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL
Privacy: We hate spam as much as you, so we will never share your e-mail address with anyone.
SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOGS RSS FEED
AND GET ARTICLE UPDATES