Weekend Wisdom – Julie Ferwerda

I’ll tell you why we must question the teaching of hell. In addition to prolific contrary evidence, the very character and purposes of God are at stake! In my opinion, it’s not safe to not question. Living at the forefront of the information age, I believe we have both the crucial responsibility and the unique opportunity, unlike at any other time in Church history, to make an informed determination of what we believe and why we believe it.

From Raising Hell by Julie Ferwerda.

All Men Committed to Christ’s Care

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. John 6:37

God hath given all things to Christ, as the moral Ruler of the world. “Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Psalms 2:8 “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” John 3:35 “All things,” here, means all intelligent beings. So say the best commentators. (The word things is in italics in the KJV which means it is not in the Greek. We are not talking about trees here.)

God gave all beings to Christ that he might save them. “Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” John 17:2 This plainly evinces, that it was God’s design, in giving Christ dominion over all flesh, that they should all enjoy eternal life.

It is certain that Christ will save all that the Father hath given him. “All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in nowise cast out.” John 6:37 These three propositions are irrefragable evidence of the final happiness of all men. 1st. God hath given all things to Christ. 2d. All that God hath given him shall come to him; and 3d. him that cometh he will in nowise cast out. All are given; all shall come; and none shall be cast out. What is the unavoidable conclusion?

From “100 Arguments in Favor of Universalism” by Thomas Whittemore. Read the complete book here.

All – Part 3

Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Romans 5:18 : 18

Comments . It’s verse 18 that I’m mainly appealing to. For whom will Christ’s act of righteousness lead to acquittal and life? Answer: ” all men.” (So at least we guys will be OK!) Show me someone who never enjoys acquittal and life, and I’ll show someone for whom Christ’s act of righteousness didn’t lead to acquittal and life, and thus someone who gives the lie to this verse.

Though I’m appealing mainly to v. 18, I’ve included v. 19 here as well partly because some may think it casts doubt on the universalist implications of 18, since in 19, it’s only said that “many,” (rather than “all”) will be made righteous. But 19 doesn’t really take away the pro-universalism power of 18. First, a point of logic: That many will be made righteous is perfectly compatible with all being made righteous. All dogs are mammals. True or false: Many dogs are mammals? True, of course. It may sound strange to say that many dogs are mammals, but it’s true for all that: It’s even stranger to deny that many dogs are mammals. “Many” and “all” don’t logically exclude each other. But this point of logic is pretty barren. To say that many dogs are mammals, while it doesn’t strictly imply that fewer than all dogs are mammals, it does suggest that fewer than all are — which probably explains why saying that many dogs are mammals sounds so strange. (“Why did he say ‘many’ rather than ‘all’? Wouldn’t he have said ‘all’ if he thought they were all mammals?”) Likewise, one could plausibly claim that while v. 19 doesn’t strictly imply that fewer than all will be made righteous, it does strongly suggest this. Reply: But even the suggestion of fewer than all disappears when we look at the NIV’s translation of v. 19. (Above is the RSV translation.) The NIV translates as follows:

19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

From Universalism and the Bible – The Really Good News by Keith DeRose. Read the complete book here.

All – Part 2

For in him [Christ] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:20. 19

Comments . Note again the “all.” Show me someone burning in hell, and I’ll show you someone who’s not yet been reconciled to God. So, show me someone who’s under divine punishment forever, or who is simply annihilated, and I’ll show you someone who’s never reconciled to God through Christ, and thus someone who gives the lie to this passage.

From Universalism and the Bible – The Really Good News by Keith DeRose. Read the complete book here.

All – Part 1

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. I Corinthians 15:22.

Note the “all.” I guess there can be some question about what it means to be made alive in Christ. A cynic might suggest that some might be made alive in order to stand judgment and be tortured forever. But that’s very strained, especially after one’s read the surrounding context of this passage and has also discovered what’s usually meant by such phrases. It’s very clear, I think, that those who are “made alive” in Christ are, as it’s often put, “saved.” The question is, To whom will this happen? This passage’s answer: All! A point of  grammar, which holds for the Greek as well as our English translations: The grammatical function of “in Christ” here is not to modify or limit the “all.” The passage doesn’t say, “…so also shall all who are in Christ be made alive.” If it said that , I wouldn’t be so cheered by the passage. Rather, “in Christ” is an adverbial phrase that modifies the verb “shall be made” or perhaps the whole clause, “shall all be made alive.” Thus, this passage says that all shall be made alive. How? In Christ.

From Universalism and the Bible – The Really Good News by Keith DeRose. Read the complete book here.

The Creator Never Fails

Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands. Job 14:15

The final accomplishment of the purpose of God depends on Himself and not on man. The creature may fail, the Creator never fails; and no amount of blunders, mistakes failures or perversions of the creature shall disarrange or thwart the plans of the Creator. This is our hope; this is the hope of the world; this is the True Basis of Redemption. Man is God’s Own work; He has begun to create Him in His Own image and likeness; He will surely finish the work, for He will have a desire to the work of His Own hands.

From The Purposes of God and the True Basis of Redemption  by Arthur P. Adams (1847-1925). Book available here.

Weekend Wisdom – Clyde Pilkington, Jr.

I’ve come to believe that I have misunderstood divine judgment in the Bible. I had seen it as an end, instead of a means to an end.
God is surely a God of judgment. This cannot be denied: but that is not the essence of who he is.
God is love (1 John 4:8,16).
Charity [love] never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).
Love is not just one of His attributes: it is Him, and it never fails. Therefore, God’s judgment is ever subject to His love, they are ever remedial. He will correct mankind, just as a father does his children, because He loves them. Yet His punishment will be effective in bringing His creation to Himself. Divine judgment is never an end in itself, but a means to an end – and a glorious end at that!
From The Steps I Have Taken. You can purchase the book here.

God Never Gives Up – Not Ever

Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:8

Love… What is it? Love is Commitment. Caring, unceasing commitment. Love governs the universe. Love is not a what. Love is a Who. Love is God! God is Love! He is Holy and Pure Love that is guileless, passionate, tender, and kind. Unfailing! Far more than being a mere sentimental or affectionate feeling, Love is a Person who is Caring Commitment in ACTION. Love reveals Himself in deeds, deeds done in truth. Integrity! Love — God Himself — never fails, therefore He always succeeds. So we can count on Him — even when we can not count on ourselves — at all times, and in all realms, in all worlds. Forever! (I John 3:18, I Cor. 13:8)

Wonderful news, isn’t it? This is the Good News of Jesus Christ: not that we loved God, but that GOD LOVED US, and (freely!) gave His Son as a propitiation — a Love Sacrifice — for our sins. For the sins of the whole world! Through His Son’s love sacrifice, our Heavenly Father is reconciling ALL creation to Himself. He has covenanted with us to set all of us — every human being ever born — right with Himself. To “justify” and rightly align us with Himself and His good heart.

What does this mean? It means our Heavenly Father loves us with WHOLE-HEARTED COMMITMENT. It means God never gives up on ANYONE — not ever! His ever-active love is unfailing. So it will succeed in freeing everyone of us from all deception, confusion, bondage, tears, sorrow, and pain — somehow, some way, some day! (Isa. 25:7,8, Rev. 21:4,5)

By Charles Slagle. Read the rest of this excellent article here.

Is God Schizophrenic?

Does a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? James 3:11

In its context, the verse is directed at would-be-disciples, suggesting that we should be consistent, not saying kind words one second and hurtful ones the next. But the question might be directed to God: can he be love, can he be light, and still design a universe wherein the great majority of created beings suffer forever? This is a schizophrenic Heavenly Father. He hugs you when you’re good and beats you to a bloody pulp with his belt when you disobey. Hell, though, is far, far worse than a beating. Beatings come to an end. How is it possible that this loving God could even conceive of something as monstrous and grotesque as eternal torment for the men and women, boys and girls that he has allowed to be born on his Earth?

From Rob Bell Saved Me From Hell by Jim Wormington.

God is Not Like Nebuchadnezzar

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11.

Nebuchadnezzar forced people to bow down to his image with the threat of being thrown into the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:15). God does not threaten people that if they will not bow their knee to Him they will be thrown into a fiery furnace (hell).

The apostle Paul is one who would not bow his knee in the name of Jesus. How did God get Paul to bow his knee? Not with a threat but, one glimpse of His Savior was all it took. From then on Paul was acclaiming Him as Lord to the glory of God the Father. This was not a forced acclamation, but an overwhelming desire of Paul. When God finishes His work “every knee shall bow,” (Philippians 2:10-11). They will have an overwhelming desire to bow their knee. What a day of rejoicing that will be!

From Faith Fellowship quoted in Daily Email Goodies