The Universal Gospel: Part One–Is The Gospel of Jesus Christ Really Good News?


Hans Memling-The Last Judgement

The Conundrum

So you are saved and believe that since you’ve confessed Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are no longer bound for eternal punishment in hell like most people in this sin-sick world. After all, in some form or other, most of the organized church teaches that eternal torment awaits those who have not accepted Christ’s offer of redemption and forgiveness.

This may be what the church teaches, but is it really what the Bible espouses? I would like for you to honestly read and meditate on the following scripture and see if it synchronizes with the doctrine of eternal torment and separation from God.

…Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 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.
Romans 5: 18-19

 

The Truth

Okay, now that you’ve had some time to digest what this passage of scripture is saying, you still may not truly believe what it says. Does this verse really say that all people will be justified and made righteous? In order to arrive at truth we have to let Spirit of God enlighten us and to study to show ourselves approved unto God. I have to trust God to do the former, but let’s do a word study to break these verses down into simple terms.

The word translated “all” in English is the Greek word πᾶς or pas. According to Strong’s Concordance, it means the following:

1) individually: each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything

2) collectively: some of all types

The word “people” is translated from the Greek word ἄνθρωπος or anthropos. The definition is as follows:

1) a human being, whether male or female

a) generically, to include all human individuals

b) to distinguish man from beings of a different order

2) indefinitely, someone, a man, one

3) in the plural, people

4) joined with other words, merchantman

Hopefully, from these definitions it can be understood that when Paul mentions “all people”, he is talking about the entire human race without exception. If you did not come to this understanding perhaps the phrase, “the many”, in verse 19 is what threw you a curve ball. In verse 15 of Romans five, Paul uses the exact same phrase. Let’s see what it says.

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!

The phrase, “the many” is just another way of saying all people. I do not know why the translators used a different phrase, but it means the same thing. In Romans 5, Paul discusses the original transgression of Adam and how his sin led to death for all people. I think it’s safe to assume that all Christians believe that men are born sinners because of the nature we inherited from the first man, Adam. Paul goes on to say that though sin entered the world through one man and all became sinners, Jesus’ righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. God’s grace is able to overcome the trespass or sin of Adam and extend and overflow to the many (i.e., all people)! He states the same thing with different language in the following verses.

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:23-24

 

22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
I Corinthians 15:22-23

 

The subject of these verse is all (as in people). Most Christians will agree that all men have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. But the rest of the passage implies that all are also freely justified and redeemed through Christ Jesus. If you believe that all die because of the curse from Adam’s sin, then according to this Holy Spirit-inspired statement from Paul, you should also believe that in Christ, the last Adam, all will be made alive. It is dishonest and twisting the scriptures to believe that we are all sinners because of Adam’s transgression, but that same all does not apply to redemption in Christ. The all is without exception as there is no other qualifying word used to narrow its definition. If all men received the death sentence and became sinners because of Adam’s disobedience, then all men will receive life and salvation through the obedience and sacrifice of Christ.

The Shock 

I know that this message may fly in the face of everything you believe to be true, but please bear with me, we are only scratching the surface. How many times have you read the referenced scriptures and still did not come up with these conclusions? Perhaps these verses caused you to question your beliefs, but not enough to embrace the fact that Jesus was sacrificed on the cross so that all of humanity would eventually be saved. We typically read the scriptures and understand them within the paradigm we’ve been taught. Because most of us have believed in the doctrine of limited salvation (salvation for a relative few) and eternal punishment, we read the scriptures with this line of thinking embedded in our minds. It is like wearing rose-colored glasses only to find out the world is multi-colored when the glasses are removed.

Okay, by now you may be thinking that I’m writing under the influence of some deceiving spirit. Believe me, I understand if you have doubts and find this teaching a little hard to swallow. I rejected the teaching of the salvation of all men on numerous occasions, but for some reason I kept coming back to it. There are many variants of this teaching and I do not adhere to any proposing that all roads lead to heaven and all religions are pathways to the same God. I believe this is heresy. Let me make one point clear. There is no other name under heaven by which men can be saved but through Jesus Christ. There is one door that all must come through and God says repeatedly throughout scripture this is exactly what will happen. If you don’t believe me, perhaps you will believe what is written.

It is written: “As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
 every tongue will acknowledge God.”
Romans 14:11

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Phillipians 2:9-11

Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him;
 All nations shall serve Him.
Psalms 72:11

If you believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness then what is your honest reaction to the above passages?

The word every is the same Greek word “pas” that was translated “all” in Romans 5:18-19. So, God is saying that at some point, everyone will bow in humility and all tongues will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. All kings of the earth will bow in obeisance to the King of Kings. Perhaps you think that this confession will be given grudgingly or under coercion or threat. But, does this sound like the loving God who’s Son asked that his own murderers be forgiven? Please don’t forget that no one can confess Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 12:3). This means that at some point all will be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Saul, one of the greatest enemies of the early church became one of its greatest friends in the twinkling of an eye. When Jesus revealed himself to Saul while on the road to Damascus, he ended up bowing and confessing Jesus as Lord. As Saul, he was one of the greatest persecutors of Christ and his church; as Paul, he became its greatest protector and apostle. As Saul, he was openly hostile and even violent to Christ and his disciples; as Paul, he was one of Christ’s greatest messengers and friends to the church. You see, God does not have to force or threaten anyone into bowing before him or confessing his Lordship. All he has to do is show an individual his goodness; this is what leads to repentance. He is an expert in making his enemies and doubters his friends. There is not a person on the face of the earth that can (or would want to) resist Him if He so chooses to reveal himself and his great love. The issue is that he has not done this for everyone — yet. The heart of kings lie in the hand of the Lord and he can turn them wherever he wishes (Prov. 21:1). Nothing is too hard for God!

The Traditions of Men

Because the traditions of men have rendered the word of God meaningless, people have neglected the use of reason and logic when studying the scriptures. The sheep of God’s pasture are so brain washed by the teachings of men, they can no longer understand the plain meaning of the words staring them right in the face. Jesus often taught using parables to hide the truth of his teachings from those who were disingenuous in following him. But most of the scriptures examined thus far have been written plainly for all to understand. Instead of embracing the evident language used in these passages, our warped minds rationalize them away, thinking they must mean something other than the obvious. The church’s traditions have rendered these transparent teachings meaningless and seemingly absurd. The devil has done a great job of hiding truth in plain site!

The gospel, as Christianity has taught for more than 1,000 years, is more like an omen than a blessing. To come to understand that your loved ones who do not get “saved” will burn in hell forever is a sobering, grievous, heart- rendering torment. It breeds fear, worry, callousness, and pride. If you are inclined to Calvinist teachings you may be puffed up with pride believing you’re part of the elect company that God chose to have mercy on. If you have Arminian leanings than you may think that salvation is something you must secure by exercising your free will. It is because most of contemporary Christian teaching is based on one of these two philosophies that most Christians have missed the point of God’s plan from the beginning.

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
I Timothy 2:3-4


The KJV translates verse 4 more accurately stating, “who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

The phrase “will have” comes from the Greek word θέλω or thelō. It simply means to will or to purpose. When God is said to “will” something, it comes to pass without exception. It is also translated as “desire.”

The phrase is also used as a matter of fact in the following passage from Paul informing his protégé Timothy what to expect by following Christ.

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
II Timothy 3:12

At some point, all faithful Christians will experience some level of persecution from those outside the faith and at times, from those within the faith. This is a statement of fact just as the statement that God wants or wills all people to be saved and come to know the truth. As far as scripture goes, these two statements are not up for debate, they are statements of certainty.

The Sovereign God

There is nothing or no one that can thwart the will of God. He is completely sovereign, though he does allow man limited free will. He told the prophet Isaiah,

The Lord Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, 
and as I have purposed, so it will happen. For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?
 His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?
Isaiah 14:24,27


God’s purposes will always prevail and his purposes are always good. God is not in a battle with Satan for the possession of souls as he clearly states, “Behold, all souls are mine…” (Ezekiel 18:4). Do we believe in a God who is all-powerful and able to see His purposes through to completion, or a God who is limited by the decisions of man and cannot save some because they chose to reject him?

Christianity has gotten way off course. Many have mistakenly come to believe that they have chosen God and salvation. We have forgotten that we love him only because he first loved us. It is God who initiates and completes the process from beginning to end. He gives a person the faith to believe, the desire to repent, the power to overcome, the will to persevere, and the life to come forth. Of course we have our part to play as we must actively use all that God has given us. But we initiate nothing, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

Many are ignorant of the fact that no one can come to God unless he is called. The simple truth is that He will not call everyone in the age we are living in. This is the meaning of Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 15:23 “Christ, the first fruits, and then those in their own order…” There are mysteries revealed in scripture that many Christians have yet to discover. One of those mysteries is that there are ages to come beyond the one in which we currently live. (See Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 3:5,9; I Corinthians 2:7, Colossians 1:26). Many have been called in this age, but few have been chosen to be first fruits unto God.

Jesus is the first born from the dead (with “many” or “all” to follow). He is the only one to have received resurrection from the dead. Others have been revived temporarily, such as Lazarus, but only to die again at some point. The first fruits are those who are prepared when he comes to bring the kingdom of God to the earth and will reign and rule with him for the Millenial period. They are the synonymous with the overcomers mentioned in Revelation. All others will receive their resurrection at a later time that will be examined in future articles.

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. I Timothy 2:5-6


Paul tells Timothy that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man and that he gave his life as a ransom for all of humanity. It does not say for all Jews, all Gentiles, all born-again, all Baptists, all Pentecostals, or even all saints. It says ALL — period! It is obvious that neither Paul or Timothy witnessed the salvation of everyone in their day and it is obvious that this has not happened in our day either. But, Paul says that this truth will be made manifest to all in due time. There is an appointed time for everyone to experience this truth. Some will experience it sooner than others, but all will eventually be saved so that in all things he may have the preeminence.

In the next installment, we will examine how the Bible uses terms like hell, lake of fire, eternal, and forever so that we can come to understand the true meaning of God’s redemptive and corrective judgments.

Comments

  1. The Orthodox Christians pray that Satan my ultimately be saved. I believe that hell will eventually be empty. Each of us is made in the image of God. How can we be lost forever. We may suffer for a time that we may sluff off the mire of selfishness.

    • Thanks for reading. I appreciate your feedback. I too believe that hell will be an empty place when God’s master plan is completed!

  2. Wow. I never saw you embracing what basically amounts to universalism. Goodbye.

    • Thanks for reading the blog Larry. Could I ask what offends you about this post that it garnered such a strong reaction? I am curious because I find that often people shut off from what seems to conflict with what they believe instead of taking the time to understand it. I am not accusing you of this, just wondering. Regardless of whether you continue to read the blog, I pray that God would keep you spiritually prosperous and healthy!

  3. WOW Paul must have been completely deceived when he wrote this.
    1Co 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
    1Co 15:43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
    1Co 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
    1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
    1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
    1Co 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
    And the Prophet must have been deluded to say this.
    Jer 18:3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
    Jer 18:4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
    King david just must of been wrong when he wrote:
    Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
    And his son Solomon must have inherited the sickness because he said:
    Ecc 7:20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
    I could go on and on, but suffice it say you do not understand God’s plan. Two step process, first a vessel of dishonor where we will learn good and evil by eating of the tree. Adam and Eve were naked long before they ate and that means full of sin. Flesh is sin my friend and you should know that flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom. I would reconsider your post here and you might want to believe what Jesus said right here.
    Mar 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
    What you are doing is called wondering after the beast, worshipping the image of the beast, which all men are. When we worship in the flesh and not the spirit that is what we shall do. But there is good news. Christ is going to remake all things and there will be no more sin, flesh or death. This is the gospel, it is good news but is bad news for flesh and blood. God created flesh to destroy it. He told Adam, YOU SHALL SURELY DIE.
    Believe the Scriptures that say this and quit boasting, it is not good:
    Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
    Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
    Rom 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
    Rev 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

    • Brother Pete,

      I’m not sure if you actually read the article or just the title. The title was rhetorical, of course the Gospel is Good News! My point in the title is that if we believe that the gospel of Jesus would have untold millions burning in a lake of fire for all eternity then surely to many it is not good news. But, my point was that it is even better news than most have imagined as salvation is indeed for all men and hell is not what most have come to believe. I have not denied any of the scriptures you have written in the article, in fact, I understand them perfectly and agree with them. I’m really not sure what these comments are directed towards. Your comment about wondering and worshipping the image of the beast are most puzzling. I completely agree with you that Christ is going to remake all things and there will be no more sin, flesh or death. This is the point of the article. If I’m misunderstanding your point, please clarify.

      • Thank you for this article, brother. After being a Christian for more than 40 years, I have recently become a believer of God’s ultimate plan to reconcile and restore all men to Himself. It’s inconceivable that the disobedience of one man, Adam (a created being) will have a greater impact on the eternal destiny of humanity than the obedience of Jesus, the second Adam (through whom we were all created). I wept for joy when this hope became real in my heart (and still do).

      • I feel the same way brother. Once this piece to the puzzle was solved in my heart, I experienced peace like never before.

        Thank you so much for commenting. I know there are others out there who may secretly harbor this belief, but because it’s considered heresy by the organized church would never express it.

  4. I Did in fact read the article, and all of the replies afterward, quite confusing, and only serves to show contradictory statements. Show me how this scripture agrees with the one used in the beginning of this thread.
    Matthew 7:15-23 15.Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16.You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17.Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. 18.A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19.Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20.Why by their fruits you shall know them. 21.Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22.Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? 23.And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.
    The answer to this puzzle is this, when Paul stated, “Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 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.”
    Romans 5: 18-19 [this is taken out of context] as the meaning here is: It does not prove that all will in fact be saved, but that the plan is suited to meet all the evils of the fall. A certain kind of medicine may have an original applicability to heal all persons under the same disease; and may be abundant and certain, and yet in fact be applied to few.
    [in other words, you have to actually TAKE the Medicine for it to do you any good.]

    • Art,

      I’m sorry if the article or my comments afterward were confusing. Perhaps this means I need to do a better job of communicating.

      I would like to address your comment on Romans 5:18-19 before I discuss Matthew 7:15-23.

      In reference to Romans 5:18-19 you stated, “It does not prove that all will in fact be saved, but that the plan is suited to meet all the evils of the fall. A certain kind of medicine may have an original applicability to heal all persons under the same disease; and may be abundant and certain, and yet in fact be applied to few. [in other words, you have to actually TAKE the Medicine for it to do you any good.]”

      I understand your logic in this statement, but I will show that the universal medicine of Christ’s sacrificial death is in no way intended to only be applied to a few. If a worldwide pandemic were to threaten all of human life, it is certain we would not be able to produce enough vaccine in time to cure the disease before many would die. However, this is not the case with God’s provision. It was intended for all (the whole world) and will be experienced by all (in due time).

      Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Romans 5:18-19

      I completely agree with you that Christ is the medicine we all need to take, but I am taking it a step further in saying that all will eventually take it. When you read the verses above, especially the underlined phrases, do you honestly believe that all is referencing only a few?

      As I previously explained, the word all as used in these verses and many others throughout the New Testament is the Greek word πᾶς or pas, Strong’s 3956. The primary meaning is each, every, the whole. The secondary definition is some of all types.

      If the meaning conveyed in these verses is the latter than what types of humans will be justified by Christ’s righteous act? If we think of God saving some of all types, this would certainly apply to the animal kingdom when God instructed Noah to preserve a few of all the different species of animals on the Ark so they wouldn’t be wiped out. But, this does not apply to humanity. There is only one type of human. We are all of the same species. We are all born of Adam no matter the race, nationality, culture or religion. We all share the stamp of God’s creation as a human being. So, the secondary definition of the word all does not apply to humans. This means that only the primary definition will work in the context of these verses.

      Since the definition of all in the verses above means each, every, and the whole in reference to men (mankind) this means that the passage is specifically addressing the whole species of man individually. The context of these verses is the condemnation all men are under as a result of the sin of one man, Adam. There is no exception to the rule about all mankind being born in sin. This is something I believe all Christians can agree on. Consequently, the remedy for sin also applies to all mankind through one man, Christ. In both of Paul’s statements regarding Adam’s sin and condemnation and conversely, Christ’s righteous act and justification, all means all! All cannot mean few.

      There are many more passages throughout the New Testament that support these statements. One of the more obvious is found in 1 Corinthians 15,

      For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 1 Corinthians 15:21-23

      Paul again establishes the fact that Adam’s sin resulted in death for all men. This is not referencing some types of all men, but simply all men ever born. The curse of sin and death is universal and knows no cultural, racial, political, or religious boundaries. With this same train of thought Paul goes on to expound that Christ’s resurrection certifies that all who were dead in Adam shall be made alive. The key words in this portion of the verse is “shall be made alive.” This is a statement about something that will be accomplished in the future. It is obvious that not all men have been born again before they have experienced death in the life we know. Paul addresses this issue in 1 Timothy.

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

      Here Paul states that God will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. The Greek word used for the phrase “will have” is thelō, Strong’s 2309, meaning primarily to will, have in mind, intend. In addition it also conveys the following meanings:
      (a) to be resolved or determined, to purpose;
      (b) to desire, to wish;
      (c) to love; and
      (d) to take delight in, have pleasure.

      If God wills, determines, purposes, and desires something to take place it will happen. Man is only gifted with limited free will and cannot ever thwart God’s plan and purpose. Paul states that it is God’s will to save all men and that Jesus is the means by which it will happen. He further clarifies that the realization of this occurrence will take place in due time. This indicates that there is a time when this plan will be seen by all although from God’s perspective it is already finalized. I find it interesting that one of the definitions of thelō is to love. This demonstrates that God’s desires and will revolve around love. John 3:16 and many other verses take on new meaning with this understanding.

      The lynchpin of understanding Universal Reconciliation is in knowing that God is working his plan out in different eras or ages. This present age we are living in is not the first age nor is the last. There are ages to come.

      …That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:7 KJV

      …having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth – in Him. Ephesians 1:9-10 KJV

      …which He wrought in the Christ, having raised him out of the dead, and did set [him] at His right hand in the heavenly [places], far above all principality, and authority, and might, and lordship, and every name named, not only in this age, but also in the coming one; Ephesians 1:20-21 YLT

      I hope I have explained these verses more clearly. Ultimately, only the Spirit of God can teach us truth. So, it is my hope that you will lean on the spirit for greater understanding.

      I believe Matthew 7:15-23 (particularly verses 21-23) is one of the least understood passages in the Bible. In a nutshell, many claim to know Christ and really do not. The test is simply in their fruit. If we do not do the things Christ commanded then we can’t claim to truly know him. The mark of a Christian is not dependent upon the abundance of possessions, seminary degrees, large ministries, or financial success, but in simply obeying Christ to the point of bearing fruit for his Kingdom.

      Many believe they will be among those having access to his Kingdom when in reality they will be rejected for a time. This is similar to the situation between Jews and Gentiles. Those Jews who would not obey Jesus’ teaching were rejected from participating in the Church Age that we now live in. They were disqualified as ambassadors of reconciliation because they did not obey Christ and practiced a form of lawlessness. They claimed to know the truth and have the blessings of God, but Jesus knew their hearts and they were passed over for “heathen” Gentiles to become the messengers of the gospel. The scriptures states that this rejection of Israel is temporary, that they will be grafted back in the vine (Christ) at a future time and that all Israel shall be saved. So, you could say those whom Jesus tells to depart in these verses will be very similar to the Israelites being temporarily rejected for the benefit of the Gentiles. God’s purposes in judgment are corrective and redemptive in nature. Those who are rejected from the Kingdom Age must repent and get to work in obeying Christ. I believe these situations will play out in the age to come and have nothing to do with Jesus sending people to hell to burn forever in a lake of fire.

      I could write much more about this, but instead I will point you to others who have already done so. I hope you find these links helpful regarding this particular passage and the subject of Universal Salvation/Reconciliation as a whole.

      http://www.tentmaker.org/articles/once_saved_always_saved_slagle.html

      http://www.hopebeyondhell.net/order-books/

      http://www.heart4god.ws/index_htm_files/Gods%20Plan%20of%20the%20Ages.pdf

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I value them all whether critical or not.

  5. Thomas Aquinas was also criticized for his belief that all would be redeemed including satan. I do not believe it means Thomas Aquinas or L. Smith are wrong. It is debatable. Mankind always likes to argue over what God is going to do. How he must laugh. I see the same hints at a all pervasive redemption of creation and I think how wonderful that would be and if it is your will Lord let it be. In the meantime I am well aware of the corresponding hints at a disturbing end in hell as well and keep Matthew 28:18-20 firmly placed in my mind.

    • Thanks for the comment Erik. This is one of those issues that people feel strongly about either way, but we are still called to love and respect each other despite differing opinions.

  6. I think to discern the truth of this teaching you need to look at the implications & see if they match scripture:
    If hell is empty the implication is that all are saved.
    Therefore there is no point in obeying God as we will be saved any way, eventually…
    This is in direct line with Spartans cry to us to “do what thou wilt” rather than obey God.
    The truth is God is so holy & just that he’ll must exist because humans are evil & evil & holiness cannot dwell together.
    Hell is a very real place & we should be labouring to save the lost from going there, not assuming incorrectly that they will be saved one day anyway.
    Study 2 Timothy re false teachings such as this.
    Check out livingwaters.com

    • Thanks for the comment AJ.

      The issue is not whether hell exists, but what exactly is it and what is its duration. I believe that if you truly look at the (original) language of scripture carefully you will begin to see differences than what tradition teaches about hell and eternal torment.

      I and many others believe that it is the teaching of eternal (never ending) torment in a place called hell that is inconsistent with the teachings of the Old and New Testaments.

      As for your statement regarding “do as thou wilt” I completely disagree. Does God desire to scare us into believing and loving Him by threatening everlasting punishment? Is fear the reason we should obey God? If so, then why is the greatest commandment to love God? Why is he defined as love? It is love that motivates us to obey Him. So this life is a test of our love and devotion to him. Those that choose to walk their own path will suffer the consequences, but they will not suffer endlessly forever.

      I have believed in eternal torment for many years and this teaching does not make sense and is inconsistent with God’s character and purpose. Discipline and punishment are for corrective and restorative purposes, not eternal terror.

  7. “Fear is the beginning of all wisdom” Proverbs. You should fear God. It is scriptural.
    God doesn’t threaten everlasting punishment any more than our governments threaten jail. It is simply a consequence. God is Holy & just. To think He won’t send you to hell because He is loving, is like a guilty criminal saying to a judge “I know you won’t send me to jail because you are kind’
    God has gone to extreme lengths to save us from hell. God is desperate that none should perish but because He is Holy & just He will send us to hell if we don’t repent of our sins, trust Jesus and depart from iniquity.

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