Obsessed with universalism?

Evangelical Universalism and sharing the gospel. What are your thoughts?

Obsessed with universalism?

Postby jcarlostzavala » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:08 am

In Calvinist circles you often hear of the " Cage Stage" new converts to Calvinism go through.
This is a time where the new Calvinists are so excited with their new insights they literally CANNOT
keep it to themselves. And off they go, preaching/sharing/teaching their new faith. They do a more good than harm in
this stage due to immaturity. They think that knowing and believing the 5 points they all of a sudden are in a position to correct everyone else.

Upon embracing Universalism did you go through something like what I just described?

What is the most mature/wise/knowledgeable way of practicing the Universalist faith??

As of now in my faith I concur with Barth in protesting both against
>a dogmatic universalist system
AND
>a dogmatic non-universalist system

I have in the past been a very dogmatic Non-Universalist.
I was for a little while a very dogmatic Universalist.

I really believe God will save all.
I am not certain He will, though.
Faith and certainty are two different things.

I am not IN THE LEAST worried anymore about the eternal destiny of anybody.
I know (deep down in my heart) that God will at worst annihilate non-believers
and at best save all people.

God will be just.
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Re: Obsessed with universalism?

Postby JasonPratt » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:27 am

jcarlostzavala wrote:Upon embracing Universalism did you go through something like what I just described?


No, I studied quietly for years, and didn't say much about it.

I only started started publicly saying something about it when I was convinced there was a coherent scriptural case that could be fairly made in favor of it. I didn't want to cheat by wishing such a case into place.


jcarlostzavala wrote:I really believe God will save all.
I am not certain He will, though.
Faith and certainty are two different things.


I just realized I'm kind of the opposite of that: I'm certain intellectually He will, but trusting Him to do so is more difficult. :)
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Re: Obsessed with universalism?

Postby jcarlostzavala » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:34 am

wow!
That's really interesting.
We have opposite problems :)

If there were no NT and I had to have my beliefs shaped only by the O.T. , I think I would be
an Annihilationist. I have a hard time reconciling Universalism with much destruction imagery in the O.T.

How do you reconcile universalism with all the destruction of the wicked passages (i.e. ps 37:10ff), Jason?
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Re: Obsessed with universalism?

Postby BrentBor » Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:03 pm

Hello Carlos,
I would have to say I am the opposite too on preaching it out loud. I have really only told one person about my new thoughts on universalism, and he is agnostic. I am worried that if I tell my believing friends (one is going to become a pastor maybe) that they will call me a heretic and such. I really want to show this to the world, but I cant. I wish it weren't so.... :(
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Re: Obsessed with universalism?

Postby jcarlostzavala » Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:46 pm

Isn't mind-boggling how many "Christians" are discouraged/depressed/angry when they hear that God will save everybody?!
I totally understand that people believe in hell. Even that hell will be eternal. But why would they not rejoice that may just save evrybody at the end?

How long have you been a universalist?
And what effect has it had in your life??
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Re: Obsessed with universalism?

Postby AUniversalist » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:19 pm

After a vision, I became fully aware of universalism and how it worked and in a dream later, I was told not to read anything by the Scriptures for my support and that I had to wait six months before I could even tell anyone what I believed.

So, I don't know. Most people I know who believe in universalism actually spent a long time researching it before they publicly admitted they believed it.
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Re: Obsessed with universalism?

Postby AUniversalist » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:21 pm

jcarlostzavala wrote:I totally understand that people believe in hell. Even that hell will be eternal. But why would they not rejoice that may just save evrybody at the end?


Because of pride, most people think they deserved their salvation and resent the fact that others are saved who were less deserving.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7 NIV
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Re: Obsessed with universalism?

Postby JasonPratt » Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:29 am

jcarlostzavala wrote:How do you reconcile universalism with all the destruction of the wicked passages (i.e. ps 37:10ff), Jason?


Very briefly, I put them together with the passages indicating rebels are restored after not surviving (Isaiah 4, where the penitent rebels who seek and receive reconciliation and purgation by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning, are strongly contrasted to the righteous remnant who are described as the "survivors" of God's prior butt-kicking wrath);

after being punished until they are neither slave nor free (a poetic way of saying they are punished to death, Deut 32:36 and surrounding contexts, after which He shall have compassion on His rebel servants and vindicate them, for they shall repent of their idolatries and return to loyally worshiping God Who puts to death and gives life, Who has wounded and now heals: thus explaining what His vengeance against His Jewish and pagan adversaries involves, and also why the nations shall rejoice along with Israel);

and after being punished until His rebel children no longer exist (Jer 31:15ff, where righteous Israel, typified as Rachel, weeps inconsolably for her children, rebel Ephraim, because they are no more--which Matthew's connection to the slaughter of the innocents clarifies means they have been slain--but God can console her because He promises to bring rebel Ephraim back from the land of the enemy when He hears Ephraim grieving and penitent in his chastisement: God surely has not forgotten him and will surely have mercy on him! Which shall be accomplished somehow by a mysterious riddle where God does a new thing involving a woman encompassing a man.)

In short, there is more to the story afterward when read this way, and so (to me) the story makes more sense; but if annihilation is the end of the story, then it becomes harder (for me, or for anyone really) to figure out what the scriptures which seem to be indicating more of the story can be referring to when talking about those who have been slain out of existence.


Also, God Himself specifically says He has less than no interest in annihilating anyone. Isaiah 58:16-19: God promises that He shall not be angry forever (or to the horizon) at rebel Israel whom He smote, precisely because if He was angry forever at them then the souls He made would be annihilated! Instead, God will not hide Himself forever from rebel Israel, but rather will heal him, lead him to restoration of comforts, and even lead him to his mourners (comforting the righteous remnant, too)! God intends peace to him who is far off (rebel Israel by context here) as well as to him who is near (righteous Israel by context) and so will heal the one who is far off. Not be angry against him forever (in ECT), and not annihilating him.

Even the bronze serpent from Genesis 3:15 (i.e. Satan, i.e. Leviathan), despite being prophecied to be slain at last by YHWH (Isaiah 27:1) shall end up eating his dust in peace living on God's holy mountain (Isaiah 65:25). But that's because, even in regard to Leviathan, God has no wrath in Himself but only goes out to war against those who come to war against Him with thorns and thistles--which He burns up, so that they cannot fight anymore, and will cling to Him instead making Him their friend. (Isaiah 27:4-5, in the midst of a bunch of prophecies of God kicking the butts of the unrighteous, up to and including Leviathan back in verse 1.)

Anyway, there are a bunch of things like this in the OT, even though sometimes a prophet (as at Psalm 37) only talks about the destruction of the wicked and not their repentance after being destroyed. But logically, if one prophet (for example David) expects God to destroy evildoers utterly, and if another prophet (for example Asaph) pleas with God to destroy evildoers to the limit so that "they may seek Your name O YHWH"; then the goal for the total destruction has also been revealed, and the goal is not permanent total destruction for the evildoers (neither in ECT nor in annihilation).

The Asaph prophecy I'm talking about is Psalm 83, where at verses 13-18 in the middle of a large number of standard pleas for YHWH to punish evildoers to death, including a plea that they may be confounded and troubled “olam” (to the limit, often translated “forever”), the rationale is given “that they may seek Thy name O YHWH” and “they may know that You Whose name alone is YHWH are the Most High over all the earth.” The latter might not necessarily involve repentance and salvation, but the first certainly does!

Even David, as fierce as he can be regarding the coming destruction of the wicked, receives enough revelation on the topic to do things like use a verb indicating benevolent purpose when describing the Messiah ruling in the midst of of the kings of the earth He shall shattering and the (single) head over men He shall shatter, per Psalm 110. Which has direct connection to Rev 19, which in turn also has direct reference to Psalm 23 of all things! (But Psalm 23 is rather more kick-ass in the Hebrew than our English translations tend to render it. ;) Wouldn't want to scare or disconcert the pious with images of mercy and goodness most certainly running us down like a king pursuing a rebel army to overthrow and destroy them!--the rod of YHWH is supposed be a good thing, for which we hopefully pray in regard to ourselves, not a good thing for those rebels over there whom God is running into the ground.)

St. Paul, in 1 Cor 15, when talking about the rulership of Psalm 110, apparently understands that David intended the verb to be benevolent toward those ruled, because he explains it by reference to the benevolent rulership of David's Psalm 8:4-9, where the strength against the satans and those who seek revenge comes from the mouth of infants and nursing babes, the most harmless and innocent: and it is specifically this strength by which YHWH, in the Day of YHWH to come, shall make satans and those who seek revenge "to cease" elsewhere in the Psalm. Those who seek revenge shall not be ruled by those who are seeking revenge in turn against them, but rather by a different and wildly unexpected strength. The "cessation" of the satans and those who seek revenge must be consonant with that benevolent rulership.

David even seem surprised to hear, at the end of Psalm 62, having finished his warning against oppression and his hope of God's refuge from treachery, that "One thing God has spoken; These two things I heard; That power belongs to God; and lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord!--for You {shawlam} a man according to his work!" Power and lovingkindness are the same thing in God (according to the revelation), so power expressed in punishment of sin must still be also lovingkindness toward the person being punished (and most places in scripture which reference the coming payback from God tend to mention this in connection to coming punishment). Notably, the verb {shawlam} supports this: it's a primitive word meaning 'to make safe', related to the word for peace, and involving by metaphorical application several actions with beneficial intentions and goals for the one being acted toward, such as fairly paying, completing, saving, being friendly, making amends, to perfect, to make good, to make prosper, to make a peace treaty. That's what the coming payback, even to the wicked, is about!


Okay, that wasn't put so briefly. Sorry. :) Like I said there's a lot of this sort of thing in the OT. But you asked how I deal with one common type of verse in the OT, so I thought I should answer.
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Re: Obsessed with universalism?

Postby Sherman » Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:30 am

I came to believe in UR after about a year of studying scripture about UR and Hell. I would share with friends and family that I was studying scripture and finding things that support UR and finding the Hell is not supported in scripture, but I was only "studying" it. I was hesitant to even admit to myself that I had come to believe in UR. Then one Sunday during corporate worship, I heard the Lord say to me, "Stop lying." I needed to admit to myself and others, right or wrong, that I had come to believe in UR - regardless of how much trouble it got me into. I didn't go out of my way to share with others, but often would find myself inspired to share with others. I'm a teacher and evangelist by gifting and thus have a hard time keeping my mouth closed about the Good News of God's love for all humanity; and thus I've run into a lot of trouble wthi other Christians. Oh well, that's just how it is.

Concerning the difference between "faith" and "certainty" and being dogmatic about our beliefs, I am forthright about what I believe, but I do not condemn or judge others for not believing as I do. And I recognize that I could very well be wrong. So I am bold about sharing what I believe and why I believe such, but I do not think that others who do not believe as I do have any ill motives. So I am "certain" that UR is what I believe, and my faith moves me to live based on the belief that UR is true, but I am also "certain" that I could be wrong and thus am always seeking a better understanding of God and scripture.

I also have no qualms about recognizing others as brothers and sisters in Christ, though they understand (or misunderstand) scripture differently than I do.
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Re: Obsessed with universalism?

Postby jcarlostzavala » Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:55 pm

Very helpful, especially the Psalm 83 part.
Thank you very much :)
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Re: Obsessed with universalism?

Postby revdrew61 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:45 am

jcarlostzavala wrote:In Calvinist circles you often hear of the " Cage Stage" new converts to Calvinism go through.
This is a time where the new Calvinists are so excited with their new insights they literally CANNOT
keep it to themselves. And off they go, preaching/sharing/teaching their new faith. They do a more good than harm in
this stage due to immaturity. They think that knowing and believing the 5 points they all of a sudden are in a position to correct everyone else.

Upon embracing Universalism did you go through something like what I just described?


Hi Carlos,
Your wise observation certainly hits the target with me! In hindsight I did fall into the trap of spouting my newly discovered universalist convictions to all and sundry, to begin with at least. I have learned the hard way to be more careful about timing, content and method of sharing what I believe. As a fairly experienced pastor, you'd think I would have known better, but it is easy to get carried away by enthusiasm when you experience such a significant paradigm change.
Thanks for flagging this up.
Blessings, Drew
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