Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Richard Beck » Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:43 am

If I had to guess, I think the most common objection to UR is that proponents simply aren't reading their bibles. That proponents of UR are cutting out or reading around texts that clearly teach ECT.

Is that characterization true? Are proponents of ECT reading the bible while proponents of UR are not? Are proponents of UR letting their feelings get in the way of their reading of Scripture?

Here's my take. I believe the exact opposite is going on. In my opinion, it is the proponents of ECT who are selectively reading Scripture and reading around texts that don't jibe with their assumptions. If anyone is picking and choosing it's the proponent of ECT.

How do I support that claim?

To start, for my part I willingly grant all the texts the proponent of ECT will point to showing judgment after death. I don't have any problem with those texts. They don't make me worry and I don't read around them. In fact, I heartily endorse them. God's judgment plays a part in how I think God will deal with sin, evil, and human rebellion.

But as I see it, those texts begin and end with declarations of God's judgment. The point of departure for proponents of ECT and UR at this point is if God's judgment lasts forever and for what ultimate purpose. The texts supporting the belief in ECT can't, in and of themselves, answer those questions. Mainly because we're now discussing the nature of God.

And when we step back and look at the nature of God we find something important, mainly in the Old Testament prophets: that God judgment does not last forever. God says, "Enough!" God "relents." God's mercy eventually overwhelms God's wrath. Because of this, judgment is only ever a season with God. Importantly, the prophets teach that God relents because that is what God is like. "Relenting" is a part of God's nature. Why? Because God's mercy always triumphs in the end. God does not "treat us as our sins deserve." This is a clear teaching of Scripture.

In addition, when we look at passages that do speak to God's ultimate purposes concerning humanity and the cosmos we run up against those expansive "all" passages. As in Adam all died, all will live in Christ. After the fulness of the Gentiles all Israel will be saved. God will be all in all. Every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Through Christ God will reconcile all things to himself. Again, this is a clear teaching of Scripture.

So how do we read all these passages--about God relenting in judgment and God's ultimate purposes for Creation--in light of the passages talking about judgment after death?

Well, it's at this point where the proponent of ECT starts to fudge, read-around, and pick and choose. That is, the proponent of ECT will ignore, marginalize, or downplay these texts, forcing them to submit to a narrow interpretation of the judgment texts. But here's the deal. Why do that? Why not read the entire bible and allow all the texts to mutually inform and reinforce each other? Why use some texts to aggressively silence other texts? Why not strive for a fuller, more biblical account?

The point is, I don't quibble with the proponent of ECT about the texts regarding judgment and hell. I don't avoid or read around those passages. I read them as they stand: warnings about God's coming judgment. But I do go on to read the rest of the bible and that reading informs how I see the nature of God, the duration of God's judgments, and God's ultimate purposes for creation.

And this is why I think UR is more biblical than ECT.
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby SLJ » Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:28 am

Agreed. Since coming to understand UR, I believe I have a much more cohesive understanding of scripture. It seems to fit together much better than before and make better sense. I think that's in large part because I no longer have passages that I have to "write off" -- I can accept them all as meaning what they say. And you're right -- that's totally the opposite of what people assume about me: "you're ignoring the passages you don't like."

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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby BirdOfTheEgg » Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:11 am

Richard Beck wrote:After the fulness of the Gentiles all Israel will be saved.
I had an argument with someone not so long ago. I recently read Romans 11 right after reading all of Hebrews, and it sounded extremely URish to me. I pointed to "all Israel" as being, well, all of any valid Israel, including the hardened ones and the cut off ones, and the Pharisees, since Paul was speaking about the hardened group. The argument against me was that the "hardened" Israel included only some specific subset of disbelieving Israel. It got a bit convoluted there and I asked if there was an elected group among the non-elected group or something. Or why does some hardened Israel get away with all the stuff they did described in the prophets while someone defying the Sabbath does not. He said "all Israel" doesn't include the Pharisees, but from where I am sitting, Paul is EXACTLY talking about the Pharisees, because they are hardened. And if the Pharisees will be saved that makes all the warnings Jesus threw at them moot as far as eternal damnation goes - clearly they were enemies of the Gospel. My opponent actually thew Galantians at me as trying to prove that Israel didn't really mean Israel, but Paul described what he was talking about at the end of Romans 10/beginning of Romans 11.

It was really bewildering.

The thing about ECT arguments, is that it seems for people a verse saying "they will be punished forever" has, for whatever reason, more power than "one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for fall men". It's as if the negativity of the previous statement overpowers any positive of the latter. And whenever ECT becomes suspicious, words like "all" and "world" are redefined to somehow mean a small subset of humanity, while words like "eonian" are permanently defined as "forever", even when clearly shown to not make sense.

It's just bias, that's all. May all of us URish lot get some self-esteem and realize that.
SLJ wrote:And you're right -- that's totally the opposite of what people assume about me: "you're ignoring the passages you don't like."
I guess you could reply "well, you are ignoring the passages you like!"
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby pilgrim » Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:12 am

Richard Beck wrote:And when we step back and look at the nature of God we find something important, mainly in the Old Testament prophets: that God judgment does not last forever. God says, "Enough!" God "relents." God's mercy eventually overwhelms God's wrath. Because of this, judgment is only ever a season with God. Importantly, the prophets teach that God relents because that is what God is like. "Relenting" is a part of God's nature. Why? Because God's mercy always triumphs in the end. God does not "treat us as our sins deserve." This a clear teaching of Scripture.

Hi Richard. Thanks for your input, I find it very helpful.
The quote above reminds me of a book I've just read by 'Pinnock' about Open Theism. I must admit that it seems to require a paradigm shift on my part (as did UR) but I am pleased to have been introduced to his ideas.
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Richard Beck » Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:49 am

BirdOfTheEgg wrote:It was really bewildering.


I think everyone agrees that Romans 9-11 is pretty bewildering. Here's the part of Romans 9-11 that I find helpful for UR.

Romans 9-11 is a defense of God's reputation ("Is God unjust?" Rom. 9.14; "Did God reject his people?" Rom. 11.1). How can God be trustworthy if God has dealt with the Jews, in the wake of their rejection of Jesus, so harshly? Was God just setting Israel up to take the fall when Jesus arrived? That seems cruel.

In response Paul deploys an array of (at times confusing) arguments. First, Israel (and humans generally) can't really object to God's actions. God can do what God wants to do ("But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God?" Rom. 9.20). Second, God has always worked with remnants in Israel ("only the remnant will be saved" Rom. 9.27; "there is a remnant chosen by grace" Rom. 11.5). Thus, we shouldn't be shocked that only a minority of Jews accepted Jesus. Third, as grace comes to the Gentiles Israel will become "envious" and return to God ("salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious" Rom. 11.11).

But having walked through all these arguments Paul seems to sense that he's not yet won the day. Objections still linger. So he winds up the argument with a "mystery" (Rom. 11.25). And the mystery is this: Yes, Israel has experienced a "hardening" (Rom. 11.25) to give the Gentiles a shot at salvation. Yes, as a part of God's foreknowledge and plan Israel was made to be an "object of wrath prepared for destruction" (Rom. 9.22). Israel is now an "enemy" of God for the sake of the Gentiles (Rom. 11.28). However, Paul contends that this does not mean that God is going back on God's promises. God's promises are "irrevocable" (Rom. 11.29). Well, how does Paul reconcile this seeming contradiction? How can Israel be an enemy of God and an object of wrath prepared for destruction and still be saved? Paul really doesn't have a logical answer. His answer is doxology (Rom. 11.33-36): "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!"

But what is clear is this: Those who were previously "enemies" of God and "objects of wrath" will be saved in the end. Right before the doxology Paul wraps up the entire argument with this:
Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

The key theological point for UR is this: Being an enemy of God and an object of wrath predestined for destruction does not foreclose on salvation. Objects of wrath and enemies of God are saved in the end.

No wonder Paul ends in a song of praise.
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Cindy Skillman » Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:52 am

You are so right, Richard. Looking at the Bible as a whole, rather than piecemeal bits in a collection is absolutely key. As many have said, it's oh so possible to take just about anything and "prove" it from the Bible. But that's not at all what the Bible is. It is its coherence that makes it the most amazing book ever. It isn't a bunch of random stars; it's a huge constellation; and the picture it represents is Jesus! If we see anything else when we look in there, well we just aren't looking right.

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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Melchizedek » Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:57 am

I think so, too. It's ironic that people accuse us of doing the very thing they are actually doing. UR vs. ECT is not the only place I've seen this dynamic, and I bet it's not the only place you've seen it either, as a psychologist!....
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby revdrew61 » Sat Feb 25, 2012 1:19 pm

Great thread. Thanks Richard and all who have responded.
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Nottirbd » Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:23 pm

Just have to strongly affirm this. I've been reading (and rereading the OT) and am consistently shocked at how redemptive it is, even as judgment is so starkly administered.

As Job said (and Handel magnificently quoted in Messiah):

I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the Earth. And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Matt Wiley » Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:37 am

Thanks for sharing, Richard. :) Very encouraging. :)
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Nottirbd » Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:11 am

I was thinking about Psalm 2:9, which is the basis for the Tenor Aria that immediately precedes the "Hallelujah Chorus" in Handel's Messiah. (YouTube the John mark Ainsley version btw.)

"Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."

Pretty sobering. Then this morning I was thinking about the metal casting process, where liquid metal is poured into a ceramic mold, which after the metal is cooled is shattered and broken, revealing the cast piece inside.

And I thought of 1 John 3:3: what we are becoming is not yet revealed.
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby TotalVictory » Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:48 am

Hi Richard -- you are probably correct here, though My experience has been somewhat different in that most of the folks I worship/discuss with believe in annihilation which they hold to be far superior to ECT. (Which, if those were the only two choices, probably is superior…)

But I’ve found that if the discussion comes down to us asserting that the other one is not reading their bibles completely, or objectively, or with understanding, the case is already lost.

What I hear you talking about here, and I quite agree, is that there really are tensions and possible contradictions that the bible seems to set up for us: a God who both destroys and saves; a God who judges and has mercy; a God who strikes, yet heals; a God who punishes vs a God who relents. So it’s as if we are forced to chose one extreme or the other. No synthesis allowed.

As you say however, it is rather curious that so many choose to retain the picture of God punishing and destroying in lieu of the God who does those things yes, (we in UR have never denied any of that) but does them so that He may save!
I am coming to appreciate that the guarantee of judgment is the guarantee of salvation! God judges so that He can save. There are many examples where God speaks of judgment in terms that are tender, nurturing, encouraging, hopeful even:

“Praise God! for He comes to judge…” (Psalm 96:11-13)
Malachi 3:5 “Then I will draw near to you for judgment”
Isaiah 41:1 “Let us come together for judgment.”
Ezekiel 20:34-36 “...so I will enter into judgment with you," declares the Lord GOD.”
Isaiah 26:9 “… For when the earth experiences Your judgments The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.”
Ezekiel 34:15-17 I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest," declares the Lord GOD….I will feed them with judgment.

Then of course all the places in scripture where judgement is harshly rendered, but the results are healing and salvation! (the root of the word “salvation” being “salve” -- which is more about healing than punishing…) Like Is 19, Eze 16.

But the thing which bothers me most I think about this different emphasis in reading the bible, is the question
“To what purpose does God judge/punish/destroy?”

For both ECT proponents, and annihilationists, it seems that punishment is the purpose; nothing else is served! It’s little more than a way or place of disposing of the bodies! But for me this presents a horrible theodicy problem for God; for evil is not thereby destroyed, but is instead enshrined in perpetuity.

Thankfully, God is far more creative (and thorough) in dealing with sin and evil than either ECT or annihilation believers give Him credit for: He destroys evil doers by making them His friends! His purposes for the entire creation are eventually realized and He is victorious in every possible way.

So I hear you calling for a much more comprehensive telling of the bible story when we speak of the God of UR. Would be hard to agree more Richard!

Bobx3
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Cindy Skillman » Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:31 am

Notirbd said:
"Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."

Pretty sobering. Then this morning I was thinking about the metal casting process, where liquid metal is poured into a ceramic mold, which after the metal is cooled is shattered and broken, revealing the cast piece inside.

And I thought of 1 John 3:3: what we are becoming is not yet revealed.


Wow! Wonderful visual. Thanks so much for sharing this!

Cindy
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Paidion » Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:12 pm

I am a firm believer in UR, but I just don't think the statement "all Israel will be saved" provides evidence for UR. I consider it a mistake to presume that this has reference to national Israel, or ethnic Israel, or religious Israel. Indeed, concerning ethnic Israel, Paul stated that though the sons of Israel be as the sands of the sea, only a remnant of them shall be saved — and there has always been a remnant, true Israel, whom Paul calls "the Israel of God" in Galatians. When the Messiah appeared, his disciples or followers were the Israel of God.

In Romans 11 Paul compares the Israel of God to an olive tree. Branches that did not belong were broken off. These seem to refer to Jews who did not become disciples of the Messiah. But Paul say that if they don't persist in their unbelief they will be grafted in again. Gentiles who become disciples of the Messiah are grafted into the olive tree. They become as much a part of true Israel as the Jews who remain in the tree because they have become disciples of their Messiah. "IN THIS MANNER, all Israel will be saved." (Romans 11:26) In what manner is that? By the process of breaking off branches which do not belong in the Olive tree, and grafting in branches that do, even if they are wild branches (Gentiles).

If every individual in the Israel of God is a disciple of the Messiah, then ALL Israel will be saved.

By the way, translating the Greek word "οὑτος" as "so" is pretty weak. Greek lexicons state that the meaning is "in this manner."
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Matt Wiley » Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:37 pm

For both ECT proponents, and annihilationists, it seems that punishment is the purpose; nothing else is served! It’s little more than a way or place of disposing of the bodies! But for me this presents a horrible theodicy problem for God; for evil is not thereby destroyed, but is instead enshrined in perpetuity.

Thankfully, God is far more creative (and thorough) in dealing with sin and evil than either ECT or annihilation believers give Him credit for: He destroys evil doers by making them His friends! His purposes for the entire creation are eventually realized and He is victorious in every possible way.


Amen :) Great thoughts bro :)
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby BirdOfTheEgg » Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:07 pm

Paidion wrote:Indeed, concerning ethnic Israel, Paul stated that though the sons of Israel be as the sands of the sea, only a remnant of them shall be saved — and there has always been a remnant, true Israel, whom Paul calls "the Israel of God" in Galatians. When the Messiah appeared, his disciples or followers were the Israel of God.
...Paul speaks of this very same remnant in Romans 11... he then speaks about the "other" part of Israel. Which cannot be this remnant. Galantians is not relevant here, IMO, and is speaking in a different mode.

If Paul is not referring to all Israel in that sense, what on Earth is he referring to? We will be forced to run into the elected-among-non-elect situation, which I think is silly.

Paidion wrote:In Romans 11 Paul compares the Israel of God to an olive tree. Branches that did not belong were broken off. These seem to refer to Jews who did not become disciples of the Messiah. But Paul say that if they don't persist in their unbelief they will be grafted in again. Gentiles who become disciples of the Messiah are grafted into the olive tree. They become as much a part of true Israel as the Jews who remain in the tree because they have become disciples of their Messiah. "IN THIS MANNER, all Israel will be saved." (Romans 11:26) In what manner is that? By the process of breaking off branches which do not belong in the Olive tree, and grafting in branches that do, even if they are wild branches (Gentiles).
Well, this is what I am beginning to call redundancy-exegis. When you say "Paul is stating the obvious". I do not believe he does. I believe he's actually stating something really bewildering, hence the "unsearchable" God.
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby TRMII » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:17 pm

Treating this argument (that UR synthesizes potential biblical tensions) as purely evidentiary, I can see now what a bias I read the Bible with as I grew up! I had never even considered things like judgment and wrath being seasonal.

The lesson, I suppose, is that the translation of certain words can have a tremendous impact. Richard, you were the one who first introduced me to the idea that 'eternal' is more quality than quantity (how very Hebrew, I suppose). Given that distinction and the obvious fact that for a great many Christians the only potential meaning is 'forever' do we think this equation of 'eternal' exclusively as 'forever' was primarily done by the institutional church to manufacture hegemony?
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Melchizedek » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:11 pm

I think it was definitely given that spin. Here is an excellent article that another member pointed out in his introduction thread:

http://www.dyordy.com/Gathering/MustWeR ... stine.html

Augustinian thinking has had a huge influence on Western Christian thought, and not just when it comes to UR vs. ECT.
Constantine and Jerome also had a hand in the hegemony.
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby corpselight » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:39 am

TotalVictory wrote:Hi Richard -- you are probably correct here, though My experience has been somewhat different in that most of the folks I worship/discuss with believe in annihilation which they hold to be far superior to ECT. (Which, if those were the only two choices, probably is superior…)

But I’ve found that if the discussion comes down to us asserting that the other one is not reading their bibles completely, or objectively, or with understanding, the case is already lost.

What I hear you talking about here, and I quite agree, is that there really are tensions and possible contradictions that the bible seems to set up for us: a God who both destroys and saves; a God who judges and has mercy; a God who strikes, yet heals; a God who punishes vs a God who relents. So it’s as if we are forced to chose one extreme or the other. No synthesis allowed.

As you say however, it is rather curious that so many choose to retain the picture of God punishing and destroying in lieu of the God who does those things yes, (we in UR have never denied any of that) but does them so that He may save!
I am coming to appreciate that the guarantee of judgment is the guarantee of salvation! God judges so that He can save. There are many examples where God speaks of judgment in terms that are tender, nurturing, encouraging, hopeful even:

“Praise God! for He comes to judge…” (Psalm 96:11-13)
Malachi 3:5 “Then I will draw near to you for judgment”
Isaiah 41:1 “Let us come together for judgment.”
Ezekiel 20:34-36 “...so I will enter into judgment with you," declares the Lord GOD.”
Isaiah 26:9 “… For when the earth experiences Your judgments The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.”
Ezekiel 34:15-17 I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest," declares the Lord GOD….I will feed them with judgment.

Then of course all the places in scripture where judgement is harshly rendered, but the results are healing and salvation! (the root of the word “salvation” being “salve” -- which is more about healing than punishing…) Like Is 19, Eze 16.

But the thing which bothers me most I think about this different emphasis in reading the bible, is the question
“To what purpose does God judge/punish/destroy?”

For both ECT proponents, and annihilationists, it seems that punishment is the purpose; nothing else is served! It’s little more than a way or place of disposing of the bodies! But for me this presents a horrible theodicy problem for God; for evil is not thereby destroyed, but is instead enshrined in perpetuity.

Thankfully, God is far more creative (and thorough) in dealing with sin and evil than either ECT or annihilation believers give Him credit for: He destroys evil doers by making them His friends! His purposes for the entire creation are eventually realized and He is victorious in every possible way.

So I hear you calling for a much more comprehensive telling of the bible story when we speak of the God of UR. Would be hard to agree more Richard!

Bobx3

i think you're right, Bob.

when i read that God only chastises those He loves...to what purpose does He chastise forever? and if those He chastises forever are not loved...again, why does He chastise?
a father chastises his children to teach them right from wrong and raise them up as responsible, capable adults. he does it for their good and so that they can BE good.
and we being evil know how to give good gifts to our children
how much more so God!
and if some are not His children...i ask again: why does He chastise them?

i really always felt this strange dichotomy in the Bible long before i knew of UR as an option. it made no sense to me, and seemed like God was changing character from loving but at times harsh Father in the OT to simply hardcore hanging judge in the NT. it didn't make sense to me. eventually i learned why! because i was trying to force a square peg (the Bible) into a round hole (standard dogma).

i always felt this wild hope and joy when i read that God did not purpose for anyone to perish... i dared not say everyone would be saved, but i'd say that Heaven would be vastly populated and hell practically empty.

thankfully i know how to tie it all together now...UR makes that theological dissonance go away.
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby TRMII » Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:51 pm

Melchizedek wrote:I think it was definitely given that spin. Here is an excellent article that another member pointed out in his introduction thread:

http://www.dyordy.com/Gathering/MustWeR ... stine.html

Augustinian thinking has had a huge influence on Western Christian thought, and not just when it comes to UR vs. ECT.
Constantine and Justinian also had a hand in the hegemony.


Thanks, here's a snippet from the article you linked about Jerome's influence:

Jerome removed the understanding held by all early Christians for three centuries that God's judgment in Hades, the place the dead are held, was for an age, for a season, for redemption. He took the word "an age" found all through the New Testament and turned it into "eternal," forever and ever. By doing so, he created the conviction that rules all through what is called Christianity today that God tortures forever those whom He refuses to save in a place named after, of all things, the Germanic corpse goddess, and that whatever any of the great torturers of history did, they were only copying God.

And concerning Augustin:

The truth is, it is not Christ-ianity, it is Augustin-ianity. When people read the Bible, they read it through Augustine, when they read Aristotle, they read him through Augustine. When they looked at life and this world and God and eternity, they saw all of it only through Augustine.

--and later:

It was this open disgust of his own humanity, a feeling never shown by Jesus, that sorrowed me.

And, finally, hegemony!:

We are to read the Bible ONLY through the Nicene Creed. The Nicene Creed and Augustine's explanation of it comes first; the New Testament comes second, regardless of what God might actually say in it. That is, Augustine's explanation of the Nicene Creed is the lens through which we MUST look regardless of what we think God actually says.

That took forever, and I have a very hard time reading in Texan.
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby biblicist » Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:09 pm

A very interesting point in Romans is the following:

Ro 11:28* As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.

This very interesting verse says that those who rejected Christ, are ENEMIES "as touching ELECTION," are still BELOVED for the fathers' sakes.

Even with a misunderstanding of God's love, that HE loves absolutely ALL, it still is very enlightening, that while they were "hardened," etc., they remain "beloved."

The revelation that God loves absolutely ALL and actually will continue to love them all, and that hell has a purpose, redemptive, is soooo wonderful.
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Wendy » Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:52 pm

Richard Beck wrote:If I had to guess, I think the most common objection to UR is that proponents simply aren't reading their bibles. That proponents of UR are cutting out or reading around texts that clearly teach ECT.




When I believed ECT for 23 years, my problems wasn't that I didn't read my bible. My problem was I didn't think about how ECT was compatible with love , patience, compassion, kindness , mercy and grace.


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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Cindy Skillman » Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:02 pm

My problem, Wendy, was the mistranslation of a few verses, lack of cultural context on others, and an already extant KNOWLEDGE that those who don't know Jesus when they die end up in ECT. Because of this, the blinders/filters of my traditional doctrines kept me from seriously considering all the many, multitudinous, magnificent verses that talk about UR.

It's not that I didn't see them, or even that I skipped over without paying attention. I KNEW they couldn't be saying what they seemed to be saying (because of my KNOWLEDGE of the fate of the unsaved, you know), so I figured I must not be understanding them correctly. Turns out they mean pretty much exactly what they seem to mean. Who knew?! ;)
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Wendy » Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:55 pm

Cindy Skillman wrote:My problem, Wendy, was the mistranslation of a few verses, lack of cultural context on others, and an already extant KNOWLEDGE that those who don't know Jesus when they die end up in ECT. Because of this, the blinders/filters of my traditional doctrines kept me from seriously considering all the many, multitudinous, magnificent verses that talk about UR.

It's not that I didn't see them, or even that I skipped over without paying attention. I KNEW they couldn't be saying what they seemed to be saying (because of my KNOWLEDGE of the fate of the unsaved, you know), so I figured I must not be understanding them correctly. Turns out they mean pretty much exactly what they seem to mean. Who knew?! ;)


What a great point to make. It is true that many are not aware of the translation problems, not that we can't trust scriptures, but that we have more access to tools to help us have a better understanding.

What helped you see or have knowledge of the problems with ECT ?
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Cindy Skillman » Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:00 pm

I've always, always had a problem with ECT. I think probably because I have a very good imagination and while no one could ever come close to imagining what ECT would truly mean, I came close enough to be hugely uncomfortable with the whole thing.

Lots of people do. That's why we have doctrines that ECT is really just the absence of God -- that He is all things good, and His absence would be the absence of all things good, leaving only the bad. This helped a little, but I had to ignore the little niggling voice that said, "But if He is omnipresent, and He is there if we make our bed in hell/sheol, and if all things will be summed up in Christ, how could there be a place where God is not?"

And how could any bad be allowed to remain? After a while, I wondered whether maybe our God, who is a consuming fire, is destruction to rebels by His very nature, and He really can't help it. Maybe His very presence IS hell to those who hate Him. And it wasn't very far from that to annihilation once I discovered that the Bible doesn't actually teach the immortality of the human soul apart from the indwelling life of God.

I stopped in annihilation for about a year (it took the rest of my life to get to that point, and I'm 53!) and then one day I was just sitting down with a new book and I suddenly had this dumfounding thought: "What if the universalists are right?" It wasn't a normal thought, if you know what I mean. I suddenly HAD to know. Right Now. So I did a search on Google to see if I could find some Christian universalists and see whether they had any answers for my (I thought) very difficult questions. I felt silly when I saw the answers. Actually, just ASKING the questions suggested several possible answers to me. My questions weren't hard at all, turns out.

They suggested several books, which I immediately downloaded to my Kindle; I read them and more, got more answers -- some to questions I hadn't even thought about -- and I'm still here. That's been nearly a year ago, I guess. I'll continue studying this until Abba says to move on, but as long as He has more for me to learn here, I'm happy to stick with this line of inquiry.

I'm delighted to learn that I no longer need to worry about God's injustice. Why? Because contrary to popular theology, He really IS just. And because He is just He is merciful. And because He is just and merciful, He will not wink at inequity and the unforgiving servant will not go free until he has paid the uttermost farthing -- but he WILL go free.

But as to what, specifically brought me to this point? I think that it was when I started asking Abba to show me more truths about Himself, and promised Him that I would receive from His hand ANY doctrine that He could show me from scripture was the truth, no matter how many cherished preconceptions had to fall. I didn't think there was much more that I had wrong at that point. Boy was I wrong! :lol: Once I've learned this well enough to suit Him, I can't wait to see what He might show me next!

Love, Cindy
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Wendy » Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:34 pm

Cindy..

Thank you for sharing your testimony, I really enjoyed reading. What books did you kind helpful in answering your questions, if you don't mind me asking. I am 45 yrs. old and I related to the feeling you expressed about it taking most of your life to discover a treasure that lead to the refreshing River of life !
Blessings

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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Cindy Skillman » Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:31 am

Hi, Wendy

The first one I read was Robin Parry/Gregory MacDonald's Evangelical Universalism, then Hope Beyond Hell (www.hopebeyondhell.net), and then The Inescapable Love of God by Thomas Talbott. I've read quite a few others, but these three are, in my opinion, the "must reads."

Many of the others are also very good, and you might relate to some of them better than to my favorites. IMO, they share a lot of material with the three I've mentioned, and the writing style isn't always as smooth. Plus, of course, some (not nearly all) of the literature gets a long way off the beaten path of evangelicalism, and I just don't want to go there. I've read them and asked Abba whether to change my beliefs on these things, but I don't think He's asking me to do that. Perhaps He will at some later time, but I don't honestly think so.

So yeah -- my big three. ;)

Love, Cindy
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Wendy » Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:05 am

Cindy Skillman wrote:Hi, Wendy

The first one I read was Robin Parry/Gregory MacDonald's Evangelical Universalism, then Hope Beyond Hell (http://www.hopebeyondhell.net), and then The Inescapable Love of God by Thomas Talbott. I've read quite a few others, but these three are, in my opinion, the "must reads."

Many of the others are also very good, and you might relate to some of them better than to my favorites. IMO, they share a lot of material with the three I've mentioned, and the writing style isn't always as smooth. Plus, of course, some (not nearly all) of the literature gets a long way off the beaten path of evangelicalism, and I just don't want to go there. I've read them and asked Abba whether to change my beliefs on these things, but I don't think He's asking me to do that. Perhaps He will at some later time, but I don't honestly think so.

So yeah -- my big three. ;)

Love, Cindy


I would include those as my top three as well. Carlton Pearson and Dr. Thornton , Progressive Christianity are a few others that I enjoyed. The progressive Christian organization has been very refreshing as well as Eu.
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Matt Wiley » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:16 pm

Funny, I've been on this forum for about a year now, and I still haven't got around to reading Parry's book :lol:

I will eventually though. ;)
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Wendy » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:21 pm

edwardtulane82 wrote:Funny, I've been on this forum for about a year now, and I still haven't got around to reading Parry's book :lol:

I will eventually though. ;)


Do you have any top three so far ?
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby Matt Wiley » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:45 pm

I've read The Inescapable Love Of God and Hope Beyond Hell, which were both excellent. :) I gave my copy of Hope Beyond Hell to a friend recently, and The Evangelical Universalist is still sitting on my shelf, waiting to be read. :)
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Re: Reading All of the Bible: UR as More Biblical than ECT

Postby KelliKae » Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:16 am

A thought just occurred to me as I've been reading, so I'll mention it here. Maybe others have already made this point.

It seems that part of our desire for judgment and for a righteous and just God comes out of our own need for vindication and justice in this world: Someone hurt me; someone should pay. Hitler planned the murder of millions of people; he should suffer for all those murders.

But judgment is a day of revelation, right? It is when all our sins shall be revealed. What if, on that day, we see clearly that we are all guilty (even our good deeds are like filthy rags). Won't we see that the mercy we have received is "rightly" extended to all? Won't our sense of justice be satisfied when Jesus is merciful to all? As for God's sense of justice, well, he already violates that by being merciful to even one person. And of course, one of his attributes can't oppose another. As others here have already said, his mercy and justice are one and the same.

Maybe part of the justice of his mercy is in his knowledge of how small, finite, and powerless we are in this universe.

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