A PSA regarding the “u-” word
by Steve Douglas
March 22nd, 2011 | 5 Comments
Knee-Jerk Reaction Alert
- When you hear “universalism”, do not automatically think “there is no hell,” or “God is a soft touch who winks at sin.” Be aware that there are many versions of universalism, many with excellent ancient pedigrees, and most which do not maintain that punishment for sin is unnecessary, but that it is restorative rather than retributive.
- Some believers are convinced that justice and God’s dominion over sin and death cannot be satisfied until every sinner is made right with God.
- The vast majority of Christians who are universalistic in hope if not confidence believe that God will reconcile humanity to Himself specifically through Christ. These universalists don’t claim less for Jesus’ work, but more: total victory over sin, death, and the grave. Fears that Jesus will be left in the lurch or rendered irrelevant are overblown in the extreme.
- If you fear for evangelism, bear in mind that universalists have a message that they can take more joy in spreading around and that is more likely to stir up glad-hearted worship of God’s nature than endless declarations of an ill-tempered judge with a tiny loophole; most universalists also think there are plenty of reasons for avoiding hell, even if it is not eternal.
For more on popular misconceptions about universalism, please consult this informative article by Robin Parry, a self-described “evangelical universalist”.
This has been a public service announcement.
March 22nd, 2011