What is the gospel of infinite and efficient grace? Is God capable of saving everyone, but unwilling? Is God willing to save everyone, but incapable of accomplishing his will?
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH?
The Bible teaches that nothing is impossible with God (Job 42:2; Luke 1:37). God works all things according to the counsel of his will (Eph. 1:11). He has mercy on whom he wants, and he hardens whom he wants (Rom 9:18). No one can resist his will (Rom. 9:19). Salvation does not depend on human willing or effort but on God who shows mercy (Rom 9:16). Salvation is, in other words, by grace, not works (Rom 11:6).
The Bible also teaches that God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4). Every single person has been judged to death because of sin (Rom. 2:10), but Christ has taken upon himself the consequences of our sin and judgment and by his death and resurrection brought righteousness and life for all (Rom. 5:18). Through Christ all things have been reconciled to God (Col 1:20).
In Jesus Christ, the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people (Tit 2:11). Christ gave himself as a ransom for all (1 Tim. 2:6), which is why he is said to be the savior of all men, though especially those who believe (1 Tim. 4:10).
ABOUT THIS WEBSITE
Historically Christians have often limited grace either in its scope or in its efficiency – claiming that some persons for some reason fall short of God’s love. This website is dedicated to those Christian thinkers who throughout time have refused to put limits to grace.
The belief in “the restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21) is as old as Christianity itself, and was held by many early Church Fathers prior to the Middle Ages. Since the introduction of religious freedoms in the 17th century it has been defended by an increasing number of believers from all denominations.
The purpose of this website is not to teach soteriological universalism as a ‘theological doctrine’, but to help deconstruct and debunk some of the religious myths about traditional concepts such as salvation, damnation, election, predestination, hell, divine punishment and so on. God is free to have or not to have mercy on whom he wills (Rom. 9:18). We cannot limit the freedom of God by our theories about the scope of grace. But for this exact reason we are also free to hope that he will in fact have mercy upon all (Rom. 11:32).
The hope that there will in fact be no limits to the scope or efficiency of grace is not religious pluralism or liberalism. There is no salvation outside of Christ. But the gospel allows us to hope, that eventually all things will be gathered up in Christ (Eph. 1:10), who will finally subject everything to His Father so that God can be All in All (1 Cor. 15:28).
“For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” (1 Tim. 4:10)
ABOUT THE EDITOR
My name is Johannes Steenbuch, I’m a ph.d. in philosophy and patristics, based in Copenhagen, Denmark, Europe. This website functions as my blog and theological repository. I mostly post stuff that is relevant for my own work on church history or has been inspirational for myself, but can hopefully be of use to others as well. In addition I frequently invite others to contribute with articles and posts, as my hope is to be able to present a wide range of contemporary theological writings together with the more historical texts. Feel free to mail me if you would like to contribute!
I personally lean towards a somewhat reformed baptist position, though one affirming the universal scope and efficiency of the atoning work of Christ (perhaps something like a Primitive Baptist Universalist position), combined with a more or less preterist eschatology. The website is, however, completely unaffiliated with any particular denomination, church or organization, while being committed to all the beliefs of classical Christianity as affirmed by, e.g., the Nicene Creed and the Apostolic Creed.
The material included expresses the views of the individual authors, though. Most material is in the public domain or distribution has been allowed by the copyright holder (send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org if your material appears on the website without proper consent).
Enjoy reading, but don’t forget that “the making of many books hath no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” (Eccl. 12:12)
“In wrath He remembers mercy” (Hab. 3:2)
“I will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, And I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they will say, ‘You are my God!'” (Hosea 2:23)
“For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.” (Lam. 3:31-33)
“For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” (Ps. 100:5)
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.” (Ps. 103:8-9)
“The Lord is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works. (Ps. 145:9)
“As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ez. 33:11)
“He retaineth not His anger for ever, because He delighteth in mercy” (Mic. 7:18)
“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)
“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12:32)
“The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.” (John 3:35)
“All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37)
“he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9)
“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:3-4)
“we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of them that believe.” (1 Tim 4:10)
“Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” (Rom 5:18-19)
“For God hath shut up all unto disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.” (Rom. 11:32)
“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:22)
“And when all things have been subjected unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subjected to him that did subject all things unto him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Cor. 15:28)
“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Cor. 5:15)
“God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Cor. 5:19)
“The Lord is not slow in regard to the promise, as certain count slowness, but is long-suffering to us, not counselling any to be lost but all to pass on to reformation” (2 Pet 3:9)
“he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.” (1 Jn 2:2)
“For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in him should all the fulness dwell; and through him to reconcile all things unto himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross; through him, I say, whether things upon the earth, or things in the heavens.” (Col. 1:19-20)
“You can show your great power any time you wish, and no one can stand up against it. In your sight the whole world is a grain of sand, barely heavy enough to tip a pair of scales, a drop of dew on the ground in the morning. You are powerful enough to do anything, but you are merciful to everyone; you overlook our sins and give us time to repent.” (Wis. 11:21-23)
“You love everything that exists; you do not despise anything that you have made. If you had not liked it, you would not have made it in the first place. How could anything last, if you did not want it to? How could it endure, if you had not created it? You have allowed it all to exist, O Lord, because it is yours, and you love every living thing.” (Wis. 11:24-26)