“During my first week of office as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland when I presided at the Assembly’s Gaelic Service, a Highlander asked me when I had been born again. I still recall his face when I told him I had been born again when Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary and rose again from the virgin tomb, the first-born of the dead.”
Proponents of so-called Radical Orthodoxy has been quite explicit recently in their support for the classical, patristic idea of the restitution of all things. This is good news.
If we did understand anything, we would be capable of converting ourselves, and earn forgiveness. But this is exactly what we are not capable of. The good news is that God has mercy on us anyway – or perhaps rather, that this is exactly what makes it possible for God to have mercy on us. We cannot make ourselves a good soil, but God can.
The Lord’s supper takes place on the basis of an invitation which is as open as the outstretched arms of Christ on the cross. Because he died for the reconciliation of ‘the world’, the world is invited to reconciliation in the supper.
The debate about the time of justification is far from just being a matter of speculation. It is relevant for practical theology, as it raises questions for mission and evangelism: Is preaching imperative for saving people or is it rather the joyful revelation of something which is already true about our existence?
“When I hear God himself promise a blessing to mankind, my mind immediately conceives of somewhat very different from a curse: but if men are not blessed with eternal life, it is easily proved, that all other blessings, so called, terminate in a curse. When I hear it promised, that this blessing should be in Christ, I readily conclude, that it is not in man: and can therefore conceive, how men may be blessed in Christ, though they may be ignorant of it in themselves.”
What does it mean that every eye will see Him? God is now quickening His first fruit company of sons who see His coming and who are beholding the appearing of His life within. To behold or to see signifies a knowing and understanding. Rest assured that in the finality of God’s plan for the ages, every eye will be opened to understand and know Jesus Christ as Lord.
Gregory of Nazianzen seems to grasp some of the significance of the baptism of Christ in his baptismal sermon, when he marvelously stated that in his baptism “Jesus rises from the waters; the world rises with him.” The baptism of Christ is truly the baptism of us all in him.
The salvation of God is there whether we see it or not. But when we see it, seeing brings joy – if it doesn’t, it’s not the salvation of God that we see. The sight of God’s salvation does not leave us unaltered. Seeing God’s salvation means taking part here and now in what Jesus is doing for the whole world.
In the midst of celebrating Christmas, we should keep in mind that not all Christians are lucky to live in peace and safety. By commemorating the martyrdom of Stephen we also commemorate those Christians who are persecuted today. But we are also thereby reminded, that God forgives even those who persecute his people.
How shall man pass into God, unless God has passed into man? And how shall he escape from the generation subject to death, if not by means of a new generation, given in a wonderful and unexpected manner by God— that regeneration which flows from the virgin through faith?
The Christian hope for all is always in spite of our very plausible, realistic and as such urgent pessimisms about the destiny of most people in the present. This is why the Christian hope for all is a call to action here and now rather than passivity.
For Athanasius, the divinity of Christ was crucial for the salvation of humanity. By receiving a human body, Christ, the eternal Word of God, bestowed the gift of his divinity upon our humanity, says Athanasius. “by virtue of the Word’s indwelling in a single human body, the corruption which goes with death has lost its power over all.””
Hence, I propose, that the elect are not a people chosen to be the objects of God’s love and salvation, to the final exclusion of others: but a people chosen to believe the truth, and to rejoice in the salvation of Jesus in time; while others yet remain in a state of ignorance, of what they are equally entitled to with the elect.
Gregory argues that the subjection spoken of by Paul is in both instances not a forced, but a free and joyful subjection, that leads to salvation of all who are subjected to God through Christ.
“There are but few individuals, so crucified to system, so detached from party, as to see and confess this truth much less can they perceive, how those doctrines, so seemingly contradictory, and opposite to each other, should yet be one in Christ, and preaching the same salvation, in the same language. Yet in this light I view them, and hope to speak intelligibly of the matter.”
When Jesus talks about the sign of the prophet Jonah, it is not so much about us, but first of all about Jesus. The story of Jonah is a story about the cross and resurrection of Christ. It is Jesus who is to experience the uttermost darkness at the bottom of death, he who is about to go through a radical spiritual crisis in order to experience salvation.
For He came to save all through means of Himself — all, I say, who through Him are born again to God — infants, and children, and boys, and youths, and old men.
To belong to the flock of Christ – to be a part of his church – means to confess that he is one with the Father and that all and everything has been put into his hands. This also means to have a hope that is larger than a particular and narrow hope for the elect only. This larger hope is exactly what distinguishes the church from the pharisees of Jesus’ time and indeed all religious elites who want to narrow down the gospel.
Jonah, being a sign anticipating Christ’s death and resurrection, is, according to Jacques Ellul, actually in hell (Sheol, ” the realm of the dead”). But this is exactly where he experiences the grace of God, even if he has not yet seen deliverance.
The arms of his eternal love, if I may say so, are already outstretched when he makes us prisoners of disobedience. He does so in order to have mercy on all. Barth on Romans 11:32
God goes to all people in their need, fills body and soul with God’s own bread, goes for Christians and heathens to Calvary’s death and forgives them both.
Nor in any other way was it fitting that our life should be founded, but in the Lord who is before the ages, and through whom the ages were brought to be; that, since it was in Him, we too might be able to inherit that everlasting life.
There is no distinction here, and there cannot be any more distinctions. All are sinners without distinction, and all will be made righteous without any merit on their part by his grace which has come to pass in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:24)
“Who is my opponent? I, he says, am the Christ. I am the one who destroyed death, and triumphed over the enemy, and trampled Hades under foot, and bound the strong one, and carried off man to the heights of heaven, I, he says, am the Christ.”
This is what the story of the woman with alabaster jar reminds us: That the kingdom of God explodes all our narrow concerns and ideas of justice. Instead we are to look to Jesus as the woman did. When we do that we are ready to help the poor, who are always with us in the kingdom. The justice of the kingdom of God does not exclude worldly justice, but includes it and brings it all into a much wider perspective.
The gospel is simply the good news that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world, that he died for all, and that all has been and will be made righteous by his death. Theological ideologies, ’-isms’, are the attempts of human beings to impose limitations on the gospel, making it true only for some.
What does it mean that Jesus fulfilled “all righteousness” when he was baptized? Jesus’ whole life, his ministry, beginning from his baptism by John in the Jordan until his suffering and death on the cross, is the “baptism” that fulfills all righteousness.
Just as all died with him on the cross (2 Cor 5:15), all were baptized with him in Jordan.
When Jesus comes to us, he comes to us in all our poverty. He was born on the edge of civilisation, in a manger. Jesus comes to us as one without possesions. Restless, like Cain. But unlike him Jesus accepts his situation. He comes to us as one who does not rely on wealth, but on God alone. And he tells his disciples to do the same.
This is the meaning of advent: That Jesus is coming – the Kingdom of God is coming. Not just somewhere far off in the future, but every day, in all circumstances of your life. He is coming right now, and with him he brings peace and light to everyone who lives in darkness.
If “it is God that justifieth,” Rom. 8:33, and if the act of justification lies solely in God “estimating, accounting, and constituting” a sinner as righteous, then Spurgeon must be wrong in asserting that justification is a transient act, for these are all terms that denote an action of the divine mind, and consequently an action that is immanent and eternal.
It’s a common idea in Patristic theology that death is not just a punishment but also in a way a gift, as it puts a limit to sin, and makes it possible for God to recreate fallen creature through the resurrection.
According to Denck, God lets human beings feel the consequences of sin, in order to teach us that we cannot rest on our own will. God is not the cause of sin, but he uses what is apparently evil, as a means of salvation.
In the first volume of the fourth part of his Church Dogmatics Karl Barth argued that the atonement was true and real for all human beings as a result of the work of Jesus Christ. The difference between Christians and non-Christians, is that Christians are those who have heard the Gospel, and as a result know that the atonement is real for them also. This is the work of the Holy Spirit.
James Relly’s theology revolved around the idea of union. Everything which can be said about Christ can now be said of those who are united with him. Relly developed the core aspects of this idea in his Union: or, a Treatise of the Consanguinity and Affinity between Christ and his Church from 1759. Below are some excerpts from his book.
Jürgen Moltmann (1926-) is a German Reformed theologian and Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at the University of Tübingen. In his book The Coming of God Moltmann deals extensively with Christian eschatology. “True hope must be universal, because its healing future embraces every individual and the whole universe. If we were to surrender hope for as much as one single creature, for us God would not be God.” – Jürgen Moltmann
The central doctrine in Relly’s theology was the belief that the atonement and justification must be understood in terms of union with Christ. All human beings died with Christ on the cross. Faith is not a condition for justification, but only the knowledge that one has already been justified by Christ.
Quoted from What I Believe (1989) by French theologian and professor of law, Jacques Ellul (1912-1994). I am taking up here a basic theme that I have dealt with elsewhere but which is so essential that I have no hesitation in repeating myself. It is the recognition that all people from the beginning of time … Continue reading Jacques Ellul: “A theology of grace implies universal salvation.”
By Jack Gillespie. “Well, of course, there aren’t any verses that come right out and say, “all people are now God’s people because of the work of Christ.” If there were, the conversation would be over. But I see it throughout the New Testament (and even suggested in the Old Testament) in the same way some people see Jesus “on every page of the Bible” or the way Paul saw Christ as the rock that Moses struck.”
What a blessed assurance! Grace shall conquer sin? In every heart where sin has reigned, grace shall set up its empire. Grace shall reign triumphantly and successfully. We see not yet all this done; but it shall be done at last.
“They will be punished with eternal destruction (olethron aionion)” (2 Thes. 1:9). Aionios means enduring through or pertaining to a period of time. Both the noun and the adjective are applied to limited periods. Thus the phrase eis ton aiona, habitually rendered forever, is often used of duration which is limited in the very nature of the case.
Compiled by Peter Hinners. Luke 2:10-14 KJV I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord… Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 1 … Continue reading 99 Verses of Cheer For Us All
“Both Calvinists and Arminians, are right–in many things: and, perhaps, both are under mistakes, in some things: and in nothing do they both mistake more, than in supposing, (as both of them do) that the doctrines of particular and general redemption, are contrary the one to the other”
Note: This is a repost of a post from contrafatum.blogspot.com In the Lutheran Augsburg Confession (CA) the so-called Anabaptists were condemned not just for their baptist practices but also for their views on eschatology, soteriology and ethics. First there is the Anabaptist rejection of violence. The Lutherans condemned the Anabaptists for teaching the necessity of … Continue reading Exceptions to God’s love? A thought on violence and salvation, Anabaptists, Yoder, Barth and Luther
“[A]ll that are in the grave shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.”—John 5:28-29
“Christ’s atonement was for all humankind and at Resurrection will irrevocably come to pass for all humankind; just as, irrevocably, Adam’s transgression earlier had condemned all to the sinful state of natural man.”
“Christ bought us ALL back by His own blood shed at Calvary. He came to earth for this purpose: to destroy the devil’s deceptive works and to save that which was lost. Eventually our Lord will fulfill His sure purpose and inherit ALL He paid for.”–Charles Slagle
On the words often translated “eternity” and “eternal” in the Bible. From Thomas Allin’s Christ Triumphant.
“Oh, no, beloved, man is not a free moral agent. JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY MAN WHO IS A FREE MORAL AGENT. And He made the right choice, the one and only right decision. And HE MADE IT FOR US ALL!”–J. Preston Eby
“The knowledge of God’s gracious purpose does not make true men of God careless. It makes them long to become a part of His will and an instrument in His plan of the ages.” – J. Preston Eby
“We need to recognize that God integrates both mercy and judgment. This factor is a crucial piece of the puzzle helping us to better understand God‘s plan for all” – Gerry Beauchemin
“So, show me someone who’s under divine punishment forever, or who is simply annihilated, and I’ll show you someone who’s never reconciled to God through Christ, and thus someone who gives the lie to this passage.” – Keith DeRose on Col. 1:19-20
“I am a convinced universalist. I believe that in the end all men will be gathered into the love of God.” – William Barclay
“He will use the surgeon’s knife when He sees a tumor of self-will or a deadly virus of carnality sapping our spiritual lives, or when He sees the cancerous growth of sin. He does not hesitate to deal with us severely. We must learn this fact early: He loves us just as much when He … Continue reading J. Preston Eby: The Two Hands of God
“One will say, God loves all his creatures without exception, that he is good to all and his tender mercies are over all his works. Another will maintain that all the objects of his love must finally come to the enjoyment of himself; and that his mercy endureth forever and cannot fail. We heartily believe both these testimonies. One will assert that Christ died for all, tasted death for everyone; the other, that Christ shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied, and that all for whom his blood was shed shall be cleansed thereby. All this we steadfastly believe.”
In the schizophrenic gospel, God is both darkness and light. In the Christian gospel, there is no darkness in God (1 John 1:5), but God’s light reveals, contradicts and convicts our darkness. The so-called double-bind theory was developed by Gregory Bateson in the 1950s as an explanation for schizophrenia. It explains how a certain kind … Continue reading The Schizophrenic Gospel? Christian and Anti-Christian Paradoxes
What if the truth is, that if God is dead, then there is no freedom, no liberty, and then nothing is allowed? What if God’s apparent death means, that we are at the mercy of the forces of nature, sociology, capitalism, the state, technology, violence, you name it?
For God darkness is as light. Through his own dying Christ has overpowered our enemy, death, and turned darkness into light. This is why he can now take each and every one of your darkest sorrows and worries, and turn them into blinding lights.
“Through a very intentional plan that reaches into future ages, I believe the true Gospel is that all people for all time will be willingly and joyfully drawn by the unconditional, irresistible, compelling love of a Father into a relationship with Him through His Son.”–Julie Ferwerda
The purpose of this website is not to teach soteriological universalism as a ‘theological doctrine’, but to help deconstruct and reconstruct traditional concepts such as salvation, damnation, election, predestination, divine judgment and so on. God is free to have or not to have mercy on whom he wills (Rom. 9:18), and so we cannot make … Continue reading More thoughts behind the website: Doing theology in the light of the gospel of infinite grace
What is “the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost”? (Matt. 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-30; Luke 12:10)
From J.W. Hanson’s Bible Threatenings Explained. Matt. 25:46 is the great proof text of the doctrine of endless punishment: “These shall go away into everlasting punishment, and the righteous into life eternal.” That the popular view of this language is incorrect is evident, because those punished are those who have not been good to the … Continue reading The sheep and the goats (Matt. 25:31-46)
From J.W. Hanson’s Bible Threatenings Explained. “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell (Gehenna).” (Matt. 10:28) “But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear: Fear him which, after he hath … Continue reading Hell (Gehenna) in the Bible
How should we understand the parable of Lazarus and the rich man? (Luke 14:22-23)
From J.W. Hanson’s Bible Threatenings Explained. “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying: Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:16-17) … Continue reading Adam's punishment
What is “the second death” (Rev 21:8; Rev 20:12-14)?
“God’s purpose in creating man, and God’s purpose of the eons are inseparably related. Many are unfamiliar with this important subject because the facts have been concealed by incorrect and misleading translations of the Bible from the original languages into English.”–Joseph E. Kirk