Posts on theological themes such as grace, eschatology and salvation. See also the Text Archive.

“He came to save all through means of Himself” Irenaeus on the humanity of Christ

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 ...

Who are Jesus’ flock? Notes for a sermon on sheep

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 ...

Jacques Ellul on Jonah’s song: “God has been gracious from the very beginning”

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 ...

Karl Barth: “God has mercy on us.” Sermon from the Basel prison

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 ...

Bonhoeffer: “God goes to all people in their need”

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 ...

Athanasius on eternal election

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 ...

“The theology of the cross is the true Christian universalism” – Moltmann on the Gentile centurion and Jesus’ Easter appearances

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.” Melito of Sardis On the Passover

"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." ...

The woman with the alabaster jar

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 ...

Why the gospel is not ‘universalism’, but good news for all

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 ...

What does it mean that Jesus fulfilled “all righteousness” when he was baptized?

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 ...

“Fear not! I bring you good news of great joy, that shall be to all the people.”

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 ...

The king is coming! Notes for a sermon for Advent

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 ...

Charles Spurgeon’s Ambivalent View on Justification

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 ...

A “great kindness to Man”: Death as divine gift according to Patristic theologies

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 ...

Hans Denck and yieldedness as the solution to the problem of the (un)free will

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 ...

Karl Barth on the universality of the atonement and the particularity of the work of the Spirit

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 ...

James Relly on the “Grace and truth of Union”

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 ...

James Relly: “Has he fulfilled all righteousness? So have we. Is he justified? So are we.”

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 ...

Jacques Ellul: “A theology of grace implies universal salvation.”

Quoted from What I Believe (1989) by French theologian and professor of law, Jacques Ellul (1912-1994). Jacques Ellul, What I Believe (Eerdmans 1989) 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 ...

What’s the scriptural basis for calling all people “God’s people”?

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 ...

Thomas Whittemore: 100 Scriptural Proofs That Jesus Christ Will Save All Mankind

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 ...

Marvin R. Vincent: Note on ‘eternal destruction’ (Olethron Aionion)

"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 ...

99 Verses of Cheer For Us All

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, ...

Elhanan Winchester: The Gospel Preached by the Apostles (1788)

"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" ...

Exceptions to God’s love? A thought on violence and salvation, Anabaptists, Yoder, Barth and Luther

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 ...

What is “the resurrection of life” and “the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28-29)?

“[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 ...

“It’s hell enough down here.” What does Primitive Baptist Universalists believe?

"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." ...

Charles Slagle: The Good News of Christ’s Total Victory

"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 ...

Thomas Allin: “Aion and Aionios”

On the words often translated "eternity" and "eternal" in the Bible. From Thomas Allin's Christ Triumphant ...

J. Preston Eby: Is Man a “free moral agent”?

"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 ...

J. Preston Eby: "If Everyone is Going to be Saved, Why Preach?"

"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 ...

Gerry Beauchemin: Hope Beyond Hell

"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 ...

Julie Ferwerda: Raising Hell – Christianity’s most controversial doctrine put under fire!

"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 ...

Keith DeRose: Universalism and the Bible – The Really Good News

"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 ...

Jürgen Moltmann: The Coming of God

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 ...

William Barclay: Reasons for believing in universal salvation

"I am a convinced universalist. I believe that in the end all men will be gathered into the love of God." - William Barclay ...

Elhanan Winchester: The Outcasts Comforted – Sermon on Universal Restoration (1782)

"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 ...

The Schizophrenic Gospel? Christian and Anti-Christian Paradoxes

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 ...

Libertinism vs. Christianity?

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? ...

More thoughts behind the website: Doing theology in the light of the gospel of infinite grace

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), ...

The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost (Matt. 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-30; Luke 12:10)

What is "the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost"? (Matt. 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-30; Luke 12:10) ...

The sheep and the goats (Matt. 25:31-46)

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 ...

Hell (Gehenna) in the Bible

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 ...

The rich man and Lazarus (Luke 14:22-23)

How should we understand the parable of Lazarus and the rich man? (Luke 14:22-23) ...

Adam's punishment

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 ...

The second death (Rev. 21:8; Rev. 20:12-14)

What is "the second death" (Rev 21:8; Rev 20:12-14)? ...

Joseph E. Kirk: The eons of the Bible

"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 ...