Saviour of All Fellowship
Dear Friends in Faith,
In the early days of the new year we were part of a large portion of the USA to be hit with the first large winter storm in a couple of years. We had not really forgotten what they were like, but it still hit us somewhat unprepared. Also hitting me (Dean) somewhat unprepared was the discovery that my mortality is still with me, and I am facing surgery at mid-month. Storms and illness are part of the eon.
But it is also a day of salvation! a most acceptable era! because even as in Adam all are dying, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
Thanks to several readers (the Munnings in Ontario, and Travis Ogletree in Georgia) we were reminded of a testimony of Andrew Murray (1828-1917) in favor of the truth of universal salvation. Many of his books on the deepening of the spiritual life are fairly well known and still available, but not many of his readers may know of his book entitled, GODS WILL; OUR DWELLING PLACE (Whitaker House, 580 Pittsburgh St., Springdale PA 15144) in which this testimony appears (chapter 23).
From another standpoint, we were interested in a review of Jan Bonda's book, THE ONE PURPOSE OF GOD (Eerdmans 1998) by David E. Englesma of the Protestant Reformed Church (The Standard Bearer, P.O. Box 603, Grandville MI 49468, for August 1998). The Protestant Reformed Church tries to maintain the position that Christ died for the elect only, which has led them to limit the "all" of 1 Timothy 2:4 and similar passages to less than all descendents of Adam. Professor Englesma uses Bonda's book as a warning to compromising Calvinists. He admits that Bonda's conclusion (universal salvation) is the only logical one if passages like 1 Timothy 2:4 and Romans 11:32 refer to everyone without exception.
Many are opposing. That was the apostle Paul's summation of the reaction people were having to the evangel he preached. But not all are opposing. Some, like Paul, are just overwhelmed by the grace of our Lord, with faith and love (see 1 Tim.1:14). One such opposer on the internet recently came up with a novel way of concluding God will not save all. He used Romans 11:32 and Galatians 3:22 together and claimed that since both passages begin with reference to the locking up of all, and since the promise given in Gal.3:22 does not come to all who are locked up under the law, therefore the all that God is going to be merciful to mentioned in Rom.11:32 are less than the all locked up in stubbornness. But this is a gratuitous argument, without a basis in logic or scriptural sense. In Romans the all who are locked up are those who are stubborn, and this is everyone. In Galatians the all who are locked up are those under the law, and that is not everyone. In Romans Paul uses the word all in both halves of the verse, indicating clearly that everyone will be shown mercy. In Galatians Paul does not use the word all in both halves because he is contrasting the all who are locked up under law with those who believe whether or not they had been under the law. Furthermore, belief is not the prerequisite to mercy in Rom.11:32, but God locking up all together in stubbornness [so] that He should be merciful to all.
O, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways! For, who knew the mind of the Lord? or, who became His advisor? or, who gives to Him first, and it will be repaid him? seeing that out of Him and through Him and for Him is all: to Him be the glory for the eons! Amen!
In His Grace and Peace
Dean Hough and Tony Nungesser