Saviour of All Fellowship
Dear Friends in Faith,
Two of our readers, who were also students of the Scriptures and teachers of universal reconciliation, were put to repose last month. Pastor R. Clay Kent of Palm Bay, Florida, died on August 12, and Pastor Leonard Bowerman of Lansing, Michigan, on August 29. Death always is a loss, but we especially feel the emptiness when a fellow believer who once labored among us in accord with Pauls entreaty of 1 Timothy 4:11 is taken from us.
Reliance on the living God and on Him as the Saviour of all mankind and on Him as the Saviour especially of believers are things we are to charge and teach. A group of us look forward to such teaching on September 18 from 11:00 to 4:00 in the Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming, Michigan. Phone us for further details.
Then on October 1-3 our second Baldwin (Michigan) Fellowship of the year is scheduled at Grace and Truth Chapel on Fourth Street. Meetings will begin at 9:30 AM on Friday and Saturday and at 10:00 on Sunday. Noon meals will be held at the Chapel all three days, but not the evening meals this time.
Thanks to Ted Jones, who lives near Toronto, for sending an article asking the question Will the end have an end? Dean has been working on the subject of the final annihilation of the wicked which is the position taken in this article. A brief reply is now available (and may be included with this letter).
The idea of annihilation of the wicked seems less horrible than that of eternal conscious torment. But both concepts clash with the revelation of God in the gift of His Son for sinners, the very gospel that is the center of our faith. Apart from this work of love and grace we are all the wicked; we are all condemned. But has not the death, entombment and resurrection of Christ made a difference?
We are concerned that these theories based on passages of Scripture dealing with the death, judgment and condemnation of sinners, are not being considered in the light of revelations concerning Gods will and purpose, and His achievements in and through Christ. With annihilationists this distraction from the gospel centers on ideas of free will, human behavior and responsibility, with all the differing and contradictory ideas about what exactly we must do in order to be saved. We wonder if anyone at all can be certain, apart from hypocrisy, of escaping annihilation under such approaches.
What are your thoughts regarding the theories of conditionalism and annihilation?
The last Baldwin Fellowship was a great success. Jean Douglas came from Georgia with some great messages on the evangel and faith. Dean brought messages about the translation of Genesis and God being responsible for His creation. J. P. reported on his radio show that aired near Cleveland, Ohio where the message of universal reconciliation was boldly announced. He also brought messages about Expose, rebuke and entreat, using the story of Ignaz Simolweis and his struggles in making known a simple solution for the death of so many women in the hospitals of his day (early 1800s) to show parallels in our sharing the evangel today. Tony highlighted the message of grace with the strange want ad:
No workers wanted, righteousness given gratuitously. He also spoke on our expectation not being on the earth but in the heavens.
Yours in Gods grace
Dean Hough and Tony Nungesser