Saviour of All Fellowship
Dear Friends in Faith,
A few years back, a leader of a discussion group, who was familiar with our ministry, asked his friends, Wouldnt you like to be a universalist? Most said, Yes, was their immediate response. But then there seemed to be general agreement that the Scriptures do not support this position. With a kindly glance toward us, it was explained that personal likes and dislikes do not determine truth.
This of course was annoying to us who, in the first place, would prefer not to be identified by a non-scriptural term like universalists, and who also agree that truth should not be based on our personal likes and dislikes. But we also frequently find that what the Bible teaches is exactly in accord with what we would like, and we suspect that this is at least sometimes true for all believers. So it does not seem wrong to us to bring in personal likes
and dislikes, but they might better be expressed in the words of the Scriptures themselves rather than with non-scriptural terminology, as convenient as it might be.
Hence we might ask fellow believers: Wouldnt you like God to be the Saviour of all mankind? Or: Wouldnt you like it if the obedience of Jesus Christ made the many people who are condemned because of Adams disobedience righteous? Or: Wouldnt you like it if God eventually becomes All in all?
This might annoy those who oppose us (we are tempted to call them limitarians, but we realize they have no conscious intention of limiting God). At least it might direct the discussion to important passages dealing with salvation and the significance of Christ dying for sinners.
A person some time ago wrote me this:
It also should be noted that anybody who does argue that it is morally wrong for the Lord to issue eternal judgment on the wicked does so upon personal moral grounds and not Scriptural grounds for raising their argument. This [is] clearly demonstrated by such universalist authors such as John Hick. Hick views the traditional Christian view of hell inhibits the resolution of the question of evil. I therefore believe that the needs of Christian theodicy compel us to repudiate the idea of eternal punishment. Why? Because the sufferings
of the damned in hell, since they are indertermable, can never lead to a constructive end beyond themselves and are thus the very type of ultimately pointless and wasted anguish. (Hell: The Logic of Damnation (Notre Dame, ID, University of Notre Dame Press, 1992)
70-71.) Hick assumes that only remedial suffering is compatible with Gods love. Rather than helping solve the problem with evil, Hick believes that belief in an eternal conscious hell only compounds the problem. Indeed misery which is eternal and therefore infinite would constitute the largest part of the problem of evil. Notice that Hick rejects an eternal hell upon moral grounds. Well anyway Tony have a great day.
First of all, I am not defending Hick but I do believe he has hit the nail on the head. Secondly, I do not think it applies to us that we use personal rather than Scriptural grounds to debunk eternal torment. I am curious how this person who wrote me deals with the problem of evil as it pertains to unending torment especially when God hides the very means of entering into salvation from the wise and prudent yet reveals them unto minors? I am curious how this person can wish I have a great day while his loved ones are screaming in anguish and will do so for eternity (according to his paradigm)?
Yours in Gods grace and peace,
Dean Hough and Tony Nungesser
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