Saviour of All Fellowship
Dear Friends in Faith,
In a new book entitled, HOPE BEYOND HELL, Gerry Beauchemin asks a number of
questions which anyone who believes the gospel should enjoy discussing: What is God really like? Is the ultimate destiny of the majority of the human race tragic? . . . . Does [God] have all power to do what He wills? Does He truly love all mankind impartially, or does He have favorites? . . . . What is His will for mankind? Will His will be accomplished? (p.47).
Involved in mission work since 1988, Brother Beauchemin has done a good job in pointing to scriptural answers to his questions. His book may be had at the publisher discount price of $10, plus shipping, from the author at: 8801 Boca Chica #45, Brownsville TX 78521 (phone: 956-831-9011; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Many Christians today honestly believe that they are . . . contending for the faith once given over to the saints (Jude 1:3). Yet the faith, according to some of them, is the belief that Christ died for mankind so that they would have a chance to save themselves. This has led to the common belief concerning Hell to which most of Christendom subscribes today. Was this what was given over to the saints? Would this have been considered orthodox during the first five centuries of the Christian era?
The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (1908) says in volume 12, on page 96, In the first five or six centuries of Christianity there were six theological schools, of which four (Alexandria, Antioch, Caesarea, and Edessa, or Nisibis) were Universalist, one (Ephesus) accepted conditional immortality; one (Carthage or Rome) taught endless punishment of the wicked. Other theological schools are mentioned as founded by Universalists, but their actual doctrine on this subject is not known.
What most modern Christians dont seem to realize is that Universalism in any form was not formally declared heterodox until the middle of the sixth century when several teachings of Origen were condemned under the direction of the emperor Justinian.
Therefore, the common teaching today is not that of the early church but is according to the later Roman influence of paganism mixed with some Christian tenets. In other words, without knowing it, most Christians today are in fact espousing traditions of pagan origin which entered into church teaching several hundred years after Christ.
Had the Christians of today lived in the first four to six centuries and held the beliefs common today, they would possibly have been thought of as heretics. Just because they are the majority today does not make them right. Once Constantine became a Christian (if he actually was one) he tried to make peace between the pagan religions and Christendom of his day. Constantine was trying to make Constantinople the base of Christendom. As the Catholic Encyclopedia states: In the dedication of Constantinople in 330 a ceremonial half pagan, half Christian was used. The chariot of the sun-god was set in the marketplace, and over its head was placed the Cross of Christ, while the Kyrie Eleison was sung. Shortly before his death Constantine confirmed the privileges of the priests of the ancient gods. Many other actions of his have also the appearance of half-measures, as if he himself had wavered and had always held in reality to some form of syncretistic religion.
Yours in Gods grace and peace,
Dean Hough and Tony Nungesser
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