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Why I Do Not Believe in Universal Salvation
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TOPIC: Why I Do Not Believe in Universal Salvation

Re: Why I Do Not Believe in Universal Salvation 1 year, 6 months ago #4075

  • webb
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Sherman,

Thanks for sharing the genuine thoughts of your mind and heart. For my part, your last paragraph matches neither my experience of God nor of people in and out of relationship with God. My experience (including especially my reading of Scripture) convinces me that God grants actual moral agency to human beings in creating them--and does not sovereignly assign them to be disobedient, as though all of creation and salvation history were a puppet play put on by God for God. God is infinitely greater than we are, and because God created all the dimensional depths of creation, including ones that we mostly four-dimensionally-minded humans are only occasionally even aware of, God is capable of working with and through human moral choices and actions--whether those moral choices and actions align with God's own character or not. That is not the same as saying God engineers everything to the effective exclusion of human agency. It is both. God is sovereign and we have actual agency.

To me, Jesus has achieved the expunging of every human sin, and the justifying work of Jesus will, in its time, achieve the bringing to life of every mortal human being who has ever lived. The story that I read in Isa. 24:21--27:5 and Isa. 57:15-21 and Rev. 19:14--20:10, however, warns me that even when those who never repented in their mortal lives are given a completely clean slate in resurrection thanks to the justifying and life-granting work of the Son of God, they will not accept reconciliation. Without the will to reconcile on their side, all the love and forgiveness and life-giving in the world (which they have received) profits them nothing. They are, as you would say, "goners."

Re: Why I Do Not Believe in Universal Salvation 1 year, 6 months ago #4077

  • Sherman
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Webb,

I really appreciate the tone of your replies and the grace and humility behind it. Thanks.

I suppose I have no problem believing that we have all been consigned over to disobedience because of my personal experience. I was raised in a Christian family and have had an unusual love for God, scripture, and the church from childhood. I preached my first full length sermon when I was only 12 years old. And get this, the title was "Heaven/Hell, Where do you want to go!" 45 minutes of reviewing what scripture says about the subject, with Flannel Board illustrations and all (now that's a long time ago.). I went to seminary straight out of High School, and... Well, you get the idea. I was a "good" boy and young man.

But then one day when I was about 24, I was reading the story of the woman that washed Jesus' feet with her tears and dried them with her hair, an extravagant display of utter humility, brokenness, and passion. And I was particularly thinking about the "those who have been forgiven much, love much" verse. Just being honest with myself, I said to the Lord, "I love you Lord, but I don't know that I've ever experienced such passionate love for you as this woman did. I've never led the sinful lifestyle this woman did, but I want to love you as much as she did, with utter abandonment. I don't think I should go out an sin more so that you could forgive me more, but I don't know what to do to love you more?" It was one of those prayers that you know went straight to the heart of God and was likely inspired by Him to begin with.

Well, over the next several months I encountered the judgment of God, laying bare the motives of my heart. I first had a vision where I saw a hand cut off from a body and the Lord said to me, "Your pride has cut you off from the body of Christ." I knew it was true. Though I was living a morally clean life, I was prideful of that morality and couldn't receive from others; and my pride kept others from receiving from me. I was cut off. I repented and then saw the body pick up the hand and restore it to the arm.

Some months later I was reading the 8 Woes in Mt. 23. When I got to the end, the Lord said to me, "That's the way you are." And He pealed back my self-deception, showing me that some of those woes fit me to a T, like doing good to be seen by others. The truth impacted me so much that I cried for 2 weeks. And it worked in me a lasting positive change.

Then some months after that I was reading the parable of the talents. When I came to the "you wicked and lazy servant" judgment, the Lord said to me again, "That's the way you are, except I've given you 10 talents." Again He pealed back my self deception, showing that He had given me so much and yet I had buried it because of fear rooted in a twisted concept of who He is and Laziness which is rooted in selfishness. But it worked in me a lasting positive change.

Some months after that, I found myself subconsciously contemplating the passage "All my righteousness is as filthy rags." I would catch myself pondering the meaning of that passage, though I had not read it recently or was studying it. And then one day I had the realization that everything about me was polluted by my selfishness, selfish motives and desires, everything! My best, my righteousness was as filthy as used toilet paper! My love for my wife, children, even my love fore God was polluted by my selfishness! Talk about a humbling truth to accept! And yet it was very liberating because I realized that we're all in the same boat named Selfish! It freed me to stop striving for perfection and to simply love God because He loves us. It freed me to stop being so critical and judgmental of others because I'm as big of a mess as anyone else.

So when Rom.11:32 notes that we've all been consigned over to disobedience, I must agree. We are all selfish to the bone, bad to the bone literally. And yet God loves us and will reconcile us and give us his righteousness and life. We cannot save ourselves through right choices. We are truly dead in our sins needing him to raise us from the dead. We are slaves of unrighteousness needing to be set free. And thankfully, God loves us anyhow, and love does not fail.

I came up with a saying that my students had put on a shirt for me. The front says "I'm Okay, You're Okay" with a big Not-sign (circle with a line through it) over it. The back says, "Truth is, I'm a mess and I think you're an even bigger one!" A little tongue in cheek, but true. The only reason I think anyone is a bigger mess than I am is because I'm a such a mess!

These encounters with the judgment of God tore me up, but I can say that I loved God all the more for it. They were truly an answer to my prayer to love God like the woman loved him. I had been forgiven of pride, self-righteousness, apathy, selfishness, etc. I have been forgiven 100% just like she had been forgiven 100%. And if not for God intervening in my life, I'd still be stuck in pride and self-righteousness, separated from Him and yet thinking I was doing everything right! Now when I look at the their, drug addict, murder, child molester, etc. I can honestly say, "There go I except for the grace of God" and have compassion and grace towards them.

Well, anyhow, thanks for reading my thoughts. Yep, "I'm a mess and think you're an even bigger mess!" haha
Last Edit: 1 year, 6 months ago by Sherman. Reason: spelling

Re: Why I Do Not Believe in Universal Salvation 1 year, 6 months ago #4078

  • Mcgragor
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Webb said- (when those who never repented in their mortal lives are given a completely clean slate in resurrection thanks to the justifying and life-granting work of the Son of God, they will not accept reconciliation. Without the will to reconcile on their side, all the love and forgiveness and life-giving in the world (which they have received) profits them nothing. They are, as you would say, "goners.")

I once heard James White (who I think is a good apologist) say that the wicked -even if let out of ECT, will want back in because they are so wicked. Now as much as I respect James's hard work for the Christian faith, I really thought he missed it on that one.

Unless I am misunderstanding you, it seems as if you are saying the wicked who die now, will be given a chance to repent and turn it down. If that is what you are saying, its basically the same thing White is saying, but he is saying it based on a sinner's total depravity and so by nature they could only will to do so. I think you are saying it from the perspective that people really will have the power to repent, which if that is the case, is actually a more extreme and unlikely scenario than Mr. White points out.

Maybe I am missing something, but if someone is hung over a lake of fire (spiritual or not) and the alternative is eternal life with no pain, no tears, complete joy forever, it would take a huge leap of faith to believe anyone would willingly turn that down.

I may have misunderstood you, but if not, what you are saying is very speculative at best and would seem to fly in the face of common sense at worst, if indeed you see people facing this from a neutral which one is best proposition.

Re: Why I Do Not Believe in Universal Salvation 1 year, 6 months ago #4079

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Sherman,

You would make a great Calvinist I think, with your very proper critique of the nature of man.

Just so happens and I kid you not, I was out in the yard today (very beautiful day) and contemplating the exact same thing you said. That is, by nature every thing we do has at its core a selfish motivation. (How Providential is that?)

I had discussed this before with another Christian brother (I think he had mentioned it first) and its always kind of stuck with me.

As part of our growth from babes to mature, I believe the Lord takes us down that path and yes, it makes us have more compassion on those who by nature, we would judge as being worse.

We end up realizing though that we are exactly the same, that God is merciful in our sin, and it propels us to lean into Christ.

Although we would always since salvation say that we are no better than anyone else, it takes God's grace and chastisement to really get it down in our hearts so that its real.

With you, a lot of scripture etc...with me, a lot of illness, but same result.

Now if we could just straighten you out on this UR thing...

By the way, love your sincere attitude and honesty.
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Re: Why I Do Not Believe in Universal Salvation 1 year, 6 months ago #4081

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Mcgragor wrote:
...it seems as if you are saying the wicked who die now, will be given a chance to repent and turn it down. ... I think you are saying it from the perspective that people really will have the power to repent, which if that is the case, is actually a more extreme and unlikely scenario ... if someone is hung over a lake of fire (spiritual or not) and the alternative is eternal life with no pain, no tears, complete joy forever, it would take a huge leap of faith to believe anyone would willingly turn that down. I may have misunderstood you, but if not, what you are saying is very speculative at best and would seem to fly in the face of common sense at worst, if indeed you see people facing this from a neutral which one is best proposition.

I'm coming from a different theological and eschatological paradigm than James White, and the best way to understand it is to read my short book The Bad Place

Isa. 26:10-11 || Isa. 27:1-5 || Rev. 20:7-10 reveal the resurrection of the unrepentant. They do not know that they are faced with the prospect of annihilating fire, because as at the first in the Garden, the devil deceives (himself and) them and they think they are invulnerable. They think they have the upper hand. If their hearts were open to repentance, they would know that they have an open invitation to take part in all the good things of God along with the holy ones, but their hearts are closed. Why? That is a mystery that lies within them. The profundity of the wickedness and self-deception of the unrepentant heart is indeed counter-intuitive, even offensive. But it is what it is.
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