Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The heresy of Universalism: Examination of proof texts used by them.

I shall be taking a look at some texts raised by Answering Abraham on the subject of Universalism. I will take a look at some of the biblical texts raised and some of the points raised but not all. We'll have to see what the Lord Wills.

The original article can be found here: http://www.answeringabraham.com/2015/05/introduction-and-defense-of-trinitarian.html

This will not necessarily be in order just to clarify.

Let's take a look at the relevant texts. They have been copied from the articles with AA's highlights present for all to see:

""For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (For rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person perhaps someone might possibly dare to die.) But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by his blood, we will be saved through him from God's wrath.For if WHILE WE WERE ENEMIES WE WERE RECONCILED TO GOD through the death of his SonHOW MUCH MORE, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life? Not only this, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation. So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned– for before the law was given, sin was in the world, but there is no accounting for sin when there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam until Moses even over those who did not sin in the same way that Adam (who is a type of the coming one) transgressed. But the gracious gift is not like the transgression. For if the many died through the transgression of the one man, HOW MUCH MORE DID THE GRACE OF GOD and the gift by the grace of the one man Jesus Christ MULTIPLY to the many! And the gift is not like the one who sinned. For judgment, resulting from the one transgression, led to condemnation, but the gracious gift from the manyfailures led to justification. For if, by the transgression of the one man, death reigned through the one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ! Consequently, just as condemnation for all people came through one transgression, so too through the one righteous act came righteousness leading to life for all peopleFor just as through the disobedience of the one man many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of one man many will be made righteous. Now the law came in so that the transgression may increase, but where sin increased, grace multiplied all the more, so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign throughrighteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 5:6-21)"

Paul refers to in the context what happened at the time of conversion, namely while the believers before their conversion were lost and were enemies of God, Christ has now set them free. The text is explicit to point out that the exclusivity of salvation, the position that Christ ALONE saves, is evident not only on a surface reading, but also a careful handling and exegesis of the text.

While the grace of God may be open to all, that doesn't mean all will receive, only Christ himself can quicken the individual and bring about redemption. It is by the grace of God that man can come into the faith.

Salvation is open to all, but unless man is quickened and repents toward God, he shall NOT be the recipient of eternal life.

"Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we encounter death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35-39)"

I have spoken on this text in another article:
http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/comments-on-romans-8-and-other-texts.html

In addition to the article provided, The text in context is referring to the believers in Jesus and who will separate them from the Love of God. The unbelievers are already condemned and separated from God and it is their own sin that will keep them away from God and his presence for eternity. The statement of not being separated from Christ by external means are only applicable to those are in Christ Jesus, Not to those are not of his sheep.

"For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?...For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come inAnd so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion; he will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins." In regard to the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but in regard to election they are dearly loved for the sake of the fathers. For the giftsand the call of God are irrevocableJust as you were formerly disobedient to God, but have now received mercy due to their disobedienceso they too have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercyFor God has consigned all people to disobedience so that he may show mercy to them all. Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how fathomless his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has first given to God, that God needs to repay him? (Romans 11:15;25-35)"

The believers in Jesus are the ones who have received mercy, since Paul is addressing those particular churches. There is nothing even in the text to suggest that "all" literally means all men will be saved. The usage of the word all has to be defined.

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creationfor all things in heaven and on earth were created by him– all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers– all things were created through him and for himHe himself is before all things and all things are held together in him. He is the head of the body, the church, as well as the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead, so that he himself may become first in all things. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in the Son and through him to reconcile all things to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross– through him, whether things on earth or things in heaven." (Colossians 1:15-20) "

Who is the body that Jesus is the head of in the context, the church, not the unbelievers. Jesus is sovereign over all, but not all submit to his Lordship. The emphasis on ALL here is on the nature of Jesus, namely where all things derive their existence from, who is the one by all things consist and that Christ is has dominion over creation as YHWH God. Paul is NOT saying that all human beings are going to be saved, he is only making the point on who is the creator and sustainer of of all things, namely Jesus Christ.

"For if only in this life we have hope in Christ, we should be pitied more than anyone. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleepFor since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also came through a manFor just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made aliveBut each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruitsthen when Christ comes, those who belong to himThen comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he has brought to an end all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be eliminated is death For he has put everything in subjection under his feet. But when it says "everything"has been put in subjection, it is clear that this does not include the one who put everything in subjection to him. And when all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subjected to the one who subjected everything to himso that God may be all in all. Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are they baptized for them? (1 Corinthians 15:19-29)"

There are two different alls that are being conveyed here. In Adam, all man are dead in sin and transgression, depraved and unfit for doing good. We have inherited the sin of Adam, the adamic nature.

The all in Christ statements are not saying all men are in Christ, we have a secondary all that is present. The all will be made alive in Christ refers to those who have been drawn to Christ and are under his lordship. Not every human on this planet submits or is even in Jesus' flock, hence the all who are made alive in Christ, cannot refer to those who are enslaved to another religion but only to those who belong to Jesus. Even the context says "those who belong to him".

As for the baptism of the dead, Paul is referring to a practice by pagans and using them as an illustration to drive the point home that even the pagans know that there is a Day of Reckoning. The baptism for the dead is not a reference to Christian baptism, but to pagan baptism.

"For the love of Christ controls us, since we have concluded this, that Christ died for all; therefore all have diedAnd he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised. So then from now on we acknowledge no one from an outward human point of view. Even though we have known Christ from such a human point of view, now we do not know him in that way any longer. So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away– look, what is new has come! And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people's trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through us. We plead with you on Christ's behalf, "Be reconciled to God!" God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:14-21)"

"And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world." (1 John 4:14)"

The very context of the two passages speaks itself, it even EXPLICITLY says " if anyone IS IN CHRIST". Only those who are in Christ Jesus will be the recipients of eternal life and if God has quickened an individual, they will only receive eternal life IF they repent. Only those in Jesus who have repented and accepted his offer of salvation will be reconciled to God. Those who are not in Christ are not a new creation, they are dead and lost.

"Jesus said, "This voice has not come for my benefit but for yours. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." (Now he said this to indicate clearly what kind of death he was going to die.)" (John 12:30-33 )"

Ellicot has an interesting comment on this particular context:
"Will draw all men unto me.—Better, . . . unto Myself. The words “all men” are not to be limited by interpretations which refer them to nations, or to elect persons within nations; but are to be taken in all the fulness of their width as meaning simply what they say—“all.” The drawing unto Himself is the assertion of His reign over the world, from which the prince of evil shall be cast out. He will Himself be the centre of the new kingdom, from which none shall be shut out. These Greeks who are drawn to Him now are the first-fruits of the harvest of which the whole world is the field, and of which the last day is to be the great ingathering. The word “draw” occurs once in the New Testament, besides this passage, in a moral sense (John 6:44; comp. Note on it there). It is accomplished in the work of the Holy Spirit, whose mission to the Church was dependent on the ascension of our Lord (John 7:39John 16:7); and the promise is fulfilled even in the case of those who resist the Holy Spirit’s influence. They are drawn by the moral power of the life and death and resurrection of Christ brought home to them by the Holy Ghost; but no moral power can compel a will which is free. (Comp. Note on John 6:37.) The whole mission-work of the Church and every effort which Christianity brings to bear upon the evil of the world implies this moral drawing; and implies, too, the power of man to reject it. But we may not say this moral power is not leading men to Christ, where we can least trace it, and we may not say that there is any limit where its influence ends. (Comp. Note on 1Peter 3:19.)" http://biblehub.com/commentaries/john/12-32.htm

"I have come as a light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not obey them, I do not judge him. For I have not come to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not accept my words has a judge; the word I have spoken will judge him at the last day. (John 12:46-48)"

Jesus isn't denying he will judge on the last day. Looking at both texts from John 12, just read in between the verses at the context and you'll see what the context is actually saying:
"34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”

35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them."

Why is Jesus telling his hearers to believe in the light? There wouldn't be such an exhortation if universalism is even remotely true.

"As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, "The voice of one shouting in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley will be filled, and every mountain and hill will be brought low, and the crooked will be made straightand the rough ways will be made smoothand all humanity will see the salvation of God.'" (Luke 3:3-6)"

"What do you think? If someone owns a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go look for the one that went astray? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that one of these little ones be lost. (Matthew 18:12-14)"

Putting aside the issue of loosing ones salvation or not, let's look carefully. In Matthew, Jesus is speaking about himself going after one of the believers who are going astray and him bringing that believer back. The sheep in context are believers, not unbelievers. As for the context of Luke, all men will see the salvation of God, but not all recieve salvation.

"This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for ALL men — the testimony given in its proper time."(1 Timothy 2:3-6)"

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)"

"This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance. In fact this is why we work hard and struggle,because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of believers. (1st Timothy 4:9-10)"

"He IS the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:2)"

In the four texts, Christ is the Saviour of all men, but not all men will be saved, simply because the atonement of Jesus will only cover those who have repented and in the Old Testament as AA should know, the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur would only cover the Jewish people who repented, not every single Jew. No Repentance, No Salvation, plain and simple.

God desires man to come to repentance and without repentance, you will perish. A call to repentance is part and parcel of the Gospel.

There is one particular point that comes to mind that AA brings up which I wish to repond to:
"The first part almost answers itself. If Universalism is true, and you whom possess a truth seeking and truth bearing property have no choice but to value and desire truth (the contrary is impossible), then you will participate in the truth and be a Christian Universalist. This reason alone is sufficient but what are some other factors? If Christian Universalism is true, then the Triune God created you to be loved by him with his image bearing property inferred on you to love others, to love your Creator and seek and desire God’s love, this nature you possess then is inescapable and only fulfilled by the Triune Lord of the Creation. Your spiritual and emotional needs would be best met in full abundance by your Creator. The unique Christian Triune God exists and no other uncreated Creator exists, hence all other religions are incomplete, inadequate or incompatible with reality, aka: false. "

The only way to love the creator God, is to believe in Jesus and it's only through Jesus that we can know the Father. Any other religion will NOT bring you to salvation nor will help you come closer to God. Every man cannot have their spiritual and emotional needs met unless the God of the Bible has dominion over their life in the sense of being under his Lordship.

Furthermore, to quote the words of David Pawson "Christians KNOW the love of God because they have experienced it and are in position to UNDERSTAND it". To preach God's love without the individual experiencing  it and understanding it is very dangerous, for it gives the audience the impression that God is tolerant and indulgent and overlooks sin. God's love itself can only be understood once one has been regenerated.

"You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death– even death on a cross! As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow– in heaven and on earth and under the earth– and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)"

"They sang a new hymn: "Worthy are you to receive the scroll and to break open its seals, for you were slainand with your blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nationYou have appointed them as a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign ON THE EARTH." Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels in a circle around the throne, as well as the living creatures and the elders. Their number was ten thousand times ten thousand– thousands times thousands–all of whom were singing in a loud voice: "Worthy is the lamb who was killed to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and praise!" Then I heard EVERY CREATURE– in heaven, ON EARTH, UNDER THE EARTH, in the sea, and ALL THAT IS IN THEM– singing: "To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be praise, honor, glory, and ruling power forever and ever!" And the four living creatures were saying "Amen," and the elders threw themselves to the ground and worshiped. (Revelation 5:9-14)"

The context of those confessing Jesus as Lord in Philippians 2 is a reference to what will happen when Jesus returns. Unbelievers realize their beliefs and life were wrong and though they bow the knee to Jesus, but it is too late for them to come to Jesus and be saved and they shall go away into everlasting fire and judgement.

The individuals found in revelation are those who PRAISE YHWH as their God, not those who deny him or give lip service to him. Those who are singing in the context have salvation and are not lost. People who deny Jesus or pay lip service, will not truly glorify Jesus at all.

More articles may be written if the Lord Wills, but that may be another time.

Answering Judaism

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