Whether or not this is is multipart I don't know, but this will respond to Answering Abraham in an article he wrote which can be found here: http://answeringabraham.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/is-universalism-damnable-heresy.html
"Bobo aka the owner of the "Answering Judaism" blog, has persistently attempted to undermine my Exclusivitic/Inclusivitic (but non-pluralistic) Biblical Trinitarian Universalist position since the publishing of an older post of mine defending the position as a possible Christian Trinitarian view (1). Bobo does not appear to be happy with my debate on the subject which can be found on his YouTube Channel (2) but also available on my Blog/YouTube Channel (3), (thanks Bobo). In this post, I will not be addressing the Patristic or Ecclesiastical resources, definitions or proclamations but strictly speaking from my perspective of the Bible along with sound reasoning as is so common in our post-modern society. "
As I have said in the past, I don't care who won the debate or not, I honestly don't care. But enough of that.
"Throughout his blog he has published multiple posts responding to me and addressing Universalism in general. In this post I would like to address his latest in a series of these types of posts. (4,5,6). But I will start off addressing an older comment in our debate commentary exchange (7).
Bobo asserts the following:
"No, Calvinism isn't on trial and never has been in our conversation, not the article I wrote, Universalism is on trial. You are the one who months ago wrote an article on it and I refuse to repeat what I have told you about my criterion since you refuse to take it on board. You are misusing and abusing my criterion. Consistency is important, I am not going to dispute that. Again, your argument is akin to someone saying that if the Trinity is true, Roman Catholicism must also be true, It's an absurd argument."
Bobo alleges I abuse and misuse his criterion, even candidly reject it, however is this true?
In a comment made from the same post Bobo asserts:
"If Universalism is true, Then we can happily embrace it and those who teach such, but if it can be shown that Universalism is in fact false and that the scriptures teach to the contrary, then those who teach it are teaching a doctrine of demons and those who believe in the heresy of universalism need to repent and shun it."
"The ONLY CRITERION Bobo specifies is that something is in fact false if it is contrary to Scripture, THEN it's demonic. Well, Bobo, is Calvinism contrary to Scripture or not? According to Bobo it is, hence it's a doctrine of demons."
Again (as I previously stated), Bobo makes his criterion clear:
"Addendum: If Universalism CONTRADICTS THE BIBLE, IT IS FALSE, period, ERGO,condemned as FALSE TEACHING and A FALSE GOSPEL."
"Does limited atonement contradict the Scriptures or not? Does unconditional election contradict the Scriptures or not?"
"In context you are referring to Universalism, however I am extracting the criterion you use to judge Universalism. The very standard you use to reckon Universalism as a demonic-non-Christian heresy. The only criterion you give to show that universalism is unbiblical was that it is a doctrine contrary to scripture and/or that it contradicts Scripture. However this is as equally as applicable to Calvinism since according to you Calvinism is contrary to the Scripture, yet you say one is a heresy but not the other. It's time to be consistent"
We'll get to the Calvinism briefly in a minute and WHY it was brought up in the first place.
"Now Bobo thinks he has an answer to this by asserting that one is a "disputable matter of faith" and one is not. However, that is not (I repeat not) what I can infer from Bobo's comments about his criterion to determine what constitutes heresy.
Heresy according to Bobo is anything (or something, meaning "a doctrine") which contradictsand/or is contrary to Scripture, and Calvinism fulfills this criterion since it is not taught in the Scripture according to Bobo. If Bobo wishes to make an exception for Calvinism, then he must provide a definition of heresy that would logically exclude Calvinism from meeting the very parameters of heresy, so far I have nothing, squat to work with. We cannot beg the question. That is; make a logical fallacy and assume both doctrines are disputable (or non-disputable) matters of faith without sound justification, as this would violate consistency, and according to Bobo: "Consistency is important, I am not going to dispute that".
The reason I brought up Calvinism in the first place was because you had brought it up first:
"Further more Bobo has never specified whether Universalism is a damnable heresy (putting one outside the faith) or whether it is merely a heresy in the sense of religious error. Now since Bobo thinks Calvinism is heresy in the latter sense (as in it's not biblical and contains some error), but not the former sense (damnable doctrine). But if he thinks Universalism is not a damnable heresy then why is he now calling me to repent, but not Keith Thompson? And why hasn't Bobo explained any of this to me if he is calling me to repent? "
To which I said:
"Calvinism and Arminianism are not a salvation issue. I don't use the word heresy lightly, I NEVER even use the word when referring to a non damnable error. Despite disagreements with Keith, I don't believe it is heresy. Keith is my brother in Christ despite our differences. Calvinism and Arminianism are not an issue of salvation. Universalism on the other hand, IS an issue of salvation and one who holds to it is outside the faith."
So you were the one who brought Calvinism to the table. Again, the criterion you "extract" from me, Doesn't apply to a disputable matter. Calvinism isn't part of the debate, it's Universalism that is on trial as I have mentioned earlier.
"Finally I must point out his representation of my argument is nothing other than a strawman, since it does not represent the reality of what I propose. I do not argue that if the Trinity is true, Universalism must also be true. No I argue if Arminianism is true, Calvinism (and Universalism) are both false, and therefore both can be defined as heresies. "
No, I said was that your argument was AKIN to Saying the Trinity is true, therefore Roman Catholicism is true.
"Again, no one questions you were referring to if Universalism contradicts Scripture then it results in condemnation. Yet Bobo's double standards are glaring, if Calvinism contradicts Scripture it does not result in condemnation, yet if Universalism contradicts Scripture it does result in condemnation? Based on what? Where did you get this from? Stop saying that a doctrine contradicting Scripture is your criterion to determine heresy, because it's not! If Universalism contradicts the Bible clearly that does not make it a heresy, since you can't say the same about Calvinism, you need to find consistent standards. Does Calvinism contradict Scripture or not? If so it results in condemnation and you should be calling Keith Thompson to repent. Simply asserting one is a disputable matter of faith and one is not is begging the question. But not only do you relentlessly beg the question, you fail to address the positive case from Matt Slick."
And I said:
"I am just going to say this, Calvinism and Arminianism are not on trial, Universalism is on trial, not them. Your argument is like if someone tried to argue "Since the Trinity is true, You must accept Roman Catholicism as true". I can safely say that the Trinity is true and Roman Catholicism isn't. The same applies to Universalism, I can reject that without rejecting Calvinism. Once again, my statement in context is not applicable to disputable matters"
I never said YOU argued that the Trinity is true, therefore Universalism is true, I said your argument was akin to the argument I mentioned.
"However recently in my assessment, Bobo has finally come up with something that at leastattempts to give an explanation for the previous dilemma in his most recent posts. He tries to explain why Arminianism can still be true, whilst Calvinism is not heresy, but Universalism is. Confusing? That's because it is.
Bobo makes the following points:
- Genuine Calvinism carries out evangelism
- Genuine Calvinism teaches evangelism is a divine mandate
- Genuine Calvinism asserts a regenerated person must hear the Gospel
- Genuine Calvinism teaches holiness,
- Genuine Calvinism teaches repentance from idolatry and sin
- Genuine Calvinism has concern for lost souls/fallen men and desires repentance
- Genuine Calvinism believes sin itself cuts you off from having a relationship with God
- Genuine Calvinism says sin as a serious problem that needs to be rectified.
Bobo has therefore construed a possible criterion for what is to be deemed heretical versus adisputable matter of faith. Allegedly because Universalism fails to successfullyachieve these conditions (albeit unintentionally for the most part) or affirm these propositions in the correct manner as expressed by God, then it must fall into the domain of heresy, where as Arminianism and Calvinism successfuly achieve these conditions (and affirm them as revelatory propositions) and therefore the differences between these last two can be considered merely disputable.
Bobo makes other interesting objections towards Universalism (which I will address later on, Lord Willing), but first I will address his objections to how Universalism fails to carry out these 8 bullet points.
Regardless of whether or not a universalist preaches those things, they still are condemned for affirming a post mortem salvation position, the idea that there is a an allowance for repentance after death*. Even if the Universalist fulfills the criteria, they still fall short.
"Universalists cannot consistently preach holiness and evangelism despite that claim. Whether or not a universalist believes that all paths lead to God or they believe that hell is a cleansing process that purifies a person so they can go to heaven, they are not presenting a true Gospel at all and they are presenting a Gospel that essentially says to the person "You can believe in idolatry and live in sin and still be saved" (not the Universalists intention but that is a conclusion the unbeliever could draw) "
Firstly, I'm not exactly sure how what an unbeliever thinks about or construes a doctrine is pertinent to how the Bible defines heresy or what constitutes heresy. For example many Muslims relentlessly misconstrue the doctrine of the Trinity, that does not mean Trinitarians are affirming tri-theism or modalism (a common false dichotomy). Origen made it clear that Universalism was not for laity either (meaning non-believers or babes), but rather for when a babe in Christ becomes spiritually mature over-time and realizes the profound deeper spiritual mysteries and insight contained within Scripture. Hence "Universalism" is not part and parcelwith the Gospel according to our view, it's not a necessary Christian belief. Bobo himself concedes this is not what we are advocating conceptually (perhaps excluding the pluralist), so we certainly can't be advocating explicit heresy in this way. This leaves us with a kind offunctional discrepancy, Universalists say one thing but the practical implications cannot be achieved due to an overall insufficient framework. Some responses are in order."
The problem is, the point I made is what the unbeliever could draw when the Universalist is in the evangelising field, A Muslim misunderstanding of the Trinity isn't really the same as an unbeliever's conclusions on Universalism and sin, because the reason the Muslims misconstrue the Trinity is due of the Quran and the fact that Muhammad was ignorant of said doctrine.
It is commonly said by many unbelievers that Christianity as a whole teaches you can live in sin and still be saved and while this can be clarified to the individual, a Universalist (unitentionally) leaves ammunition for the unbeliever to grasp. It's a doctrine that can be abused.
"I am not personally convinced that heresy is about sinners failing to adhere to and/or practice doctrines. Rather heresy is about doctrinal error. Meaning certain conceptual formulae and propositions must be affirmed or negated by Orthodox Creeds that are Biblically sound. This would mean even if Bobo is correct and we fail in this regard, we would still not be affirming heresy. "
And this let's Universalists of the hook, Why?
"Additionally I think there are Universalists who repent, reject idolatry and accept salvation and affirm these are necessary conditions for entry into God's kingdom. Remember there are many Universalists who accept free will, so these Universalists would understand that belief and repentance are two perpetual and necessary conditions, but they would also extend those conditions to the sinners in the after-life. There are also Universalists who accept E.S. or Calvinistic type positions and so they would accept the doctrine of Lordship-Salvation, that by "faith alone" a proposition according to them including both "belief and repentance" meaning Jesus is Savior (the God-man who died for and paid for our sins and rose again!) and Lord (we must submit to him as Lord of our entire life via the power of the Holy Spirit and regeneration). So how would any of these Arminian/Calvinist type Universalists who affirm and practice repentance be considered heretics?"
By teaching that all are saved through Jesus Christ in the sense of allowing for post mortem salvation, they are preaching heresy regardless of their affirmation of repentance, regardless of if they shift more toward a Calvinist or Arminian soteriology.
The Calvinist and the Arminian soteriology agree that after death, there is no second chance, The Universalist soteriology however hold to second chance after death, something that Jesus and the apostles never held to.
Answering Abraham links to a video of Kent Hovind which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=403&v=GbxbxSciuV8*2
The reason why it was linked to, We'll see here below.
"This also raises another question for Bobo. If a Christian accepts the Free Grace doctrine, often called by it's detractors "hyper-Grace" (this position advocates "once saved always saved" meaning: no matter how much idolatry/sin is committed by a person who had received Christ (they) remain saved by the initial confession of belief. However "repentance" is viewed as an altogether different matter. Meaning a Christian can be faithful/repentant or an unrepentant sinner, e.g. Solomon but still remain in God's family despite deviation). Now as an example of this, I will present to Bobo, Kent Hovind's critique of Ray Comfort. Ray appears to be an Arminian who appears to advocate a doctrine almost identical with "Lordship-Salvation", meaning faith and repentance are both viewed as prerequisites for salvation. The Arminian/Calvinist view appear to be very similar in this regard hence the over-lap of the term "Lordship-Salvation" with an Arminian (this is however, formally/technically though a Calvinist conception).
Now would Bobo say that Kent Hovind is an explicit heretic since he seems to suggest Christians can practice idolatry and live in sin and yet still be saved because of a one time salfivic confession that made them recipients of eternal life? Obviously what Hovind is proposing is incompatible with Arminianism and Calvinism, but is it truly damnable heresy to believe that Christ's righteousness is not only imputed to us (justification) but also his righteousness is our very possession and sanctification. That is that we cannot vindicate our salvation through our own sanctification since our own deeds are filthy rags, where as Christ's sanctification is pure and perfect.
Now personally I don't think Kent is a heretic, I think he has a different conceptual framework of the Bible. But my question for Bobo would be this. If a Universalist condemned and explicitly rejected Kent's "free ticket to sinning and still enter paradise", would Bobo then denounce that Universalist or admit that the Universalist rejects heresy and therefore could potentially be saved? And how is the explicit Universalist proposition "all men will be reconciled to God in Christ" necessarily advocating free-license to sin like Hovind's view is?"
Regarding a brief comment regarding Lordship Salvation, Lordship Salvation is NOT saying you are saved by works. It recognizes that a Christian is under the Lordship of Christ once he or she has been taken under his wing. I would recommend reading this particular article on the subject: http://www.gty.org.uk/resources/articles/A114/an-introduction-to-lordship-salvation?Term=lordship%20salvation
If Hovind was saying someone backslides and repents, that is one thing, but if he said that someone can persistently live in sin and enter paradise with no repentance, then what he is saying is a problem and is skewed and heretical. Comfort's position isn't works salvation and when most use the term "Lordship Salvation", its often skewed into something derogatory, which isn't the intention of the doctrine.
If a Universalist condemned what Hovind was saying (assuming Hovind advocates a repentanceless gospel), that is commendable. However, a post mortem salvation leaves the door open unintentionally for the unbeliever to pursue their sins. A post mortem salvation is not even considered to be an option by the Bible to begin with.
"Bobo's next objection is:
"Universalism does NOT seem to take into consideration how righteousness will impact our relationship with God. Sin itself cuts man off from salvation and the severity of sin is there."
I think all positions would affirm this view including the Universalist (even the extreme hyper-Grace adherents would accept this). Basically righteousness would effect our relationship with God, he wouldn't be pleased with us, but according to the O.S.A.S "Hovindian" (coined ~ MB) view this wouldn't mean we have not been adopted into God's family, because our deeds don't determine the adoption into God's kingdom, rather Christ's righteousness does and our historical confession and belief in his finished work on the cross. According to this view this is a one time transaction for all time. signed, contracted with the deal being sealed. We can be bad kids or good kids, but we are still God's kids according to Hovind (and many other evangelicals who accept the "Free-Grace" view).
It's all well and good to point out we are not saved by works, I don't think that needs to be disputed. But here is the thing, How long is that chance for redemption given? Does the chance of repentance only exist while we are alive, or does it include it being extended into the afterlife?
"Bobo also says:
"Universalism doesn't provide that in this life, it doesn't provide hope or liberation of sin, it unintentionally encourages it. Notice I said unintentionally, because there are Universalists that teach repentance from sin, though even then that is rather inconsistent to hold to."
I'm not really aware (given the above analysis) that Universalists would under-rate sin in the sense that Bobo wants to attribute to them. I don't really know of Universalists who accept the Free-Grace view (perhaps other than the pluralists, who think all roads lead to rome). Hence the implication then is that Universalists not only preach repentance from sin but also continual fellowship and communion with God and sanctification by God's Holy Spirit. This would not necessarily be inconsistent, because I don't think Trinitarian Universalists think you just get a free ticket/pass to paradise. Rather even those disbelievers (on earth) and even in the after-life, must repent from sin and believe on the Lord Jesus to be recipients of God's salvation.
Fair enough, a Universalist would teach holiness and repentance, The point is, they cannot CONSISTENTLY preach those things. Plus, there is no evidence from scripture to suggest that those who are dead will be able to receive Jesus and repent of their sins after their death. Once dead, it is a done deal. I won't go into detail here as I have written elsewhere on this:
"But regarding these questions:
"Does a denial of Universalism mean that God is weak and powerless? No. As I have said previously, He could save all if he so choose, but the question is, Why should he?"
I think I answered this question sufficiently in my original post that began this entire controversy. I will provide several citations:
"But just how does a sovereign omnipotent savior who intends to save every lost soul fail to accomplish just that which he sets out to do? That is to save every last and lost soul? I will let the libertarian explain that one."
"But then why would Christ die for the whole world if God did not intend to save everyone? This might as-well be a rhetorical question, which means the answer is indisputable. The answer is clear. Christ intends to save everyone, the most magnificent omni-benevolent God we could possibly conceive of actually exists. Christ loves everyone equally as his own and God shows no partiality between any lost sinner.""
Does man deserve salvation? No, The only reason salvation is offered to the human race to begin with is due to grace. God is under NO obligation to save anyone. The sending of his Son Jesus is a demonstration of his love. Even though God has the capacity to save everyone, that doesn't automatically entail that he will bring about universal salvation, because he is not bound to do that. Furthermore, every sinner deserves eternal (not merely a lengthy time of purification) conscious hell, something that is overlooked by the Universalist camp.
"If out of God's boundless love mercy flows to the most unrepentant and stubborn sinners, they must then be reconciled to God in the same way an elect creature would be the object of the exact same kind of love and mercy. If God's love and mercy are literally boundless, and his desire to save obstinate unrepentant sinners is unrelenting, this leaves God with no lack of intent to save these very sinners with his full range of divine mercy."
- "If God has the intention to save someone he will indeed save that someone (desire, will and intention: Ezekiel 33:11; power, ability, sovereignty and accomplishment: John 6:35-40)
- But God has the intention to save everyone (John 3:16-17)
- Therefore God will indeed save everyone. (see section on Biblical Proof for Universal Reconciliation)
- Conclussion: Universalism is true"
"My view is that God's intention to save someone means that it will be done. If God intends something we are talking about a guaranteed outcome."
"In conclusion, then there is no question. God has the desire, the power and the will and intention to save all people, everywhere. And so our omnipotent sovereign savior without question: will.""
Again, the capacity to save someone doesn't mean one will necessarily exercise it. If the Lord wills I may look at these 4 points individually.
"To add to this splendid view, Universalism is most consistent with a God-centered theology, one of the most magnificent possible conceptions of God that could conceivably exist:
"Christianity today is man-centered, not God-centered. God is made to wait patiently, even respectfully, on the whims of men. The image of God currently popular is that of a distracted Father, struggling in heartbroken desperation to get people to accept a Savior of whom they feel no need and in whom they have very little interest.
To persuade these self-sufficient souls to respond to His generous offers God will do almost anything, even using salesmanship methods and talking down to them in the chummiest way imaginable. This view of things is, of course, a kind of religious romanticism which, while it often uses flattering and sometimes embarrassing terms in praise of God, manages nevertheless to make man the star of the show." - A. W. Tozer Man: The Dwelling Place of God, P 27
To God belongs salvation, and hence he is sovereign over all souls. "
I am pretty sure A W Tozer will not accept any Universalist view, even Dk's own view, but I digress. Again, God is under NO obligation to bring salvation to people. Whether he does or not is his prerogative.
"Finally Bobo raises another interesting point:
"Can heresy be condemned? Despite the varying views of universalism, they all have the consistent point that all will eventually be saved, whether a person is saved after death via Jesus Christ or believe all paths lead to God, How can they contest doctrines to be false? There is a level of inconsistency here that is often not taken into consideration. A charge of heresy cannot be made from their tongues consistently and it baffles me if and when someone in the universalist camp does that. How does it even work? A question to the Universalists, Why do you believe non-universalists are wrong when in the end it doesn't matter? Or does it matter?"
Bobo proposes a really interesting thought experiment, if everyone turns out to be saved, that is to inherit eternal life in the kingdom of God and his Christ, then why does anything matter? We are all going to reach eternal salvation in God's kingdom, so nothing we do here matters in the end. And on what basis can a Universalist declare someone or some position to be heretical? I suppose my answer to this is similar to what I stated in my original post:
"If Christian Universalism is true: why be a Christian?
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.
If anyone is a seeker of truth and is convinced of it, They will not become a Universalist of any sort. Still, all other religions are false and there isn't much to say about that particular point. It was God's intention in the garden of Eden for man to be in fellowship with him forever. Sin broke that intimate
relationship with God and it needed to be dealt with and restored. Not even sure how the entire statement above by Dk even forces people to a Universalist position, it doesn't. The entire statement could be used by anyone who calls themselves Christians.
But if there is no eternal hell fire, or eternal hell in any other sense, then why be a Christian? Why not sin and live like a hedonist?
Other than the above reasons that apply to the same question I would like to add some additions. I believe there is an immediate and fundamental compulsory obligation and requirement on all humanity to return and reconcile with God. Sinners must repent, all humans are required to repent. If you do not repent you are already condemned. If you are already condemned you are leading yourself to hell, you only perpetuate your own suffering by persistently rejecting God. In short: sin and death lead to suffering (and separation from God - MB), suffering leads to anger and misery, sadness, depression, the depravity existence without being alive. (partaking of God's full divine abundance of living being - MB)"
Unfortunately this doesn't come close to adequately giving a comprehensive answer to this question, but it's a start. I will have to do justice at a later date, Lord willing. In conclusion, while I am perhaps not as certain of Universalism as Bobo may perhaps be of Arminianism, or Keith Thompson is of Calvinism, I do find it to be within the realm of Christian Orthodoxy. This means it is not a belief that makes me or any other Universalist a formal heretic. And in this way I agree with Sam Shamoun, Jai Habor, Vladimir Susic, Dr Chris Claus, Matt Slick and Jose Joesph (CTW24) who also see no apparent explicit discrepancy between fundamentals, (the Trinity, Hypo-Static Union, Gospel) and some Christian forms of Universalism.
All glory to our God and Father, his Logos and his Ruach Ha Kodesh"
If one is dead, They don't have the option to repent or fall away. A death seals you into either everlasting life or everlasting contempt. People in hell will be all the things mentioned above, anger, sadness, depression etc, all of which is their attitude due to their rejection of God and failure to accept him while they had the chance.
There is no second chance after death, that's purely wishful thinking. Sinners only get this life to repent, the Bible does not give credence to any post mortem salvation.
I see no reason biblically or even from Church Fathers, to even take Universalism as a viable apostolic teaching.
Also, I could point out as well that there are others who see Universalism as false teaching, such would include Jacob Prasch, David Pawson, John MacArthur, Paul Washer etc. I sincerely hope they would share my perspective. Even if they knew of Dk's form of Universalism, they would see it as something that is incompatible with Biblical Christianity.
What does saying "I agree with such and such who also see no apparent explicit discrepancy between fundementals and some forms of Universalism" prove?
*8th of March 2016, I meant to say repentance after death in that sentence.
*2 19th of June 2016. I came across a comment in the video Dk man used. Believe it or not, it's actually a comment from one of the people who works with Ray Comfort at Living Waters. This is what the fellow in question says regarding the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbxbxSciuV8.
This should be an interesting piece of info for you guys to look at.