Martyn Lloyd-Jones refutes Universalism

Surely we cannot accept . . . Universalistic ideas, because, if we do so, it means that we find ourselves contradicting the plain teaching of Scripture in those places where there is a clear division between the saved and the unsaved, the good and the bad, the redeemed and the lost. In spite of the arguments based upon a philosophic idea of the love of God, the Scripture draws the ultimate distinction between eternal salvation and eternal destruction . . . There is only one salvation—by the blood of Christ—and no-one can enter the kingdom except by belief in Christ. Such is the Universal teaching of the Scripture . . . The mystic secret which we as Christians are allowed to share is that God will ultimately restore the original harmony, and re-unite again all things in Christ. Christ is over all and the old harmony will be restored . . .these blessings only apply to those who believe on

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God: Abounding in Love, Punishing the Guilty

From Jonathan Parnell at Desiring God: A special session convened in light of Rob Bell’s book Love Wins. The panel, moderated by Kevin DeYoung, included D. A. Carson, Tim Keller, Crawford Loritts, and Stephen Um. Listen to the audio of “God: Abounding in Love, Punishing the Guilty.” Carson framed the discussion giving a brief and clarifying overview on universalism: Be clear about definition of universalism, don’t muddle what it is. Universalism is built out of several different assertions: a) everyone is savingly loved by God and is reconciled to God already; b) because of the wideness of God’s mercy, people of other religions will somehow find their way to heaven; c) initially, the only lost people are those who reject God’s love; d) despite their rejection of his love, these people are still loved by God.This set of beliefs invariably teaches other things that are often not articulated. It affects your view of atonement, impoverishes the love of God by disconnecting

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Rob Bell on the Cover of TIME Magazine

From Denny Burk: TIME magazine’s cover story this week is about Rob Bell’s book Love Wins. Here is John Meacham’s one line explanation of what the fuss is about: “[Bell] suggests that the redemptive work of Jesus may be universal — meaning that, as his book’s subtitle puts it, ‘every person who ever lived’ could have a place in heaven, whatever that turns out to be.” Every year during Easter season, the news weekly’s like to feature stories that tweak traditional Christian belief (for example, The Gospel of Judas, the tomb of Jesus, etc.). For these publications, Holy Week has become heresy week. I think it says something that Bell’s book has now taken a place next to these kinds of stories. For those who are just joining this conversation and perhaps are wondering what to make of Bell’s book, let me point you to some resources that have come out over the last month or so. I wrote an extensive

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Quote of the day

“The Emerging Church is not an evangelistic strategy. It is the last rung for evangelicals falling off the ladder into liberalism or unbelief.” Kevin DeYoung This quote is taken from Kevin DeYoung’s excellent review of Rob Bell’s new book, Love Wins. You can read the review here. Note: This post is long. You can go here for a PDF version of the 20-page review.

What Is Universalism?

J. I. Packer: A universalist is someone who believes that every human being whom God has created or will create will finally come to enjoy the everlasting salvation into which Christians enter here and now. Universalism is the recognized name for this belief. . . . Among Christian theological options it appears as an extreme optimism of grace, or perhaps of nature, and sometimes, it seems, or both. But in itself it is a revisionist challenge to orthodoxy, whether Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestant evangelical; for the church has officially rated universalism a heresy ever since the second Council of Constantinople (the fifth ecumenical council, A.D. 553), when the doctrine of apokatastasis (the universal return to God and restoration of all souls) that Origen taught was anathematized. —J. I. Packer, “Universalism: Will Everyone Ultimately Be Saved? in Hell Under Fire, ed. Morgan and Peterson (Zondervan, 2004), p. 170. For audio of Packer teaching about hell—including a refutation of the idea that the Greek

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Universal Reconciliation and The Shack

From Tim Challies’s review of Professor James De Young’s book-length review, entitledBurning Down the Shack: James De Young writes from an interesting perspective—that of a former friend, or acquaintance at least, of Paul Young. He begins his book by providing some important but little-known background to The Shack. In April of 2004 De Young attended a Christian think tank and there Young presented a 103-page paper which presented a defense of universal reconciliation, a Christian form of universalism—the view that at some point every person will come to a right relationship with God. If they do not do this before they die, God will use the fires of hell to purge away (not punish, mind you) any unbelief. Eventually even Satan and his fallen angels will be purged of sin and all of creation will be fully and finally restored. This is to say that after death there is a second chance, and more than that, a complete inevitability, that all people

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