Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Early Church

OK. Perhaps you're new to Universalism and you think you've stumbled across some new age, new-fangled heresy. Would it surprise you to know that Universalism was present in the early church and that people like Origen and Clement gleaned it from the scriptures? Would it surprise you that Eternal Torment (ET) wasn't commonly accepted until around the year 500?
Here are some tidbits from a very long book (about 200 pages- available online). These might might whet your appetite to learn a little more.
The doctrine of Eternal Torment is nowhere to be found in ancient Judaism. Somewhere after the close of the Old Testament and Jesus' time, this error began creeping in from the surrounding paganism. The early church was not focused on eternal destiny but rather on apologetics. However, the early church Fathers were largely Universalists. This belief came from the scripture, as it was no where to be found in the surrounding Paganism.
The church fathers closest to the beginning of Christianity and who were well versed in Greek (the language of the New Testament) largely did not believe in endless, torment for the sake of retribution. They believed in limited, corrective punishment based on their understanding of several key Greek words that have been mistranslated. Augustine, the first church father to really promote ET to the exlusion of other beliefs, hated Greek and studied mostly in Latin. When the power of the church shifted from the Greek fathers (Alexandrian) to the Latin, the teachings became largely corrupted.
Prior to 200 AD, there were three schools of thought, within Christianity, concerning human destiny- endless punishment, annihilation (the wicked would simply be wiped out no longer to exist) and universal salvation. But prior to this there was not much, if any controversy over these opinions. Origen, who was the first to really systematize Christianity was a universalist. Even though he was later said to have committed many errors for which he was condemned, Universalism was never among them. Universalism wasn't really attacked and ET didn't come into "favor" until around 540 AD, the beginning of the Middle Ages. Some of the most revered early church fathers were staunch universalists, who gained this understanding from scripture.
Here are the Cliff's notes:
  1. During the First Century the primitive Christians did not dwell on matters of eschatology, but devoted their attention to apologetics; they were chiefly anxious to establish the fact of Christ's advent, and of its blessings to the world. Possibly the question of destiny was an open one, till Paganism and Judaism introduced erroneous ideas, when the New Testament doctrine of the apokatastasis was asserted, and universal restoration became an accepted belief, as stated later by Clement and Origen, A.D. 180-230.
  2. The Catacombs give us the views of the unlearned, as Clement and Origen state the doctrine of scholars and teachers. Not a syllable is found hinting at the horrors of Augustinianism, but the inscription on every monument harmonizes with the Universalism of the early fathers.
  3. Clement declares that all punishment, however severe, is purificatory; that even the "torments of the damned" are curative. Origen explains even Gehenna as signifying limited and curative punishment, and both, as all the other ancient Universalists, declare that "everlasting" (aionion) punishment, is consonant with universal salvation. So that it is no proof that other primitive Christians who are less explicit as to the final result, taught endless punishment when they employ the same terms.
  4. Like our Lord and his Apostles, the primitive Christians avoided the words with which the Pagans and Jews defined endless punishment aidios or adialeipton timoria (endless torment), a doctrine the latter believed, and knew how to describe; but they, the early Christians, called punishment, as did our Lord, kolasis aionios, discipline, chastisement, of indefinite, limited duration.
  5. The early Christians taught that Christ preached the Gospel to the dead, and for that purpose descended into Hades. Many held that he released all who were in ward. This shows that repentance beyond the grave, perpetual probation, was then accepted, which precludes the modern error that the soul's destiny is decided at death.
  6. Prayers for the dead were universal in the early church, which would be absurd, if their condition is unalterably fixed at the grave.
  7. The idea that false threats were necessary to keep the common people in check, and that the truth might be held esoterically, prevailed among the earlier Christians, so that there can be no doubt that many who seem to teach endless punishment, really held the broader views, as we know the most did, and preached terrors pedagogically.
  8. The first comparatively complete systematic statement of Christian doctrine ever given to the world was by Clement of Alexandria, A.D. 180, and universal salvation was one of the tenets.
  9. The first complete presentation of Christianity as a system was by Origen (A.D. 220) and universal salvation was explicitly contained in it.
  10. Universal salvation was the prevailing doctrine in Christendom as long as Greek, the language of the New Testament, was the language of Christendom.
  11. Universalism was generally believed in the best centuries, the first three, when Christians were most remarkable for simplicity, goodness and missionary zeal.
  12. Universalism was least known when Greek, the language of the New Testament was least known, and when Latin was the language of the Church in its darkest, most ignorant, and corrupt ages.
  13. Not a writer among those who describe the heresies of the first three hundred years intimates that Universalism was then a heresy, though it was believed by many, if not by a majority, and certainly by the greatest of the fathers.
  14. Not a single creed for five hundred years expresses any idea contrary to universal restoration, or in favor of endless punishment.
  15. With the exception of the arguments of Augustine (A.D. 420), there is not an argument known to have been framed against Universalism for at least four hundred years after Christ, by any of the ancient fathers.
  16. While the councils that assembled in various parts of Christendom, anathematized every kind of doctrine supposed to be heretical, no oecumenical council, for more than five hundred years, condemned Universalism, though it had been advocated in every century by the principal scholars and most revered saints.
  17. As late as A.D. 400, Jerome says "most people" (plerique). and Augustine "very many" (quam plurimi), believed in Universalism, notwithstanding that the tremendous influence of Augustine, and the mighty power of the semi-pagan secular arm were arrayed against it.
  18. The principal ancient Universalists were Christian born and reared, and were among the most scholarly and saintly of all the ancient saints.
  19. The most celebrated of the earlier advocates of endless punishment were heathen born, and led corrupt lives in their youth. Tertullian one of the first, and Augustine, the greatest of them, confess to having been among the vilest.
  20. The first advocates of endless punishment, Minucius Felix, Tertullian and Augustine, were Latins, ignorant of Greek, and less competent to interpret the meaning of Greek Scriptures than were the Greek scholars.
  21. The first advocates of Universalism, after the Apostles, were Greeks, in whose mother-tongue the New Testament was written. They found their Universalism in the Greek Bible. Who should be correct, they or the Latins?
  22. The Greek Fathers announced the great truth of universal restoration in an age of darkness, sin and corruption. There was nothing to suggest it to them in the world's literature or religion. It was wholly contrary to everything around them. Where else could they have found it, but where they say they did, in the Gospel?
  23. All ecclesiastical historians and the best Biblical critics and scholars agree to the prevalence of Universalism in the earlier centuries.
  24. From the days of Clement of Alexandria to those of Gregory of Nyssa and Theodore of Mopsuestia (A.D. 180-428), the great theologians and teachers, almost without exception, were Universalists. No equal number in the same centuries were comparable to them for learning and goodness.
  25. The first theological school in Christendom, that in Alexandria, taught Universalism for more than two hundred years.
  26. In all Christendom, from A.D. 170 to 430, there were six Christian schools. Of these four, the only strictly theological schools, taught Universalism, and but one endless punishment.
  27. The three earliest Gnostic sects, the Basilidians, the Carpocratians and the Valentinians (A.D. 117-132) are condemned by Christian writers, and their heresies pointed out, but though they taught Universalism, that doctrine is never condemned by those who oppose them. Irenaeus condemned the errors of the Carpocratians, but does not reprehend their Universalism, though he ascribes the doctrine to them.
  28. The first defense of Christianity against Infidelity (Origen against Celsus) puts the defense on Universalistic grounds. Celsus charged the Christians' God with cruelty, because he punished with fire. Origen replied that God's fire is curative; that he is a "Consuming Fire," because he consumes sin and not the sinner.
  29. Origen, the chief representative of Universalism in the ancient centuries, was bitterly opposed and condemned for various heresies by ignorant and cruel fanatics. He was accused of opposing Episcopacy, believing in pre-existence, etc., but never was condemned for his Universalism. The very council that anathematized "Origenism" eulogized Gregory of Nyssa, who was explicitly a Universalist as was Origen. Lists of his errors are given by Methodius, Pamphilus and Eusebius, Marcellus, Eustathius and Jerome, but Universalism is not named by one of his opponents. Fancy a list of Ballou's errors and his Universalism omitted; Hippolytus (A.D. 320) names thirty-two known heresies, but Universalism is not mentioned as among them. Epiphanius, "the hammer of heretics," describes eighty heresies, but he does not mention universal salvation, though Gregory of Nyssa, an outspoken Universalist, was, at the time he wrote, the most conspicuous figure in Christendom.
  30. Justinian, a half-pagan emperor, who attempted to have Universalism officially condemned, lived in the most corrupt epoch of the Christian centuries. He closed the theological schools, and demanded the condemnation of Universalism by law; but the doctrine was so prevalent in the church that the council refused to obey his edict to suppress it. Lecky says the age of Justinian was "the worst form civilization has assumed."
  31. The first clear and definite statement of human destiny by any Christian writer after the days of the Apostles, includes universal restoration, and that doctrine was advocated by most of the greatest and best of the Christian Fathers for the first five hundred years of the Christian Era.
A careful study of the early history of the Christian religion, will show that the doctrine of universal restoration was least prevalent in the darkest, and prevailed most in the most enlightened, of the earliest centuries--that it was the prevailing doctrine in the Primitive Christian Church.
The full book is available here:


Anonymous said...


Wow — what an extensive laying out of the grounds for Universalism.

You've quite obviously expended a great deal of effort to assemble these unassailable tidbits to point out the Universalism of early Christendom. The state-imposed dogma of Eternal Torment never set well with me either intellectually or spiritually. More importantly, in my heart of hearts, I know that it is not Jesus' Way, because fundamentally God is Love.

Thanks for this highly informative post.

Br. Aidan-Boniface, SSF

Bern Zumpano said...

Dear are to be congratulated on your excellent scholarship in confirming the Truth that the Endtime earthly church does not even know the Gospel of Truth ( 1 Tim. 4:10), and instead preaches the Gospel of Augustine ( Mt. 25:34-44). Few realize that everybody's New Testament has two separate and distinct Gospels of Salvation. Augustines' is the counterfeit, yet the one primarily preached by the "church". May I suggest that you change the title of your website "The Beautiful Heresy....", or put quotes around "Heresy" . Although the message is beautiful, it is not complimentary to "The True Gospel" to refer to it as a heresy, and I know that you don't intend it to be construed that way. Yet, some people will. I invite you to visit our website where we have posted 43 audio teachings on The Restoration of All . Congratulations again. Good job, well done! - Bern Zumpano
Word of Faith Ministries International
The School of Ministry
Miami, Florida, USA

new paradigm thinkers said...

Thanks for a great article Brain.
Bern Zumpano, hanks for he reference to your audio!
new paradigm thinkers-the Grace ministry of Andre Oosthizen

VC said...

I have discovered a new book about the early church. It turns the traditional views of what happened on their heads. In his new book,Cover-Up: How the Church Silenced Jesus's True Heirs , Lawrence Goudge proposes that "Today’s mainstream church is the true heretic since it adopted the new religion of the dying God which arose from Paul’s visions. Peter James and John and their heirs, the Jewish followers of Jesus rejected it. Preserving the beliefs and practices of Jesus. they strove to create the kingdom of God here on earth. A new book, Cover-Up: How the Church Silenced Jesus's True Heirs, exposes the church's hypocrisy in first silencing those who truly followed Jesus and then exterminating them, just as they did the Cathars. Mr. Goudge does the world a service in revealing who to followers of
Jesus were. Then I found the book at:"

Craig Bracy said...

An interesting study of church history. However, it is still very unconvincing for me as a sound biblically based doctrine. However, I will agree with some of your thoughts on ET eternal torment. Recently I just finished a great book by Rev. Paul Humber on the subject of limited punishment called "Terminal Hell / Eternal Paradise" copyright 2013 and I recommend it. It portrays a much more just and merciful creator than ET does and is biblically based as far as I can tell. It is available on

Rev. A. Craig Bracy

Brian D. Smith said...

Thanks Reverend Bracy.

I agree this one article isn't an open and shut case. There is much, much more and it is biblically based.

I believe there probably is limited, corrective punishment. That view makes a lot of sense to me.


Craig Bracy said...

Brian, there's too much in scripture against universal salvation being offered for all, consequently happening for all. The opportunity may be there, but Jesus said broad is the way to destruction and many go there. People have free will and make often bad and irrational choices with permanent consequences. Many are cast into the lake of fire after the white throne judgment according to scripture. There's the parable of the sower, the parable of the separation of sheep and goats, etc. Not all roads lead to heaven and few there be that find the straight and narrow way compared to the majority of humanity.
However, I do believe the soul of man is mortal and not immortal, and therefore the lost humans and fallen angels, after sufficient and just punishment for their sin and crimes, some with few lashes and some with many lashes for the greater sins, will be terminated, annihilated and mercifully put out of their failed, miserable existence.
Last to utterly perish will be Satan himself, with whom sin began and will end after all his followers are destroyed and obliterated in the lake of fire to come, and then Satan himself will be mercifully put out of his agony and evil and sin will cease to embody anyone and therefore cease to exist and the Lord with his saints and holy angels will be all that is left to dwell in the glorious new heaven and earth to come that he will create and bring to past forever.

Everlasting peace in Christ alone,

Rev. A. Craig Bracy

Brian D. Smith said...

Wow, Craig. That type of theology is why I very nearly left Christianity. I appreciate your comments, but I find that to be utterly depressing and makes God a failure for the most part. I don't understand people who embrace that and sign of with "Everlasting peace". That type of thinking made me depressed and nearly suicidal for the first couple of decades of my life.


777VoiceofReason said...

Hi, I was just wondering, if you believe in universal salvation what do you make on the unforgivable sin then? To which Jesus said ppl would not be forgiven in this life or the next? Thanks and Peace.

Brian D. Smith said...

777- I think that passage is better translated as this "age" or the next "age" not this life or the next life.

777VoiceofReason said...

Yes but it says they shall never have forgiveness but face eternal condemnation? Don't get me wrong I love the idea of all peoples being safe. Just wondering how this factors into the equation.

Brian D. Smith said...

It doesn't say "never" at least not in any good translation.

Here is an in depth analysis from a universalist perspective. I don't get all hung up on it because its only one verse and the Bible has some really (really) bad translations out there. The overall theme is every sin will be forgiven. I really don't think God is looking for one loophole that He can use to condemn people eternally.

777VoiceofReason said...

Thanks for the link, will give it a good read. I would love greatly to believe this but sadly it does also say all sins will be forgiven EXCEPT said sin. I honestly hope all sentient beings may come to the peace of love one day in the grand scheme of eternity tbh. Peace to you and thanks for the reply brother ;)

Craig Bracy said...

In order for there to be eternal peace, the eternal peace maker, the Lord, has to be trustworthy and incorruptiable and His word always true. If the Lord broke his promises and was corruptable or impotent, then there would just be eternal mess and nightmare forever and no eternal peace. Not one word or prophecy or promise of properly translated and interpreted scripture can be broken if God is going to be trustworthy and able to give us eternal peace and rest. Hence, when scripture speaks of the unpardonable sin or blasphemy against the Holy Spirit which is rejecting God's love and forgiveness and doubting and questioning His character to the point of not trusting Him or belieiving in Him, the sin is unforgivable in this life or the next. Hell may be terminal rather than eternal, but there must be just punishment for sin and correction where possible. However, due to free will, there will always be those who refuse correction in both the human and angelic realms. There is no other option but to terminate such wilfull humans and angels who choose to persist in selfish evil and hostility toward God and others.

I hope this clarifies the issues for you Brian and helps you to return to orthodox biblical teaching for the salvation of your soul and soundness of your mind. You must not insult God by saying His word is not true. Trust that the Lord is totally loving and totally holy and just and omnipotent. That is the God of the Bible and His word is always trustworth, true, and reliable.

Seek the truth at all times and believe it rather than the clever lies of Satan, the enemy of your soul who hates you with unending hatred,

Rev. A. Craig Bracy

Brian D. Smith said...


With all due respect I must point out that God did not write the Bible, men did. While I do believe that God has (and still does) inspire men to write, I have no reason to believe the Bible is infallible because clearly it is not. And, if it ever were, we have translations of translations of copies. The concept of hell doesn't even appear in the Hebrew scriptures. When they referred to sheol or the grave, they were referring to a shadowy underworld with no sense of judgment. But, up until recently Bible translators chose to put the word "hell" in there.

This particular passage that we are discussing, the "unforgivable" sin has also been mistranslated if it it taken to say never or ever or any such thing.

Believe me I do seek the truth and I look for God speaking in all sorts of ways not just through what some claim to be his word. His word is much larger than the Bible.

I appreciate your concern. I have more peace now than I ever did when I believed the Bible was infallible.

Shawn said...

There are many claims written here with no references so that we can check for ourselves. That in of itself is problematic.

Brian D. Smith said...

The link to the full book is provided. If you doubt any of the claims, feel free to research them.

Joseph and Christi said...

THANK YOU ALL for this wonderful discussion. Its nice to see us humans pondering our creator with open hearts desiring truth.
I am not sure whether or not I agree with his book as I am only about 120 pages into it, but Phillip Prown's New Wine for the End Times does put forth a very well argument that resolves many questions here. The main premise is this: we interpret the Bible, especially the new testament, in the (Greek) mindset of an instant Heaven or Hell after this life that is determined based solely on our life now, which is wrong. Brown explainswe should use the OT view of death to decipher the NT, which does not specify an instant heaven/hell upon death but EVERYONE, good and bad, go to Hades, the place of the dead; and that ALL will be raised in the Millenial Kingdom (MK) with their new body (In Adam all die, Christ all live). It is an exhaustive book that goes in to great details and I haven't read it all, but I have read enough of it to see how applying that understanding (interpreting the NT by the OT not the other way around) to this forum offers plausible resolutions.

For instance, 777, about your unforgivable sin question: yes, denying the work of the HS in your life here is unforgivable, and it will also be unforgivable if it is still maintained in the MK (the next age) resulting in the second death. EVERYONE else (infants, complacent Christians, every other religion, tribal indians who have never heard the name Jesus, etc) will have an opportunity to grow towards the end goal of complete sanctification as described by Jesus (more righteous than the Pharisees; be holy as I am holy) in their new bodies with Christ reigning in the MK.

And Rev. Bracy, many choose the broad way here and now, but maybe not in the next age (aion - the MK) where they will have the same free will to have a clearer choice for what could have such a permanent and devastating result. It is worth mentioning that Brown is not universalist. He says those who knowingly reject God (very knowingly - like in Heb 6 those who have tasted and known God) choose Hell, as would also be the cases with the unforgivable sin in the next life. I personally disagree: even the clearest insight to God here is "dim", and how can you make a decision that could have eternal (negative) consequences during this temporal/unclear life?

I myself am currently in the process of departing from traditional American Heaven/Hell Christianity and applying Romans 5 to my Biblical interpretation.

Craig Bracy said...

There are a lot of things only partially revealed in the OT, such as the Trinity and the work and ministry of Jesus Christ, until clearly revealed in the NT. OT concealed, NT revealed. Scripture is really consistent throughout and it warns of the coming Lake of Fire and divine judgment but points us to God's loving mercy and grace in Christ to all who believe and receive. In Korah's rebellion the earth opened up and they were consumed in fire and swallowed up by the earth. It's a foreshadowing of hell. The OT spoke of people going down into Sheol or the pit or grave. The OT spoke of the resurrection in Job and Daniel. Jesus spoke clearly of hell as unquenchable fire. There is a good book out for the terminal hell view written by Rev. Paul Humber available on I believe it is called Terminal Hell and Eternal Paradise. He has a new book coming out. I could email his draft to you if you are interested. There is an evangelical minority that advocates this perspective on hell. It's a theological possibility in Scripture at least, but not univeralism. I do not believe the Bible teaches universal salvation. God is not willing that any should perish, but we free will and choice. Some of angels fell and many people of their own free will do not listen to or believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ when it is clearly preached. Be careful you are not deceived into rejecting the truth of Scripture and succumb to false teaching. You need to believe and teach the plain, straightforward teaching of the Word of God if you want to stand on solid ground with Him. As scripture says, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my word will never pass away."

JaredMithrandir said...

I've become a Universalist over the course of the last year. I talk about Soteorlogy mainly on my Sola Scriptura Blog.

WarDogz said...

Daniel 12:2
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

CONTEMPT, noun [Latin See Contemn.]
2. The state of being despised; whence in a scriptural sense, shame, disgrace.
Some shall awake to everlasting contempt Daniel 7:1.

Matthew 25:46
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Mark 9:44
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

WORM, noun
3. Remorse; that which incessantly gnaws the conscience; that which torments.
Where their worm dieth not. Mark 9:44.

the everlasting contempt of and incessant gnawing of the conscience is compatible with the immortal estate of the soul.

SOUL, noun

1. The spiritual, rational and immortal substance in man, which distinguishes him from brutes; that part of man which enables him to think and reason, and which renders him a subject of moral government. The immortality of the soul is a fundamental article of the christian system. Such is the nature of the human soul that it must have a God, an object of supreme affection.

It really doesn't take much to point out the real heretics, especially the heretics calling others heretics.

Just believe the Lord Jesus, he's God manifest in the flesh and knows about eternal damnation

Craig Bracy said...

To be truly saved one must be born again of the Holy Spirit and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. He was God the Son come down from Heaven as a perfect sinless man to pay the penalty for our sins on the cross that we might be forgiven of all our sins and be set free from sin and death. Whoever believes the Gospel of Christ and accepts Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior will not suffer the second death and eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire. The Terminal Hell view, while possible because of the Greek language and the word "aionios" meaning "long age or age lasting" is a minority view discussed in seminaries,churches and Bible colleges occasionally etc. I must warn you that the traditional and more mainstream view of eternal hell is very possible and many translators have translated the Greek word "aionios" as eternal in the context of hell to parallel the clearly eternal nature of heaven. Hell may be terminal, and it sounds more just and merciful in line with God's character, but it very well may be eternal as the majority of Christians tend to believe and therefore be warned. Gain heaven and avoid hell. The Holy Spirit will lead the true believer into all truth. I guess wardogz considers me a heretic for considering terminal hell as a possibly accurate interpretation of Scripture. I did not come the the conclusion lightly, and I am not all together convinced of it, but do see it as a theological possibility at least. I believe in the eternal security of the spirit of the believer, but there are Arminian Christians who believe a Christian can lose His salvation. There is also the debate of recent and ancient creation. I lean toward recent creation. Terminal and eternal hell is another area of theological debate. However, univeralism is rejected by evangelical Christianity almost without exception. Come back to the truth and face spiritual, biblical realities and trust in the Lord and His word.

Brian said...

No thank you Craig.

Craig Bracy said...

I appreciate your spirit of courtesy and respect Brian. I hope you might take some classes at a Biblically based Bible College or seminary for better understanding of Scripture. I could recommend some good ones I know of. I hope you believe in the redeeming death of Christ and His glorious resurrection and can celebrate the joy of Easter Sunday this year. The Bible is the only book that God guarantees with all of its fulfilled and yet to be fulfilled prophesies. It's still the best seller and most widely read and translated book (or collection of books in one book) of all time and always will be. The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should believe in Him, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, One Godhead consisting of three divine and co-eternal persons, and be saved. Free will and sin may separate many from their creator, but certainly not all. I imagine there will be billions of saints in heaven in the end. Join the elect of God by fully embracing the Gospel and encourage others to do the same while they have the opportunity to do so. Signing off for now with a prayer for you to get soundly grounded in the truth of God's Word for life now and in eternity. The Gospel remains the same for us to embrace.

Brian said...

Craig, with all due respect, I studied the Bible pretty extensively for 35 years or more. I have read countless books on exegesis written by evangelicals and scholars. I was in Sunday school for most of my life. My views on the Bible are not due to lack of understanding.

I don't need to go to Bible college to be brainwashed.

BTW, you may be happy to know I was baptized, spoke in tongues and received the Holy Ghost at the age of 13.

Ross Marshall said...

Hello fellows, brothers, sisters. We have a new 500 page scholarly commentary on U.Rec.(U. Salvation) for free review by anyone who wants to comment and spread the Word. See or see Amazon.
Commentaries by the old Fathers and myself, and Dr. George F. Howe.
PS. The Unforgivable sin?
"not forgiven in this world or the world to come". = bad transl.
Matt 12:32 = For the Greek:
"...not / it-shall-be-pardoned him, neither in this THE eon nor in the one-empending."
"the THE eon" = the exact time (dispensation) of Christ saying it, up to the cross.
"THE one-empending" = the SOON "empending" dispensation from resurrection to Pentacost (the beginning of Grace Period)" - Holy Spirit indwelling.
From Pentacost onwards, ANY and EVERY man can repent, since the Grace-Holy Spirit is indwelling. Before that, those Jews could not receive grace and forgioveness at that time, nor during Christ's earthly post-cross ministry. But afterwards, though, it was possible. For Jesus said ON THE CROSS, "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do." If we take traditional interpretaions, Christ's prayer must go unanswered. Take Universalist interpretations, and we have the only way to fullfill his prayer.

Craig Bracy said...

The Lord is not willing that any should perish and is willing to extend forgiveness through Christ's death and suffering, but because of free will, people must choose to humble themselves and receive the forgiveness, and not everyone is willing to do so. The judgment in scripture is not a picture of everyone being saved at all. Scripture is guaranteed by the Lord Himself, and God can not lie.

Rev. Craig

Ross Marshall said...

Yes. The Greek word "willing", "will", "wills" means to DETERMAIN. He may not 'force it or make it happen, but he knows if He waits long wnough, that Stiff Necked person will break, give in, and confess. God's got all the time in the universe to create, to get what it wills, see His purposed WILL come to filfillment. Free-will is NOT as long lasting or stronger than God's WILL "that all come to the knowledge of the truth." SALVATION and "becomeing saved" means to "be-becoming" AWARE of Christ's atonement He gives to ALL at birth, in our innocence. Salvationn and atonement are NOT the same - they have 2 different objects: 1. atonement is what Christ does for us to Adam. Salvation is our becominmg aware of this. And we are being "punished" until we become more aware. One day, Christ will FINISH the good work He started in us all.
Orthodoxy make Christ a Liar, Failure, and a joke - it has been Judaised.
The JUDDGEMENT DAY after the resurrection is one of judging "mens works" not salvation.YOU MEAN "Salvation is guarenteed" by The Lord. Yes. JUST NOT ALL AT ONCE.
Protestants confuse SALVATION AS ATONEMENT, and put atonement AFTER the fact of salvation. Whereas, Bible points out Atonement is what drives everyone "draws" all to Christ. SAME confusion that ROME does with Salvation and Sanctification: They have Salvation a result of a process of sanctification, that doing good rituals gets you the atonement. You take the MASS and swallow the "grace" or atonement. Stop it, and loose the atonement. All based on men's works.
SAD Babylonian Religions....

aries273 said...

I am a orthodox universalist. but there is a mistake on statement 15:

"With the exception of the arguments of Augustine (A.D. 420), there is not an argument known to have been framed against Universalism for at least four hundred years after Christ, by any of the ancient fathers."

St. John Chrysostom (died 407AD) wrote extensively against universalism and in favor of eternal torment in Homily IX on 1 Corinthians:

Augustine and Chrysostom were similar not only in their teachings of eternal torment, but also in their upbringing within paganisn/gnosticsim prior to converting to Christianity (, so it seems that pagan/gnostic converts tended to allow their past false ideologies influence their writings as Christians.

Donna Bowman said...

Why,why do people WANT so badly to believe in a HELL? We are putting God's character at risk by creating such heresy. I've known lots of people in my life that have chosen to turn away from God for that very reason. An ETERNITY in HELL makes our loving God out to be a psychopathic torturer worse than Satan himself. I admit, until I found universalism...I almost walked away from it all. My 20 year old son was shot in the head while changing a flat tire on June 15, 2015. He was killed instantly and I mention that because weve all heard of the sinner turning to God on their death bed. And what are 99% of people doing at 20 years old? They aren't thinking about death. Their thinking about their future. I would hate to think a loving God would could even conceive such a notion. And if that was most of our final destination then why didn't he make it clear? So clear that we wouldn't have these debates. Please don't say he did OR we wouldn't be going back and forth on the subject. I will add that my son Jacob, his girlfriend of three years rented a motel room and shot herself in the head while holding the teddy bear my son Jacob had given to her. So someone please reply intelligently telling me WHY the confusion if that's most of our finality?

Sales Team said...

Donna, I am so sorry about your son's girlfriend.

You are absolutely right about impugning God's character with this lie about Hell. There is no way a poor father would torment one of his children forever, let alone a perfect Father tormenting most of His children forever.

The lie about hell was invented by the priestly class to keep the masses in line. It was a conspiracy between the priests and the kings to keep order. The way to keep peasants peaceful and working was to promise them an eternity of bliss if they just obeyed and an eternity of torment if they disobeyed. Thus, the lie was born.

The truth is we are all sons and daughters of God and are all walking our way back home. It will take some longer than others, but God will leave no one behind.

Craig Bracy said...

Sorry to hear about some of the personal tragedy and loss in your family. I would encourage you to know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord and trust in His Word and love. Theologians debate endlessly about eternal or terminal hell and we may have to wait till glory to get the bottom line from the Lord. Judgment is in the Lord's hands. God is holy and just and His Word always will prove true, but He is also loving, gracious, kind, and merciful, and desires for us to know His love and gift of salvation and eternal life in Christ. I hope you ask or have asked Jesus into your heart and received the Holy Spirit and the love and hope of eternal life in Christ and find comfort for your loss in Him. ~God bless and keep~ Rev. Craig

Bradley Mathews said...

I'd like to address comments made about " free will" ! The fact & reality is we don't possess it. Every choice we make is influenced by a cause, a cause & affect relationship if you will. There are causes of causes, but the buck stops with the Lord, the first cause of all things. None of us choose to be born or have a choice at when we will physically die. The fact that we make many choices daily, there is no doubt, but all of our choices are caused by something. Rom 9:15  For He said to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."
Rom 9:16  So then it is not of the one willing, nor of the one running, but of God, the One showing mercy.
Rom 9:17  For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "Even for this same purpose I have raised you up, that I might show My power in you, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth."
Rom 9:18  Therefore He has mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will, He hardens.

Craig Bracy said...

The Word of God speaks of free will offerings in the Old Testament. Scripture also speaks of God's foreknowledge, omniscience and predestination. The balance between free will and God's sovereignty has always been a challenge and the debate between calvinists and arminians and will only be settled in heaven some day. God sovereignly foreknows and chooses those who are His, but we freely respond and receive. I am a 3 to 4 point Calvinist or Calvimian myself. I do believe in eternal security for the believer. Scripture clearly teaches God's great salvation, but also His terrifying wrath and judgment against the wickedness of sin. The sacred scripture inspired by the Holy Spirit speaks of those saved and those lost, of heaven and hell, holy and fallen angels, and universalism in the sense of everyone saved is not in Scripture. Jesus made room at the cross for everyone, but many willfully refuse to come and believe the truth of the Bible and repent. Those that reject Christ and the testimony of Scripture will perish without eternal redemption.

Ross Marshall said...

If you're trapped in eternal torrment orthodoxy, split, divided, separated and denominated, and suckered into one of their theologies, you will NEVER understand the ballance between God's WILL (determinism) and human responsibility. Once an evangelical universalist, you will clearly see how both work together. We have ultimate destiny (determaned by God) and immediate destiny (determaned by us).
There is NO such thing as a Calvinist that holds to 3 or 4 points. This is self deception. And a true FREE-willer cannot have God intervene once at all. And anyone who still believes that God would eternally damn a folish free willer who knows no better, or believes in a God who forever damns a human without a choice, and holds them responsible, and cares not to continue to reconcile them, is a fool - a liar, deceiver, heretic and purely selfish, not to mention presumptuous. God is not a favorer of men, does not favor one man over an other, nor dividesmen eternally. He is a God of UNITY and ONENESSand has "determained" to fulfill His original intent - to have ALL MEN come to the knowledge of this truth: universal reconciliation. As ONE ADAM caused this all to crap-out, so ONE 2ed ADAM will REVERSE IT ALL back to it never happening at all. Christ MUST undo ALL that Satan and Adam did, or He is a looser. EVANGELICAL UNIVERSALISM is the original Apostolic teaching and is irrefutable and irresistable. Calvin taught Grace is irresistable, and God applied grace to ALL mankind, whether a man knows it or not. ADAM caused this all WITHOUT MY CONSENT. Even so, CHRIST destroys ALL what Satan and ADAM DID without my consent. LET US NOT confuse atonement with salvation. All mankind are atoned for, but not all become being saved all at once, but each man according to his appointed time and season. If he hears it not here, he will here it again and again until he realizes the truth - "and for this cause/reason, the evangel IS preached to the dead, that they too, like those in the flesh, may worship God in spirit." Thus, "ALL FLESH SHALL SEE THE SALVATION OF GOD."