Heresy and a Call to Unity – Gerry Beauchemin Revised

Why the “Blessed Hope” is not heresy – Call to accept and love all Christians

“In essentials, Unity; In non-essentials, Liberty; In all things, Love.”

“[Be] diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Eph. 4:3

Our tradition has indoctrinated us to reject anything outside our theological “boxes.” Everything outside is labeled heresy. It’s the same with Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Christian denominations (Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Non-Denominational, etc.). We are all locked into systems, and only when we question and investigate our beliefs, do we discover greater truths about God. The Lord commanded us to judge for ourselves what is right (Luke 12: 57). And the Apostle Paul exhorts us to test all things (1Thes. 5:21). Will we obey the Lord and not allow the fear of man to influence or control what we choose to believe? (See Gal. 1:10)

I believe that God loves all people everywhere with an unfailing love. There are no restrictions to His love. Christ died for all – each and every person that ever lived. As Adam’s sin affected every human being – so did the death of Christ on the cross.As through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. Romans 5:18. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 1 Cor. 15:22. God has all power to accomplish His will, including His will to save all people (1Tim. 2:3-4). This “Blessed Hope” is the only theology that can truly say:

His mercy endures forever. Ps 136, etc

With God “nothing is impossible.” Luke 1:37

What He desires He does. Job 23:13

He can do everything and no purpose of His can be thwarted. Job 42:2

Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more. Rom. 5:20

Christ draws (drags) all to Himself, not merely 1% of humanity. John 12:32

He propitiates the sins of the whole world, and not ours only. 1 John 2:2

All families of the earth shall be blessed. Gen 12:3; etc.

All the earth shall worship and sing praises to Him. Ps. 66:3-4

He destroys the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8

The last enemy that will be destroyed is death (all death). 1Cor. 15:26

He is greater than He that is in the world! 1 John 4:4; Etc.

ETC. ETC. ETC. See “Hope Beyond Hell” Appendix I for 186 passages of Hope!

This precious “Hope” is a historical, Biblical, and legitimate theological position just as much as Arminianism (God loves all, but can’t save all) or Calvinism (God can save all, but chooses to only save some). To brand this “Hope” as heretical is unjustified. It is an assault and insult to our fellow believers who throughout the ages have been brought by it into a deep and sincere love of God.

Matthew Slick, a Reformed theologian, with a master’s of divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary and president of Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry states:

“[Christian] Universalism is the teaching that God, through the atonement of Jesus, will ultimately bring reconciliation between God and all people throughout history. It is important to note that holding to [Christian] universalism in itself does not make one a non-Christian. (1) This quote is particularly weighty since he says, “Studying cults and apologetics is a passion and I have spent more than 26 years doing it.” (2)

As we cannot compare apples and oranges, neither should we who base our faith on Scripture, be classed as unchristian or unbiblical with groups who are not biblically routed, such as the Unitarian Universalists. We, in contradistinction, uncompromisingly affirm the centrality of the Bible and the Lordship and deity of Jesus Christ. (3)

We differ with the widely accepted “Augustinian traditions” on two key points – God is greater in power and love – that’s it. We uphold the authority of Scripture and the centrality and supremacy of Christ. In fact, we elevate the blood of Christ and His absolute triumph over the adversary to their rightful place. We proclaim a GOD in full control of His universe – One who loves all people impartially with an unfailing love. We are in every way “Christian.”

Let me be specific about my faith. I accept God’s love as most believers do, and God’s power and sovereignty as any staunch Calvinist. Jesus came in the flesh, lived and died for our sins, was resurrected, and is coming again. He is the only begotten Son of God, the only way of salvation. Christ and the Father are one. All things have been made by Him, for Him, and through Him. I worship Christ as I do the Father. In fact, I magnify His deity more than most, as I believe He fully destroys the devil’s works and accomplishes all His will for mankind! Do you? Only almighty God could do that. His blood is the only power in all the universe that cleanses from sin. Jesus Christ is Lord!

Have some of us died as martyrs for Christ? Yes! What more can be said? Why are we sometimes not given the right hand of fellowship or no hand at all? Are we not Christians? What identifies us as disciples of Jesus Christ? There is no question more important. This is why this article is so critical. “By this shall all men know you are My disciples, by the love you have for one another.” (John 13:35) Our love – our self- sacrificing love, is the essential characteristic Christ chose to emphasize! And how do we know what real love is? “By this we know love,” said the Apostle John, “because He laid down His life for us, we ought to lay down our lives for one another (1 John 3:16).”

The vast numbers of us who share this “larger” hope, or “blessed” hope, are not affiliated with any sectarian group or denomination. We are simply believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are a “silent” minority active in all denominations – Baptist, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Reformed, Purpose Driven, Vineyard, Four Square, Assemblies, Catholic, non-denominational, etc. Most of us do not trumpet our convictions for fear of rejection or of causing division.

It is tragic that most believers have no biblical understanding of the true basis for Christian unity. We mistakenly, unjustly, and all too often harshly reject precious members of Christ’s body. By so rejecting His members, we reject Him. Whatever we do to the “least of these,” we do unto Him. It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a milestone around our necks, than to offend one of His little ones. (Mt. 18:6; Mk. 9:42; Lu. 17:2) This is serious my brothers and sisters in Christ!

Christian unity is NOT optional. Nor is it a mere lofty sentiment. It’s the burning passion of our Lord! What was most pressing on His heart on the very eve of His crucifixion? In His heart wrenching prayer in the garden, He prays five times that we be one – five times! Meditate on John chapter 17 and count them yourself. (See verses 11, 21a, 21b, 22, and 23) Of all times, He should have been thinking solely of Himself and His impending sufferings. But no, He thought of us, His Body, and longed only that we would be one. And why is our unity so important to the Master? He says it plainly – “that the world may believe” (21a) “that the world may know” He was sent by the Father (23). He ultimately had the world on His heart. Our oneness plays a central role in God’s purpose for the whole world. When will we make it a central theme in our lives, especially our prayer life and act accordingly?

A central doctrine that has divided the Church for generations has been the teaching on “election.” It has created two major camps – those who say God only predestines some to salvation, and those who say God desires all to be saved. How many have been the debates on this theme! The lines are clearly drawn. There is a young missionary in my church who has resigned from an International Mission agency over this teaching. Only the Blessed Hope can resolve this impasse. See chapter five of “Hope Beyond Hell.”

I believe the Blessed Hope is the key to unite the Christian world and authenticate Christ’s servants as divine messenger’s of good news to a hurting world! It exalts and honors and glorifies God’s holy and loving character before the world. No longer can God be accused of being cruel, unloving and unjust. He is fair to all peoples in all nations and throughout all ages (Acts 10: 34-36)! Now, all Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, tribal peoples, and Native Americans can be assured that their deceased ancestors and family members are NOT being tormented in hell forever! This single truth will transform Christian Missions! It will elevate Jesus to His rightful place as “Savior of the World” (John 4:42) and through Him as such, bring good news of great joy to all people – Luke 2:10. “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). “I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world” (John 12:47). Did He succeed? Absolutely!“I accomplished the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4). “The Son of God came to earth with the express purpose of undoing the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8 Phillips Modern English). Did He succeed? Absolutely! “Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God” (Phil. 2:9-11). “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:2). “We testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14). “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Gospel of Peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom. 10:15). How beautiful are your feet? Jesus is the “Savior of the World!”

As this precious truth becomes more and more accepted in the Christian world, it will create a stir and provoke opposition as it is now doing. Many warn that this teaching is a false teaching prophesied for the last days. That breaks my heart. The false teaching is the teaching that denies the good news of great joy for all people. But this resistance is necessary, like birth pains if you will. It will force the Church to re-evaluate the Scriptural basis for its tradition of everlasting punishment. Does it line up with the Word of God and His moral witness in each human heart? There are tens of thousands of believers in our land who embrace this truth and it is expanding throughout the world through the internet. You will find believers in this Blessed Hope actively serving Christ in all Christian churches and outside of structured religion as well. It’s just a matter of time before we all come out of the closet! Why?

Almost all believers in Christ long and hope that God be truly all powerful, with inexhaustible and unfailing love for all. Who in their heart of hearts, believes beyond the shadow of a doubt, that most of the world is destined to eternal suffering as tradition up to now has maintained? Only a small minority would insist on this. An eternal hell contradicts God’s character, and we all know it. Who is not repulsed by such a horrid doctrine? No defense of it satisfies us. It is something we have learned to tolerate and live with. We give it lip service but inside we block it out of our minds. How else can we cope? Can you relate? To confirm this, candidly and non-threateningly ask your closest friends, those who are mature and have had time to think through their beliefs, what they really believe about hell. You will be surprised at what you will discover. I was.

When Christians recognize and acknowledge the comprehensive biblical basis for our hope, and are assured that it is a viable theological position, stripped of any disrespect and scorn, I believe it will once again become the prevailing theology of the Church as it was in the early centuries. If you do not hope in your heart of hearts that this theology is true, I can only pray for you. In the very least, please do not judge or condemn those who accept it. I leave you with some thoughts from Billy Graham:

“In Graham’s view, the core message of the Gospel, and the love of God ‘for all people’ should take priority. But more recent years have given him something he had little of in his decades of global evangelism: time to think both more deeply and more broadly….He refuses to be judgmental thinks God’s ways and means are veiled from human eyes and wrapped in mystery. ‘There are many things that I don’t understand,’ he says. He does not believe that Christians need to take every verse of the Bible literally; ‘sincere Christians,’ he says, ‘can disagree about the details of Scripture and theology—absolutely’. He is arguing that the Bible is open to interpretation, and fair-minded Christians may disagree or come to different conclusions about specific points. Like Saint Paul, he believes human beings on this side of paradise can grasp only so much. ‘Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror,’ Paul wrote, ‘then we shall see face to face.’ ‘As time went on, I began to realize the love of God for everybody, all over the world,’ he says. ‘And in his death on the cross, some mysterious thing happened between God and the Son that we don’t understand. But there he was, alone, taking on the sins of the world. I spend more time on the love of God than I used to.’ When asked whether he believes heaven will be closed to good Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or secular people, though, Graham says: Those are decisions only the Lord will make I believe the love of God is absolute. He said he gave his son for the whole world, and I think he loves everybody regardless of what label they have.” (4)

Let us follow Rev. Graham’s lead and refuse to be judgmental, believe the love of God is absolute, acknowledge His ways are veiled from human eyes and wrapped in mystery, and spend more time contemplating the love of God. In the very least, let us shun a dogmatic attitude that thinks that only what “we” affirm is truly biblically based. Dare we condemn our fellow believers for believing that God’s power, love, and mercy are greater than we are willing to accept? Dare we condemn them for believing the Bible to mean “all” when it says “all.” Are all things really possible with God? Some of us think so.

One final thought:

Is it “faith” in Christ, or “faith” in an eternal hell that makes us true Christians? The Apostle Paul pleads with us in these words: “I implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ep. 4:1-6 NAS)

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that your will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Ro. 15:13 NAS

Gerry Beauchemin

Author Hope Beyond Hell  www.HopeBeyondHell.net

References:
(1) Slick, Matthew. www.tentmaker.org/URrebuttals/carm.htm
(2) Slick, Matthew. www.carm.org/index/aboutcarm.htm
(3) Amirault, Gary. www.tentmaker.org/FAQ/faqnew1.html
(4) Meacham, Jon. Newsweek Magazine. 14 August 2006.
Excerpt from interview with Billy Graham. www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14204483/

http://www.hopebeyondhell.net/blog/category/let-us-chat/

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26 Comments on Heresy and a Call to Unity – Gerry Beauchemin Revised

  1. Gerry,
    I never learned the hell doctrine because my parents quit going to church when I was young.
    I took classes from The Way Intern’l who taught that hell was the grave.
    There are other groups who believe hell is the grave-Jehovah Witness, Church of God, The Way and maybe more.
    Do you know if the Jewish doctrine includes a hell like the one is Greek mythology?
    I have suffered persecution for not believing in mythical hell and you will too. Count it all joy.
    Standing with you in God’s marvelous loving-kindness,
    Donna Edwards

  2. Gerry, Your book was a great encouragement to me when I read it a few years ago. I gave away several copies to friends. May God continue to use your voice to open the eyes of many more people to the truth that God desires to save all, and will accomplish what He desires. God bless.

  3. Gerry, this is a very good article that I wish all Christians would practice. The history of so-called Christians persecuting and some times other Christians of other denominations or sects is replete throughout history. I hope and pray that more Christians would dilligently seek the full truth of the Gospel that includes a final salvation of all at “the dispensation of the fullness of times” Eph.1:10. O’ that more would seek all of God’s Truth. “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says the Lord of Hosts, that all who dilligently seek me, shall find me”. Please send me another order form for your new edition of “Hope Beyond Hell” and your new booklets. Send to: Ron Murphy-301 S. Audubon Rd.-Indianapolis, IN 46219, or I can make a copy if you send it to my email address. Thanks and God bless. Ron Murphy

  4. It was a little over a year ago when I first heard of the greater, blessed hope. Your book, hope beyond hell was there when I needed it so much. I happily embraced this teaching, and also found others proclaiming it, too. Gary Amarault at tentmaker.org… I’m doing my best to enlighten others, but, am trying to be sensitive to those who are not yet ready for it. Janis Wilson

  5. Dear Gerry, thank you for a very welcome message. I’m sure it will be received by many who read it. It is very timely at present, not only for Barbbara and myself, but for others also whom we love and share with.
    I personally have never been drawn to the Word of God as I am today, in all my 40 years walking in the Christian faith. The Word of God is more Alive than ever before. This message of hope-instead of hell, is also welcomed and received by those still in the world-so to speak) They love it because it is Good News. But sad to say, religious people seem to shy away, as it upsets all they have been taught. But on a brighter note, we do see a change in others who are on the fence, especially those who have moved away from the Church activities. We both send our love to you all-Sincerely Tom and Barbara, from Queensland Australia, x x x

  6. Thank you Gerry for a wonderful article. I too grew up and even preached about the eternal punishment of hell but have awaken my awareness of God’s unending love. I agree with you that as a christian community we should be open to discuss these issues. Sadly we are shuned or held up as a heretic if we darn question any of our orthodoxical teaching. I personally question the very existence of hell but I’m open to the idea of a temporary “hell” that brings everyone to God. Personally my goal is to live a life of love, forgiveness and grace. To see the good in everyone and be less judgemental. Thanks for being welling to take some heat on this. We need people like yourself who will start the conversation.
    Best Regards,
    Mark

  7. Dear Brother Gerry, I can really feel the passion u have poured out in this article, and how dear it is to your heart, and I am in total agreement with what u believe. Because we have communicated before gives me the courage to offer one suggestion. The inclusion of the comment by Billy Graham regarding God’s love for all people regardless of what label they exhibit is misleading. His love is unquestionable, but the path to Him is also beyond dispute, and that is the acceptance of Jesus as Saviour. For the purpose of brevity, let me say that before every knee bows and every tongue confesses , there must be, and will be, the laying aside of every label contrary to His Lordship. I know this is what u believe, it is just that it is not evident in that portion of the article. I hope this is not being hyper critical, but it is the way I see it, and I am sure u do as well.
    Fond regards and blessings,
    John

  8. Gerry,

    This hits home so much. The Lord said ALL! Not some, but ALL. That’s enough for me.
    Can’t wait for your next newsletter.

    Blessings in Christ,

    Rose

  9. Your refrence Jon Meacham, the editor of Newsweek Magazine seems to be friendly toward this teaching. I base that on an intreview with him and Tim Russert on Meet The Press a few years ago.

  10. Very “to the point” article, Jerry. God has obviously blessed your efforts in writing this. May it be an eye opener and an ecouragement for many people who secretly “hope” that God will indeed bring all people back to Himself.

    God Bless,
    Debbie Boutwell

  11. Gerry,
    as I pondered these statements, I began to see that we have not seen Biblical Unity because we are still defining the “Blessed Hope”, the large and vast authentic Hope of the Good news we are to proclaim. How can there be Unity in the midst of those who blinded to the “Blessed Hope”
    of the Scriptures?

    It is tragic that most believers have no biblical understanding of the true basis for Christian unity. We mistakenly, unjustly, and all too often harshly reject precious members of Christ’s body. By so rejecting His members, we reject Him. Whatever we do to the “least of these,” we do unto Him. It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a milestone around our necks, than to offend one of His little ones. (Mt. 18:6; Mk. 9:42; Lu. 17:2) This is serious my brothers and sisters in Christ!

    Christian unity is NOT optional. Nor is it a mere lofty sentiment. It’s the burning passion of our Lord! What was most pressing on His heart on the very eve of His crucifixion?

    Passionate and Purposeful statements!

  12. Gerry
    Have you ever considered that Matt. 25 in its entirety is still a part of the so-called Olivet discourse and hence past tense in terms of fulfilment? If we pay close attention to grammar we find that His disvciples asked the questions in Matt.24 and the two chapters are our Lord’s answer. Jesus repeatedly tolsd His disciples that they would see ALL the things he predicted in these two chapters. So the Matt.25:46 verse is a moot point in terms of proof-texting eternal punishment anyway-its not even relevent. These chapters have EVERYTHING to do do with the destruction of the old order and all its vestiges andf NOTHING to do with future events. The destruction of the Temple, the City and the land along with its people has EVERYTHING to do these two chapters and nothing else. That’s why partial preterism and universal reconciliation need to be taught together-two pieces of the same puzzle.
    Henry

  13. Greetings, Gerry.

    This (as well as the link articles) is quite interesting. We, too, are committed to the teaching of Universal Reconciliation in and through Christ.

    Concerning heresies, perhaps we should differentiate between ‘false teachers’ and ‘teachers of false doctrines’.

    The former, I think, would be those who seek personal gain and power who, for the sake of ‘filthy lucre’ and control over others, adjust to the likes and fears of their audiences.

    The latter would be those who teach false doctrines, unscripturally and incorrectly cutting the word of truth, which they, themselves, sincerely believe to be true.

    Which category would advocates of an eternal punishment in hell come under?

    May God continue to bless you,

    Jeff

  14. Hello , Mr.Beauchemin ,

    Recently , I visited the page by Mr.Sarris where he discusses universalism , and I must say that I was quite disgusted with some of the ultrafundamentalists in some of the message boards . Notably, I have to vent because one of them put forth the weird claim which MIS-interpreted the references in the letters of Paul to the carnal mind , making the ever so weird and disingenuous interpretation that always makes yours truly cringe , the interpretation that alleged that somehow the phrase carnal mind refers to ‘logical analysis’ / ‘intellectualism’ ad so on . <—-That is NOT what Paul meant by the phrase 'carnal mind' . When Paul wrote of the 'carnal mind' and referred to 'carnal mindedness', he was NOT in any way referring to logic , nor intellectualism of any sort, by the use of that phrase ….When Paul wrote of the carnal mind , he was referring to sexualized desire , and the sort of bodily arousal which comes from violence .

    When Paul referred to the carnal mind , there is NOTHING in the scriptures to indicate that He was referring to logical analysis , nor intellectualism at all. The phrase carnal ( derived from the word for flesh—meaning of the flesh) refers to bodily desire ; it does NOT refer to logic , nor intellectual analysis .
    It is downright like thinking right out of the Twilight Zone when some fundamentalists use that weird canard which they make out of whole cloth , when they allege that the New Testament phrase 'carnal mind' somehow refers to logic . Lo and behold , some fundamentalist alleged that the term 'carnal mind' somehow applied to the efforts of Mr.Sarris to apply dialectical logic to the Bible to present a case on behalf of Christian Universalism !

    Such a weird , ANTI-intellectual interpretation of the the term 'carnal mind' found in the the New Testament , is NOT even a partway plausible interpretation . The terms 'carnal mind' and 'carnally minded' …does NOT refer to logic and intellectualism , instead it refers to bodily desire for sexual bodily arousal and also the excitement that comes from physical violence .

    Hence, the verse about 'The carnal mind is not subject to God ' and 'to be carnally minded is death , and 'to be spiritually minded is life and peace ' .

    The carnal mind are the sort of mental activities directed towards bodily arousal and a sense of physical power . When Paul refers to the 'carnal mind' , he is NOT referring to logic, reason , analysis , intellect. Primarily, he is referring to sexual aggrandizement and secondarily other forms of visceral excitement , hence the warnings against sexual promiscuity / riotous living in the letters of Paul .

    It is indeed quite weird that some fundamentalists propose that the intellectual faculties of the mind are somehow the seat of sin , when according to Romans 7:23 , Paul indicates that sin is *not* in the intellectual aspects of the mind , but instead in the bodily members . Paul depicts the corrupting , sinful tendencies as being *against * the intellect , NOT as being in any way a result of logical intellectual reason .

    Paul wrote in Romans 7:23 ,

    'But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members' .

    If St.Paul is right then sin is NOT something that comes from the logical intellectual faculties , but which wars against (goes against ) the law of the mind , and takes hold in the physical aspects of the person , NOT the intellect ….and , hence, those among the fundamentalists who weird claim that intellectualism / reason is somehow "carnal" are putting forth a weird doctrine that is *not* Biblical .

    Ironic that often the ultrafundamentalists who claim that they are "Bible believing Christians" or "Biblical Christians" often come up with notions that are NOT found in any explicit sense in the Bible at all .

    Another example , of fundamentalists coming up with notions that aren't in the Bible , and using them I also noticed when the fundamentalists , who responded to Mr.Sarris webblog, put forth the notion that there is some sort of alleged dichotomy between so-called "human reason" and Divine reason .

    The notion that there is some sort of difference between so-called "human reason" and God's reason is pretty hard to reconcile with Isaiah 1:18 .

    Isaiah 1:18 indicates that God uses the same reasoning process that humans do. Isaiah 1:18 depicts God as saying to a human being : (the prophet Isaiah)

    'come and let us reason together '.

    IF the notion advocated by some fundamentalists that alleges that God somehow has a "different logic" from the logic that human beings are familiar with were the case , then there could be NO reasoning together between God and a human , for there would be no common frame of reference to ensure communication between God and a human , IF the notion that claims that God has a different sort of logic from the logic that humans understand were the case .

    That Isaiah depicts God as saying to a human , 'come and let us reason together' , indicates that God and humans have the same reasoning process , and goes against the weird claim that alleges that God somehow has some sort of inherently mysterious "different logic " than the logic that humans are familiar with , for if God does invite a human to reason together with Him , that indicates that indicates there is a set of concepts that God and humans both have in common , and , hence, the same reasoning / the same logic .

    Just some observations that ought to be shared .

  15. A FURTHER ADDENTUM TO THE POST ABOVE .

    There is a further addentum to the post above that ought to be shared , as well as some supplementary notes, which I hope to share in a subsequent post to the current post .

    First of all, let me make the disclaimer that though yours truly hopes that there will one day eventually come about a universal salvation through Jesus , or at least some sort of universal remediation via Jesus , (if not full salvation does not obtain) , I do not necessarily conclude that universal salvation is inevitable. Universal salvation through Jesus is possible , but I do not at the present juncture maintain it is necessarily an inevitable result .

    I present that disclaimer as a prelude to the insight that one does NOT necessarily even have to be universalist to reject the counterargument put forth by *some* fundamentalists that weirdly alleges that God somehow has some sort of mysterious “different logic” or “different type of reason” than the reasoning process that humans are familar with . If the fundamentalists seek to present counterarguments against universalism , then they should at least, present valid arguments against the universalist position and NOT misleading arguments against it (a case of misleading , fallacious arguments being the murky and NOT very Biblical proposition that claims that there is some alleged dichotomy between so-called “human logic ” and the notion of God allegedly having some alleged “different kind of logic” ) .

    The critique being presented in the notes that duty leads me to post is NOT so much with the conclusion of some fundamentalists that not all people will find salvation ; instead it is the how of the sort of faulty sort of thinking that some fundamentalists use to arrive at that conclusion . One could present a case against universalism that could at least argue for a conclusion which *rejects* universalism in a way that is argued cleanly / in a way that does not involve fallacies : notably does NOT argue the ANTI-universalist caase by appealing to some notion that God somehow has some alleged “different logic” than humans . <—The claim that alleges God has some sort of different logic allegedly somehow different from the logic that humans are familiar with, is a cop out . It is possible for fundamentalists to argue for the conclusion that *not* all people will be saved eventually without resorting to the weird , loose interpretation of some Bible verses where they misconstrue the scriptures to come up with the weird conclusion that God has a different reasoning / an allegedly different logic than is familiar to humans .

    The problem in the critique here is, again, not primarily with the conclusion that fundamentalists draw against universalism , but , instead, the beef is with the weird and faulty way that *some* fundamentalists (though not all of them) often resort to that ANTI-intellecual , notion that alleges God has a different sort of logic than humans are familar with . (Often that rhetoric popular in some fundamentalist circles is often accompanied by a cliche meme that alleges that a finite mind cannot understand infinity …a cliche that has been used in fundamentalist circles for a number of decades now, though nowhere does the Bible use the phrase "finite mind" , nor any similar phrase, nor does the Bible state that humans have a "finite mind" ).

    Such disclaimers ought to be made to show that opposition to the ANTI-logical/ ANTI-intellectual claims that allege that God allegedly has a different sort of logic than the logic that humans are familar with , should *NOT* be conflated with universalism ,since one does *not* even necessarily have to be a universalist to reject the weird and wrong claim that claims that the plans of God are somehow mysterious and , hence, that God somehow has a so-called different sort of reason than so-called "human logic" . Logic is logic : adding the phrase "human" to the word logic is a misleading phrase …since logic is the same whether it is used by humans or by God . Other Christians , who are not necessarily affiliated with universalism , can and do *reject* the weird claim that there is somehow a mysterious difference between the logic of God and the logic that humans are familar with .

    As a corollary to those insights, here are some further notes below on how those who claim that God has mysterious plans that we are not meant to know or to analyze , do a wrong interpretation of a particular Bible verse —that verse being Isaiah 55:8 .

    Some have alleged that Isaiah 55: 8 somehow indicates there is a divine reason separate from human reason , due to how it depicts God as having said , 'your ways are not my ways/ 'your thoughts' are not my thoughts ' .

    However, that interpretation is not warranted at all , when one finds that the import of that passage is revealed in the verse immediately prior (ISAIAH 55:7) , where it states , 'Let the wicked man forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts , and let him return to the Lord and he will abundantly pardon ' .

    The difference in the ways and thoughts of God is indicated in that passage that God is willing to show mercy, in contrast to many people who bear vindictive grudges and are unwilling to extend charity to one who has wronged them in the past (and charity does not have to be of the bygones be bygones sort of buddy buddy approach , mind you, but it does involve showing mercy to one who has done wrong) . The verse of Isaiah 55: 8 should NOT be interpreted that God has somehow a totally other type of logic than the the ones that humans are familiar with . It should NOT either , moreover , be given the ever so unspeakably weird, insulting- to- God interpretation that tragic events , events involving evil and so on, serve some allegedly mysterious plan of God that we are not meant to know —the latter being what have some have weirdly claimed (probably due to the partial influence of Calvinism ) .

    Isaiah 55:8 would be more plausibly conceived of as meaning NOT that God has a way of thinking that is foreign in qualitative terms to the thinking that humans use , but instead, that God is infinitely more THOROUGH in appying the SAME logic and morals that humans are familar with and , yet often fail to thoroughly apply !

  16. SOME FURTHER NOTES TO THE PREVIOUS POST

    To further clarify the statement made in the last sentence of the post show previously above, it should be understood that what was meant by affirming that the thinking of God is not foreign to the thinking that humans use , is the case *during those times* when humans use deductive logic/ linear thinking. During those times when some humans use ways of thinking that are muddled , equivocal , NOT logical , then God would use a different way of thinking . In contrast, when humans use ways of thinking that are NOT equivocal ; but are instead are thinking a way of thinking that is based on sound deductive logic/ linear thinking , then , the way of thinking that humans are displaying would be the same as the way of thinking that God manifests .

    To recap: Isaiah 55:7-10 would be more plausibly conceived as involving NOT a different , mysterious thought process on the part of God , but instead, that God is infinitely more committed to thoroughly applying the deductive logic/ linear thinking that humans (during those times that humans do decide to think logically—manifest) , whereas *some* humans sometimes —UNlike God refuse to commit themselves to manifesting a thorough application of deductive logic, but sometimes decide to waver and become on again/ off again in regard to the application of logic .

    It is worthwhile to note that, according to St.Paul in the letter to the Romans 1:20 , the conception of what God is about is NOT inherently mysterious / NOT outside the reach of the logic that humans are capable of .

    According to St.Paul in Romans 1:20 ,

    ‘The hidden and invisible things of God are clearly understood by the things that are made and the things that do appear even his invisible power and Godhead’ .

    Note the phrase ‘clearly understood ‘ .

  17. SOME FURTHER NOTES TO THE POST ABOVE

    There are some scripture verses that those who claim that God has some inherently mysterious plans , or other type of reasoning that allegedly humans are not meant to understand , may try to CLAIM somehow supports such murky notion .

    However, closer study of such verses indicates that such interpretations are NOT very plausible .

    One of the verses that might *seem* to support such an interpretation is in St.Paul’s letter to the Romans chapter 11: verse 33 which reads :

    ‘O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! ‘

    However, when one considers that St.Paul in the verses immediately prior to that one, had left off describing the relationship between God and the Israelites and comparing it with the relationship that God had now with the gentile converts to Christianity —the latter who had entered into the new covenant sooner , on an expedited schedule, due to the religious leaders of Israel in the time of the Apostles refusing to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah opening the way for the Gentiles to be grafted in to the new Spiritual Kingdom , the more plausible conclusion is that Paul is proposing that God is far more resourceful at accomplishing the initial goals he has for humanity . The more plausible intepretation is NOT that Paul was proposing in any overall propositional sense that God’ s plans were mysterious , or unknowable , but, instead , was proposing that God was infinitely resourceful . The previous verse had quoted Paul as stating of the Gentiles and Jews alike ,

    ‘For He hath declared them all in unbelief , so that He might have mercy on them all’ .

    The proposal of Paul was that God was hoping to include both the authentic Jews and the Gentiles in the New Covenant under Jesus , and that the temporary fall of much of Israel into disbelief in the Messianic role of Jesus at the time (hence the statements about how ‘blindness in part has happened to Israel’ , which Paul had hoped would be remedied when the ‘fullness of the Gentiles come in ‘)

    Though the phrasing of the verse of Romans 11 :33 might SEEM at first like Paul is proposing that the goals of God are somehow mysterious and beyond understanding , that sort of interpretation is NOT likely , when one considers that the statement in Romans 11:33 is an observation that is ancillary to what Paul had been immediately been discussing before about how God was resourceful in getting the Gentiles into the New Covenant sooner , as a result of the Israelite leaders having been unbelieving in Jesus as messiah , and how the Israelites might in turn obtain mercy again during some time yet to come . The bottom line of the verse —when one considers the verses which are immediately prior to it , is NOT that the plans and judgements of God are in any way mysterious , nor unknowable, but instead, that God is infinitely resourceful —resourceful in ways that humans may not be able to guess at , at achieveing the goals that God has already disclosed in times past . [Thus , a more plausible interpretation of Romans 11:33 is NOT that God has some mysterious different reasoning process, foreign to what humans can understand / NOT that the plans of God are unknowable , but instead, that God has been infinitely more resourceful than humans have ever guessed , at achieving the goals of God, which are understood by humans] .

    The next verse that one might anticipate some of the people who make the weird claim that purports that God somehow has some different reasoning , or some so-called “different logic ” than the reasoning and logic that humans are familiar with , might try to *interpret* AS IF it were somehow in support of that claim , is Proverbs 3:5 , which reads ,
    ‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not on thine own understanding ‘ .

    However, a more plausible interpretation is that is a general homiletic encouragement for the reader to have faith that God can overcome dire circumstances , and guide a person to find a way to escape bad situations , and that God might in time, through working through faith of the one who trusts in Him remove the problems . The advice to “lean not on thine own understanding” , would be a figurative statement that would indicate that relying solely on mere *practical* ways of thinking , instead of trusting in God, to help one find the ways to overcome bad circumstances .The upshot of Proverbs 3:5 , is NOT a doctrinal sort of proposition to in any way claim that God has some mysterious different sort of reason , but is instead a homiletical sort of argument designed to get people to trust that God can help people , over time, to overcome the adversity of bad circumstances , if they trust Him / place faith in Him .

  18. ANOTHER CAVEAT

    One caveat , regarding a somewhat different aspect of the discussion of the essay titled ‘Heresy And The Call To Unity’, is that there is a concern of a different sort which should be aired . The essay does, in passing, use the term, ‘judgemental’ , in a perjorative way (as if being judgemental were somehow undesirable). The problem with those ultrafundamentalists, (the ones who are weirdly hostile to the larger hope) is *not* that they are “judgemental” . Instead, the problem is that they are sometimes given to murky desires and ways of thinking , and a perverse hastiness in the conclusions they draw , when displaying such weird and hasty disdain for the larger hope .

    If the term ‘judgemental’ is being used in lieu of a better term for those who are given to blanket, hasty disparagements of , say, people who are in other non-Christian religions , then the use of the term ‘judgemental’ as a term of disparagement would not have such a problematic import . However, the concern that arises is that term ‘judgemental’ , (when it is used as a term of disparagement ) is so often used by those with a postmodernist relativist agenda (and please understand , Mr.Beauchimin , that I am certainly *not* claiming that you necessarily use the term in that regard) . Often turns of phrase that exhort people to *not* be “judgemental ” when they are bandied about in popular talk , as they so often are in the current era , are used to get people to buy into the namby-pamby relativist thinking that seeks to get people to respect each and any belief , including those beliefs that are crass, and or murky , muddled ect ….

    The concern that looms large is that the larger hope that seeks to persuade people to hope for the eventual redemption, (or at least some sort of partial remediation) for all person through Jesus , should never be allowed to be coopted by relativism/postmodernism . We should take great efforts to make sure that a hope as precious as the larger hope NOT be sullied by being conflated with postmodernism / relativism .

    Yours truly has the worry that since there are postmodernist / relativist factions within the emergent church (NOT that all emergent church groups are postmodernists, but there are those factions that are) that the postmodernist/ relativists types might try to coopt and mix the presentation of the larger hope of possible universalism , with the *quite separate context* of the relativist ideology that wants to respect mere opinions, even crass opinions (such as say the opinions that support the raunchy, kitsch-ridden , crass pop culture of the current era with its sexualized vulgarity and sordidness) . It is important that the case for the larger hope be defended in internally consistent /absolutist terms that are epistemically cogent and clear …terms that do NOT promote tolerating ambiguity/ ambivalent thinking . It is important that people *not* let the presentation of the larger hope get sullied by such tommyrot as postmodernist narrative theology and the like .

    In the current era , where discourse is so clouded by a fast and loose mass media, where memes get mixed up and terms are unfortuantely equivocated via that media , it is important to present that caveat . There are those people out there who will defend any sort of notion (and here I am not referencing matters pertaining to different notions regarding theology ) , including those insipid sorts of people out there that will defend such garbage as the opinions espoused by people who like crass pop culture , and will say to the person who speaks out against such perverse tripe as say, celebrity gossip (to give an example) , “don’t be so judgemental .Some people like celebrity gossip” , blah, blah, blah …(as if them liking it somehow endowed it with some ad hoc merit) .

    Hence , yours truly is obligated to exhort caution against using the term ‘judgemental ‘ as a term of disparagement , a term often used to disparage any staunch position on any issue .

    The adage in Matthew 7: 1 , that states to ‘judge not lest ye be judged’ is probably one of the most MIS-interpreted , MIS-construed verses in all the bible . It does *NOT* mean that we should respect all beliefs —including crass, murky ones . It is beyond the pale that so many of the opinion respecting sorts of people (aka relativists) seek to , with deliberate hastiness , MIS-interpret the adage of Jesus in Matthew 7:1 to promote the notion that even crass opinions , such as say, the opinions espoused via white supremacists, or people who defend crass , sordid pop culture (again the mind rotting, yuppie phenomenon of celebrity gossip springs to mind) , should somehow be accorded some sort of ad hoc respect . The weirdly insipid thinking that seeks some sort of middle ground, or balance , between any opposite positions (or in the middle between opposite qualities) is so repugnant that the existing language can hardly provide terms vitriolic enough to sum up how reprehensible it is .

    Jesus did NOT hesitate to disparage venality, shallowness, murky thinking, sordid thinking during the days he walked in ancient Israel and we ought to follow the example of Jesus and denounce all that is venal, murky, and sordid without any hesitation or mincing of words .

    We certainly ought to be judgemental against the crass, sordid pop culture that is manifested in such yuppie- era phenomenon as celebrity gossip , especially the unspeakably evil phenomenon that turns lurid stories about the murder of children into fodder unspeakable , lurid , voyeuristic entertainment , and /or the cretinous made- for- t.v. movies and television series on the Lifetime channel (and other cable channels) which solicit the trashy “guilty pleasure” voyeurism about people who cheat on their spouses, rapists and other similar examples of soulless middlebrow kitsch (which the current climate of pop culture is soaked in ) .

    I know that the above observations may seem to be removed from the matters of theology that the essay above discusses , however, it is necessary to present the disclaimer that in presenting the case for the larger hope that we *not* let the discussion about the larger hope get mixed in with the popular talk that tells people to “not be judgemental” , since that sort of talk is often used by the postmodernists who want to respect any opinion –even the crass and/or sordid opinions (such as the wrong opinions of those who defend even such monsterous phenomenon as raunchy pop culture, media gossip and so on ) .

    As a corollary to the above polemic against the postmodernist tendency to respect crass opinions, since liberated sexuality is a core element of the raunchy, soulless tenor of contemporary pop culture , let it be noted that Karl Marx was quite mistaken when he apparently wrote (or said) that “religion was the opiate of the masses” . Sexuality is the opiate of the masses , and a lousy opiate at that ! A truly progressive minded theology would oppose the postmodern support of unihibited sexualization , and should call *instead* for a revival of quaintness . (Part and parcel of that project would involve a championing of a return to sentimental , quaint romance *instead of* the crassness of “real sex” .

    A revivial of quaintness / an unabashed move in favor of championing a new revival of genteel themes is what is long overdue, for the sort of Jesus directed Christianity which is truly, *authentically* progressive and , hence, *not* postmodernist . A good accompaniment to the larger hope would be , *not* the kitschy, postmodernist sort of zeitgeist of the typical , emergent church , Christian pop music , t.v. influenced crowd that has in recent decades clouded the issues, but *instead*, a type of culture jamming that staunchly advocates a single minded return to an ethos of wholesomeness and quaintness …..

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