"But isn't the Gospel more important?"


#1

I’ve had one or two people tell me, “But isn’t the Gospel more important?”. I’ve been reflecting on this. One the one hand, I’d say of course it is, I’m an orthodox trinitarian Christian, first and foremost!

But on the other hand, by restricting the scope to 10% of people, that makes it bad news for 90% of people, which makes us calling it Good News, rather callous. For example, imagine if someone preaching the Gospel insisted that only 144,000 people where going to be saved (still via the Cross/Christ). Would you say, “it’s ok, so long as they are preaching the Gospel, that’s all that is important”? Hopefully not! :open_mouth:


#2

The Gospel is very important, and so it’s important that we understand what the Gospel is. As you noted, the traditional “gospel” is not truly “Good News” at all, even for those who are saved because it affirms that some, even most or all of their loved ones will burn in Hell forever. God’s love being conditional on either or both our right beliefs and right actions is just not “good news”. You know, it’s no wonder that missions work is so hard because it requires the Muslim/Hindu/Buhdist/Annamist/etc. to turn his back on his family and believe that all of his loved ones who have passed on without knowing Jesus are doomed to suffer endlessly. And it puts them under tremendous fear that if their alive loved ones do not turn to Jesus before they die, they too will bust Hell wide open.

So it is very important that we understand that the Gospel is truly Good News for ALL humanity. Love does not fail! God is truly the good shepherd and 99% of humanity is not enough for Him. Only 100% success is acceptable to Him. Jesus truly is the savior of all humanity, especially (not “only”) those who now believe.

My son was just sharing with me how coming to believe that God saves all people has freed him to simply love people, to share with people his love for God and God’s love for people without feeling any pressure to pressure someone to come to Christ. It’s freed him from both fear for others and guilt for not being more aggressive in pushing people to get saved. Traditional Christianity has made salvation very self-centered, all about “me”. I will be saved by grace through faith, but “others” (most of the rest of humanity) will be damned inspite of grace.


#3

That’s been my experience too, Sherman. It’s liberating. It allows us to give people room to move, and time to experience things for themselves.

Jesus was never in a hurry. When he was rejected by the rich young ruler, Jesus didn’t run after him or try to convince him using another angle. He said he would lose none that the Father gives him, and was content to await his Father’s good pleasure. And who will the Father give to Christ? Every principality and power in heaven and earth, including the little kingdom in my own heart, and in yours.


#4

I was just about to say, too Sherman, that your son’s experience has been my own and it is so freeing to trust God that he is in control and is faithful to really love! Saying the word trust reminds me how vital trust is to any relationship and so it probably makes sense that it brings a deeper relationship with God and others.

Alex, your thought made me think of this verse in Luke 2:10, “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” I think if we substituted all for some it would be a lot less glorious. Part of the excitement it seems, on the angels part, is who the good news is for - all people. How can we separate the good news from those that it is intended for? It’s only good news because it’s for the people and the fact that it’s for all of them. Can we really separate them?

I’m imaginging Gene coming to our kids and announcing with all kinds of excitement, “Behold, I have great news. 1 of you is going to get to go to Disneyland!” I’m sure this is probably not a great analogy, but how could any good daddy announce anything as wonderful as the promise of the joy of Disneyland to only one of his children?! As their mother I would only jump up and down if they both got to go. And I feel extremely exuberant, as well, about the faithfulness of God to see all of us through. The faithful love of God, as revealed in Jesus, for all of us is really good news!


#5

I love your posts Sherman and Allan, and can testify to similar growth in myself–and see that I still have far to go that way!

My initial thought in response to this question is, “Is the Gospel being neglected? Are we hindering the Gospel in any way by discussing or proclaiming UR?” We’re to walk by His Spirit and be filled with His Spirit, carry His cross, and bear His yoke. All this entails growth in knowledge of God and wisdom and the understanding of His ways. Yes the Gospel is of utmost importance–but we’re not supposed to live off milk always, but continue to mature.

Sonia


#6

Good thread and Good replies.

It seems to me that the Jewish perspective on the afterlife ( 0 CE) did not involve ECT then this guy Jesus comes along and gives the Good News that only a tiny minority will accept and everyone else will be roasted for eternity. GREAT NEWS!!

Reminds me of a christian colleague who must have thought I looked a bit sad one lunchtime so came up to me and said “Hey, Cheer up John, Look at all these people. What future have they got? Whereas you and I are bound for heaven! Praise the Lord!”

Get real.

(PS I’ve told him I’m a universalist but it doesn’t seem to register).

Sherman: come over to the UK to start an assembly. I need one.


#7

Good points from everyone… especially from Sherman …

and amy

Quick note: No doubt the agony of watching “loved ones” head for hell is terribly overwhelming. Yet I think we need to keep reminding ourselves and others that if we truly love as Jesus loved, then everyone would be our “loved one”.

This is important to mention because it serves to shake up the world of the traditionalist who feels secure because all his “loved ones” are saved. To him I would say, “Why are you so at peace? You must not be loving the unsaved like you say you are supposed to do. Why aren’t they your loved ones too?”

I can tell you why. He is afraid to love the unsaved because of the agony he is potentially set up for if they die in unbelief.

Oh yes he’ll still play the “love the unsaved homeless person at the soup kitchen” game because his traditionalist pastor tells him to, but at a deeper meaningful level (that might actually affect an unsaved homeless person) he doesn’t.

UR sets us free to love all because it gives us the assurance that God will be loving to all in eternity. He’ll find a way.


#8

This reminds me, it’s always made me smile that my mother, a Christian, though never an evangelical universalist despite all our nudgings, says of every deceased person she loves, “Of course they are with God and not in hell,” even as there is no known confession of faith in Christ. She, of course, thinks they had one. She recently said this about a cousin that committed suicide.I tell her she is a universalist at heart because everyone she loves winds up saved. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’d never thought about it like that before. That is something. The news went from bad to worse in a hurry!

That’s very revealing!

I think Sherman should first make plans to come to California. :mrgreen: No, too bad there aren’t more Shermans! We sure need them.


#9

Thanks everyone for the encouraging remarks; I’ve sure needed them lately.

The Gospel truly is wonderful good news, no time to loose good news! Everyone needs to know that God loves them, forgives them, plans to have them fully reconciled to Him with us all, and will fully accomplish his plans for us all! This is truly Good News. The traditional gospel is not good news at all. I mean, how can anyone say that “God loves you, but if you don’t… you’re going to burn in Hell forever!” is good news. It’s simply not.

So yes, the Gospel is important, and it’s important that we know what the Gospel is! Just this morning I was reading Rom. 11-12 again. It was like I was reading it for the first time ever. To sum it up:

  1. God is in Control, deciding who will at this time have faith and who will not. 11:1-31.
  2. God has consigned all over to disobedience so that He can have mercy (compassion, grace, undeserved forgiveness and love) on all. (11:32)
  3. This revelation of God having mercy on us all results in one busting out in Praise! 11:33-36 Doxology
  4. This revelation of God having mercy on us all serves as the one and only solid foundation for the Christian life as a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable to God. 12:1-2
  5. This revelation of God having mercy on us all and God being in control helps us not take pride in having faith, but helps us recognize that such faith is a privaledge and we are thus responsible to use our faith to serve others. 12:1-8
  6. The revelation of God having mercy on us all empowers us to love everyone, to withstand the pressures of persecution, and ultimately to overcome evil with good - thus being conformed into the very image of Christ! 12:9-21

The Gospel in a word - JESUS
The Gospel in a scentence - God Loves us all (you and me) and love never fails!
The Gospel in a scentence - Rom. 5:18, Jn. 3:16, Col. 1:20, Jn. 12:32, Rom. 11:32, etc.

The Gospel truly is Good News, joy to the world, and not only proclaims peace on earth but accomplishes peace on earth. Jesus ultimately saves us all from this present evil age (current reality of hell, separation from God, slavery to sin and Satan, oppression by evil, being surrounded by death and destruction, evil on every hand. God created us in His image, and to be in His image we must have intimate knowledge of both good and evil. Well folks, we’re surrounded by evil on every side, only having glimpses of good! BUT Jesus has promised that good is on it’s way and that ultimately we shall all be delivered from this present evil age! Hallelujah! See, when one really believes the Good News, one cannot help but bust out in Praise! Hallelujah! Glory to God in the Highest! And peace on earth and good will (mercy, love, forgiveness, grace) towards all humanity!


#10

Sherman,I’ve been thinking just this, that Jesus is the expression of God’s love to all of us and assurance that his love won’t fail us. Really Good news!

I know you said you haven’t read much of Talbott, or at all, but your understanding of Romans 11 is so similar. Amazing! I read an article between Talbott and Piper where he explains the Roman chapters in a way that makes so much sense. Maybe, if you haven’t seen it already, you’d enjoy it. This is the link…evangelicaluniversalist.com/ … nation.pdf
I don’t know about your computer, but it takes my computer a minute or so to get to the page.