Unless you all speak in tongues like me you’re gong TO HELL!
Unless you all speak in tongues like me you’re gong TO HELL!
Don’t forget serpent-handling and deadly poison-drinking. If speaking in tongues is all you can do, you’re deceived!
“This fold” referred to the remnant among the Jewish people of His day. The “other sheep that are not of this fold” referred to the gentiles who would come to be His disciples also, and become part of the Israel of God ( the olive tree of which Paul said they were being grafted in). The whole people of God, Jews and gentiles became one flock with one shepherd. as Paul put it:
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility." Ephesians 2:14 ESV
In addressing the chief priests and elders of the Jewish people, Jesus once said:
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. Matthew 21:43 ESV
Would the people producing the fruits of the kingdom be the gentiles?
I agree. For God hardened isreal that the gentiles might receive mercy. (Rom 11)
I am probably a bit of an imposter here! I have recently started attending the Episcopalian Church (so I suppose that means Im not evangelical?), and also I am somewhere between a universalist and an inclusivist - I am somewhere on the spectrum, still exploring! Think I may be exploring for the rest of my life, lol…but the Church I attend is very non-pressuring in terms of belief systems, and encourage questions and sharing of beliefs…
In my opinion, the best church is an openminded one where focus is on the simplicity of the Gospel and not forced agreement on the big issues that divide people. The gospel is not those statement of faith accounts many churches have. It’s a dangerous road to start reasoning if they don’t believe like I do and don’t buy into my superior arguments, or hold that one “absolute truth”, then they are in the wrong and haven’t got the true Christ.
I grew up/got saved in the Assemblies of God. When I was a young teen, my father started an evangelical, non-denominational church. He was the program director for a drug rehab hospital and he wanted to start a church where he felt he could invite his patients to it and they would be comfortable. Not all people know how to relate to someone who is trying to quit heroin. My church was quite unique and awesome! After growing up there I attended a maverick, conservative Methodist church (long story how I ended up in a denomination), and independent Community Bible Church, and a conservative Baptist church, which I still attend. I still don’t consider myself at home in any specific denomination.
I was raised in a “conservative anti-piani” Church of Christ. We didn’t know for sure we were saved, but we were pretty sure you’re not. Then when I was 24 I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and joined a Pentecostal Church similar to the AoG. Since then as I’ve moved over the years, I’ve been a member of a few different inter-denominational Charismatic churches. And now I’m looking for a church where I can join and worship freely as a Christian Universalist. I haven’t found it yet though.
I consider myself “non-denominational”, but I attend a conservative Baptist church (The same one I’ve attended since about '91). Good people, but they pretty much toe the party line, sadly.
I don’t have a denomination, and don’t go to church. I went to a baptist church a handful of times when I was about 5 or 6.
Sorry I didn’t have a category for Catholics, that’s not because I don’t think they make up an important component of the Church, it’s just that it only allowed 10 options in the poll, and so I tried to pick the biggest Protestant ones (as I wasn’t sure Catholics, or Orthodox for that matter, would like the category of “Evangelical” ).
As far as I know, Catholics are free to be hopeful Universalists, which I have a lot of respect for
I would agree with what Paidon had to say as well…
Several years ago I started to see the truth in this passage and began a slow walk away from the traditional expressions of “church” - as Paidon called it, the “social club” that is really no different than the BSA or something.
Now I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a membership to such a social club, or even attending the meetings sans-membership. There can be great fellowship found through such attendance. You can learn and grow alongside others. Great. No problem.
I personally feel as though God brought me out of the social-club so that I may more clearly see, and seek, Him and what He will accomplish in the end. Once I stepped away from the weekly meeting, my walk became my own; more my own responsibility. It was as if I had a bit of a “feed me” attitude when “going to church” and didn’t pursue Christ as much during the week - my growth and faith was a function of my “church attendance”.
When I discontinued my “church-attendance”, my walk became my own and took on new life. I started studying scriptures for myself. I started wrestling with the good questions - the ones that yield understanding and promote relationship with Christ.
My new found confidence in the desire and power of God to save all men has been a result of walking away from the social-clubs.
It’s interesting to me when I talk to those who are (1) still a part of the traditional “church system” and (2) are opposed to the ideas of UR. These people typically associate my heretical views with the fact that I’m not under the tutelage of a pastor and don’t have the theological accountability that comes from being a member of a “church”.
So, I answered “other” in the poll. I am a follower of Christ. I am elected to share the greatest news imaginable with all who will hear - "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them… we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God!"
Aaron; that accusation is one of the primary reasons that I haven’t left the traditional church environment, although I’m ready to do so when God indicates the timing is right. (He just hasn’t yet).
I don’t want to be one of those; “See, he turned to universalism and left the church; I told you so.” excuses for the conservatives’ rejection of universalism.
Actually, for those who don’t know my wife and I believe UR, our lack of attendance is typically a testimony to the idea of having a vibrant walk outside of the traditional social-club. “You mean you don’t have to go to church every sunday to be a christian!?”
We confuse people a bit… it’s kinda fun.
I hear ya, man. Interestingly, I have a friend (and associate pastor) in one of the local foursquare churches whose church organization is building a church (locally) that is also a pub. Now, there’s some fun confusing people!
I introduced myself a week or so ago but this is my first response.
It’s sometime since I held to the distinctive doctrines of my church and to some degree held reservations for many years but thought the problem was with me rather than the beliefs themselves.
Some 15 years ago a small group of us hived off from the main church we’d been attending; mainly this was to do with worship style but as we operated for some time without a pastor there was a refreshing spirit of change and much more participation from the individuals and time spent seeking spiritual direction.
Matters of doctrinal differences didn’t really arise; it was more to do with cultural differences of worship, acceptance dress etc though some of us leaned more to doctrinal exploration.
There was open-mindedness and enthusiasm. It was great for our kids who were encouraged to be a big part and not just tagged on to the adult activities and they were able to grow up with a different view.
As we still came under the auspices of the main church body eventually we were appointed a pastor (they are generally appointed).
The pastors appointed over the years usually erred on the more conservative side- this was in order to keep us on the ‘straight and narrow’, I think- although they were all accepted well by the membership.
As the church grew larger it was probably inevitable that people looked to the leadership and others to organise them and easily became pew-warmers (except we didn’t have any pews!) there being less input from the church members than initially.
For myself, having initially been quite heavily involved, I dropped away for a few years (for personal reasons not because of doctrine). We’ve been back in attendance for about 5 or 6 years but less involved than before. With people coming and going and changes of leadership there has been a swing to the more conservative of late and though the worship style remains a little more ‘up beat,’ with our children grown up and involved in various other places there is less attraction. Perhaps a sign of age but the worship style isn’t so much of an issue with me anymore- it’s getting too loud, my kids reckon I’m fossilising- they may be right.
A few years ago when my son was a teenager (he’s now 23) and involved in some study classes I grew a bit concerned by the conservative views he seemed to be espousing and I began again a process that I had started before my break away- looking at greater depth into some of the doctrines. As a result I discovered that I held considerable question over some and definitely didn’t believe others.
During a bible study group that we were having at our place with some friends one of the attendees who was starting to marginalise herself from the church because of her different views introduced me to the concept of UR. Whilst I remember being rather dismissive, I found I couldn’t get out it of my head. It wasn’t so much that I hadn’t thought of the possibility before but not with any seriousness. We didn’t have any contact with her much after that as her interests took her elsewhere but subsequent to that, with study and prayer I would now class myself a convinced UR (not entirely without some reservation).
I really only have one friend apart from my wife who leans very heavily toward UR but he isn’t at this time overly bothered about pursuing it, though we have interesting discussions. My son is a great chap and open to other views though hasn’t embraced UR but I think gives it serious thought sometimes; he’s a real blessing as we enjoy discussing spiritual matters together.
Recently too, a neighbour who classes himself as an agnostic is quite open to the thought. His wife is Baptist and I recently lent them Rob Bells “Love Wins”- we’ve yet to see her reaction to it but we hope to have them over again soon so will be looking forward to that.
Getting round to the point that I was going to make- I seem to have waffled on, sorry; we find we don’t have a lot of enthusiasm in attending church. I tell myself that one may have more effect from the inside than the outside but on occasions when I suggest or hint about the ‘reconciliation of all thing’ I’m met with the usual glassy eye and change of subject rather quickly.
In a church that has fairly distinctive eschatological doctrines there’s not a lot of leeway for divergent thought and certainly Universalism doesn’t fit with their particular paradigm. I can’t see a lot of hope of finding kindred spirits with regards to beliefs.
We do have some good friends there, so that’s the reason we keep going along, together with the failure to find anywhere else; but I feel like I’m whistling in the wind!
I should add that I’m mindful that you tend to get out what you put in and I’ve been feeling a bit negative toward the church thing lately so should shoulder some of the blame myself.
Really appreciating this forum and though I haven’t responded ‘till now I have been exploring my way through many of the posts. It is really very encouraging so keep it up. God bless
Not here in Tassie by any chance?
That’s great to hear, I’ve bought myself 3 copies of “Love Wins” as I think it’s easier for the “average Joe” to get into.
I know the feeling of being an “outsider” at church I hope you do find more fellowship.
It’s encouraging to here that you’re encouraged!
As I mentioned in a previous post, I was raised a Catholic, but I don’t really consider myself to be a part of any denomination. I mean, you gotta figure, there are so many different sects of Christianity out there. All of them have such wonderful lessons to share – so how can you just pick one? Also, you gotta figure, I was an adamant Church-goer growing up; but I never went to sunday school lessons. Maybe those kids had different experiences than myself. What did they learn that I didn’t learn? Essentially, I’m denomination-less. I’m hoping that by being here, I can find the right sect for me. And even if I don’t find the “right” sect, I’ll know I’m surrounded by knowledgeable & comforting folks like yourself. I really can’t wait to dive into the conversation!!! =D
And, all these denominations and sects are just arbitrary distinctions based on doctrinal differences. Yet one more thing invented by man that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…