I wish I has something nice to share, but I haven’t really met any URs in real life, so I’ve never seen one converted (or reverted) to ECT! I’m still a newbie to the UR idea myself, and you guys are pretty much the only URs I know…
LOL!! It’s not my opinion, she’s referring to the other thread. Therefore, if you have questions about that thread, go ask them in that thread. That’s all I was trying to say. I want people to post in here in response to her question. Sometimes people get close to trolling up a thread, getting it wildly off-topic, and I just didn’t want that to happen here.
Now, Oxy, as our little conversation is not really on-topic, I’ll let the moderators handle anything else off-topic in this thread. Have a great day!
Not yet myself, no. I don’t suppose it’s impossible, though. Someone who came to believe in UR due to poor arguments (their own and/or others), or because they thought they’d had a mystical experience, could easily reverse given better data and logic, or a stronger mystical experience, etc.
It’s possible someone with stronger reasons could go to ECT or Anni, but that’s less inherently likely.
To be fair, someone could also have purely selfish reasons, or anti-ecclesial or anti-doctrinal bias, for believing in UR and then come to believe ECT or Anni as part of converting out of those things, thinking (mistakenly I would say) that the categories are necessarily connected that way. I have heard of that kind of thing happening, although by the nature of such cases it isn’t typically from any kind of seriously Christian UR but more from a loosely ‘spiritual’ UR with Christian flavoring (if any connection to Christianity at all!) There are many famous doctrinally serious non-URs who before converting to doctrinally serious Christianity (or to Christianity at all) believed loosely in an “everyone goes to heaven if heaven exists at all whee” sentimentality. My own teacher C. S. Lewis probably counts as one such example.
I haven’t known or heard of anyone who has converted from UR to something less than. That doesn’t mean that no one ever has. But it seems like many of us who have become convinced of UR have been through a process involving a lot of prayer, thought and study–often alone, even facing strong opposition and discouragement from family and friends, wondering if you’re being led astray by your own desires, and maybe it’s too good to be true? Then there’s the humiliation of knowing you’ve been very wrong–that you’ve tried to convince others of things that you now think are very wrong, wrestling with the difficulties involved with breaking out of lifelong presuppositions, knowing that your church family is likely going to write you off as a heretic with ‘itching ears’, going against established traditions, accusations of pride for thinking you know better than others, and so on.
By the time a person has journeyed to the point where they can say they are convinced of the truth of UR, they’ve developed a strong and well founded conviction, not easily swayed – and learned their Bible better than ever before along the way.
So, so true, Sonia. Biblical universalism is so much a reversal of preconceptions. I was trained to read scripture the way the Pharisees did - justifying my self, while rendering judgment upon the “other”.
Now, when I hear "Thou shalt break them, with a rod of iron. Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potters vessel! " (the song immediately BEFORE the Hallelulah Chorus in Handels Messiah) I rejoice, knowing that I will continue to be broken to be reintegrated with God, and that God will break all sinners and shatter all evil. His triumph, his love, his purposes who can impede? We, children of Adam, shall all be broken. But how much greater the triumph of the second Adam than the sin of the first?
I can definately see that once you come to truly embrace universal reconcilliation it would be hard to shift perspectives back and with all that you have said about suffering alienation and argument from family at home and in church, it must be something that you are really sure of to embrace it and to come out with it. I did find someone named David Hansen who went from ECT to Annihilationism to Universalism and now he has reverted to ECT. Here is a link to an article about him with an interesting dialogue between the posters about Annihilationism. Let me know what you think.
On just a quick read through, it seems to me there were two problems:
He junked judgment along with hell.
His universalism was not scripturally based. I’d need to read more to be sure of that.
But judgment is a key teaching and is part of the gospel itself “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” The coming of the kingdom is when justice will be done, good rewarded and bad punished without exception – dumping that is what messed up his universalism. Punishment does not have to be forever to be real.
I just skimmed, so if I missed something, someone please correct me!
Both good points that I missed on first reading. I missed the bit where he talked about getting rid of the God of Judgement (which Evangelical Universalism doesn’t do). I think the idea that he also seemed to junk hell as well. I remember thinking when I read that he lost the energy of preaching when there was no urgency that there are still consequences for sin and disobedience.
For many of us (myself included), arriving at universalism was a result of incorporating more of scripture than before, more of theology than before. I’ve kept everything I had before and added in more. The only thing I’ve lost was the hopelesness.
That’s going to be naturally hard to go back from. Anything less, is less.
(By more theology than before, I do NOT mean including a bunch of contradictions as though they could all be true, along the line that ‘all ideas are equally true’, which is a popular and rather anti-religious notion of universalism. But the number of doctrines I could keep theologically in mind and in play at once increased; I wasn’t having to turn around and reject some of them in order to keep the hopelessness. )
When I first came across Universal Salvation laid out in scripture my heart accepted it immediately and basically married itself to the idea, it was actually my intellect that had to “catch up”. I was at an intellectual crossroads where my will would make the decision to either continue with ETC-based theology or take the plunge and embrace Universalism with my head as well as my heart. When I would lean towards continuing to believe and support ETC my heart and shoulders would literally feel a heavy weight that was like two anvils strung together on my back; and my spirit was like “If you continue to believe in this kind of Hell, this weight will be the yoke of Christ that you carry”, in other words the weight was the yoke of Christ as per ETC. But when I’d move towards Universalism; the weight would immediately lift and my heart would be glad and full of energy and peace. And this was the yoke of Christ, light and lifting my burdens as it should be.
I knew the answer; Universalism it is! And here I am.
If I had to go back to ETC, I think it would break me. Heaven would be just plain miserable, and the New Creation even worse.
Several things in Hansen’s reply cause me to question his journey. It seems he threw out Hell, not because of a serious study of scripture, but because he could not reconcile Hell with his belief in Calvinism. So to stick with Calvinism, he chose to believe in annihilationism. But as he continued to study scripture, he came to see the scriptures that support UR and embraced UR. But he would not confess it publically. So if he would not confess it publically, then did he really believe it, or did he just like it. Also, it seems that he assumed that if there was no ECT there was no punishment of sin to avoid - which is not what I believe scripture indicates. And if he couldn’t count on God to take out vengeance of those who hurt him, he felt he had to do that; boy this is really messed up for our living in forgiveness should be based on God having forgiven us. Also, he says his preaching became empty, powerless, convictionless; could it be that it was because he was not willing to preach what he said he believed because it would not be accepted. So instead of preaching with conviction what he believed, he was left preaching messages that would not disturb anyone. So he had to change his beliefs to what is traditional so that he could preach with conviction and please the people too. I wonder if he still embraces Calvinism or did he go back to Arminianism too, or maybe a non-committed Cal/Arm hybrid?
For me, coming to believe UR has been both very liberating and very sobbering. On the one hand I have great faith in Christ for the salvation of all humanity. On the other hand I have a much clearer view of the devestation of the present evil age in which we now live, and a much weightier view of judgment - for me an for all believers. “To whom much is given, much is expected!” So UR judgment and punishment of sin, to me, is much weightier and just for us all, believer and unbeliever alike. And instead of Jesus saving us from ECT, He saves us from “this present evil age” (hell on earth and to come until we all repent)! So though Jesus saves us from “this present evil age” and we taste of that salvation, we are not fully saved from this present evil age until we “all” are fully reconciled to God, saved! So we thank God that we’ve been given faith, but we realize that we are not fully right until we are all restored to God!
Well, Hansen’s article irritated me more than anything else, because it seems he’s just blown about by whatever doctrine seems to make him feel the best at the time. And it bothers me that he was unwilling to openly confess his beliefs because of his job as a pastor and because others would not likely accept it. To then take these character issues and use them to say there is something wrong with UR is just wrong, imo.
"For me, coming to believe UR has been both very liberating and very sobbering. On the one hand I have great faith in Christ for the salvation of all humanity. On the other hand I have a much clearer view of the devestation of the present evil age in which we now live, and a much weightier view of judgment - for me an for all believers. “To whom much is given, much is expected!” So UR judgment and punishment of sin, to me, is much weightier and just for us all, believer and unbeliever alike. And instead of Jesus saving us from ECT, He saves us from “this present evil age” (hell on earth and to come until we all repent)! So though Jesus saves us from “this present evil age” and we taste of that salvation, we are not fully saved from this present evil age until we “all” are fully reconciled to God, saved! So we thank God that we’ve been given faith, but we realize that we are not fully right until we are all restored to God! "
Boom to the power of boom!
So unbelievably right on. I’ve felt God’s (loving but nevertheless refining) judgment so palpably since I’ve better understood His will for all His creatures. He who is a son is disciplined! God’s love is a relentless and uncompromising fire, and the higher we rise, the more He seeks from us. It’s sobering to understand the holy force and redemptive intention of His judgment, and that we are all being judged according to the strictest law of love.