The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Getting Christians to think

I think sometimes we evangelical universalists try to do to much. We are dealing with very entrenched beliefs that people will not give up easily.

George MacDonald often said that first we have to present a God worth believing in, then people will find themselves wanting to believe it is true. His fiction is a very disarming and perhaps the best way to get people thinking about the character of God.

It bothers me that Bethany House Publishers stopped printing MacDonald’s books. I know that they have been heavily edited by Michael Phillips (after all a lot of people will have trouble reading the originals), but still they are important.

There ought to be a major push to get them back in print. Maybe if just one or two were printed for starters.

I have written to Bethany House, and I hope you do too.

GM’s books are readily available online. Here is one source:

Thanks for posting the originals Paidon.

The first book of MacDonald’s I read was The Peasant Girl’s Dream, which was edited by Phillips. The book was originally titled Heather and Snow. The original can be read here:

I would not have read Heather and Snow as a young man. I doubt I would have made it through the first chapter; it is just too tough.

:laughing: You mean there’s a translation? And here’s me, learning Scotch by sheer struggle. Too late now – I almost understand him. :smiley:

good luck with that !

Deprogramming is a difficult process and I do think that the ’ willingness’ must be a factor . In such unwillingness cases, the light yoke we all have is to simply love people where they are at… sometimes very difficult when you see the destructiveness of a belief that portrays God as being unkind and uncaring enough to allow eternal suffering.

Yep, it is challenging to get Christians to “think”, to examine what they believe and why they believe it, especially those over 40. Though I do find younger Christians, under 35 to be more willing to seriously consider things. I find that it is very hard for people to change their “family” ties. For example, if a guy comes to faith under a Calvinist perspective, he tends to stay in that family and to continue to understand scripture from that perspective. That is what he’s experienced and been taught since “childhood” in the faith. And changing how one is taught from childhood is very challenging.

Not only that, but most believers are not all that worried about doctrine and are much more concerned with simply loving God and loving people. And concerning UR in particular, most Christians do not feel confident enough to challenge existing traditional translations of scripture. In other words, being the word “Hell” is in the NKJV 32 times or the KJV 64 times then there must be a Hell.

Tradition is a very hard thing to overcome! And Appathy is almost impossible to overcome.

A lot of people are fine just living out their INHERITED BELIEFS to the best of their ability.
And that is it for them.

:wink: I think you mean “Scottish” or Scots English (unless you’re actually trying to learn Scottish Gaelic!) “Scotch” is something you drink; granted it can be a sheer struggle to get down, especially if it’s blended… :laughing:

yes. Scotch takes a lifetime to learn. Laphroaig is an excellent place to start with its pungent peaty taste. Then progress on to the other Isle of Islay single malts. Wow!

Laphroaig is one of the best Islay malts! :smiley:

Here in Tennessee, we don’t drink your foul heathen brews. We only drink good Christian liquor, brewed here in Tennessee.

(Well, some of us do. Some of us are Baptists. :mrgreen: )

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I’ve often wondered why people hold so tightly to the concept of hell when its not actually appealing. I think somehow most people dismiss their fears and convince themselves that their loved ones will go to heaven in the same way people think their babies go to heaven. In my own life I didn’t question it until I went overseas and suddenly everyone I knew I was bound for hell.

As to everything else going on in the church. People in general, not just Christians, do not enjoy thinking. Those who do will never gain the predominate voice. It will take a lot to shake people’s faith.

Hi Mango, You make a good point. Coaxing christians out of their comfort zone and motivating them to think is not easy. It can be done but can also be costly for the ones making the challenge. The easy life of toeing the party line can be very tempting, but that’s the broad and easy way as I see it. Welcome to the forum btw. Drew :wink:

Welcome Mango,
And Drew (I trust you are well):

I had never thought of ‘the broad and easy way’ in that manner. Good thought.

Thanks Pilgrim! Yes it just struck me. I’ve taken some flak and made extra work for myself recently by preaching outside people’s comfort zone - prodding the sheep instead of stroking them. Playing safe would have been easier and more comfortable, but where would that lead?

Being a former sales trainer, I know that making statements doesn’t make people think. When a person hears a statement, the only thinking going on is a rebuttal of the statement. Asking questions is the key. For example, saying, “Jesus is the saviour of the world and that includes everybody.” to an ET person will just make them get defensive. Instead, “The Bible says that Jesus is the saviour of the world. Do you think that might mean every single person?” At least they start thinking, “Maybe it’s possible”
I don’t think many would say, “there is NO way that it even might be possible for that verse to mean exactly what it says.”

Good tip. If you catch them in the right mood :wink: