The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Gregory MacDonald worships a false god

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dear Blog Readers,

Here is the first very critical review of my book (to be precise it is a review of chapter 1 and a part of chapter 7). It is by a Christian brother called Steve Hays. I have to warn you that is is VERY long and will take about 45 minutes to read properly … eaven.html

It is certainly worth a look. It seems that I am ‘an idolater’ who has worshipped a false god since even before I became a universalist. Oh dear.

For those who are interested I felt that the arguments ranged from good to worthy-of-taking-seriously-but-mistaken to poor. However, I have no intention of replying to the arguments in the review. Not because I cannot but beause I do not have enough time and it would be a wasted effort. As the author himself confesses,

I’m a Calvinist. And I’ve been doing apologetics for several years now, so my beliefs are battle-hardened. There’s no opening in my belief-system for him to exploit. No crack in the wall.

As they say, ‘know thyself’. Reading the review I judge that Steve does indeed know himself and that consequently discussion is futile.

Nevertheless the review is recommended reading because I think that it may actually serve to expose the nature of the theology that Steve defends. Perhaps it illustrates better than any argument I could mount how one’s view of God will impact one’s attitude towards other human beings and the way that one treats them. Steve’s review did not, to my mind, reflect so much love for the world as a deep dislike of humanity. Maybe I am not being fair here so you’d better read it yourselves and make your own minds up. I felt sad for Steve as I read it (though he would not want my pity). I do pray God’s blessing on him.


Posted by Gregory MacDonald at 9:00 AM
Jason Pratt said…
Yeah, Steve was more than a little testy with me, too, when Thomas Talbott and I were discussing universalism with the Triablogue crew over on Victor Reppert’s “Dangerous Idea” site a couple of months ago.

Tons of chunky discussion in the comments for that link, including from at least one aggrieved Arminian (mostly aiming at Paul and Steve. Paul behaved much better, btw.)

June 12, 2008 9:51 AM
Gregory MacDonald said…
You get a mention in this review. You are also of questionable faith.

June 12, 2008 9:58 AM
Jason Pratt said…
He’s referring to the discussion with Talbott that I linked to. Frankly, his review of your book is a lot more temperate than the denigration of me he posted up on Triablogue (though that isn’t evident from his brief mention.) I was kind of amazed he let you off so easily; Tom must have reined him in. {wry g}

That being said, it wouldn’t hurt for you to address any corrections to his presentation of your position, in the comments. Triablogue is read by a significant number of people; and you wouldn’t have to set it up in a counter-apologetic fashion, I think.


June 12, 2008 11:57 AM
Gregory MacDonald said…

I don’t think that he misunderstands me or misrepresents me (for the most part). I just think that his critique fails. More than that I think that the review manifests a dehumanizing theology that is sad.

Glad I got off light. I was flattered that he judged my chapter worth taking that seriously. Given that I was accused of using reason instead of revelation it is a shame that he did not comment on all the biblical exposition chapters!!!

June 12, 2008 12:05 PM
Jason Pratt said…
That would have kind-of blown his thesis. {g}

What’s funnier is that they regularly complain when opponents hold back on doing exegesis due to time constraints. So, one wonders, why not deal with your exegesis?!

(Due to time constraints? I’ll have to bring that up next time we’re crossing swords. Due to philosophical principles being the ground for interpretation? No surprise here!–but then they complain when other people do that, too…)

As for getting off light–at least he didn’t start hurling invective about you being some Satanic-level blasphemer pretending to use orthodox theology to mislead people.


June 12, 2008 12:59 PM
jdc said…
I follow one or two blogs of Christians including Chris Tilling’s on which there have been a few of a"universalist" nature. Chris’s most recent was on Tuesday 24th at I wondered if you would care to comment. I am an interested Christian lay person without the competence to fully understand all the arguments and would value your contribution.

June 25, 2008 1:50 AM
Gregory MacDonald said…

Thanks - I have commented as you requested.

Here’s the link … 161&page=1



June 25, 2008 12:53 PM
jdc said…
Thanks, Gregory, for taking the time to post your comment on Chris Tilling’s blog

June 26, 2008 2:48 AM
Edward T. Babinski said…
Steve Hays making “testy” blog entries? Say it isn’t so!

Wondering what you think about there being so many different interpretations of the Bible?

In fact such interpretations range from damnationism and even beliefs like this one (by one of Steve Hays’s fellow Calvinists and a seminary graduate)…


debunkingchristianity.blogspot.c … ering.html

…to beliefs such as universalism.

July 1, 2008 11:02 PM

Your claim that all will be saved is correct, but if you are like most Christians you do indeed worship a god that doesn’t exist. The god, God gave the Jews at Mount Sinai instead of God was the god the Jews wanted.

HEBREWS 3 : 8 “do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.”
HEBREWS 4 : 2 “For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.”

God had taken them from slavery in Egypt, yet when they seemed trapped by the sea and the uncoming Egyptians they complained that God had freed them from slavery just so they could die in the desert. God opened the sea and rescued them killing the Egyptians, but a few days later they were complaining God had saved them from the Egyptians just so they could die of thirst. He made the water sweet at Marah, but a few days later they grumbled that God gave them water just so they could starve to death in the desert. They never would believe in a God of unconditional love as all the mainline Christians of our day.

You know the story of Elijah in the cave. God asked him to come out. A great wind shook the mountain, but God was not in the wind. The same with the fire and the earthquake that shook the mountain. When a gentle whisper came and Elijah went out because he knew the character of God.

MALACHI 3 : 6 “I the Lord do not change.”

Compare the picture of God at the cave with the god that was shown the Jews at Mount Sinai. It is a night and day picture, yet God said he doesn’t change. When God was coming onto the mountain what did Moses say to the people?

EXODUS 20 : 20 “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you.”

If they wouldn’t believe in the real God would they follow a god like the pagans had? Their answer was that they would do anything he said.

Remember the verse; “I the Lord do not change.”
He allowed the Jews to divorce their wives.
MALACHI 2 : 16 “I hate divorce,’ says the Lord.” Jesus condemned in Matthew 19 and said it was given them because they had hard hearts.
He told them an eye for eye and tooth for tooth and Jesus said in Matt 5:38 that was not the way it was supposed to be.
He gave them a human king when he was supposed to be their king.
EXODUS 23 : 27 “I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run.”
They didn’t trust God though. When the Egyptians drowned in the sea and the weapons washed ashore, what did the Jews do?
EXODUS 13 : 18 “The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.”
The sermon on the Mount was how God wanted to give the Jews instructions but they instead wanted a fearful god that would yell down instructions with threats of death if they didn’t obey.
LUKE 6 : 27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies” This is not the same picture of God that he gave the Jews coming into Caanan.
When Jesus was traveling through Samaria and the people in the village did not welcome Jesus because he was heading for Jerusalem, James and John asked Jesus if they him to call fire down from heaven. Jesus turned and rebuked them. They said it because it was the god they knew, but Jesus was showing the real picture of God. It is the same reason Phillip asked Jesus to show us the Father. Jesus was nothing like the Father, yet he said if you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father.
Paul told the new converts that they had been grafted into the vine but they could just as easily be taken out if they were disobedient like the Jews were.
JOHN 12 : 35 “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you.”

That is exactly what happened in the Christian church by the middle of the 500’s the gospel had been completely distorted into what the Christian church now teaches. Zechariah 11 gives a description of the end days and tells us that they have indeed when taken out of the vine.

ZECHARIAH 11 : 8 “In one month I got rid of the three shepherds.”
ZECHARIAH 11 : 10 “Then I took my staff called Favor and broke it, revoking the covenant I had made with all the nations.”

There are three world religions that follow the false picture of God given at Mount Sinai. The Jews, Christians and the Moslems. And as Paul told them if they followed that god as the Jews did he would break his covenant as he did with the Jews.

I have written papers explaining every misconception the Christian church has falsely laid on God. If you have any interest you have my e-mail address. If not I will not bother you with anything further.

Steve Hays is not an Orthodox Reformer. The Orthodox Reformer believes God has special grace to some and common grace to all. So, they do believe God loves His enemies on earth. It’s when He returns in judgment that He removes His common graces off the reprobate and they feel His wrath full force. But here R.C. Sproul believes that certain types of God’s love can coexist with a type of Divine hatred. He can love a person in one sense while hating him in another sense because of the different types of love.

Here’s another quote from an Orthodox Reformer:

Another Five Point Calvinist John Macarthur:

I only read a few paragraphs and really, it’s just too tedious… already the attitude seems so very cold and callous. He, this early in the reading, seems to have no concept of the horror that unending torment and agony is (would be) for someone/anyone. He seems to have no idea why annihilationism would be a step up, as to the horror, but it still is a horror, of course. A true reflection of the view of God as coldly calculating - What is never ending torment? To God it’s no matter, no big deal. Now there’s the false God! (Shudder.)