It's funny how often EU passages are read in church


I don’t know if you have found this but since I became an EU, I’ve noticed that almost every week, without fail, we read something during church that is strongly EU! :sunglasses:

Today it was Romans 11:28-12:2 (ESV):


Don’t forget this bit: ** For from him and through him and to him are all things.**

ie. Everything that came from God through Christ will return to God through Christ.



My pastor’s been preaching Ephesians 1 for the last several weeks. I love it! “…the mystery of His will … that is the summing up of all things in Christ…”

Sonia :smiley:


It’s far more amusing to me (in a grim sort of way) when they just skip or ignore verses, though. :wink:

Two different classes this year, in the church I’m attending, I’ve seen teachers fetch up at super-challenging verses which, when the contexts are added up, would point toward universalism. And put them off until next week. And then, next week (or a few weeks later, when finally getting back to the lesson), in both cases the teachers skipped right the heck over those verses.

Or would have, if I hadn’t called attention to the skip. :wink: But even then, they clearly didn’t want to talk about the verses, hadn’t prepared to do so, and rushed to get past them asap. I didn’t press things, because I’m not the teacher in those classes, and there isn’t much that can be gained by nailing the teacher down (I have a horror of causing schism); but neither did I let them just get away with trying to skip those verses either.

Mark 9:49-50 in one case–as usual the teacher had no problem at all talking with some depth on the preceding verses, and as usual in my experience the teacher was going to just skip 49-50. He had even less excuse to do so this time because I know the material he’s working from actually bothered to try to talk about it. In a way that didn’t add up very well. :wink: Notably, he didn’t try to appeal to that notion from his book when eventually briefly discussing those verses!

The end of the Phil 2 hymn, in the other case. The teacher actually had fetched up the week before one verse early at 9, but was going to skip it as well as 10-11. When I asked “wait, wait, hold up–did I miss a class?! Did we discuss those verses already and I wasn’t here?”, he abashedly took a stab at discussing verse 9 (in context of the Christology of the prior parts of the hymn)–and then did nothing other than simply read verses 10-11. Zero discussion at all.

These aren’t uninstructed teachers either. They’re both high-ranking officers in a very large church (one is a deacon, one holds an actual ministry position); and both, while not hardcore theologians, take their Biblical studies very seriously, reading commentaries on a regular basis, etc. These aren’t people whose notion of Bible study is to read devotionals every once in a while.

Frankly, I haven’t been back to that church in several weeks. :frowning: I have great respect for both teachers, and enjoy their classes; and the one who did sort-of try to deal with Mark 9 at least managed to get some class discussion going on 49-50. But both behaved very irresponsibly by trying to skip those verses. It needs to be kept in mind that in both cases, the teachers had been engaged in a long series of exhaustive lessons going over verses from each text in order. (And in the latter case, he had also just finished doing a commentary on Hebrews that way.) They hadn’t skipped other verses when I was around (I wasn’t there every week, so maybe they did skip other verses, including pertaining to universalism, when I wasn’t watching.)

I’m sure I’ll cut them some slack in a few weeks and go back. There’s a pretty good chance they skipped those verses because I was there. :frowning: And so thought it would be better to just ignore ultra-important biblical verses, than to discuss them with someone in the audience who might make trouble for them.

But really, they ought to have studied and prepped, too. Those aren’t trivial verse sets; and both teachers don’t mind chewing on controversial options in other regards, pro and con. I can’t help but get the impression that they avoided what they thought would be a loss had they proceeded. (Or maybe avoided having to look like they were advocating hopelessness, not just in itself–they have no problem discussing hell/wrath verses in a hopeless fashion otherwise–but over against a plausible interpretation of hope.)

argh… fume… fret… sigh…


Sometimes I want to just shout “Amen!” when passages like this are read aloud during the church service. Unfortunately, my reserved and introverted nature won’t allow me to do that sort of thing! :frowning:


That’s what I was wondering as I read through your story. :wink: I wouldn’t be too hard on them–you’re not exactly an easy opponent, and since your argument is going to be based on a more literal reading of the words, that relegates their response to something along the lines of “I know it says that, but it can’t really mean what it says because …”



I think it’s a rare (if not nonexistent) page of the New Testament that does not at least imply universal salvation. Any time you follow a New Testament passage all the way Home, it includes universalism. Otherwise the passage breaks down into contradictions and/or incoherence.


This week we’re going through 1 Cor 12:31-14:1 (NIV) :smiley:

Some good points came up:


The main sermon at church this Sunday was Hosea 2.

The preacher was beautifully insistent that the point was that God never gives up on us, no matter how bad we are.

Obviously I agree! (In fact, an important key plot strand in my novels, is roughly based on the story of Hosea, or anyway is thematically parallel with it.)

But I also know that this preacher doesn’t really believe what he preached. Or, maybe he did yesterday–but I have no reason to believe he won’t go back to believing and preaching something else later, when he’ll affirm that eventually God gives up on us when we get too bad. :frowning:


I’m thankful that I’ve never been to a church that suggested God gave up on persons for getting too bad, be they guilty of genocide or pederasty; just that God gave up on them for being too dead.


Implicit in that was probably ‘…until we die’ :wink:


Yes, the belief that our fate is sealed at physical death is a subconscious assumption.


“It is appointed for man to die once, then the judgment…”

The assumption, perhaps, is that judgment must necessarily result in hopeless condemnation.



While I do sometimes find people simply assuming that in practice (though they always seem to know that they ought not to be only assuming it), I think it’s also often (maybe just as often or even more often) an inference from scriptural exegesis and/or metaphysical reasoning.

I would say the inferences are based on incomplete data or are invalid. And I don’t think people are always conscious about all the details of their reasoning to that inference. But I wouldn’t say it’s (always or necessarily) only an assumption. There are a lot of scriptural verses which don’t seem to offer any hope of final salvation from sin, after all.


That’s true. However, the more I read of them the more they seem to be emphasising the seriousness of sin rather than the hopelessness of redemption (I’m reading Jeremiah at the moment BTW which amongst all the dire warnings of captivity and famine is infused throughout with Yahweh (who’s given the epiphet ‘of Armies’ rather than ‘of Hosts’ in the particular translation I have on my Kindle (the Bible for less than 1 GB pound was a bargain I thought :smiley: ) ) promising to redeem and restore Israel).

Please excuse confusingly nested parentheses :mrgreen:



:laughing: I’ve done that myself a few times this week {and it’s hard sometimes figuring out how to rewrite it (I’m often tempted to use multiple types [but that might make it worse])}!