While I was browsing websites about Christian/Biblical universalism I came across this website:
It belongs to Pastor Neal Punt. He states he has an answer against Biblical Universalism. He actually wrote to the director of Tentmaker ministries and, according to Pastor Punt, he made a good case against Christian Universalism.
This is Punt’s belief:
Nearly every universal declaration found in the Scriptures has exceptions that are revealed in the broader context of the entire Bible. Absolute universals (those that have no exceptions) are exceedingly rare. We can begin with: “I am going to put an end to all people” (Gen. 6:13). Noah and his family proved to be an exception. Then consider the almost innumerable passages that say that all persons were corrupted by the sin of Adam. The immediate context has no hint of an exception. The broader context reveals that there was one “who knew no sin.” “Everything is permissible for me,” says Paul (1 Cor. 6:12). We know very well that murder, stealing, blasphemy etc. were not “permissible” for Paul. “With God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26); yet God “cannot disown himself” (2 Tim. 2:13). Prayers should be made “for all men” (1 Tim. 2:1); but not for the dead and possibly not for some others (1John 5:16). “Everyone in the province . . . deserted me” (2 Tim. 1:15). The following verse speaks of an exception. “In Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22); nevertheless some “will be punished with everlasting destruction” (2 Thess. 1:9); etc.
BOTH FOCUSED AND PERIPHERAL VISION ARE REQUIRED TO SEE THE TRUE PICTURE As I noted in Posting # 2 we must see every passage of the Scriptures with both our focused and our peripheral vision. With our focused vision we see that the so-called universalistic texts, within and including their immediate context clearly say, "all persons will be saved." When so viewing them we are cognizant of the exceptions that are described in our peripheral vision (the broader context of the Scriptures) that reveals that certain persons will be finally lost. Those who will be finally lost are described in no other way in the Scriptures than those who willfully, persistently and finally reject or remain indifferent to whatever revelation God has given of himself to them. To view any passage of the Bible without using both our focused and our peripheral vision necessarily results in error. Paul says, "Everything is permissible for me" (1 Cor. 6:12). If we view this text with our focused vision exclusively (seeing nothing but the text and its immediate context) we would have to conclude that murder and adultery were "permissible" for Paul. With our peripheral vision we are made aware that those things explicitly forbidden by God "are not permissible" for Paul. Again, consider Romans 3:9-18 and the many other parallel passages that clearly say, "There is no one righteous, not even one." To view these passages with our focused vision exclusively (seeing nothing but the text and its immediate context) we would have to conclude there is no sinless Savior. So also if we view the so-called "universalistic" texts with our focused vision exclusively (seeing nothing but these texts and their immediate context) we wrongly conclude that they teach that everyone (without exception) will be saved. Our peripheral vision (the broader context of the Bible) presents the full picture that includes certain exceptions. As long as we are mindful of the exceptions we can accept the universal declarations of Scripture as written: With the flood God put and end to all people. All men sinned. God did put all things under Christ's feet. All things were permissible for Paul. With God all things are possible. We ought to pray for all persons. All did turn away from Paul. All will be made alive. The exceptions do not negate, they merely limit, the basic truth set forth in the universal declaration. We make a serious error either if we do not accept the truth proclaimed in the Bible's universal declarations, or if we overlook the exceptions that must be understood from the broader context of the Bible!
WHAT PURPOSE DO GENERALIZATIONS SERVE?
Generalizations are not self-contradictory. They reveal the mind-set with which the author is working. They give expression to the perspective from which the matter at hand is to be viewed. “Everything is permissible for me,” said Paul. That is the new mind-set of Christian liberty. Paul is no longer a legalist viewing all things as unlawful except what the Law permitted. Paul has a glorious new perspective, a new freedom in Christ. "Everything is permissible" for Paul, except those things specifically forbidden by God. A similar purpose is served by the so-called "universalistic" texts (Posting # 2). They reveal the mind-boggling change that has taken place through the work of Christ. We no longer regard anyone "from a worldly point of view," viewing them in Adam, on the way to hell, children of wrath with some specifically revealed exceptions. The so called "universalistic" texts (Posting #2) give us biblical warrant (authority, right) to regard and relate to "the world," "all persons," "everyone" as elect in Christ, as those for whom Christ died, those certain-to-come-to salvation, unless we have specific knowledge to the contrary regarding a specific person. Such knowledge to the contrary concerning any person or group of persons will not be given to us until "the last day."
AT THE LAST DAY
Even if a person rejects Jesus and the words he speaks, we may not judge him or her to be among those who will be finally lost. Listen to what Jesus says, "As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day" (John 12:47, 48). Paul's admonition to to "judge nothing before the appointed time" but to "wait till the Lord comes" must certainly apply to judging that all persons have been assigned a place in Hell ( I Cor. 4: 5). If Jesus, with such seemingly incontestable evidence of a person rejecting him and his words, does not assume that such a person will be lost, how much less justification is there for us to assume that: "All persons will be finally lost except those who the Bible declares will be saved" (Premise "A"). If we had known Paul, who before his conversion did "all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus" (Acts 26:9-11), we would have assumed that he clearly was among those who will be finally lost. We would have been in error.
BIBLICAL WARRANT, PERMISSION, AUTHORITY
We have biblical warrant, permission authority to assume every one we meet is a person for whom Christ died, unless we have specific evidence to the contrary concerning a certain person or group of persons. Such knowledge will not be given to us until "the last day." Therefore the Christian church for the first three and a half centuries continued with the perspective established by the many so-called “universalistic” texts (Posting #2), rejoicing in the fact that "All persons will be saved except those the Bible declares will be lost." "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:22) is what Paul taught. The exceptions will not be made known to us until "the last day." We must accept the so-called "universalistic" texts as written. We may allow only such exceptions that are necessarily imposed upon these passages by the broader context of the Scriptures as a whole.
Since I am new to biblical universalism I would like to know if any of you have encounrered the arguments of this person and how have you answered them. Thanks