The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Q&A with Derek Flood- author of "Healing the Gospel"


#281

Now that sir is a vision of the Gospel that can bring hope to the most hopeless, the most godless and the most unrepentant.

If we are slaves to sin how can we repent (change who we are) if we are not freed from our bondage first?
It is like telling a slave that he must stop being and acting like a slave even though he is chained and under the domination of his taskmaster.

Would a compassionate person who came upon that slave berate and beat him saying, "get up and act like a free man who is responsible for his bondage (repentant) before you are worthy to be freed from you chains and have your wounds treated and healed? No, he/she would break the slave’s bonds and minister to his needs and treat and heal the wounds inflicted on him by his bondage. So how much more compassionately and justly would the Compassionate One treat all unrepentant sinners.

This is what has been done for all creation before the foundation of the cosmos by the Lamb who takes away the sins (bondage) of the world. We will be more than merely repentant we will be resurrected into a new life that will be totally free from all sins, the memory of them and consequences of them. That is what the Crucified, Risen One has done for us, all of us–and that is the Gospel.

Dave


#282

Hi David

Thank you for writing this so plainly. How can the cross accomplish less than anything we can imagine?

If we are slaves to “sin”, or if we wrong others because we are deficient or disabled (such as being born sociopathic), or if our behaviour and thinking is wrong because we have become weak and sick because of this world, we will then be completely freed, completely healed and made completely whole by his presence.

When you see him as creator, healer, etc., who poured his life out into the world so that the world would have his life (the idea of Jesus being “the bread that is given for the life of the world”) it becomes clear that he is faithful to the whole creation and heals the entire creation.

That is a simple message that can be understood and welcomed by anyone.


#283

Bob,
My apologies if I mischaracterzed your possision. That was not my intent.


#284

Dave, yes I believe this is true. Well said. Merely repentant - God through the victory of Jesus the Messiah will delight to dazzle us far beyond comprehension and all of this fallen world’s paradigms.

Eph 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.


#285

David(s) [heehee],
There seems to be two things being discussed:
A) What happens to people post mortem.
B) What Christ’s death means and how it works and applies.

But my questions (and others) have been. If Christ’s death assures everyone that they will be resurrected and no one will enter an age of hell, then why would we not conclude that Christ’s death is ineffective in the present age?

The last time I asked this, I received an answer that - we do suffer in this age. We do die in this age.

I worry when someone says “we don’t even have a clue what Jesus did on the cross” - of course we do, that’s why Paul is so amazed at grace that - while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. That is amazing. So if you have no clue then how could you find it amazing. For me this is just a sensational way of trying not to avoid the difficulties of your view.

If Jesus’ death is security of all the world so that God does not punish nor place anyone into hell in the next age, why then AFTER CHRIST’S DEATH do people suffer? Obviously the question is:

Is Christ’s death ineffective until the next age? If you say it is partially effective, then I would like to know why? I don’t understand scripture to endorse that at all. Perhaps you can elaborate what you think Jesus’ death means.


#286

Hi Auggy, I’m glad you ask these questions.

I wrote that (very poorly in fact) so let me rephrase it. We currently have a minuscule understanding of the cross. Our present view is also very clouded by the way things are in this current evil age, and we may ascribe things to the cross that just don’t belong and leave out other things that do.

I’m not exactly sure I understand your question so I’ll just throw this out and see if it helps the discussion.

I do believe the cross (Jesus’ death and resurrection) is effective in this age. I don’t believe it frees us from the laws of the Universe. So, yes, currently we do suffer the results of our actions - we reap what we sow. However, what the cross can, and greatly does effect, in this age is our minds and what we believe is real.

For example, it may be easy for us to conclude that god or “the gods” are harsh, unbending, and will exact a penalty from us when we disappoint them. After all that’s what we see in the natural laws. The cross however showed us something very different. This difference can and should have a profound impact on how we presently think and then live and interact with each other and the planet.

I would say much (most?) of the misery and suffering in this age is the result of people thinking wrongly about what God is really like. “Christianity” unfortunately has contributed much to this misunderstanding and mischaracterization of God.

Here is a great post by redhotmagma on the gospel’s effect in the current age.

As the above post illustrates, repentance in this age is simply recognizing where we are thinking wrongly (about the work of the cross) and applying a new understanding to living our lives. It’s really not about god standing over us and demanding we repent or else.

I believe the cross and the pouring out of the Spirit afterwards allows us to see much more clearly than ever before the way things really are above, in heaven, and to make that paradigm more of a reality in this present dark age.

I don’t know why the view I’ve just presented is not endorsed by scripture?


#287

Again, as I said before, this assumes that the purpose of Christ’s death was to avert God’s punishment. This is the assumption of penal substitution. That’s not why Jesus died.


#288

Shark,
I don’t believe he died in our stead (took our punishment in a vicarious way). I’m just confused of David’s position because he believes the cross did it all but it’s not effective until the resurrection? Sorry if I’m not expressing your views properly Dave. I’m just wonder how you see the atonement working.

Dave,
My caveat is that you seem to imply or object to God allowing people to suffer in the next age because it would be unloving, yet post cross this age, he’s doing that but you do not make the same objection to this present age. So I’m confused by your view.

And yes, it might be not understanding your view; please have patience with me. :slight_smile:


#289

But you just said: “Jesus’ death is security of all the world so that God does not punish”

What am I missing?

Well, it’s not completely effective, but it is effective in a profound and life changing way now. Paul describes this as the “first fruits” of the resurrection. So it seems to me that what David is describing is a very orthodox view. It’s the classic “already, not yet” paradox. Theologians have been discussing this for centuries. It goes all the way back to the early Church Fathers.

I think it is debatable whether all will be changed in a flash (as David seems to be saying) or whether there will be a time of purifying (as Bob seems to be advocating). Paul seems to say both at different times, so I guess we can just flip a coin :laughing: . But either way, idea of “already, not yet” is pretty standard.


#290

Sorry Derek, I’m being unclear. I’m saying - In Dave’s view - it seems to me that Jesus took all the suffering of the world on his back so that we don’t have to - thus it’s wrong to say there will be any suffering in the next age.

But I’m asking why the cross has to wait to be effective. Why is there suffering now. Dave responded that the cross is ineffective on the laws of the universe but I’m asking about why it’s not effective on us NOW. So I’m trying to understand why, if there is suffering in the next age, would that be unloving of God? Especially because it’s possible for God to allow suffering now and he is loving. I’m trying to make sense of it.


#291

That sounds like penal substitution to me. I seriously doubt that is Dave’s view.
Is it your view?


#292

No Derek, I don’t believe Jesus took on some vicarious form of punishment.

Well put. And yes I think this is part of the misunderstanding for all of us.

My difficulty with the “not yet” position is it seems to me to logically conclude that we, though belonging to the body of Christ, are not really washed in the blood of the lamb, since that implies perfection - that will come at a later date,and regardless of what you do in this life, there will be no judgement for you since Jesus took your sins on the cross.

If that’s not the reason, then I would like Dave to explain his view on why it works this way. Again, I’m not trying to provoke you Dave, I genuinely want to know.


#293

My goodness, how am I ever going to catch up now? :laughing:


#294

Auggy, the idea that Jesus took our suffering just so we don’t have to is not the way I would describe what the cross was all about. There is much more to it obviously. We have all hurt and been hurt. We have taken things from each other that can never be replaced. How is one supposed to truly pay the consequences for murder? There is no amount of punishment to the murderer that will restore the victims to wholeness. Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall and who’s able to put back all the pieces?The answer: no one but Jesus. At the cross, He took the whole ugly mess upon himself to fix it - expiate it.

I don’t believe it is possible for an individual person to be fully restored until we all are. Our lives are too intertwined and if one person is to be made whole then we all must be. I don’t see how it can be any other way. In a sense if one person is suffering punishment then we all are.

In my previous post I tried my best so express that it is effective now. I guess I don’t know what you mean by effective?

I believe suffering in the next life will be unnecessary. If in the next age, Humpty Dumpty is put back together then why would there be any further need of suffering? All has been healed, restored, and God is all in all.


#295

My focus of the cross has been truly shifted or rather aligned into place. :smiley:

I’m still confused about who Jesus is. :confused: A lot of stuff trinitarians come out with, gives me the impression that Jesus is the Father or that is what it sounds like. I don’t think they realise this is how it sounds. I thought (and think) the Father is Yahweh, the ‘I am that I am’. The God who spoke to Abraham and Moses. The God who Jesus talked to and who spoke from heaven to affirm that Jesus was His Son. So we’ve got two different persons- God who is the Father, and the Son who is the perfect image of His Father (‘if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father’ ie God). If Jesus is the Son of God, then He must be divine and can therefore share titles and glory with God and hence references in the Bible that describe Jesus in ways that were only applicable to Yahweh. Now the Holy Spirit seems to me, to be the power of God. The verse that talks about the holy spirit bearing witness with our spirits, seems to show this: my spirit isn’t a separate person who inhabits ‘me’. My spirit is the force that makes ‘me’ possible- it’s the life force that coupled with a body makes ‘me’. I notice in the NT, that the HOly Spirit can be the Father’s or Jesus’. So it seems we have God who we may know as Yahweh, who begat a Son two thousand years ago who we know is Jesus. The Holy spirit is God’s power and so, we have three elements and in that sense I have no problem with a ‘trinity’ but I just don’t ‘get’ : three persons but one God, not three Gods. If Jesus is God’s Son, then He is a God, and if the HOly Spirit is a separate person, then He is a God, and of course we know the Father is a God and so you have got 3 Gods who are united into one partnership or you’ve got 2 Gods whose spirit gets things done. :confused: I don’t know. I’ve asked Jesus many times, if He’s part of a trinity. I’ve asked the holy spirit if it’s a person (and apologised to God incase I’m talking to a ‘force’ :open_mouth: ). I’m still confused after thirty years of asking God about this. I don’t know why He can’t just clear this up. :unamused: (and while He’s at it, confirm He and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are real. :astonished: I doubt they are real probably every day).


#296

This is a very concise way of saying pretty much precisely what I was thinking reading through this latest exchange. On both counts this is what it boils down to: already/ not yet tension (which we find in Hebrews, among other places), and purgatorial vs. ultra universalism.


#297

So then a fair question would follow: what does ages mean? Does it mean in some apocalyptic sense? Or does it mean like 2000 years? Because to the Ultras if the next age, there is no hell and all is perfect, then that means any promised hell is for now - but of course I don’t even understand how they can say that because they say God doesn’t do hell at all?

I’m so confused… :open_mouth:


#298

Aug; As a hopeful ultra-u (not fully convinced yet), how I would answer this, (bearing in mind I have not adequately studied this out) I would answer something like the following: 1) There is no “hell”, as this is really just hades. 2) There is judgment, but (from an ultra-u perspective) that occurs in whatever form primarily in this life ( e.g., reaping and sowing). 3) When we are resurrected (and there are different theories on when this is; either immediately on physical death, to sometime later, at a “general resurrection”), then we become like Him, because we see him as he truly is; corruption puts on incorruption, etc… Death and subsequent resurrection is part of the scheme for separating us from our sins. When we are resurrected, we are given “final judgment” in the sense that we are given a place in the new order of things (with God all in all) based partly on what we did with the revelation we had when we were here in our current earthly life.

At least, that’s how I see the ultra-u position based on my current understanding.


#299

Mel,
I get that. My issue is that they’re objection to judgement in the next life is defended with:

*But what a horrible God that would be if in fact he was like that. Can you imagine telling sad people on the bus that God’s judging them now? Or (as in Derek’s position) can you imagine telling them that sin is judging them now? Can you imagine if God’s not stopping them from being judged now? *

I’m saying it seems like you would still have to counsel, sorry but the cross will resurrect you to eternal life but as for now and your unfortunate mishaps like your children being abducted, that’s just part of judgement?

Something doesn’t add up.

The problem I see is that they seem to dismiss all the passages that talk about those who practice evil as receiving trouble. And the usual response I’ve received is - we’re all evil - which I summarize as meaning that there is no difference between those who follow Christ (evil doers) and those who follow the devil and violence (evil doers). Therefore God makes no distinction between those who walk by faith and those who don’t.


#300

That is definitely not my position.

I think the problem is that you are thinking in the categories of punishment.
I am thinking in a completely different paradigm.
It only makes sense if you think in that paradigm.
You can’t play chess using the rules of football.