The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Thoughts I Shared On SoM's Our image of God? thread :)

Thought I’d post this as a topic too so maybe more people would take a look at it, as I thought it might encourage or help. :slight_smile:
With all the arguing I’ve been seeing on here lately, I thought it would be something good to share. :slight_smile:

Well, here it is:

I’m not sure if I can agree that the majority of people who classify themselves as Christians relish the doctrine of hell… some do, I’m sure, and they are often the loudest and the most obnoxious and often get the most airtime in the public forum (which makes their number seem greater then it really is, I think), but I think the average person who believes in God and Jesus isn’t dancing a jig because of their most likely pretty vague views on hell… but then again, when it comes down to it, I can only speak with any measure of authority about my own experience. :neutral_face:

When I believed in hell (or tried to accept it anyway), I did so because I felt I had to, that it was just a reality I had to accept and deal with (though I had no idea what that reality would look like when it actually happened, which in some way made it even more terrifying at times, when I thought of my family or my friends, or even myself, in darker moments)…
I believed it because I felt like there was no other choice in the matter, if I wanted to have any kind of relationship with God, or with Jesus… I just had to try to accept His ‘justice’ even though it didn’t make any sense to me…
And I wrestled with it… a lot.

I faced many dark days and nights agonizing, struggling, crying, screaming, hating and cussing out God (or to be more accurate, my twisted image of God), emotionally imploding and mentally cracking because of things like this…
This may not be a universal experience for all those who believe in hell, but I don’t believe it is rare.
I’ve heard enough stories of similar struggles people have had with this to know I’m far from alone in this.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that the average person in the pew (or not in the pew), though they may not experience violent depression because of their belief in hell, aren’t excited about it either.
I think many people, like C.S. Lewis, would say that if there was one doctrine that they could throw out of the Christian faith, if they had the power to do so, it would be the doctrine of hell.
But they don’t feel they have that power. They believe that, like I did, that ‘this is just how things are’ and they have to live with it, and trust God as much as they can in the face of it. :neutral_face:

Most of us, I think, sadly, eventually become numb to it, and just don’t really think about it much anymore, which is honestly where I think I was heading in my mindset before I found out about UR. :neutral_face:
Of course, when God comes along, like I believe He did with me, and through working in my life and my heart (and I believe in answer to all those those dark days and nights), to throw this doctrine out Himself, that’s a different story. :slight_smile:

The fact is, people here, like Revival for instance, who believe in this doctrine, will not change their views because of anyone, including us, convincing them, no matter how eloquent or logical or profound our arguments may be.
I have tried to convince atheists and others of my faith in God at times, but thus far it really hasn’t gotten me very far at all…
When it comes down to it, like others have said here, only God Himself through His Spirit could open anyone’s eyes to this, or to anything of importance for that matter…
God may work through us to bring others to this place, or to any place He wants them to be, but ultimately it is a thing of divine grace, and not of human desire or effort…

The best things we can do, again by God’s grace and with God’s help, I think, when arguments for UR, no matter how well laid out they may be, fall flat, is to treat those on the other side of this with love, and to pray.
This is easier said than done, of course, because love is hard (like Jesus said, ‘It is hard to follow me!’), and even praying is hard sometimes, with the busyness and tiredness of our daily lives.
But then whatever love we show, and whatever prayers we bring to God, will not be shown or brought in vain. :slight_smile:

And we can always remember that each and every person belongs to their Creator, and He is the only One who knows what to do and how to break through to them. He has broken through to me at many times and in many ways… and I’m sure He is fully capable of doing the same with anyone and everyone else, in due time. :slight_smile:

And all of us here need this grace, need the Lord to be our helper, in this. We are all in the dark in one way or another, and we all need light to walk by.
But we can hold on to the hope that one day God will turn on the lights for everyone, and instead of finding a monster waiting to devour them, they will find a father waiting to embrace them.

And may it be so. :slight_smile:

Blessings :slight_smile:


I agree with you, Mat. Once upon a time there were a good deal more people who did seem to relish the idea of the eternal torment of the damned, but not so today. Some would say that we should get back to “good” old hellfire and brimstone preaching and then we would have the mourners’ benches filled once more with people seeking repentance and forgiveness from God. (Even these mostly believe in hell as a damned good deterrent. (pun intended))

The people I know who believe in a traditional hell mention it with sorrow and in hushed tones. Others just don’t talk (or presumably think) about it. Honestly, I think that people with vivid imaginations tend to suffer worse in their apprehension of what a traditional hell would BE like. For me, it was bad if I thought about it. For others, they just don’t think it through – what it would really mean.

Really, most of us believe it just because it’s what we’ve always been taught and because of the various mistranslations in the Bible supporting it. People don’t pursue study as to whether this or that is true, when they believe that they already KNOW whether it’s true. To question such a thing seems tantamount to heresy. In truth, it’s merely honesty.

I remember when I believed in that evil doctrine. In 2005, my wife’s mother past away from breast cancer. She was a lovely woman and did believe in something, but as I understood it, she never excepted Christ in her life as we are taught in church. I woke up one day years later and my wife sat me down to talk to me about something. I could see she was truly troubled. She explained to me that she read a testimony in the internet by a woman named Mary K Baxter who talks about her experience in hell. Part of the book talks about a part in hell which is a leg and btw Mary explains that hell is formed like a body of a human. In the leg part of hell, Mary explains how she with Christ approached an old lady in a small pit of fire and how she explained this woman reminded my wife of her mother. This though devastated my wife. I felt absolutely helpless and I cursed God for doing this to His creation. There was nothing I could say that would bring comfort to my wife. That same day, I read the entire book and I could not sleep for a week. What horrified me the most about this book is that Mary so often points out that most of the people she said she approached were Christians? Anger, hate, confusion and not to mention a mass amount of backsliding followed after this experience. It wasn’t until my wife showed me the bibletruths website with L Ray Smiths take on scripture that woke me up. A lot of help came from Gary Amirault’s Tentmaker’s site as well. When my wife learned of what I learnt from these sites, we both felt peace and tremendous joy.

We brought this wonderful news to our son’s god mother, who btw is a devoted Christian, but she refused to believe, She responded with “What about all those child molesters and murderers?” (The hidden thirst for vengeance). No matter what proof we showed her, she still refused to believe that all are saved (the older brother of the prodigal son). Since then she has experience nothing but hardship. Fired from work, continual poor health. It goes on and on. She has broken contact with us and we don’t understand why. We always have know her as a godly person who loves her god son and us. Anyways, I decided to use my YouTube channel for something else. To minister the teachings of reconciliation. If anyone who calls him or herself a Christian; has a true purpose, it is us URs (2 Cor 5:18-19). I went on many Mary Baxter videos to preach the truth, and not only was it rejected, I was accused a son of satan, a devil, moron, deceiver, and many more horrible things. Not to worry, as I know that they are not ready for the truth yet. Since then, I have come across many URs, while at the same time many Christians who are bent on refuting Universal salvation ( I say this with a smile on my face). Most of these Christians who believe in the hell doctrine don’t even act like they do. I have witnessed so much unrighteousness to promote righteousness, it is sad.

I agree, Cindy :slight_smile: Questioning the doctrine of everlasting hell really is just honesty. :slight_smile:

SoM: Sounds like you’ve been through a lot, bro. :frowning: I haven’t yet faced much, if any, persecution for this, but then I haven’t been as open about it as you have been. I admire your courage. :slight_smile:
But SoM, I just wanted to say, not to get down on you or anything, but maybe you’re coming on a little too strong with them. :frowning: If you’re in someone’s face about something, especially something as potentially volatile as this, then people tend to get really defensive. :frowning:
I was talking with Sonia the other day on Facebook, and she suggested that humility and respect go a long way when it comes to this. And I think she’s right, cuz she hasn’t faced a whole lot of rejection in spite of being open about her beliefs…
I’ve noticed that Universalists who tend to be more confrontational are the ones that usually get attacked the most. :frowning:
Of course, I could be way off base here. :frowning: Maybe you’re just venting, and you could be the nicest guy in the world, and are just totally loving on your enemies… I don’t know you well enough to know either way. :neutral_face:
But I just wanted to point this out, to give some food for thought.
I’m sure that there are some very hateful people out there, as you’ve mentioned, and you’ll probably find more of them on the internet cuz they feel safer hiding behind their computer screens spewing their vitriol, but then I think the average person who believes in hell, if you humbly and respectfully shared your beliefs with them, then they may disagree with you, but I don’t think they would call you ‘a son of Satan’. :neutral_face:
I know you’re frustrated, bro. All of us who believe in UR are frustrated to some extent, because we are in the minority (though not for long, I think). But we should all pray for humility and patience in this. God knows we are not perfect, but all of us can be learning and growing by His grace. :slight_smile:
We will be known by our love, after all. :slight_smile:

Blessings to you, brother :slight_smile:


To Edward, thank you for your concerns. I believe we are to insist the doctrine of reconciliation of all to all including hell believers as Paul wrote in 1Tim 4:11, but with gentleness , love, patience and guidance. But there must come a time when one realises that a hell believer will refuse to believe salvation for all and just walk away from him in pity. Paul was constantly stoned by his fellow Jewish brothers, and I like Paul am grateful to be persecuted for my beliefs and teachings by my fellow Christian siblings. This persecution is a great blessing for me, though it is hard at times. I can remember being excepted as a brother in the church for following false teachings, and when I look back, I have to ask myself, how was I being persecuted for Christ? Where was my suffering? Please, do not give praise to me, as I am grateful for this blessing from Him who opened my eyes in this life time, and set me free.

May our Father continue to bless you all with an abundance of love and good health.

You’re welcome, bro :slight_smile: I see where you’re coming from. It’s hard to process this though, that just as I was told by fellow Christians that sometimes I should just drop it and trust God with someone’s life and destiny, when someone is closed to hearing about Jesus, that now this is true also of sharing UR with people who believe in ECT… but the hope that we have is that even if we do have to walk away and just trust God with the outcome, that when we do trust God, we will not be disappointed. :slight_smile:
We can believe that everyone will eventually be reconciled to God and to one another, because God won’t give up on anyone, and will make everything good and right in the end. :slight_smile: Now that is a hope worth clinging to. :slight_smile:
Yeah, I see what you mean… I have faced very little persecution for my faith in Christ thus far… maybe a little bit from atheists and the like, but then most of that, sadly, was probably warranted. :frowning:
Please pray that whenever I open up about all of this as you have, that God would help me to be brave too, as well as wise and loving, and to know how to handle things as they come…
Alright then… I admire the courage that God has given you. :slight_smile: May He be praised for His grace toward all of us. :slight_smile:

May the Father bless you as well, bro, and even more than He already has :slight_smile: