The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Universalism for cynics

Hi Everybody,

How do you believe in eternal life, no-strings attached when there is A LOT of crap in this world?
How do you believe in God when it sure seems that He/She doesn’t give two cents or isn’t even up there?
Why would God, if God really loves everybody unconditionally, do so little to promote Universalism? (Does a loving parent abandon his/her children EVEN IF ultimately he/she is going to come back to them? Won’t the orphans have reason to be upset with this? If Christian Universalism is true, then God has abandoned the Muslims, Hindus, Irreligious, etc. in just this way, right, or are people just supposed to know Christian Universalism is true without revelation? Most Christians are abandoned, too, because they grow up in denominations that preach hellfire and have cynicism for EU.)

Don’t get me wrong, I know if there is any goodness in this world that universalism must be true… but sometimes it seems like my hoping doesn’t correlate to reality, and then the above cynical questions come tumbling out.

How do you all stay afloat? How do you believe it day-to-day in the face of counter-evidence? Do you experience the same cynicism at times? Do you friends and family think your beliefs are pie-in-the-sky?

Thank you!

Consider the fact that Christians were deprived of salvation by grace for over one thousand years until Martin Luther rediscovered it. Now its staple doctrine. But we recently celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Being in the minority is not evidence of weakness. The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. Everything starts small and grows big. I believe there will be a day in which Universalism will be as pervasive as Arianism or Calvinism. Just as the printing press helped Luther get the word out, the internet will continue to spread Universalism. I also think there are authoritative discoveries still waiting to overturn the old doctrine.


Hi Pastor Mark,

I understand what you’re saying. (I think :smiley:) Certainly truth isn’t determined by counting heads, and before Christianity became the right arm of Imperial Rome, there were evidently many Christian universalists.

What I am most worried about: On Calvinism or Arminianism (where these are non-universalist, for you could be a deterministic or free-will universalist obviously), I can appreciate why God would let his revelation be so dependent on the contingencies of history. However, I far more difficulty reconciling universalism with its pervasive ignorance. Because, if God loves everybody unconditionally, wouldn’t God want them to know that?

I ain’t claiming that universalism is therefore untrue, or even unlikely, it just presses on me - why would a universalist God leave so much to chance in this life? Maybe one could retort its because nobody is going to be lost forever, but I’d still think He be concerned with our present pain to the degree He loves us. Another way I could put this is that divine hiddenness seems to be more a problem for the universalist than the exclusivist, because what, on universalism, would be the motive for God to keep His love (relatively) hidden?

(Maybe I just have an insecure faith - thank God there is this website where people can get help with their questions).

BTW, do you really think there will be a resurgence of Universalism? I see atheism, pluralism and turn-or-burn evangelicalism burgeoning, but universalism seems so much in the minority (unless you consider religious pluralism to be close enough, but I’d wager many here don’t).

That is a great lie, and you need to consider that stuff before you post such nonsense.:face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Of course I could be wrong about everything. But I am praying and believing that Gods victorious love will in fact be known by more and more as time goes on. Sometimes things change very slowly and then very suddenly. Our life is a very short span by which to judge the arch of Gods plan for history.
Also there is an interesting case in 2 Kings 22 where it had been almost 60 years since anyone had read the law. But it was rediscovered and it changed everything.

I always remind myself that just because Universalism creates puzzling questions that does not mean other systems don’t have even more puzzling and even disturbing questions. Universalists are the least likely to accept pat answers to their associated problems than others. Armenians (which I was) and Calvinists are very prone to plugging their ears and just accepting party line explanations that don’t make sense but plug the hole. Universalism solves the problem of evil and the problem of hell for me and brings us to what I would call a much more unified theory of God. For so long theologians have been telling us that God can be love and an eternal sadist and that makes total logical sense. thats crazy talk to me.

But as for God allowing Universalism to remain hidden, I could ask the same question about doctrines such as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit which according to my experience is very real and very scriptural but was seemingly lost for centuries until the Azusa Street revival. And even though that wildfire has spread greatly in the 20th century, when you add all the Baptists with all the Catholics who think it passed away with the Apostles, It adds up to a really important truth and experience that God is not “properly” promoting to the global church.
For some reason God tolerates and utilizes us in spite of the fact that we all see through a glass darkly. Both in large faith movements and as individuals.
Look at what it took to break Peter out of his gentile aversion. The vision of the animals. Peter argued with the very voice of God. Thats kind of the challenge that God faces with people every day. Opening eyes without blinding people. Its a slow, loving process.
Just my thoughts. But I am very optimistic.

I am waiting for a conclusion… Or no… a position. No one waited for a thousand years for Christ to do what he was sent to do. Christ did what he did when he did it.

Pardon my hyperbole. I would temper my statement by saying that somewhere along the line works overtook grace in the mind of the Catholic ruled world and this dark age was terribly long. Martin Luther ushered in a new age through the reawakened awareness of grace. I never stated Christs work was not effective, just cloaked in oppressive darkness by the Catholic church.
Its pretty undisputed that Martin Luther pulled back the curtains and let grace shine in again. If he didn’t then Im not sure why he is so famous.

I appreciate your position verses Christians were deprived salvation…

They were not and will never be pastorMark. All are creation of God.