"Universalism is the new Christian orthodoxy"


The zombies salute you, Dave :exclamation: :smiley:


Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week, thank you so much…


The Eastern Orthodox view according to:

"As I said, Orhtodoxy finds the idea that has developed (by changing several interpretations) of a God who vengefully burns people in hell forever as punishment for offending Him to be completely repugnant. But historically the Church has understood God and eternity differently…

"And since you are now in Controversial, I do want to add …

"As I said, our Church views God as good and loving. His intent and desire is to save everyone. He gets no pleasure at seeing anyone suffer.

"We cannot teach universalism, because that was not given to us by the Apostles, nor by Christ. However, along with God, we hope and pray for the salvation of each person.

"We don’t delve into what we have not been given, nor teach what we do not know. But we do know, as I said, that God doesn’t take pleasure in anyone’s suffering, loves each person, and wants each one reconciled to Him. Souls are eternal, though. Man was not created to die. Had there been no fall, man would have lived, neither body nor soul dying. But God Himself is the Source of Life. In shutting himself away from God through sin, man brought death to himself. It was always God’s will to restore, which is why Christ defeated death and made the resurrection of the body possible. ALL will be resurrected in the end, even those who hate God.

"God loves each of us, and He is so pure, Holy, so other … that if we are in His Presence, feeling His love, yet in our sins and rejecting Him, we will experience that Presence and love as torment. Imagine a teenager that is really mad at their parents having to stand there and be hugged and kissed by the parents. The rebellion of the teen will experience that as torture. But hatred of God is a deeper rebellion (the teen doesn’t really hate his parents) … and God’s Presence is much more profound than a simple human embrace. God won’t force anyone’s will, but He STILL loves, because He IS love. So … anyone who hates Him will be tormented (and likely by regret too). He will suffer … our God is a consuming fire - so awesome is His very Presence. But it will be a suffering if his own making.

"Now the speculative part. We can HOPE, and we do, that it is possible that with knowing the Truth, humans who hate God might let go of what sets them against God, at some point. It would be consistent with God’s character for this to happen. He doesn’t punish to exact pain, but everything He does is ultimately for restoration. We don’t say that it is impossible for Him to restore those souls … if not all, perhaps many it most … from their torment. We desire, we pray, we love with God, and we hope that all men will eventually be drawn to Him. Or almost all. We don’t know. We cannot proclaim this. We must not assure anyone of the chance of delayed reconciliation. But we always hope in the case if each person. And we certainly don’t say “God can’t”. We do know He desires it.

"And I could have posted that in Traditional Theology, since it IS an accepted understanding of many of the Saints from the early days. But for the sake of not stirring things up, and since I thought you’d rather be here, I waited until it was moved. But this is a teaching (the possibility) from far back. Annihilationism isn’t, but I can understand why it resounds with many. It really is NOT in God’s nature to torment forever with no purpose in mind. You are right about that. :slight_smile: And in the end, it’s more important to get an understanding of God’s character right, than it is to know exactly how He will accomplish what He hasn’t told us.

“God be with you.”

christianforums.com/threads … 750/page-2


“Orthodoxy’s entire dogmatic deposit resides in the canons of the seven ecumenical councils—everything else in Orthodox tradition, be it ever so venerable, beautiful, or spiritually nourishing, can possess at most the authority of accepted custom, licit conjecture, or fruitful practice—and the consensus of the most conscientious and historically literate Orthodox theologians and scholars over the past several decades (Evdokimov, Bulgakov, Clément, Turincev, Ware, Alfeyev, to name a few) is that universalism as such, as a permissible theologoumenon or plausible hope, has never been condemned by the Church. Doctrine is silent on the matter. So live and let live.”

“But there are those who find this an intolerable state of affairs, sometimes because of an earnest if misguided devotion to what they believe Scripture or tradition demands, sometimes because the idea of the eternal torment of the derelict appeals to some unpleasantly obvious emotional pathologies on their parts.”

firstthings.com/article/201 … int-origen


"Top Lutheran bishop: If hell exists, ‘I think it’s empty’ "

chicago.suntimes.com/chicago-po … h-podcast/


Why not just drop the word “Orthodoxy” and say it like it is:

“Our group of churches has chosen to believe that the entire dogmatic deposit resides in the canons of the seven ecumenical councils”?

Creeds, statements of faith, ‘minimum beliefs that we have decided make you one of us = true Christians = orthodox’ - almost all of them have a particular hobby horse that accomplishes just about nothing, other than dividing one group from another, each saying “We believe that…” followed by some thing that is usually not even clear in Scripture - and end up in some sub-sect of Christianity, fighting with others, over things that are not at all even “plainly” taught in scripture. Drives me nuts.

That is one (of the many) reasons I’m drawn to Channing and GMac. They aim for the heart of the matter and keep that focus; the heart of the matter being our moral core, where God expects us to grow, deepen, enlarge, love - the things that a focus on minutae of the Bible diverts our attention from. Being ‘justified by faith’ (which is ambiguous as a concept) does not change our character - and our character is what is important. As Christians, we believe the Holy Spirit is our Helper in our striving but make no mistake - when it comes to fighting greed, selfishness, idolatry, anger etc., in ourselves, the Holy Spirit will bring things about that expose us, to ourselves at least and probably others, that are painful. That’s the way it is, I think - we are thankful to God for what Christ has done, and we also need to see where the growth takes place.
Having been on the receiving end of this for many years - and for many more no doubt - it’s painful, but in the end is promised to be the peace that is the fruit of righteousness.

What GMac and Channing do is: Provide The Way of ‘SEEING’ and understanding what the meaning is of the many things Providence brings into our life. Those things are brought to improve us, to enlarge our trust, to make us more trustworthy, and above all to teach us to love.

I will now dismount from my high horse.


:wink: You’re de man


This discussion (and recent commentary by Dave), reminds me of a song: :laughing:




I couldn’t agree more, Dave, that it is our character that is the important thing. And yes, δικαιοω (to justify) is ambiguous. If the meaning “to make righteous” then to be made righteous through faith has a significant meaning. For it is through faith that we are able to appropriate the enabling grace of God that was made available through Christ’s magnificent sacrifice of Himself. That enabling grace is described in the letter to Titus 2:11-14

However, many understand the meaning of δικαιοω as “to be counted righteous” whether or not there is any change in our character. They think it’s all about God counting us righteous. They say when He looks at us He no longer sees our sin but Christ’s righteousness, and for that reason we’ll go to heaven instead of hell. For them salvation is not being delivered from actual sin, but being delivered from hell. In my opinion, this is a false “gospel” which is very prevalent in our world.


Very well put!


“I totally agree with your assessments and your responses, I am a universalist from way back as many of my brothers and sisters in the Franciscan orders are.”

christianforums.com/threads … 57/page-11


A couple of technical questions, Origen:

Are these Roman Catholic orders?
And if so, don’t you really mean - they are hopeful universalists. As I don’t think RC church teaching - endorses actually universalism.

If you believe the RC church endorses this - fine. We will leave it at that. So folks can continue - with the topic.


AFAIK official RC teaching is as you say, though some RC disagree, e.g. some ECTers i’ve encountered.

AFAIK they are RC.

I’ve read elsewhere - can’t recall where ATM - that there are many Franciscans who are universalists (in the sense of believing in universalism in the usual meaning of the word).

But I’ll relay your questions to Gordon & get back to you.


Who is Gordon?


Well, I think one Gordon, goes by the name of Flash. And his prime mission in life…was to defeat, the evil emperor Ming.:laughing:


He’s the poster i quoted at the linked thread on CF.

I asked him: I see you list yourself as "Anglican, yet have “Franciscan tssf” under your name. Is there a relation between the two?

He replied: Yes the Society of St Francis the SSF of which the tssf third order are Anglican Franciscan orders.

I didn’t realize there were any Franciscans that were not RC.

I’m still waiting for his answer to Holy-Fool’s Q’s.


Here’s his answer:

There are also Lutheran Franciscans as well the OLF although I have not met any as there are none here where I live.

I don’t know that an order would specifically describe it self officially as anything other than Franciscan, but the brothers and sisters of those orders would mostly describe themselves as universalist if they were asked.


Please refer to this Wiki article:

Franciscan spirituality in Protestantism


“The Orthodox Church is intentionally reticent on the afterlife, as it acknowledges the mystery especially of things that have not yet occurred. Beyond the second coming of Jesus, bodily resurrection, and final judgment, all of which is affirmed in the Nicene Creed(325 CE), Orthodoxy does not teach much else in any definitive manner. Unlike Western forms of Christianity, however, Orthodoxy is traditionally non-dualist and does not teach that there are two separate literal locations of heaven and hell, but instead acknowledges that “the ‘location’ of one’s final destiny—heaven or hell—as being figurative.”[50] Instead, Orthodoxy teaches that the final judgment is simply one’s uniform encounter with divine love and mercy, but this encounter is experienced multifariously depending on the extent to which one has been transformed, partaken of divinity, and is therefore compatible or incompatible with God. “The monadic, immutable, and ceaseless object of eschatological encounter is therefore the love and mercy of God, his glory which infuses the heavenly temple, and it is the subjective human reaction which engenders multiplicity or any division of experience.”[50] For instance, St. Isaac the Syrian observes that “those who are punished in Gehenna, are scourged by the scourge of love. … The power of love works in two ways: it torments sinners . . . [as] bitter regret. But love inebriates the souls of the sons of Heaven by its delectability.”[51]In this sense, the divine action is always, immutably, and uniformly love and if one experiences this love negatively, the experience is then one of self-condemnation because of free will rather than condemnation by God. Orthodoxy therefore uses the description of Jesus’ judgment in John 3:19-21 as their model: “19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” As a characteristically Orthodox understanding, then, Fr. Thomas Hopko writes, “t is precisely the presence of God’s mercy and love which cause the torment of the wicked. God does not punish; he forgives. . . . In a word, God has mercy on all, whether all like it or not. If we like it, it is paradise; if we do not, it is hell. Every knee will bend before the Lord. Everything will be subject to Him. God in Christ will indeed be “all and in all,” with boundless mercy and unconditional pardon. But not all will rejoice in God’s gift of forgiveness, and that choice will be judgment, the self-inflicted source of their sorrow and pain.”[52]”

“Moreover, Orthodoxy includes a prevalent tradition of apokatastasis, or the restoration of all things in the end. This has been taught most notably by Origen, but also many other Church fathers and Saints, including Gregory of Nyssa. The Second Council of Constantinople (553 C.E.) affirmed the orthodoxy of Gregory of Nyssa while simultaneously condemning Origen’s brand of universalism because it taught the restoration back to our pre-existent state, which Orthodoxy doesn’t teach. It is also a teaching of such eminent Orthodox theologians as Olivier Clément, Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, and Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev.[53] Although apokatastasis is not a dogma of the church but instead a theologoumena, it is no less a teaching of the Orthodox Church than its rejection. As Met. Kallistos Ware explains, “It is heretical to say that all must be saved, for this is to deny free will; but, it is legitimate to hope that all may be saved,”[54] as insisting on torment without end also denies free will.”