Questions & Answers
Questions and assumptions regarding universalism
I have been getting into the teaching of universalism of late, but have some questions about the book of Jude and Peter that talks about some sort of rowdy folk, also wondering what Jesus was talking about when he said "many shall come to me and say Lord, Lord..." How do you handle Biblical contradictions to universalism? anonymous
As far as universalism goes I am not an adherent to the teaching. I'm not sure if that surprises you, but I detect that there are quite a few who had assumed I believe it. Now, if it DOES surprise you in knowing this about me, you may want to consider the possibility that the gospel as preached by Paul could also be assumed AS IF he taught it.
So, why haven't I said anything about it up till now? Simple ... I'm not usually asked about it. A couple of times someone asked about it, but the intention behind the question was obviously to divide the body ... and I wasn't about to play into the game. There have been a few times that I have briefly addressed this, but mostly one-on-one. There are numerous things I won't make an issue of when the more pressing need is to simply see Christ. The fact that grace is oozing out of many who hold to this teaching is enough for me to rejoice that Christ is being proclaimed in a big way.
Why am I saying something now? A couple reasons:
1) You asked me a direct question that I cannot answer in the manner you have asked it.
2) You asked for any help I could give you.
So, I have a few thoughts I would love to share with you if you are interested. And I hope that this will be just the beginning of an interactive communication between us on the issue!! If you are offended by it in any way, this communique will self-destruct and all memory of it will vanish. Okay? :)
I appreciate you so much, bro, and do not want to lose your friendship!
I think you may have lost me there, what are you saying, don't be afraid, just come out and say it.
I thought I said exactly what I meant to say. :) Well, let me make another attempt to explain, okay? Regarding this comment I made:
Now, if it DOES surprise you in knowing this about me, you may want to consider the possibility that the gospel as preached by Paul could also be assumed AS IF he taught it.
Because some have read me as supporting universalism (which is not true) the same ones might want to consider that maybe they are reading it into what Paul wrote. Did that make sense? :)
I have been getting into the teaching of universalism of late, but have some questions about the book of Jude and Peter that talks about some sort of rowdy folk, also wondering what Jesus was talking about when he said "many shall come to me and say Lord, Lord...".
Here's how I took your first letter. This one sentence, lumped your questions directly with universalism. By asking me for any insight I had to this seemed to assume that I saw it as a problem (in that Peter and Jude speak of condemned men). So I answered you in that vein of thought. So, what exactly are your questions about these "rowdy men"? :) I should have asked you that first instead of assuming, huh?
You know, one of the biggest things I have learned about the Bible is that it is not the mystical book that many suppose it to be. I used to think that to really understand what is written was to figure out what it means. I don't see that now. I think if we were just to see what it says then most of our problems with meaning fade away. Does that make sense? I watched everybody else try to interpret it so that's what I tried to do. Heck, when I started seeing what it was saying then the meaning just kinda followed it. When I would go to teach what I discovered, I was so certain that everybody would get it when I asked the questions and read the passage in consideration. It surprised me when they didn't get it.
I've heard the claim that I am deep and that's why I understand it. Rubbish!! I think everybody else is looking too deep and that's why they don't see the stuff that's right on the surface. That's what I think. I remember how I couldn't see the most obvious stuff and it was simply that I was expecting the answers to be intellectual conclusions to deep study. Most of my study anymore consists of reading it over and over again in context with the whole letter as a detective would who is looking for the clues right in front of him that he is overlooking.
As far as the understanding we receive from God I see it much different now. We have already received understanding because the Spirit has been given us. Spiritual insight doesn't mean that I now understand the Bible. But I count on that understanding I already have to be the reason I can hear the obvious truth contained in the writings of the Bible. Learning and knowing words and their meanings is simple linguistics. But the real truth behind everything is the life of Christ.
I don't ask God to open my eyes to understand the Bible anymore ... I ask Him to open my eyes to know the power that works in me, and to know what He has in me ... stuff like that. As I am seeing this, I have discovered that the Bible has opened itself up to me ... and I have found that it declares Christ and his righteousness in me. And I also have seen things too numerous to mention open up to declare the same thing to me.
I received the following comments from another reader regarding the last three paragraphs.
Jim: Your comments from the Q&A section spoke deeply to my heart! I have heard this, too, but deep down I know that what I share with people (Christ Himself) did not come by my intellectual and theological studies...in fact, His revelation came precisely because I was led to see that He doesn't come that way! I want others to know this...I don't want others to falsely assume that I have accomplished anything...I want others (like you) to see that Christ has already accomplished everything. I have not shared this with anyone else yet since I was still "stewing" on it ("meditating" sounded too religious!)...so your comments are a breath of grace and a wonderful freeing affirmation to me! Thanks! Your brother, Gregg (12/7/2003)
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