Don’t you just hate it when someone says you are deceived or dishonest about one thing or another simply because they believe they have received a revelation from the Holy Spirit? Me, too!! What about those who believe differently and are just as sure that the Holy Spirit has revealed truth to them? What makes one or the other so special as to have the Holy Spirit on his side rather than on hers?
This mindset is an infestation in the mind of the Church at large. It may account for the formation of most of the divisive denominations throughout the world. To some extent, every denomination presupposes that they have a monopoly on the truth. Otherwise, what would have been the point of their formation?
Granted, some denominations realize that they are not perfect and are open to theslim possibility that they could be mistaken as far as less important matters are concerned. Certainly, some believe that there should be room to disagree without looking down on or separating themselves from other “sects”; even though every denomination is guilty of the latter, to some extent. At the end of the day, Christian denominations are divisive; even though some of them meet once per calendar year, in neutral territory, to counteract the tension that is all too evident between them.
Even though denominations are divisive by nature, each of them have certain points of agreement. They coexist in the same religion, after all. Therefore, they make it a point to agree on the essential doctrines of the faith; although many attempt to include secondary doctrines with actual pillars of the religion. Certain secondary theological concepts are held so high that many would sooner question the pillars of the faith than these “sacred” concepts. Naturally, these concepts are sensitive subjects and remain so because most Christians are totally unaware of how to discuss them, which is most likely due to the spiritual community in which many socialize.
The concept of hell is one of these “subjects”. Congregations across the world have been told that there is only one Christian understanding of postmortem judgement. Anything that strays from what is currently the orthodox view is deemed heretical, which scares away any potential dialog about alternate interpretations and prevalent presuppositions. Many are afraid of potential error in their theological framework because they have been taught that a Christian must believe correctly to be right with God. Is this so?
Certain doctrinal acknowledgements are undoubtedly necessary. Or, should I say- “They prerequisite faith in Christ.”? A Christian must believe that God exists, first and foremost. So too must we believe that Jesus died and rose three days later. Otherwise, our faith is in vain. Obviously, a Christian must be a follower of Jesus. Many would scoff at the statement- “There is little more than this that is necessary for our right-standing before God.” Sincere faith produces good fruit, which is the ultimate evidence of saving faith.
I would never claim that secondary doctrines are unimportant, even though some are more important than others. The “importance” of secondary doctrines has fluctuated throughout the ages as it has revolved around that which the masses have taken for granted. A portion of the Church may inadvertently undermine “non-negotiables”, which is precisely why we should test all things and allow iron to sharpen iron; rather than shy away from questioning what we are told to believe. If we fail to test any secondary doctrines that we hold dear to our hearts, we will inevitably set ourselves up for all kinds of problems down the road.
Recently, I was promoting my upcoming book on Facebook. I was sharing information about a giveaway that I will be running through Goodreads in few months. On a Presuppositional Apologetics page, I shared my post with the following comment:
PRESUPPOSITIONAL APOLOGETICS LEADS TO CALVINISM OR CHRISTIAN UNIVERSALISM. IT HAS LED ME TO THE LATTER.
It wasn’t long before someone responded with the mindset mentioned above, as follows:
I SERIOUSLY FEEL SORRY FOR YOU. CU IS EVIL AND MAKES GOD UNJUST, AND IS NOT PRESUPPOSITIONAL.
Evil? . . . Really? I understand the assumption that it is unjust, because I once believed similiarly. At the time, I knew little about the doctrine of Universal Reconciliation (UR). Therefore, I equated it with a belief system with which I was familiar- Unitarian Universalism (UU). It would follow that CU is evil if it parallels UU. Moreover, it would follow that God would be unjust if he operated according to a UU framework. However, CU is nothing like UU. It doesn’t claim that there is no hell. Neither does it claim that everyone will go to heaven at the moment of their death. It does not negate the work of Christ. Rather, it is wholly dependent on Calvary and the subsequent resurrection. It does not negate the necessity of faith. In fact, it depends on and emphasizes the grace of God much more than alternate paradigms by rejecting certain prevalent presuppositions that are anything but clearly stated in the scriptures.
One of the primary presuppositions that CU rejects is that God has drawn a line in the metaphysical sands of reality that places a boundary around God’s ability or willingness to reconcile the uncommitted upon the final beat of their hearts. It denies that salvation is impossible after the grave because the Bible never explicitly says anything about the topic. Many claim that the burden of proof is on the Christian Universalist because “the Bible doesn’t say that anyone can be saved after they die.” Yet, they have just as much of a burden as we, for reasons stated above. An argument from silence is not proof of anything for either side.
However, the Bible is not completely silent on this topic. Given the decree that all things will be reconciled, restored, and renewed, the implication that postmortem salvation must be a possibility is all but explicitly stated. Otherwise, New Covenant prophets become false prophets, which would discredit the entire Christian message.
The subtitle of my upcoming book: Hell in a Nutshell- The Mystery of His Will, contains treasures that are all but discovered by the masses. It’s almost like the Church had been re-burying this revelation for reasons about which I can only speculate. Perhaps it’s because of the Church’s deification of orthodoxy, which is also addressed in my book. I believe this is the primary reason certain schisms have been preserved since the Reformation. Other reasons may be more personal for particular individuals, depending the the paradigm to which they are committed.
In my book, I examine the Augustinian and Arminian framework as it relates to presuppositions regarding postmortem judgement. I don’t want to give too much away, but the gist of it pertains to their central point of disagreement and to a particular option that neither group has considered—one that could possibly resolve their age-long schism.
The vast majority of Christian denominations fall into one of two categories/paradigms- Augustinianism (Calvinism) or Arminianism. Few would dare to question their points of agreement. However, this may be where their resolution lies. Once it is discovered, the two will finally be allowed to absorb into one. Only then will the Church be fully equipped to carry out her ministry of reconciliation; free from the shackles that have been self-imposed, which has, thereby, marred the Good News that we have been commissioned to disperse since the ascension of the Father’s Only-Begotten.
It’s about time that we cease the friendly fire and join hand-in-hand to preach Jesus Christ- the Savior of the Entire World.
IN ESSENTIALS- UNITY; IN NONESSENTIALS- LIBERTY; IN ALL THINGS– CHARITY.