Archive for the ‘Universalism’ Category

Like God

Saturday, October 3rd, 2020

In fact, Jesus tells his disciples to turn the other cheek and to love their enemies specifically because this is what God does to His own enemies. So, when we love our enemies, we are like God who sends the rain on the righteous and the unrighteous alike. (See Matt. 5:45)

Jesus also shows us an “Abba” who, like the father of the prodigal son, goes out of his way to seek out his children; to embrace them, forgive them, and extend mercy to them, and who does not require punishment before extending this love to us.

Taking these facts into account, I find it highly unlikely that Jesus would have accepted the new teaching of Eternal Suffering, as the Pharisees had done. It seems far outside of his character to have embraced such a doctrine, especially in light of the merciful, patient, and loving God he revealed to us.

— Keith Giles, Jesus Undefeated, p. 77-78

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 2, 2020.

Good Ending

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

In church circles where people are claiming they “chose Jesus” or “came to Christ” (presumably of their own free will), the Scriptures paint a different picture. “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). Our real first choice actually begins after our eyes have been opened and our heart has received a deposit of belief through an encounter with Jesus.

Because of the Creator’s determined plan that trumps the will of the inferior creature, even the bad intentions and behaviors of others will most certainly be limited and worked out for our good. Sovereign will is one of the most comforting realizations I’ve ever had. If good hasn’t resulted yet, it’s only because the Story hasn’t played out long enough.

— Julie Ferwerda, Raising Hell, p. 200

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, May 13, 2020

Life Right Now

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020

Here is what they are missing; “eonian life” is not eternal life. It means coming into life (relationship with Jesus) in the age that the Bible writer is referring to and continuing through the remaining ages. In any age you live that you are connected to Jesus — the life source or “Vine” — you are enjoying life in that age. For instance, as a believer in Christ, I am currently enjoying life pertaining to this age. When the next age arrives, perhaps the seventh age of the “Wedding Feast” or “Sabbath Rest,” I will no longer be enjoying life in this age, but then it will be life pertaining to that age. Eonian life, then, is not so much about a time that begins after we die, but more about a quality and vitality of life right now, lived in fellowship with God through His Son….

There are many more such verses you can look up, correcting them with eonian life and the proper verb tense to experience the greater truth that Jesus came to give us life right now — not just later — and that people’s lives are markedly improved when they believe, understand, and live the true Gospel message.

— Julie Ferwerda, Raising Hell, p. 154-155

Photo: Meadowlark Gardens, Virginia, April 3, 2012

Favorites?

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020

We must be honest and humble about this: Many people of other faiths, like Sufi masters, Jewish prophets, many philosophers, and Hindu mystics, have lived in light of the Divine encounter better than many Christians. And why would a God worthy of the name God not care about all of the children? (Read Wisdom 11:23-12:2 for a humdinger of a Scripture in this regard.) Does God really have favorites among his children? What an unhappy family that would create — and indeed it has created. Our complete and happy inclusion of the Jewish scriptures inside of the Christian canon ought to have served as a structural and definitive statement about Christianity’s movement toward radical inclusivity. How did we miss that? No other religion does that.

— Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ, p. 34-35

Photo: Burnside Farms, Virginia, April 24, 2015

While We’re Still Sinners

Saturday, April 11th, 2020

Romans 5 says that God showed His love for us while we were still sinners and that we were reconciled to God while we were still His enemies. If He did this for you and me, why should He not do it for everybody? This passage says to me that God has already overcome His children’s evil with good, even if we haven’t had enough time to observe it yet. Luke 6:35, the one quoted above about loving your enemies in order to be sons of the Most High finishes by saying, “… for [God] Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.”

If that’s true, then why would we who have been overcome by His mercy be considered any more worthy, special, or privileged than someone who hasn’t yet been overcome by it? Why do we believe that death magically makes God’s love and mercy disappear for most of His children, especially when Scripture teaches that Jesus defeated death for all, the evidence to be seen in due season? What would compel enemies of God to be lured by some kind of “unconditional love” offered until the moment they die, only to then turn into unquenchable hate?

— Julie Ferwerda, Raising Hell, p. 92

Photo: Paris, France, April 2001

God’s Glory Shines

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020

As Gregory [of Nyssa] argues in On the Making of Humanity, evil is inherently finite — in fact, in a sense, is pure finitude, pure limit — and so builds only toward an ending; evil is a tale that can have only an immanent conclusion; and, in the light of God’s infinity, its proper end will be shown to be nothing but its own disappearance. Once it has been exhausted, when every shadow of wickedness — all chaos, duplicity, and violence — has been outstripped by the infinity of God’s splendor, beauty, radiance, and delight, God’s glory will shine in each creature like the sun in an immaculate mirror, and each soul — born into the freedom of God’s image — will turn of its own nature toward divine love. There is no other place, no other liberty; at the last, to the inevitable God humanity is bound by its freedom. And each person, as God elects him or her from before the ages, is indispensable, for the humanity God eternally wills could never come to fruition in the absence of any member of that body, any facet of that beauty. Apart from the one who is lost, humanity as God wills it could never be complete, nor even exist as the creature fashioned after the divine image; the loss of even one would leave the body of the Logos incomplete, and God’s purpose in creation unaccomplished.

— David Bentley Hart, That All Should Be Saved, p. 143-144

Photo: Hemlock Overlook Regional Park, Virginia, April 6, 2020

It Comes Down to Love

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

In the end, it comes down to love, and God’s love never fails for the weak or broken of heart and spirit.

— Julie Ferwerda, Raising Hell, p. 89

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 22, 2020

Radical Solidarity

Monday, March 23rd, 2020

The point of the Christian life is not to distinguish oneself from the ungodly, but to stand in radical solidarity with everyone and everything else. This is the full, final, and intended effect of the Incarnation — symbolized by its finality in the cross, which is God’s great act of solidarity instead of judgment. Without a doubt, Jesus perfectly exemplified this seeing, and thus passed it on to the rest of history. This is how we are to imitate Christ, the good Jewish man who saw and called forth the divine in Gentiles like the Syro-Phoenician woman and the Roman centurions who followed him; in Jewish tax collectors who collaborated with the Empire; in zealots who opposed it; in sinners of all stripes; in eunuchs, pagan astrologers, and all those “outside the law.” Jesus had no trouble whatsoever with otherness. In fact, these “lost sheep” found out they were not lost to him at all, and tended to become his best followers.

— Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ, p. 33

Walls of Division Have Fallen

Thursday, March 19th, 2020

For Paul in particular, the marvel of Christ’s lordship is that all walls of division between persons and peoples, and finally between all creatures, have fallen, and that ultimately, when creation is restored by Christ, God will be all in all.

— David Bentley Hart, That All Shall Be Saved, p. 89

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 17, 2020

Never Giving Up

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

Is it not the same with our own children, each their own yet fully out of us? When I think of the bond earthly parents have with our children, I know it is utterly impossible that God would ever ask us to lose a part of ourselves forever, any more than He would ever intend to give up a part of Himself. His answer is not damnation, but regeneration of all His children into purified sparks!

Jesus always esteemed children because He came to show the heart of the Father toward His children. A true father’s love cannot be earned, and it cannot be done away with. Just as we would never give up on our children, God will never give up on His children; His love will not fail them.

— Julie Ferwerda, Raising Hell, p. 82

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, February 24, 2015