Why I Am Not A Universalist – (intro)

Why I Am Not A Universalist (Intro)

In a Facebook exchange recently, I reposted a statement by a friend about the “finished work of Christ.”

Here is exactly what I posted from my friend Gaddy Gose:

“Have you ever asked ADAM to come into your heart and to be your personal CONDEMNER and FAILURE???Whether you did that or not, what Adam did effected the whole world. His work was finished, so to speak, and none of us had a choice in it whatsoever.Now, we are told by many today, that we need to ask JESUS to come into our hearts and to have him be our personal LORD and SAVIOR by believing in Him in order for it to effect anybody. Really?

“When Jesus said, “It is finished,” did He mean it? Or is it only finished once somebody believes?His death on the cross was considered a VICTORY, right?But what if NOBODY believed? Is it still a victory? Some would say, “Well, at least a few believed.”

“Or creating billions of people, saving a FEW, and LOSING THE REST to eternal hellfire is a victory?

“The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a POTENTIAL Gospel. It’s a FINISHED Gospel that we declare.Now before people start to accuse me of being a UNIVERSALIST (which I am not), I want you to consider what I’m saying because this is the message we are giving to the world.(I will leave the future open without assuming who will trust in Christ, but we cannot ignore the historical fact of what Christ has accomplished for the whole world.)I’m not negating BELIEF. Belief in Christ is very important. But we don’t believe in Him AND THEN He becomes our Savior. He IS our Savior. We don’t believe in Christ in order to MAKE His finished work a reality. We believe in Christ in order to EXPERIENCE the reality of his finished>>>>>THIS.IS.THE.GOOD.NEWS.?

In the conversation that followed there was a positive exchange for a while on much of the content of Gaddy’s post.  I found myself in the position of defending and affirming that post – which I did not mind, because I agree with Gaddy.  That’s one reason I reposted his comments.

As I saw it, I was affirming the “finished work of Christ.”  Others thought that I was defending “universalism.”  Though, like Gaddy, I had said clearly, “I am not a universalist!” One of those in the discussion said, “You may claim you are not a universalist, but in fact you are!”

Well, in fact, I am not.

I almost feel like Jerry Seinfeld, on his old sitcom, when somebody was identified as gay, and they would respond with a politically correct…not that there is anything wrong with that.

You know:  “I happen to have a lot of ‘universalist friends’…not that there is anything wrong with that.”

Now I honestly got seriously peeved.  I will admit that I went overboard in my response to this irresponsible accusation.

If you know me, you know that I don’t like to be classified by others.  I get to define myself – NOT YOU.

If you want to know what I believe, ask me. I am not shy.   If you can’t see the difference between what I say and what you think a universalist is or believes – ask me how my viewpoint is different.  But don’t just toss out a statement as if you know what I think or believe better than I do, because you don’t.

Okay, enough for that little rant.

So, what if the question had been properly asked.  “Hey, Bill, I am confused.  Can you tell me how your beliefs are different from those of a universalist?”


“Certainly I can do that.  I would be happy to share with you!”

So, for the next few weeks I intend to post articles on my blog addressing the topic:  “Why I am not a universalist!”

I say INTEND because I am a busy pastor – and some days and weeks are busier than others.  So, I am not promising an article every seven days.  Some may come more quickly, while others will take a bit longer.  So, if you intend to follow this series,  please be patient.  This is a serious topic and I want to give it due thought.

Before we begin…some ground rules:

You do not have to agree – but personal, ad hominem statements are unacceptable.

You can ask any question to clarify what I believe.

You can share any thoughts about what you believe.

Okay, that’s enough for today.

2 Responses to “Why I Am Not A Universalist – (intro)”

  1. Bart Breen says:

    Hey Bill,

    Good article and as you know, I see a lot of this as well.

    The probem as I see it is that there is a particular world-view and paradigm in place that just can’t see past their own view of the atonement and so they only hear their own definitions and can’t or won’t understand that a vast section of Christendom both present and past operated on different world views and paradigms.

    The reality is that the mainline Penal Substitutionary Atonement point of view (which I believe has Biblical merit in places and is one of several viable metaphors for getting a handle on and understanding the atonement) didn’t begin to form until Augustine more than 4 centuries after the time of Christ, didn’t come into place further until Anselem of Canterbury nearly 1000 years after the time of Christ and then didn’t fully coalesce until the time of the Reformation.

    The Sytematics involved in their thoughts, their time progressions etc (which often becomes a huge point of contention between themselves on the finest points) carry with them the affirmation of their own presuppositions and they apparently believe that the entire early church well before Augustine didn’t understand much at all.

    The Trinitarian points of view that you and others are presenting are not new and they by definition don’t fit comfortably at all into the systematics of Calvinism or Arminianism. Yet, when you go to great lengths for some to spell it out and demonstrate it’s no universalism it seems like there’s just an unwillingness to see it within its own context and its own definitions.

    I look forward to what you have to say and appreciate you taking the time to put these thoughts down.

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