(1 John 5:9-13) If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for the witness of God is this, that he hath borne witness concerning his Son. (5:10) He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in him: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he hath not believed in the witness that God hath borne concerning his Son. (5:11) And the witness is this, that God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (5:12) He that hath the Son hath the life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not the life. (5:13) These things have I written unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, [even] unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God.
My heart is heavy today. This is what happened.
Recently, I carefully stepped out of my self-imposed isolation and started reading in blogs again. It was more about curiosity than loneliness. I’m not in the least lonely. Besides an active family I have very dear Christian friendships and, more importantly, a close, personal relationship with Christ. Thus, I do not lack for edifying Christian fellowship. But I’ve been on a quest to find some answers and, in this techno age, the web is the shortest distance between the dots and therefore I started an online search.
For the record, I am uber cautious now, having been duped more than once by false teachings that sounded so good at the outset but turned out to be more about humanism elevated to a level of idolatry. What I have learned for my bad experiences is that “good” is a misleading term but is the single most successfully employed hook that snags the unwary. I refer to this as Good for Goodness Sake. I am more discerning now and so I have heightened sensors that kick off when it becomes clear that the concepts of good and love are being reinterpreted by standards of the flesh.
Over a period of several weeks, as I was reading and researching, a term I was not familiar with kept popping up–Universal Reconciliation. Based on what I know about new age religion and the joyous ideology of you’re-ok-I’m-ok-love-wins, I set it aside coming to a cursory conclusion without stopping to research the history and doctrine; the name alone was enough for me to be less than interested in educating myself about what portended to be yet another intellectual attempt to redefine God. I assumed it meant that someone somewhere determined that since God is love therefore God could never condemn the creatures He loves. Sounds good doesn’t it?
Surprisingly enough I was very close. But actually it’s worse than that.
I thought, in my ignorance, that Universalism was something new, just another same song, one hundredth verse of New Age. Once I was compelled to research the history I found to my utter shock that some form or another has been around since the middle ages. In my defense, I can claim that there are so many uplifting things to study, there really isn’t enough time for me to arm myself with knowledge about every religious diversion. But I was more or less forced to find out more about Reconciliation Doctrine because I had engaged myself in a friendly discussion of Romans 11:25. Again, I state that this is outside of my normal comfort zone because I learned the hard way, years ago, that I am not good at debate or Christian Apologetics. I do admire those who are though. But I have a distaste for contention and I have often seen friendly debate, especially about hot topics like religion or politics, dissolve into worse than simple disagreement. In the end, nothing is resolved. No one changes anyone else’s mind about anything. Everyone retreats wounded. Lose/lose.
During the course of the discussion about Romans 11:25, it came out that the perspective of the other person was founded in Universal Reconciliation. I have not replied to his last post because I had to do what I always do, pray and wait on the Lord. I slept on it. When I woke up I knew I needed to find out what UR was all about first. What I discovered simply confirmed for me what I had originally assumed and also something else. It was this “something else” that grieves my soul.
Starting with John 3:16, I know that no matter how many verses of Scripture, even those quoting Jesus directly would be able to sway or cast reasonable doubt in a mind that is given over to a false gospel. I asked myself, why is that? Well, why not? Was it not God that hardened the hearts of the Jews in the first century? (Romans 11:25) For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of this mystery, lest ye be wise in your own conceits, that a hardening in part hath befallen Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Why is it not just as possible that gentiles, who have run after another Jesus or another gospel, would not also be vulnerable to hardening? And if, as is commonly interpreted to mean, Romans 11:25 sets a time when the grafting in of the gentiles will be complete, like a cut-off date of a contest, this hardening will then signal the end of the era.
Given the plethora of false doctrine now offered up in bright exciting packaging, books, CDs, websites, mega-churches with generic, might-as-well-be-a-resort organizations for those looking for a more stimulating or acceptable, less intimidating, no repentance required theology, there is a distinctly dangerous possibility that we are in that era.
And this is what grieves me, that it is looking as though we have come to the end of the last chance - just as the Jews experienced. We are in the get-it-or-don’t era. Some will, many won’t. But to those who are just now teetering on the edges, still in the dabbling stages where you are taste-testing the flavor du jour of all the delightful, flesh satisfying offerings, I ask that you simply stop and weigh everything against this one thing:
A true love for and devotion to Jesus cannot spring from either a desire to escape damnation or reap reward. The only acceptable reason for loving Jesus is because He is worthy. What else do we really need to know?
For a comprehensive study in Universal Reconciliation -The Reason's Why Universalism Is False - by Don Hewey http://www.1john57.com/preface.htm
Christian Apologetics Research Ministry http://carm.org/christian-universalism