I wrote most of the following while steve7150 and JR were posting the last four posts, so I was not aware of them. There is some degree of overlap, therefore between my points and those of 7150.
It is one thing to say there could be a second chance before the judgment to repent, understand and believe (for 'some', perhaps, maybe). This I can grant, because God is fair - not because the bible teaches it (nor does 'love' demand it).
This belief is susceptible to the very same criticism as universalism. It is no more or less scriptural, and no more or less "dangerous." It is simply a compromise that you feel you can live with.
But to build a whole doctrine around second chances (then affirm and advise) at the expense of, and grave danger of, removing all thought and fear...
Did someone here say that we should "affirm and advise" people at the expense of the danger and fear of damnation? Why would you represent universalism this way? Haven't you read any of the posts over tha past years on this subject?
Why would you say that universalism is built primarily on second chances? I think universalism is built on a certain set of beliefs about the character of God. It seems to me that the difference between you and universalists is that you build a whole doctrine on the assumption that God will not
give all men second chances—though you allow that He might do that for some. You make this concession as a compromise, because you have learned from the Bible something about the character of God. Your view of God's character is halfway between that of the traditionalist and that of the universalist. If God is cruel, then traditionalism may be true. If God is loving toward all, then universalism may be true. If God is fairly loving, but with limited patience, then annihilation may be true. Since God will do exactly what He chooses to do, your view of hell will inevitably be tied to your view of God's character.
UR redefines what most every Christian has believed about OT and NT teachings on the subject
So does annihilationism. There was a time when universal reconciliation was a very prominent Christian viewpoint. However, most Christians for the past 1500 years have rejected it. But if this makes universalism "dangerous," then the same observation would make annihilationism "dangerous." Both views are contrary to the beliefs of the overwhelming majority of Christians since the time they were both declared heresy by the Catholic Church. By the way, the same can be said of believer's baptism and justification by faith. Does this make these doctrines "dangerous" also?
[Universalism makes] most every OT description of punishment and Gods intentions in doing so irrelevant in regards to eternal death.
If universalism is charged with making OT descriptions of judgment irrelevant to the subject of eternal death, this invites that criticism that annihilationism makes OT descriptions of judgment relevant to the subject of eternal death. At least the universalists, in this case, are following scripture, while the annihilationist is following sheer speculation. The passages give no contextual, grammatical or other evidence of having anything to do with the final judgment. Their fulfillments are historical, not eschatological.
Universalists are not the only people to observe this. Almost all Old Testament scholars agree that there is no discussion of the final judgment in the Old Testament (with the possible exception of Daniel 12:2, which is a favorite of the traditionalists), and that the prophets describe only the temporal judgment of nations. In this respect, universalists are on the side of the vast majority of Christian scholarship, and annihilation is left with an unprovable speculation to defend.
The Bible is not only warning us of 'punishment' (UR) but of 'death' and being wiped out 'completely' (CI = destroying both the body and soul in Hell, or wherever, second death means just that: death).
Yes, people do get wiped out completely, generally speaking. Once people have died, they are soon reduced to simple elements. Death is the true penalty announced to all people who have sinned. In order for your comment to be relevant to your point, however, you would have to deny that there is a judgment, and further consequences, beyond the grave—and to deny this, you would have to"redefine" the clearest scriptural statements about a general resurrection. The Bible says everyone will be resurrected, so your frequent references to death do not address the point of disagreement between yourself and universalists. You are assuming that the "soul" in this passage is describing an eschatological destruction. I have seen no unabiguous evidence to support this assumption.
However, even if annihilationism is correct, and the universalists are mistaken, there is nothing in your argument to contribute to the thesis that universal reconciliation is a dangerous doctrine. You have not presented evidence that those who believe in evangelical universalism have thereby caused harm to their souls or the souls of others. Do you know of such a case? This is what I would look for in an argument seeking to prove your point. As you know, I could, with very little effort, embrace an evangelical universalism. However, I cannot imagine any harm that would come to me or to others were I to do so. If you are simply saying that universalists are in danger of offending God by thinking too highly of Him, I have never seen a verse of scripture that says God will condemn or punish people for thinking too highly of Him. I think there is a much greater danger of having low and unworthy perceptions of God.
No human should take Gods warnings lightly. You have Gods wrath on one side and his offer of love and forgiveness on the other, it is a ‘choice’ people have been given in the cross.
I thought you were going to make a case that universalism is dangerous. What does this statement have to do with anything? Do you think universalists disagree with this statement? Have you paid no attention to the discussion on this subject at this forum? Where have you been?
So I do hope to see my fathers face again
But you apparently don't think God wishes for this as much as you do. These are hard thoughts for one to maintain against his Creator. If God will not continue pursuing your father beyond the grave, it can only be because He does not wish to do so, since God can do whatever He wants. I doubt that you, if it was up to you, would place a limit upon your father's opportunities to be saved, and I imagine this is because of your love for Him. What possible justification in scripture can be found to suggest that you love your father more than God loves him? If God wants to give your father as many chances as may be required to restore him to repentance, He will do so. If He doesn't do so, then His concern for your father's salvation can not be said to be as great as yours.
The point is that there would be no point in telling my father ‘you may have a second opportunity to repent in heaven’
I agree. Has anyone here ever suggested that we should tell sinners they might have a second chance to repent after death? What possible good would come of that? Of course, you yourself believe that some will have a post-mortem opportunity to believe. Is this what you tell sinners?
If I made a statement like that, and my father put ‘hope’ in it, then I would not be able to live with it, because it may not be true, and now I was at fault also for going beyond what scripture teaches, having their blood on my hands.
Peter and Paul made a number of statements that sound like God intends to reconcile everything he created to himself. While they mentioned judgment, they never mentioned hell (on the record, at least). Were they perhaps giving their hearers a false hope, or is it that the message of the apostles (and of the church) is in fact a message of the mercy and love of God? Can you find a scripture where the New Testament writers spoke to unbelievers about hell?
I have read over a dozen mainstream authors who say that annihilationists are preaching a false hope. These writers believe in the traditional view, and they say everything about you that you say about universalists—and with the very same reasoning. They think your view reduces the sinner's fear of judgment, and you think the universalist view does the same. Why would your criticism of universalists be more sound than the traditionalists' criticism of your view? This is not rhetorical. I would like to hear a reason why your concerns about this are more valid than are theirs.
We have many dire warnings to shepherds and teachers such as Ezekiel’s grave warning about not sounding the trumpet from the wall in announcing danger.
Since no one here has ever suggested that we shouldn't warn people of the dangers of God's judgment, I don't see what this has to do with your thesis. Ezekiel was told to be a watchman and warn the people of impending invasion. Did you think Ezekiel was told to preach about hell? Where would you find any biblical evidence of this?
It is worthwhile to ask: What was the message of the false prophets in the time of the Prophets?
And they put Jeremiah in a well, why did they do that?
I answered this at the other post where you asked this same question. I said that wells were used for jails in those days. If your question is why they jailed him, the answer is that he was a political prisoner, accused of treason because he told the Jews to defect to their enemies at the gate, contrary to the policy of the king (Jer.38:2-6). Now you've heard my answer twice. Do you have a different answer? If so, how does it apply to the question raised in this thread?