Why is UR harmful?

End Times
User avatar
jriccitelli
Posts: 1317
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:14 am
Location: San Jose, CA
Contact:

Why is UR harmful?

Post by jriccitelli » Fri Dec 27, 2013 10:11 am

This is not a hostile argument. This is an answer, but the biblical context makes the biblical answer 'also' a warning.
It is a response to the honest and oft asked question as to why make a big deal out of UR? (i.e. below)
With all the dialogue going back and forth actually for several years on this topic i don't know why you see "universalism" as harmful. Why is it harmful?
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).

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 from the bible that (sure seems to) teach otherwise. UR redefines what most every Christian has believed about OT and NT teachings on the subject and made most every OT description of punishment and Gods intentions in doing so irrelevant in regards to eternal death. If this is true, then yes you can see why this teaching is harmful and destructive (in the literal sense).
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). 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.
Many times, more than below, I have stated that ‘second chance’ is possible though, yet with considerations... And I explain to the person asking; that it would be like walking down the middle of the freeway blindfolded, you might make it sure, but it would be stupid, and from all we can observe not much of a chance, and we have been warned...

So I do hope to see my fathers face again, it is my number one hope and desire of heaven (I do not know everyone else’s aspirations). My father would have to repent, believe and accept. I accept that he could still reject God, and I could live with that. The point is that there would be no point in telling my father ‘you may have a second opportunity to repent in heaven’ 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. (Posted on pg.1 of ‘UR Evokes many emotions’, and ‘Logical fallacy’ thread)
I did notice on the thread 7150 said:
I do believe about it if i'm asked, which is that postmortem repentance is possible if God chooses to give this opportunity. I would have to include "if" because though i think the weight of evidence is for postmortem repentance i can't say for certain nor do i want to. (7150)
You're right in having this fear, as teachers and Christians. It is part of the Gospel to believe and teach what Jesus commanded; “and this is not a new commandment, but an old commandment you have had from the beginning” (1John). 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.
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?

steve7150
Posts: 2524
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:44 am

Re: Why is UR harmful?

Post by steve7150 » Fri Dec 27, 2013 12:00 pm

at the expense of, and grave danger of, removing all thought and fear from the bible that (sure seems to) teach otherwise. UR redefines what most every Christian has believed about OT and NT teachings on the subject and made most every OT description of punishment and Gods intentions in doing so irrelevant in regards to eternal death. If this is true, then yes you can see why this teaching is harmful and destructive (in the literal sense).





When you say JR "what most every Christian" , do you remember that several early churches believed UR and it was the RCC that won the power struggle and then used ET has a weapon to control the masses?

So it seems it's the "fear" element that you think is missing with UR. I don't think most unbelievers are fearful of CI, i think they assume once they are dead, they stay dead.

If you had two choices which are A & B , which do you think is more scary?

A- Someone dies and they stay dead

B- Mr Big Sin dies and God imposes punishment for his sins of a million years in the LOF before an opportunity for repentance.

User avatar
jriccitelli
Posts: 1317
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:14 am
Location: San Jose, CA
Contact:

Re: Why is UR harmful?

Post by jriccitelli » Fri Dec 27, 2013 12:38 pm

So it seems it's the "fear" element that you think is missing with UR. I don't think most unbelievers are fearful of CI, i think they assume once they are dead, they stay dead.
Well, then they should be warned, as we are supposed to do, repent for the day is approaching. If they don't fear that is their condition, and their own judgment. God said what He said and I will have to believe that is enough.
A- Someone dies and they stay dead
I'll have to get back to this, but to clarify again, I said they are punished also - and it is the same God described in the Old testament - so it may be just as bad or worse depending on your sin, with no hope of restoration. To me that should put fear into any sensible human, this is not the same as staying dead.

steve7150
Posts: 2524
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:44 am

Re: Why is UR harmful?

Post by steve7150 » Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:27 pm

this is not the same as staying dead.

User avatar
jriccitelli

Posts: 848
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:14 am
Location: San Jose, CA






OK so the main threat is the punishment, not the "staying dead" part. Yet i gave you an example of Mr Big Sin facing punishment of a million years in the LOF
but still within the UR system. If an unbeliever thought that he might face a million years of punishment before having an opportunity to repent , do you think it might put some fear in his heart?

User avatar
steve
Posts: 3354
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:45 pm

Re: Why is UR harmful?

Post by steve » Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:41 pm

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.

JR wrote:
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?

User avatar
Homer
Posts: 2651
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:08 pm

Re: Why is UR harmful?

Post by Homer » Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:10 am

Steve wrote:
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.
The harm to you, IMO, is that you are somewhat prominent as a teacher, you are thus held to a high standard. Universalism is not a small matter, and, IMO, it is false, and nowhere taught in the scriptures.

As for harm to others, let's consider Pascal's wager for example. I'm sure you know of it. Basically, Pascal said that we can not know with absolute certainty (apodictic knowledge) that God exists. Life, thus, is a sort of wager that all, willing or not, participate in. We can believe in God, on the one hand, or disbelieve on the other. If we choose God, and are right, we have everything to gain including eternal life. If we are wrong, we lose nothing, we have lived a good life. The unbeliever, however, if he is correct in his wager, gains nothing, and if he is wrong he has lost all and is faced with hell.

As mentioned, we have someone near and dear to us who is an atheist, and he is not just a friend. If we dare proclaim the universalist message to him, Pascal's wager is worthless. He can, and I am sure would, reason that if He has wagered wrongly about God he will have ample opportunity to correct himself post-mortem, and would do so hastily, I am sure. He is not a bad person and very intelligent. And if he is right in his wager, he has avoided all the bother of being a Christian. He can not lose. The universalist can not show he would spend any time in hell at all. There is a good reason many universalists of past times had the good sense to hold the doctrine quietly because they recognized the danger in proclaiming it.

Universalism turns the basis of being saved by faith on its head post-mortem. This life, as you know, is a test. Those who believe all go through various temptations and trials that test the faith. This pressure has to be resisted. There is a struggle, as Paul has written. However, post-mortem, the pressure (torment in hell) pushes the person toward God rather than away, to a mere decision; there is no longer a testing. "Say uncle" and you get out (and please don't say the person isn't sincere, you can not know that).

And as the scriptures define faith, Hebrews 11:1, actual faith is not possible, only absolute certainty by sight. They are saved on some other ground than faith. Sounds likes "another gospel" to me.

User avatar
TheEditor
Posts: 814
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:09 pm

Re: Why is UR harmful?

Post by TheEditor » Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:34 am

Greetings,

I have not really chimed in as respects this topic, but I will at least add my thoughts, for what they are worth. As I was raised a JW I was accustomed to the notion of everyone but JWs heading for the bonfire, although that bonfire was annihilation. When I became disabused of the JW paradigm I was relieved to feel that I didn't need to be responsible for everyone else's salvation; their life prospects rested with God and his Son, and their own relative response. Since I had read many of CT Russell's writings (whose concept of salvation was about as close as you can get to Universalist and still not be) the idea that God is fair and provides ample opportunities for all became something I was comfortable embracing. Even in the Scriptures we have characters like Mannaseh, who only repented after he had been beaten with a pretty big stick.

I have met some UR people, and they seem good and decent folk. I have often wondered how many of them can resist sin without the "big stick", but many of them do, and, many of them don't.

On the other hand, I have met and dealt with hellfire-brands, and many of them still have a struggle with some very grieveous sin. So, since wisdom is proved righteous by her works, or chlidren, then I don't see in the traditionalist much of a reccomendation for "scare religion".

But people in general seem not to want to get too close to God. Like some Israelites, it seems that most men or party-followers would have a "Moses" tell them what God said, instead of having a direct encounter themselves; but then, they’ll turn around and brag about having a connection to their "Moses." (Heb. 12:25: Ex. 20:19; cf. John 9:28) Most people want the small dose of "spiritual" that formalism gives to
inoculate them against the real thing. They settle for being religious instead of spiritual. More than that takes real effort; is a struggle; puts you out. It’s far, far easier to take the path of least resistance; simply fit in; take the easy way out; go with the flow; follow the crowd; beg off; don’t make waves; excuse inaction with red herrings and justify
indecision with old canards; assume "it" doesn’t really matter. In other words, most take a broad and spacious way traversed by many, as Jesus might have put it; and in fact, he did.


The basis for judgment is stated in few words. (John 3:19-21) When we boil it all down, the only real choice we have is between good and evil, and it comes down to what a person is at heart. I have to believe that if we as imperfect humans, mere vague and hazy reflections of the divine qualities, are able to see past people's imperfections and work with them with what light they have, then I have to believe that the Supreme Judge will surpass us in this way.

How all of this factors in to God's ultimate judgement of man, is beyond my (or anybody's) ability to know. I do, however, have confidence that whatever God does, it will line up with his standard of love, justice and fairness. (Genesis 18:25-33)

Regards, Brenden.
[color=#0000FF][b]"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."[/b][/color]

User avatar
TheEditor
Posts: 814
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:09 pm

Re: Why is UR harmful?

Post by TheEditor » Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:40 am

And if he is right in his wager, he has avoided all the bother of being a Christian. He can not lose. The universalist can not show he would spend any time in hell at all. There is a good reason many universalists of past times had the good sense to hold the doctrine quietly because they recognized the danger in proclaiming it.


Hi Homer,

I used to tend to view things this way. And, I am still not a Universalist, though I no longer fear it for the reasons you have stated, because I believe them to be flawed reasons. Consider that Paul said there was "much advantage in every way" to being a Jew. One could have used your reasoning (and perhaps Paul anticipated this objection) that it was a waste of time being raised a Jew, why not skip all the hassle? Weren't the Gentiles given a skate? But perhaps there are blessings we don't yet see or know, blessings about being a Chrisian now in God's "pilot scheme" if you will, that will help us in the next unfolding of his grand purpose? Possible at least?

Regards, Brenden.
[color=#0000FF][b]"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."[/b][/color]

User avatar
steve
Posts: 3354
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:45 pm

Re: Why is UR harmful?

Post by steve » Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:20 am

Homer,

"Say uncle" and you get out (and please don't say the person isn't sincere, you can not know that).
What in the world has my ability to know or not know someone's sincerity got to do with this discussion? I am not the one anyone needs to convince. You raised this point the other day and I asked the following: Do you think God can not spot insincerity? And if their repentance is sincere, would you not wish for them to be saved? You gave no answer, but only repeated the same irrelevant and misinformed criticism. Is there some reason that I should continue to try to conduct an honest dialogue with you?
And as the scriptures define faith, Hebrews 11:1, actual faith is not possible, only absolute certainty by sight. They are saved on some other ground than faith. Sounds likes "another gospel" to me.
You mean that the apostles, only one of whom was willing to believe in the resurrection prior to seeing the risen Christ, were somehow incapable of being saved by faith? I am eager to hear your defense of this!

steve7150
Posts: 2524
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:44 am

Re: Why is UR harmful?

Post by steve7150 » Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:06 am

And as the scriptures define faith, Hebrews 11:1, actual faith is not possible, only absolute certainty by sight. They are saved on some other ground than faith. Sounds likes "another gospel" to me.


You mean that the apostles, only one of whom was willing to believe in the resurrection prior to seeing the risen Christ, were somehow incapable of being saved by faith? I am eager to hear your defense of this!

User avatar
steve


Posts: 2357
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:45 pm





Right, in Mark 16 Jesus had to "upbraid" them for their lack of faith after he was resurrected.

Post Reply

Return to “Eschatology”