Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Well-Beaten Path to Universalism

I've noticed a trend among the public statements people who progress towards Universalism (of which Rob Bell is the most recent and sadly not the last.) This seems to be a predictable path down which one trods to end up at this error.

At this point, I'm not drawing any kind of conclusions here. It is just an observation from watching enough of these over the last several years:

Step 1: Mysticism. They start out in a place where feelings and philosophy are in a place that is clearly above the authority of the texts of Scripture.

Step 2: They begin downplaying the seriousness of sin, its effects, and corruption.

Step 3: They make God exactly like us and describe Him as having human perspectives, attitudes, and methods and judge His will based on what sinful humans consider to be good or bad.

Step 4: They engage in topics with deconstrucitonism and logical fallacies.

Step 5: They downplay or voice serious questions regarding the truth of the penal substitutionary atonement on the cross for our sins (a result of Steps 2-4.)

Step 6: They begin to express appreciation and affinity for other religions and "moral" non-Christians (see Step 2 and 5).

Step 7: By now they have been accused of Universalism (which may be premature, but is certainly on the horizon). They respond by denying Universalism, but they state that God certainly has the power to do anything He wishes.

Step 8: They continue to deny Universalism, but very emotionally state that they personally hope that it is true and that God's mercy might win out in the end.

Step 9: They stop denying Universalism. They publicly wrestle with the scriptural teaching of eternal torment in hell for those who are outside of the faith in Christ.

Step 10: They publicly agree with all the classic teachings of Universalism (perhaps using a different term) and they continue to claim that they are still wrestling with these things... and continue to ardently teach and advance Universalism even while they "wrestle with it".

1 comment:

Dan O'Day said...

Well, I'm on Step 5, but I have never been on Step 2 (nor do I intend to be), nor do I intend to go any further.