Four Views of the Salvation of Our God
By Charles Slagle
(Edited by Robin Phillips)
If you have been devastated by spiritual abuse or fear of Gods
hopeless abandonment, this book will change your life.
Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved
How wonderful it is to be free! To feel free and to know God loves me. To
experience ever increasing freedom from sins cruel grasp while resting secure in the
love of our Lord.
For many years, as a Christian, I was unable to rest in Gods love while trusting
Him to bring me into wholeness. Perhaps you struggle now with the same restless panic that
held me captive. Perhaps you wonder, "How can I rest in Gods lovein my
wretched state?! Yes, God is love. But the Bible also says He hates sin, and it warns us
of Gods eternal wrath and judgment."
That was my state of mind for decades. It finally resulted in my hospitalization and
living for a year without sanity, and for many months being "sustained" by
I was brought up in a legalistic Christianity that taught, "Jesus loves you, but
watch out! No sin will enter Heaven, and He may return or let you die on one of
your bad days. . ." Sheesh! As a young adult, it suddenly dawned on me: that concept
of the gospel had to be wrong, for it was anything but "good news."
So I found friendship with Christians who understood the gospel differently. Their
version (and, for years, my own) was, "Jesus loves you, and if youll receive
Him as Lord and Savior before its too late He will save you. And once
youre saved, you will always be saved. And once you are truly saved you will
want to obey and serve Him, though sinless perfection will never happen in this
Problem was, so much wreckage still remained in my life, my reflexes, thoughts, mind
and emotions! I could see what appeared to be evidence of Gods Spirit working in my
life. I even received, on occasions, what seemed to be positive proof God was affirming
and loving meactually speaking inside my heart.
On the other hand, I saw what appeared to be proof positiverepeatedlythat I
had never been truly saved. (Uh oh, theres the catch! Right?) There were
times when nothing inside me wanted to obey the Lordnot even to try! Not even a
little! I found myself filled with rage, lust and rebellion. Seasons came (and,
thankfully, went) in which I didnt want to think about God or Jesuslet
alone hear or speak about spiritual issues.
Then . . . I would "wake up" again, filled with fear, shame, self-loathing
and remorse. Had I ever truly been saved? How could I have been, in light of all the havoc
I was causing? Had all my, so called, "God-encounters" been only demonic
delusions? Perhaps I was a counterfeit, an evil and deluded dreamer who only
thought he was one of the "elect." For, given the parameters of my Scriptural
understandingBiblically speakingthere was no way to know.
"God" was an agonizing blur in my tormented brain. I found that I loved Him, yet
also hated Him and recoiled in horror from Him. Can you relate?
If you can, this message is for you. What follows may at first seem "dry" and
appear to be only another boring theological presentation. But do us both a favor and
Hang In There
Okay? . . .
I believe youll be more than pleasantly surprised (and perhaps, bursting into
tears of joy!) as you journey with me to discover afresh the love of our Wonderful God.
For the Lord will not cast off forever.
Though He causes grief,
Yet He will show compassion
According to the multitude of His mercies.
For He does not afflict willingly,
Nor grieve the children of men.
For men are not cast off by the Lord forever.
Though He brings grief, He will show compassion,
So great is His unfailing love.
For He does not willingly bring affliction
Or grief to the children of men.
Four Views of the Good News of Jesus Christ
I. The Good News of Once Saved, Hardly Saved (Arminianism)
Christ bought us all back from satan and sin by His blood shed on Calvary. However,
Christ will NEVER get all He paid for because:
a. Gods commitment to redeem us depends on the strength
and steadfastness of our commitment to follow Christ in consistent obedience. For
faith without works is dead.
b. Our heavenly Father "desires" all to be saved. Yet He also
has known from eternity past that His desire is only futile sentimentality, because it
will not ever be fulfilled. For narrow is the way that leads to life and few (ever
will) find it.
c. Gods will being accomplished depends on the faithfulness of
our human (sin-weakened) wills to help Him succeed in saving us.
d. In theory Christ is the Savior of all men, and yet many people will
be eternally damned. So as it turns out, Christ is actually the Savior of those whom He
will never save! And worse, those whom He knows He will never save.
II. The Good News of Once Saved, Always Saved (Calvinism)
Christs blood has bought only an elect few that God has chosen to be saved. The
Lord is furious with the human race because we all sinned while in the loins of Adam.
Furthermore, Hes furious because all of us subsequently born with sin-impaired
natures have continued to violate His holy law. Therefore He owes none of us the
debt of love, for it is very kind of Him to choose to save anyone. So, in short:
a. Christ will inherit all He has bought with His blood, but the
majority of mankind he will (rightly and justly!) send to endless torment.
b. Since a certain few have been chosen for salvation, once they are
(truly) saved they can never be lost, for a predestined person cannot logically be
c. For it is not of him who wills or runs, but of God who shows
mercy. For many are called, but few are (ever) chosen.
d. In theory, God "loves" everyonebut He values
only a few sufficiently to save them. That is because His absolute holiness and hatred of
sin is a quality altogether differentand more importantthan His love. This is
a great mystery summed up in the phrase, "God is Sovereign."
The above have been the prevailing views for most of the church since Augustine and
Pelagius set them into motion in the fourth and fifth centuries.1 Nowadays some
Christians seek to adhere to a muddled mix between these viewsCalv-Arminianism?
III. The Good News of Once Saved, Nearly Always Saved (Calv-Arminianism)
This muddled mixture between Calvinism and Arminianism takes so many forms that books
could be (and have been!) written to describe them. This understanding of the gospel is
the kindest, yet most inherently self-contradictory, of views generally held.
Calv-Arminianism takes on the more attractive (and less despair-inducing) features of each
system and tries to blend them together. The most popular form of Calv-Arminianism assures
a. that Christ probably died for all mankind.
b. that the Lord is probably no longer angry with the human race.
c. that we are saved only by Gods grace. Yet in the end our
ultimate salvation probably depends, to some significant degree, on the success of our own
effort (but to what degree is uncertain).
d. that once were (truly) saved we can never be lost. Or at least
its probably next to impossible to be lostaccording to whoever happens
to be trying to clarify his or her own doctrinal persuasion.
e. it is probable that only the most flagrantly wicked will perish
forever. And among Calv-Arminians as a whole, the subject of the fate of those who have
never heard of Christ is studiously avoided.
What has given rise to all the above views which turn the Good News of Christ into bad
news? NONSENSE!? It is a cruel dogma, found nowhere in the original language
It is a lie. It is the lie that God is Infinite Holy Love, yet in the end, He will
consign most or some of His creation to agony forever. In short, its the illogical
idea that God is loveand yetHe creates people whom He plans in advance
(already knowing their unwise future choices) to get rid of forever! This is the lie of
hate that calls itself "love." The lie of "forgiveness" that practices
eternal vindictiveness when the story is over. The lie that All-Powerful Love is either
biased or will eventually fail. This is the lie that lurks within the root of all these
systems. So, is it any wonder thatdespite all heroic efforts of their
advocatesthese gospel presentations miserably fall short of landing on our ears as
Now lets be merciful. If you sincerely believed "God is love/God spawns
eternally doomed creatures" was an essential truth taught in the Bible, would
you be able to come up with a better message than all the aforementioned?
I couldnt! For thirty desperate years I trieddiligentlyto present the
Good News of Christ as "Glad Tidings", while trying to preserve the toxic lie
mentioned above at the same time. And I did it sincerely. I honestly thought the
double-talk "God is love, but" was a foundational truth of the gospel. To
my mind, it was a vital point of Scriptural "orthodoxy", sound doctrine! Even
so, I did everything in my power to believe and present this contradictory message as
Is it any wonder I finally fizzled out and became a blithering basket caseand
actually was hospitalized? It only takes a little yeast to leaven the whole loaf.
So in the end, even my "Calv-Arminian gospel-understanding" rendered it
impossible for me to completely trust or love the Lord. I could affirm and voice trust and
love for the Lord. Problem was, I couldnt actually do them. How could I? The
Good News (!?) message programmed into my poor brain kept telling me that God could not
be trusted. For in the end He would lose a good number of peopleforever. Thus, I
felt compelled to trust in my own strength so as to make my "calling and election
sure," which to my mind meant my ultimate salvation. This made it impossible for my
heart to rest. Though the Lord had blessed me, often in wonderful ways, deepest serenity
evaded me from age twelve until age forty-nine! I did not know how to trust My
heavenly Father andat the same timebelieve all His Word, as I then
understood it, and to meditate on it. All I could do was try not to think much about those
"dark passages" that made me feel afraid. Yet they still thrived beneath the
surface of my conscious mind, and often came out in my dreams.
So the deep inner wounds that caused my obsessions and compulsions could never
heal. An unconscious undercurrent of terror only intensified my bondage. However,
whenthrough Scripturethe Lord at last assured my heart of His unfailing
love, inner transformation rapidly began to happen.
I then could say with the psalmist David, "Lord, I have hoped in Your
judgments." I began to rejoice in all of Gods words, for His statutes
are indeed right, rejoicing the heart! (Ps. 19:8; 119:43). Finally it dawned on me that
any true word from God will pass the meditation test. As we mull it over in our minds, a
true word from God will impart life and hope. It will build, not sabotage, our trust in
the Lord and His unfailing love.
Try meditating on the "truth" (so called by some) that God will abandon any
person He has created to misery forever, and see what happens to your trust! Christ
tells us that His words are spirit and life. So shouldnt we be able to
meditate on all His words and increase our faith? Including all He has to say about
judgment and everlasting fire!
That is, provided we do so with a right understanding. Does your present
understanding about judgment and hell cause your trust and love toward God to increase as
you meditate on it? If not, why would His Spirit communicate a "truth" that only
weakens our trust when we think deeply about it? If Gods whole agenda is to win our
deepest trust, why would He tell us He has created people in the certain and calculated
knowledge that they would suffer forever?
He would not, and He has not! His heart and His plan for all His creation is
betterby farthan that. Now Ill share the fourth view of the gospel which
every human heart knows is the true one. The view that reveals the heart of a
Heavenly Father all of us can count on.
IV. The Good News of Christs Total Victory
Christ bought us ALL back by His own blood shed at Calvary. He came to earth for this
purpose: to destroy the devils deceptive works and to save that which was
lost. Eventually our Lord will fulfill His sure purpose and inherit ALL He paid for. That
a. God is Holy Love, and love means commitment.
b. Gods commitment is stronger than our weaknesses, our foolish
choices, our stubbornness, our SIN. For if Gods commitment to us is only as strong
as our commitment to Him (perish the thought!) that means He is no better than we are.2
c. Gods fires of purifying judgment are unrelenting, though
not of endless duration (contrary to tradition but not Scripture). So He persistently and
patiently corrects usuntilHe succeeds in redeeming us. For our heavenly
Fathers judgments arise, not from vindictive rage, but from His loving mercy. He
loves us too much to let sin and death destroy His dreams for us. Christs death on
the cross demonstrates the depth of Gods love as well as His commitment to destroy
sin and death. It shows us that, to His own hurt and agony, the Lord is absorbing all the
death-dealing abuse of our sin and will "swallow it up" into His life as He
Acts 3:21 tells us God has promised through all His holy prophets that He will restore
ALL things. Furthermore, both Old Testament and New Testament writers and prophets tell
|that all earths families will be blessed through Christ, Abrahams
"Seed" (Gen. 12:3, Acts 3:23, Rom. 4:13). Furthermore, according to Galatians
3:8, this promised blessing means that all earths families will be turned from their
sins; justified and set right with God;|
|that success or failure at keeping Gods law has no bearing on whether or not this
promised blessing will finally be bestowed, for the law cannot cancel this covenant (Gal.
|that all earths families, therefore, will remember the Lord, turn to Him and
worship Him (Ps. 22:27-28);|
|that all flesh will bless His name forever and sing His praise (Ps. 145:21; 66:3-4, Rev.
|that His tender mercies are over all His works, and all His works shall praise Him (Ps.
|that Gods anger is momentary but His mercy is everlasting (Ps. 103:8-10; 136,
|that mankind shall be blessed in Christ (Ps. 72:17);|
|that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess and give thanks to the Lord.
Furthermore, they will swear to Him and oath of allegiance and give thanks that in
Him they have righteousness and strength. And this will bring glory to our loving
Father. (Isa. 45:21-24, NKJV, also see the Amplified Version; Phil. 2:9-11);3|
|that our Tender Father of all Compassion is not pleased or glorified with mere lip
service. (Matt. 15:8, 2 Cor. 1:3-4);|
|that no one can confess Jesus as Lord apart from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3);|
|that Gods will and purpose must come to pass and no one can restrain Him.
For He works ALL things according to His will (Ps. 33:10-11, Prov. 19:21; 21:1, Ecc.
3:1,17, Dan. 4:34-35, Eph. 1:11);|
|that His will and good pleasure and purpose is to unite ALL creation in Christ (Eph.
|that His Word will not return void but accomplish His desire, pleasure and purpose (Isa.
45:23; 46:11; 55:11);|
|that through His death on the cross, Christ will draw all mankind to Himself. For
Gabriel announced that Christ our Savior shall be glad tidings of great joy to all people
(John 12:32-33, Luke 2:10);|
|that BECAUSE God created all things for His pleasure, He is worthy of all power,
honor and praise (Rev. 4:11);|
|that for this reason Christ descended into Hades and proclaimed the gospel to the dead,
specifically Noahs disobedient generationso they could be judged in order
that they might live by Gods Spirit (1 Pet. 3:19; 4:6);|
|that Christ, our Good Shepherd, who preached the gospel to Noahs generation, is
the same yesterday, today and forever. Thus, we can rest assured that He will fulfill the
redemptive plans of Gods heart for ALL generations (Ps. 33:11, Heb. 13:8);|
|that God has given Christ ALL things (Matt. 11:27; 28:18, Luke 10:22, John 3:35; 13:3;
17:2, Eph. 1:22, Heb. 1:2; 2:7-8, 1 Pet. 3:22);|
|that Christ will accomplish His Fathers will and lose nothing of all Hes
been given (John 6:37,39; 17:2, Heb. 10:7,9);|
|that the Lord has spoken it and He will accomplish it, that He has purposed it
and will also perform it (Isa. 46:11);|
|that in the last days God will pour out His Spirit on ALL mankind, and whoever calls on
the Lords name will be restored and saved. And as has been shown, all will not only
call on the Lords name, but all will swear allegiance to Him and offer Him thanks
(Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:16-38);|
|that ALLwhether righteous or unrighteouswill be resurrected. And according
to Paul, this provides good reason to hope in God (Acts 24:15-16);|
|that just as Adams trespass brought condemnation on all peopleso
alsoChrists act of righteousness was justification that brings life to all
people. For as through Adams disobedience "the many" were made
sinnersso alsothrough Christs obedience "the many" will be
made righteous (Romans 5:18-19);|
|that therefore where sin abounded, grace abounded much more! (Romans 5:20);|
|that the whole family4 in heaven and earth is named after our Father. For we
are all His offspring. Thus He is above all, through all, and in all (Amos 9:12, Acts
17:28, Eph. 3:14-15; 4:6);|
|that Christ has ascended to fill all things (Eph. 4:10);|
|that Gods mercy triumphs over judgment. For it is His tender mercy that governs
His judgment (Ps. 62:12, Jam. 2:13);|
|that the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Messiah
(Dan. 7:14,27, Rev. 11:15);|
|that the Lord has made bare His holy arm (strength!) and all shall see His
Salvation (Isa. 52:10);|
|that righteousness and praise shall spring forth before all nations, and everlasting joy
shall come to them (See all of Isaiah 61);|
|that He Who is Sovereign Holy Love will have mercy on those who were not His
people. He will say to them, "You are My people!" And they shall say, "You
are my God!" (Hosea 2:23);|
|that Sovereign Holy Love will raise from death those who were not His people. He will
thus be the Plague and Destruction of deathand Hades (Hos. 13:13-14);|
|that Paul therefore could joyfully shout, "O death, where is your sting? O Hades
where is your victory?" (1 Cor. 15:54-55);|
|that our Good Shepherd will feed His flock, the sheep of His pasture. He shall be Peace
and His name shall be great worldwide (Mic. 5:4);|
|that the Lord will rise up in plunder. He will pour out the fire of His jealousy. Then
He will restore to the peoples a pure language, so they all may call on Him in
unity (Zeph. 3:8-9);|
|that all things came through Christ and are made for Christ and will finally be subject
to Him. For He has tasted death for everyone. (1 Cor. 15:25-28, Col. 1:16, Heb. 1:2;
2:8-10, Rev. 4:11);|
|that God is reconciling ALL to Himself through Christs cross (John 12:32, 2 Cor.
5:18-19, Col. 1:15-20);|
|that Authentic Love reveals itself, not only in words, but in deeds done in integrity,
and Gods ever-active love never ceases or fails (1 John 3:18, 1 Cor. 13:8);|
|that Christ will be satisfied that Gods will and pleasure has prospered in
His hand through His death on the cross (Isa. 53:10-11);|
|that Gods will is that none should perish but that ALL should come to repentance
(2 Pet. 3:9);|
|that God is the Savior of ALL people, especially (not exclusively) of those who
believe. These things prescribe and teach (1 Tim. 4:9-11);|
|that through His love-sacrifice Christ, the Lamb of God, has put away sinthe sin
of the world (John 1:29, Heb. 9:26, 2 Cor. 5:19);|
|that all is from and through God and must return to Him, for God desires all to be
saved, and this will be confirmed in due time. Again we recall how Gods Word
will not return void but will accomplish all He desires. (Isa. 55:11, Romans
11:32-36, Heb. 2:10, 1 Tim. 2:4-6, Rev. 4:11);|
|that Christ, through His church, will eventually fill all things so God will become
allnot merely in somebut in ALL (1 Cor. 12:6, 15:28, Eph. 1:22; 4:10, Col.
|that Christ will reign over the nations and they shall hope in Him (Isa. 11:1-11, Romans
|that the earth is the Lords in all its fullness and those who dwell therein.
So Christ will inherit the nations and all He has made will worship Him (Ps. 1:8; 24:1;
83:8; 86:9, 1 Cor. 3:11; 12:6, Rev. 5:13);|
|that the Father has given His Son dominion over the works of His hands (all of which
shall praise Him). And He has put all things under His feet (Ps. 8:6; 145:9-10);|
|that our Lords Word that He will fulfill His purpose stands firm and is forever
settled in Heaven. His faithfulness endures to all generations (Ps. 119:89-90);|
|that our Father does whatever pleases Him (fulfills His pleasure) in Heaven and earth
and all the deep places (Ps. 135:5-6, Eph. 1:9-11);|
|that in one passage the declaration occurs twenty-six times that Gods mercy
endures forever (Ps. 136);|
|that Gods prophetic Word (which cannot return void) is, "Let everything that
has breath praise the Lord!" (See all of Ps. 150.);|
|that in the last days all nations shall flow into the Lords house (Isa.
|that Christ the Savior of all men, our Trustworthy Good Shepherd, will not fail. Neither
will He be discouraged until He establishes justice (salvation) in the earth (Isa.
42:4, Matt. 12:18-21);|
|that Christ is a Covenant (Promise!) and a Light to all who are spiritually
unenlightened, who weep under the shadow of darkness. He is to free them from
idolatrys prison. For God will not share His glory with graven images (Isa. 42:6-9,
|that the Lord will reduce to nothing ALL the gods of the earth! (Zeph. 2:11);|
|that the crooked places (not merely some crooked places) shall be made straight.
And all flesh shall see the Lords Salvation (Isa. 52:10, Luke 3:4-6);|
|that God has raised mankind up in righteousness and will direct all his ways (Isa.
|that our Lords Word and irrevocable call is, "Look to Me all you ends of the
earth and be saved!" (Isa. 45:22);|
|that Godwho is Holy Love Unfailingreceives no pleasure in the death
of the wicked (Ezek. 18:23; 33:11). So our Good Shepherd searches for each of His lost
sheep until He finds them. For all earths inhabitantsbottom
lineare Gods people, the "sheep" of His pasture (Ps. 96; 100, Ezek.
18:23-32, Luke 15:4-7);|
|that the heathenthe nationswill be glad and sing for joy. For our Strong
Deliverer shall righteously judge the poor and govern the nations. All the ends of the
earth shall reverence Him! (Ps. 67);|
|that the Lord executes righteousness for all the oppressed (Ps. 103:6). Therefore He
came for this purpose: to destroy the devils workswhich include all
satans lies that have alienated hearts from God (1 John 3:8, Col. 1:21, NJKV);|
|that Gods covenant with Abraham, which Christ has come to fulfill, is immutable
and unchanging. Thus, it is a hope and anchor for our soulssteadfast and sure
(Romans 15:8-12, Heb. 6:13-20);|
|that the Lord will speak peace to the nations. His Kingdom shall be to the ends of the
earth (Zech. 9:10);|
|that from the suns rising to its going down, the Lords name will be great
among the gentiles. So that in every place incense and a pure (not forced
and reluctant) offering will rise before him (Mal. 1:11);|
|that Christ declares His purpose in coming to earth is to seek and save (restore) that
which was lost. And again, we recall how our Lords Word tells us that He will
fulfill His purpose (Matt. 18:11, Luke 19:10);|
|that our Lord and His church (His first born, co-heirs) possess the keys to
death, hell and the grave. The keys to Gods Love Kingdom (Matt. 16:19; 18:18, John
14:12; 20:21, Romans 8:16-17, 1 John 4:17, Rev. 1:18);|
|that our Lord and His firstborn co-heirs will conquer "the strong man," satan.
They will take away all his armor and confiscate his booty! (Luke 11:21-22, Romans
8:16-23,32, Eph. 1:18,22-23);|
|that after our Lords visit and ministry among them, the Samaritans were convinced
that Christ is the Savior of the world (John 4:42). (When will all of us Christians
|that our Lord declares that He gives (not merely offers) life to the world (John
|that He clearly states His purpose in coming to earth is to save the world (John
|that Israel will bind itself to the Lord with an everlasting covenant that cannot be
canceled. For Gods calling and gifts cannot be revoked. Hence, all Israel and all the
world will be saved. Thus, the Lord will accomplish and fulfill all His
pleasureHis good pleasurefor ALL things are of Him, through Him and TO
Him (Jer. 50:5, Romans 11:8-12,26-29,32-36, John 4:42, 1 John 4:14);|
|that to the Lord who hears prayer, all flesh will come (Ps. 65:2);|
|that Christ therefore bids us pray to our Father, "Your will be done on earth even
as it is (universally done!) in Heaven" (Matt. 6:10);|
|that the earth will be full of the revelation of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
For the nations will seek Him (Isa. 11:9-10, Ps. 72:18);|
|that the lake of (Gods purifying) fire lasts, not for eternity, but until the ages
of the ages (clearly stated in the original language of Scripture5). Thus it
will last until the fullness of the times when God unites all in Christ (Eph. 1:10,
Rev. 21:8, 20:10,15);|
|that Gods fire is spiritual not literal. For our Heavenly Father would never dream
of subjecting His own offspring to such an atrocity as torture by literal burning6
(Jer. 19:5, Luke 9:54-56);|
|that God Himself is a Consuming Fire. He is like a refiners fire and will also
purge His priesthood people. Thus they will offer Him pure offerings, Thanksgiving
offerings included (Ps. 116:17, Mal. 3:2-3, 1 Thes. 5:18, Heb. 12:29);|
|that Gods judgments, however severe, are always justnot cruel and
vindictive. For, according to Scrip-ture, the Lord does NOT cast off forever (Ps. 62:12;
67:4; 96:11-13; 119:75, Lam. 3:31, John 5:22-23);|
|that the Father has committed all "judgment" to the Sonso thatALL
may honor both Him and the Father (John 5:22-23). Therefore for this very purpose these
who have done evil will come forth in the "resurrection of judgment": so that
Christ will lead all to repentance and fulfill His Fathers will and purpose that He
draw all people to Himself. Thus our Good Shepherd will lose nothing of all His Father has
given Him, and all therefore will honor the Son just as they honor the Father (John
|that our Good Father will destroy death (1 Cor. 15:26, 2 Tim. 1:10);|
|that God and Christs Bride, the New Jerusalem, will tabernacle with MANKIND. And
He will wipe away all tears, and ALL death, sorrow and pain will pass away (Isa. 25:7-8,
|that He makes all things new. For as in Adam all die, even so, in Christ all
shall be made alive (Isa. 25:7-8, Romans 5:18, 1 Cor. 15:22, Rev. 21:4-5);|
God promised Abraham that his descendants would be as innumerable as the sand grains on
the seashores and as plentiful as the stars in the heavens! For all who have faith in
Christ, according to Scripture, are descendants of Abraham (Gen. 22:17-19, Romans 2:28-29,
Gal. 3:6-7, Rev. 7:9). So Christs ultimate "harvest" of human souls will
be of such magnitude that no man can number. What is now called "the church" is
only a kind of firstfruits of that harvest (Jas. 1:18).
Thus, the writer to the Hebrews calls Gods covenant with Abraham a sure anchor
for the soul. For it enters in behind the veil (into the holiest of holies) where Christ
offered His blood for the sins of all humanity (Heb. 6:19).
How can we anchor our souls? As Christians, how can we anchor our mind, will and
emotions to possess a solid sense of identity and a good reason for being unless we can
rely on Christs faithfulness to fulfill Gods covenant with Abraham? The
Scriptures tell us that this covenant is an anchorsteadfast and sure! Why is this
so? Because this covenant assures us that all humanity will be blessed in Christ!
So why do so many Christians feel insecure in Gods love? One problem is the
unscriptural tradition that most people will be lost foreverthat only the fittest
will survive in Gods economy!
The unbiblical tradition that God brought us into being to respond to the question,
"Where will you spend eternity?" is another problem. But that is not the message
of the Good News! The Biblical message is, "Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at
hand!" (Matt. 4:17). Nowhere in the New Testament do we find the glad tidings
proclaimed in terms of, "Where will you spend eternity?" The message,
"Choose this day whom you will serve" (Josh. 24:15), is Scriptural. "Where
will you spend eternity?" is not a Biblical concept. Pure and simple: God created all
of us for His pleasure. He did not put us here "on probation" so we could
choose our eternal destiny! God has already planned that all of us will be drawn to Christ
and unified in His love.
Another unbiblical tradition that keeps many of us from having a solid sense of
identity and a good purpose for being is the tradition that people who die in sin or while
unconverted will never be brought to repentance. And why? Because they failed to recognize
their "chance" to exercise sufficient wisdom to "seize the moment" (so
tradition would have us believe). But is that what the Scriptures really teach? Are we
saved, not by Gods grace, but by chanceor by our cleverness to
recognize our "chance" before its "eternally too late"? If so,
will most flesh sing Gods praise and bless His name forever while agonizing from an
endless hell? If that describes the final scenario our Loving Creator has in mind, how is
Abrahams covenant a sure anchor for the soul? What hope does Abrahams covenant
offer? Where is our Lords tender mercy?
The Bible says that it is appointed to men once to die, and after that the judgment7
(Heb. 9:27-28). It does not say after death all hope is gone! Thus, we see that:
|Sodoms fiery judgment is "eternal" (Jude 7)untilGod
"will restore the fortunes of Sodom" (Ez. 16:53-55);|
|Israels "affliction is incurable" (Jer. 30:12)untilthe
Lord "will restore health" and heal her wounds (Jer. 30:17);|
|The sin of Samaria "is incurable" (Mic. 1:9)untilthe Lord
"will restore . . . the fortunes of Samaria." (Ez. 16:53);|
|Ammon is to become a "wasteland forever" and "rise no more" (Zeph.
2:9, Jer. 25:27)untilthe Lord will "restore the fortunes of the
Ammonites" (Jer. 49:6);|
|An Ammonite or Moabite is forbidden to enter the Lords congregation
"forever"untilthe tenth gener-ation (Deut. 23:3);|
|Habakkuk tells us of mountains that were "everlasting", that isuntilthey
"were shattered" (Hab. 3:6);|
|The fire for Israels sin offering (of a ram without blemish) is never to be put
out. It shall be "perpetual"untilChrist, the Lamb of God,
dies for our sins. We now have a better covenant established on better promises (Lev.
6:12-13, Heb. 8:6-13); |
|Gods waves of wrath roll over Jonah "forever"untilthe
Lord delivers him from the large fishs belly on the third day (Jonah 2:6,10; 1:17);|
|Egypt and Elam will "rise no more" (Jer. 25:27)untilthe
Lord will "restore the fortunes of Egypt" (Ez. 29:14) and "restore the
fortunes of Elam" (Jer. 49:39).|
|"Moab is destroyed" (Jer. 48:4,42)untilthe Lord "will
restore the fortunes of Moab" (Jer. 48:47);|
|Israels judgment lasts "forever"untilthe Spirit is
poured out and God restores it (Isa. 32:13-15).|
|So, narrow is the way to life and few find ituntilChrist and His
church confiscate the "strong mans" booty, setting the captives
free so God becomes all in all (Isa. 61, Luke 11:21-22, Matt. 7:13; 16:18, 1 Cor.
|God is now calling out "a people for His name"an "elect" or
chosen priesthood people who will represent and reflect His loving nature. Many are
called and few are chosenuntilthe small chosen priesthood people, by
the Spirit, restore "Davids tabernacle" so ALL mankind may inquire of the
Lord. Thus we see that the church is the first born, the beginninguntilin
all (later born new creatures in Christ) our Lord will have supremacy (Amos 9:11-12, Matt.
22:14, Acts 15:14-18, Eph. 3:15, Col. 1:18).|
|All manner of sin will be forgiven in this age as well as in the age (not eternity) to
come, except blasphemy against Gods Spirituntilsuch blasphemy
finds pardon in the fullness of the times (or ages) when God unites all in Christ. For the
Lord does not retain His anger forever because He delights in mercy (Matt. 12:32;
18:11,21-22, Eph. 1:9-11, Rev. 4:11; 5:13, Mic. 7:18-20).|
|Gods wrath has come upon Israel "to the uttermost"|
(1 Thess. 2:16). So there is a gulf between "the rich man in purple" (Royal
Covenant "Son", Israel) and the saved gentiles (Lazarus) which no man can
crossuntilChrist Himself crosses it to bring His promised restoration.
For again, Scripture promises that ALL Israel will be saved (Jer. 50:5, Luke 16:19-26,
John 12:32, Romans 11:26-29).
|Christs fallen apostle, Judas, will be restored just as surely as fallen Israel
(of which he is a member) will be restored. For the gifts and callings of God are
irrevoc-able, and He has purposed to unite all in Christ. For Scripture assures us
that He who calls us is "faithful". He will surely perform it. So Judas
is lostuntilthe Lord restores Him (John 15:16, 1 Thess. 5:24).|
|So, Christ will say to unrighteous nations, "Depart from Me into
everlasting fire." And these nations will go away into
"everlasting" (original language: age-lasting) punishment or pruning.8
That isuntilby Gods severe mercy shown in judgment, all nations
He has made glorify and worship Him. Thus God will fulfill His covenant with Abraham that
in Christ all the families of ALL the nations will be BLESSED (Gen. 12:3, Ps. 62:12, 67:4,
86:9, Matt. 25:41,46). For according to Paul (Gal. 3:8), Gods covenant with Abraham means
that ALL will be justified and set right with God. So all flesh will bless His name
forever and ever (Ps. 145:21).|
Therefore, ALL scriptural references that speak of everlasting fire or judgment must be
understood in light of Gods (Loves) clearly expressed heart, promise, desire,
purpose and will. They are "everlasting"; that is, they are continuous
and on-goinguntilGods judgments serve to accomplish His
unchanging will and purpose to unite all creation in Christ. (Gen. 12:3, Romans 4:13, Heb.
Gehennas fires are not quenched and its worm does not dieuntilthe
restoration of all things which has been spoken of by all Gods holy prophets
(Christ included) since the world began. For our Savior did not come to contradict His own
prophets. Our Good Shepherd and Faithful Deliverer came to fulfill the law and the
prophets! Thus our Lord does not cast off forever (Lam. 3:31-32, Heb. 13:8). He who
taught us to forgive and bless our enemies will surely do the same for His. For every
tongue will give thanks that in Him they have righteousness and strength. All flesh will
bless His name forever and ever! For our Lord will not fail or become discouraged until He
fulfills all of Gods purpose, word and will. For He tells us that everyone
will be "seasoned" with fire (Matt. 5:17, Mark 9:42-49, Acts 3:21).
Those who disobey the gospel and persecute Christians will be repaid with
"everlasting" (that is, continuous) tribulation, destruction and
punishmentuntilby such persistent correction God shows them their need
for Christ. So what is written in the prophets will come to pass, that all shall be taught
of God, and everyone who has heard and learned from the Father (eventually) comes to
Christ. Thus, all the families of the nations will remember Him and worship before Him.
And all will submit to Him and sing His praise. So Gods promise will be fulfilled
that ALL men shall reverence Him, proclaim His works, and wisely consider His doing (Ps.
22:27-28, 64:4-5, 64:9, 2 Thess. 1:7-10).
Paul the apostle understood the "forever until" principle at work in
Gods redemptive judgments. He knew the heart of God, and Paul also knew Gods
will, purpose and plan. His knowledge of Gods character, will and purpose governed
his understanding of Scripture. That is why Paul could appear to contradict
the prophet David! Have a look at Romans 11:9-12 (NIV), where David prophesies:
May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block
and a retribution to them. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see and their backs
be bent forever.
And observe how Paul responds:
Again I ask: Did they (Israel) stumble so as to fall beyond
recovery? not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the
gentiles (pagans, all who are spiritually unenlightened) to make Israel envious. For if
their transgression means RICHES for the WORLD, and their loss means riches for the
gentileshow much greater riches will their (Israels) fullness bring?
Wow . . . ! In the next three verses Paul assures us:
|that Israels fall is the reconciliation of the world;|
|that Israels fall will be (for them and all the world) life from the dead! (Ez.
|that because the FIRST fruit (Israel) is holy, the whole world ("lump" or
"harvest field") is holy.|
Read all of Romans chapter eleven, and the Scriptures will clearly speak for
themselves. Practice reading all of Gods Word in light of His character, commitment,
purpose and reliable good pleasure and will. Get Gods "forever
until"9 policy of judgment settled in your heartand get ready! You
are about to embark upon a love affair with our Heavenly Father that will transform your
life. His heart will heal and transform your heart! For of Him and through
Himand to Himare ALL things! (Romans 11:36) Yourself included. For
again, we must remember, our Savior did not come to contradict the words of His own
prophets. He came to fulfill them.
Until the heart of God and the will of God become the foundational
factors determining our understanding of Scripture, our "gospel" will be bad
newsnot good. "God is Love, but" is simply not the message the Holy
Spirit is conveying to us in the Bible (1 John 4:10,14).
Does this mean God will violate His creatures free wills in order to save them?
Not at all. What it means is that God has already told us in Scripture that
eventually everyone will respond to His wooing. For God foreknows that eventually all He
has made will freely choose Him and bless His name forever (that is, once the "lights
come on" inside them sufficiently so they can choose Him). For our Lord is the
Light of the World, and Scripture assures us that He illumin-ates every human being born
into the world (John 1:9).10
Does all of this mean we have a license to party and live like the devil? No, for we
already sin well enough without a license, or havent you noticed? The Lord has put
us all in a universe jam-packed with CONSEQUENCES, both pleasant and painful. So just
because God doesnt get rid of people forever does not mean there are not
serious judgments that await those who willfully reject the truth. The resurrected
unrighteous will face judgment (John 5:29, Heb. 11:35). So if certain ones
calculate that a life of rebellion against the Lord is worth "going to hell" for
a time, then no oneleast of all Godis going to force them to stop
having their fling. We can all have as much hell as we want, perhaps more than we
What, then, is the point of sharing this radically Good News about God? The point is,
until we have a heart and mind understanding of Gods true character and agenda:
|we will lack the ability to rest consistently in Gods love;|
|we will lack the ability to trust Him totally and completely. Why? Because we will find
ourselves in a constant struggle trying to trust ourselves;|
|we will lack humility born of the realization that our good or bad behavior has nothing
to do with Gods love and commitment to us;|
|we will lack peace and joyexcept on a sporadic basis; |
|we will lack a heart of true worship and adoration toward our Savior; |
|we will lack the ability to discern the difference between justice and cruelty;|
|we will lack the understanding that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of
wisdomnot the fear of His hopeless rejection. For correction is not
|we will lack the serenity and hope that comes from the understanding that Love always
succeeds and never fails;|
|we will lack the ability to understand or appreciate or receive unconditional love; |
|we will lack the ability to love others unconditionally; |
|we will lack an understanding of God that is worthy of His true nature;|
|we will lack the ability to understand Scripture in light of Gods heart, and His
clearly revealed purpose and will;|
|we will lack as individuals a solid sense of identity. For if any doubt lingers as to
Whose we are, we can never know who we are or why we are;|
|we will lack a perceptiona wholesome perceptionof our identity and
purpose and ministry to the world as members of Christs body. For we are not the only-bornwe
are the firstborn of all Gods redeemed children. Our commission is to join
with Christ in restoring all His cherished creation.|
|we will lack the ability to appreciate Gods heart of committed love toward all His
|we will lack the ability to judge NO ONE by the flesh (external criteria);|
|we will lack the understanding of Gods good purpose for all His creation
and the certainty of its fulfillment;|
|we will lack the understanding that Jesus Christ is Who the gospel is all about,
and creations restoration is what the gospel is all about;|
|we will lack the understanding of the magnitude of Calvarys Victory;|
|we will lack the ability to proclaim the Good News of Christ to a hurting world in terms
of Gods unconditional, unfailing and committed love.|
Creation did not fall into ruin by its own choice, according to Romans 8:20-21.
God Himself allowed it because of a hope He cherished in His heart.
The Good news is that the same God who willed His creations temporary unravelling
is re-ravelling it backby His own loving blood-sacrificeto reflect greater
splendor than it had at its beginning.
This is why the gospel truly is glad tidings of great joy which shall be to ALL
people! The Lord takes full responsibility for His creations fall, and for its full
recovery. Thus, God has shut all in sins prison that He may have mercy on all
(Romans 11:32). So all will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father (John 5:22-23).
For God works all things according to His will.
Read and meditate on the Scriptures for yourself. Ask our Lord and Savior to guide you.
The Lord yearns for you to know the height, the depth, the width, and the length of His
love which surpasses knowledge! He yearns for your trust. He desires that you be filled
with the knowledge of His will. He longs to convince you of His commitment and to ravish
you with His love. He longs to remove every mental or theological roadblock that hinders
your trust in Him. He longs to smash to smithereens every vain imagination that exalts
itself against the pure knowledge of Christ! Hide and watch! You shall (one day)
love the Lord your God with all your heart, your body, your soul, your
mindyour being. You "shall". . . This is not just a command; it is a
promise. And you shall be like Him, radiant with the light of His life-giving holy
loveforyou shall see Him AS HE IS. And thats what salvation is
Blessed assurance, Jesus is Mine,
Oh what a foretaste of glory Divine,
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising My Savior all the day long,
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my savior all the day long!
If the restoration of all things is not the truth, then I maintain that no truth
existsat least, none in Scripturethat will nurture whole-hearted trust
in God. For Love minus commitment equals abusive nonsense (1 John 3:18).
Furthermore, if the Scriptures do not mean what they saythat is, that Christ will
inherit all thingsthen only three options remain:
1) The Good News of Arminianism is correct? If so, then
chance, along with our sin-impaired wills, are the factors which determine our destiny,
our salvation and our identitybottom line. In other words, Christ cannot save the
worst of sinners, only the "willing" and consistently obedient ones who
respond to Him in this lifetime. (That is, if they are lucky enough to have a chance to
hear about Him.)
2) The Good News of Calvinism is correct? If so, then many are
called but few are ever chosen. Infinite Unfailing Love Himself has chosen to save
only some of His own offspring. He therefore has chosen to bring most of them into being
to suffer endless torment. Why? No matter how sincerely voiced, such questions are
regarded as "irreverent" in this framework of understanding. The stock answer
is, "God is sovereign."
3) The Good News of Calv-Arminianism is correct? If so, then
again, none of us can rest secure in the love of God. For the "significant
degree" of human effort required to assure our ultimate salvation is unknown to all
of us. Thus, we can never know exactly why some people will be lost forever. This means
some people will be in for a rude awakening on judgment day! And again, eternity will
prove that Christ came to heal the well, not the sick. He cannot save the worst of
sinners; He can save only the milder cases.
Do any of the above options sound like "glad tidings of great joy which shall be
to all people"? Do any of them inspire deepest worship, admiration and gratitude in
your heart toward the Lord? I pray our tender Father will make His heart known to you as
you prayerfully ponder the Scriptures.
As you can see from all you have read in these pages, the Lord longs to lead us all to
repentance. And He will do so, one way or anothersooner or later. That is His
sure commitment! He loves us too much to leave us forever in the grasp of ANY bondage or
Wow! Thats comforting, isnt it? However, it may be a bit threatening to
certain bondages weve learned to love/hate. That is, various "pleasures"
we fiercely cling to while knowing theyre killing us along with other people
we care about most.
Are you tired? Are you exhausted from clinging to lust? Bitterness or resentment?
Chemical, sexual or emotional addic-tions? Abusive religion? Always having to be right or
get the last word? Are you tired of looking for love in all the wrong places and only
finding abuse disguised as "love"? Self abuse?
If so, good! That is what repentance is all about: being sick and tired of BEING sick
and tired. Being willing and ready for healing and change. Repentance means healing and
change. Repentance by which our heart-attitudes and lives launch into Loves
directionGods direction. For God is Who Love is all about. Love is not a
what but a Who.
Do you know Himpersonally? Do you daily enjoy literal friendship with your
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ whom He sent into the world? If youre sick and
tired and ready for a supernatural turn-around, with all your heart (in your own
words, if you prefer) pray:
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for loving me with total commitment. Thank You also, Lord Jesus, for dying
for my sins on the cross. Thank You for showing me that Love never gives up on
Heavenly Father, I gratefully acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord of all creation,
and today I receive Him as my Lord and Savior. Your power released Christ from
deaths power, and I am trusting You to raise me to life as well.
Thank You for Your kindness and faithfulness to lead me to this place of healing
turn-around and repentance. I gladly welcome the new heart and lifestyle Youre
giving me at this moment.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, by Your grace, Your loving help, I now commit all that I
have and am to You. Lord Jesus, You are my Gift of Salvation, so wherever You lead me I
will follow. Amen. (Romans 10:9-10)
Do you realize that God gave us His oracles (the Scriptures) to ravish us with
encouragementand hope? Absolutely! The Lord longs for you to rest secure in His love
and be ASSURED of His good plans for you. He wants His Abrahamic covenant to be a sure
covenant with you. Our deep and settled sense of a Good Reason for being comes from
knowing Gods heart, His commitment and purpose. It does not come from the uncertain
Calvinistic concept of "once saved always saved" (if you have truly been
saved). Nor does it come from the Arminian idea that God helps only those who help
themselves. Such concepts can only foster a sense of pride and exclusivenessor else
perpetuate in our lives a pattern of unceasing paranoia and morbid self-scrutiny.
Lets go back to the Scriptures to nurture our hope! Lets put our
"grace glasses" on to see our Heavenly Fathers heart and sure purpose
revealed to Abraham and all of Gods proph-ets! Lets follow Paul as he follows
our Lord Jesus Christ:
"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity
among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may
glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of Gods truth,
to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may
glorify God for his mercy, as it is written:
"Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your
name. Again, it says, Rejoice, O Gen-tiles, with His people. And again,
Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to Him, all you
peoples. And again, Isaiah says, The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who
will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in Him.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that
you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:4-13).
". . . so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it" (Isa.
"This hope we have as an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which
enters into the Presence behind the veil . . ." (Heb. 6:19).
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself" (John
Common Objections & Questions
1) "If everyone is going to be saved eventually, what
urgency is there in proclaiming the gospel?"
How much hell do you want others to go through? The love of
Christ compels us. That is the urgency. People must be brought to repentance so
they can experience the full redemption and deliverance which Christ died to give
them. People will never be saved until they ARE saved. Does it not matter to you if your
loved ones or neighbors live out their earthly lifetimes without the joyand
deliverancethat comes from knowing Jesus? What kind of environment do you desire in this
world for your children? What about your grandchildren?
2) "This may be the truth. Even so, the restoration of all
things could be dangerous teaching for unstable people who would interpret it as license
People looking for excuses to sin will always find them under
any belief-system. Regarding the salvation of all mankind, Paul said, "These things
prescribe and teach" (1 Tim. 4:9-11). Understand-ing Gods true character and
plan for His creation lays a healthy foundation for authentic righteousness that comes
from whole-hearted trust and love toward the Lord. The greatest commandment of all is that
we love Him with all our being. How can we totally trust and love our Creator, and
at the same time be totally convinced that His commitment to us is conditional?
3) "This teaching cancels out any necessity for Calvary.
What would be the point of Christ dying on the cross if God plans to save everyone
Thats like asking, "Whats the point of having
a hospital that has discovered the cure for all diseases?" Just because Calvary will
prove itself to be 100% successful does not render Christs sacrifice unnecessary. If
a rescue team saved all the passengers on a sinking ship, would that prove their mission
to be futile? The unscriptural dogma that only some will be saved undermines the
atonement. It renders our Lords work as mostly a failure. Some (Calv-Arminians?)
believe that most people will be saved. This renders Christs atonement almost
4) "This teaching will cause division in the church.
Besides, I believe we can rest in Gods love because once were saved,
were always saved."
No doubt in many quarters it will cause a stir. Jesus said that
He had not come to bring peace, but a sword. Sometimes a wholesome division must occur so
hearts already divided will be exposedfor the purpose of healing, resulting in true
unity later on.
Once saved, always saved. Hmmm . . . that is, if you truly are
among the "elect" few chosen for salvation, according to your doctrinal
foundation. But how do you KNOW (based on Scripture) you have acknowledged Christ as Lord
with ALL of your heart? The Bible tells us that only a fool trusts in his own
heartthat it is desperately wickedwho but God can know it? When youre in
the throes of some desperate weakness, how does Gods covenant with Abraham anchor
your soul? Can you honestly love and admire God wholeheartedly while also believing
He may have brought many of your loved ones and neighbors into being for the purpose of
eternal torment? If "yes" is your answer, my prayer is that the Lord will give
you a conscience when He does save you.
5) "This means that both saint and sinner will get the same
First of all, salvation is a gift, not an achieve-ment we
accomplish and are "rewarded" for (Eph. 2:1-10). However, all of Gods
judgments are rooted in His love (Ps. 62:12). Sofor their own goodall people
will be called into account for their deeds (ourselves included) and rewarded accordingly!
Even so, it will not be a happy experience for any who have lived in calculated
rebellion against the Lord (Romans 2:6-11, 1 Cor. 3:13-15).
However . . . you havent always been a saint, have you? Did you
volunteer to live for Christ, or did Gods Spirit lead you to repentance? Do you
actually want other people to suffer endless torment because the Holy Spirit
overcame your stubbornness and led you to Christ before He did the same thing for them?
Perhaps you need to read about the "elder brother" in the story of the prodi-gal
son (Luke 15:11-32). Also review the story of the hired workers in the vineyard (Matt.
20:1-16). Remember, if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in
us (1 John 1:8).
6) In Luke 13:23-30, Jesus was asked if only a few would be
saved. He said to strive to enter into the narrow gate, for many would try and not be
Christ came, not to the gentiles (the world pop-ulation in
general), but to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 15:24). These
were already Gods chosen covenant peopleall of whom will finally be saved,
according to Paul (Romans 11:26). Bear in mind that these covenant people are the ones
Christ is talking to on this occasion.
So, the Lord is not here contradicting promises He has made elsewhere
by saying that only a few will ever be saved. Otherwise John 12:32 would have
quoted Him as saying, "If I be lifted up, I will draw only a few people to
Myself." Furthermore, 1 Corinthians 15:22 would say, "In Adam all die; in Christ
only a few will be made alive." So Luke 13:23-30 is not about whether Christ
will eventually reap the full harvest of human souls He paid for with His own
bloodthat is, how many will finally be saved (Gen. 22:17-19, Romans 4:13,
also note carefully Romans 11:15-16,32,36).
Here He is talking about being saved during this dispensation to occupy
a rulership role in His love-kingdomto act as co-laborers, co-restorers with Him in
His world-harvest field (John 4:34-38). Only those who enter the narrow gate of
self-denial, allowing Christ to perfect them in love and holiness can qualify to
minister to the world in this era as well as the Kingdom Millennial Age to come. These
will shine as lights set on a hill (Matt. 5:14; Ps. 48). They will serve as kings and
priestsa holy nation, a royal priesthoodto reflect Gods character to the
world (1 Pet. 2:9-12). Many are called to this high privilege, but few respond. Such as
refuse will find themselves in a place of outer darknessnot "forever," but
for a season (Matt. 25:14-30). This describes exactly what happened to many Jews when
Jerusalem was crushed under Romes armies in 70 ADwhich Christ prophesied in
Matthew 24 and 25.
Nothing is mentioned about eternity in this passage and others which
are similar to it. Read the best-seller The Final Quest, by Rick Joyner. Also
contact Arthur Eedle (see Suggested Reading List) for his excellent articles:
"JesusFirstborn of Every Creature" and "Millennial Kings and
Priests." This Luke 13 passage has to do with attaining to a "better
resurrection," being made qualified to "rule over cities" in the Millennial
age (Heb. 11:35, Phil. 3:10-11, also compare Luke 19:12-27 and Ps. 78:34). The current
theology that insists that only the priesthood people (the church) will ever be saved
leaves the church with no one to "reign over" in the Millennium! Again, the
church is not the only born of Gods new creation in Christ. It is the
first born, co-redeemer, "called out" company. But "called out"
for what? Review Colossians 1:18 and also study Acts 15:15-17 and Amos 9:11-12.
7) Does this mean that satan and all the fallen angels will be
In the original language of Scripture, Hebrews 2:16 says,
"God is not now laying hold of angels." So if He is not laying hold of
them now, why should we? The present focus is on mankind. However, Colossians 1:15-20 does
say all the invisible realm was made for Christ and is being reconciled through His cross.
It would harmonize with Gods character for our Good Shepherdeventually at some
future ageto lead His rebellious angels to repentance (Romans 8:19-23, Heb.
13:8). But apart from true heart-repentance, there can be NO salvation for anyone! I would
caution against any kind of intercession on our part for fallen angels now. At
present, were in the midst of rescuing Adams sons and daughters. Were
plundering satans prison-house, freeing all who have been "taken captive by him
to do his will" (Luke 11:21-22, 2 Tim. 2:26).
Human wills, therefore, must first be made free (by the
churchs intercession and ministry) so they can respond to and receive Christs
light. Also, satan and his minions must first be judged and punished for their atrocities
before we can sensibly think in terms of their eventual rehabilitation. See Andrew
Jukes Restitution of All Things mentioned in the reading list for more
exposition of Scripture on this subject. His long-time bestseller, The Names of God,
is still available in most bookstores. Its an excellent study of Gods
character. (Keep your Kleenex box handy! This book so tenderly reveals the heart of our
wonderful Lord as shown in Scripture youll probably cry a lot!)
8) "I still believe in endless hell, but I also believe
Gods love is unconditional and totally committed. Whats wrong with just loving
and trusting God and leaving all mysteries in His good hands?"
That is a good attitude to adopt. That is, if youre absolutely
certain you can prove that endless torment is an essential yet mysterious doctrine
taught in Scripture. And its a worthy attitude if youre sincerely convinced
that Gods prophetic word, as well as His will, purpose, and desire to redeem His
whole creation will be thwarted forever.
We all must be prepared to give a reason for the hope that lies within
us, according to Paul. How do you explain your hope to people who ask, "Why would a
loving God create people whom He already knows are doomed for endless agony?" How do
you assure them of Gods unconditional loveand total commitmentfrom a Scriptural
9) "If this total restoration doctrine is true, why have I
never heard of it before? The only people Ive ever known to deny the doctrine of
endless hell are unorthodox cultists who also deny Christs deity, etc."
People asked the same question about justification by faith in
Christ alone five centuries ago when Martin Luther and others began proclaiming it. Many
dedicated Christians throughout the centuries have believed in this full gospel of
restoration. In fact, history indicates that most of the church understood the Good News
in this way for the first three to four hundred years, AD. The oldest statement of
orthodox faith known to Christianity was formulated in the 300s at the Roman
governments request. Now get thisthe Apostles creed, as it came to be
called later (which appears in two slightly different versions) makes no mention of an
endless hell! One version mentions Christs descent into Hades where He preached to
Noahs generation. However, that passage in 1 Peter tends to disprovenot
supportthe notion of endless punishment!
Interesting, how the fourth century Christians ideas about
"orthodoxy" differ from those of much of todays church, isnt it? For
good historical documentation, order Christ Triumphant, the book mentioned at the
top of the reading list. (Its available from Concordant Publishing for $7.00, plus
$1.50 postage and handling.)
10) "This doctrine of universal reconciliation sounds to me
like a teaching someone made up in order to advertise a God who is soft on sin
and more acceptable to the world."
On the contrary, any "God" who will permit sin such
as cursing, blasphemy, and bitterness to endure eternally would be soft on sin. For only
such a compromising deity would invent an endless hell of ceaseless cursing and blasphemy
to co-exist with his holy nature forever.
But thank you for being honest. As long as youre absolutely
certain that your own version of "God" is solidly based on the original
language of Scriptureand all that is prophesied in Scripturethen
believe what your heart dictates to be true. Would you please write us a testimony
explaining how your meditations on the Lords judgments (as you understand them) have
increased your love for Him? How have they inspired your heart toward deeper worship? The
psalmist David also sang of Gods judgments. Do you have any songs to share that
would increase our faith? Please share them if you do. I say this with all respect and
11) "I still have problems with thinking that people like
Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin will one day be in Heaven."
I understand! Yet I am also confident our Good and Just Father
knows how to see that such men get whats coming to themto the satisfaction of
us allwithout taking forever to do so. I shudder to think of being in their shoes!
However, if endless hell actually were taught in Scripture, do you know who would be
hardest for me to understand going to Heaven? Adam and Eve! I cant imagine a greater
miscarriage of justice than for our first parents to be saved despite the damages they
caused all the rest of us. People like Adolph Hitler would never have been born had it not
been for Adam and Eves rebellion.
12) "I still dont understand how God can save everyone
and yet every person have a free will."
Well, you believed people had "free wills" before,
didnt you? Whats wrong with God showing the same kindness and patience toward
others He has shown toward you until they make a good choice? I dont
understand how God can be "one" and also "three," but the Bible
teaches it, so I believe it. However, Scripture does not require that I must
believe that God is love/hate or that God is committed/uncommitted. Big difference!
13) "Why do we not hear more people proclaiming this message
Next time you go to church, have a good look at the classic
songs of the faith in your hymnal. Also, if your church uses an overhead projector, note
carefully the words of many choruses now being published by todays younger
generation. "Ancient of Days" is good for starters. Also, dont forget to
review all the verses to well-known Christmas carols, as well as Handels
"Messiah." If our "free will" is the bottomline factor determining our
destiny, why arent there any songs about it? Truth liberates the heart to worship,
According to Eugene Peterson, the entire book of Revelation is a hymn
of worship, sung by many of the early church (see The Message translation by Eugene
Peterson). Obviously, much of todays church cannot sing all of it because they
dont understand Gods judgments as the first century Christians did. Review
Psalm 96, bearing in mind that the only Scriptures available to the earliest Christians
came from the Old Testament. And remember that the New Testament finds its roots in Moses
and the prophets.
14) "I believe God is SOVEREIGN. This means God is
all-powerful and holy, and He can do anything He wants to do!"
So do I. God is Sovereign Holy Love. And 1 Corinthians 13 tells
us exactly what He wants to do, and does doand will always do.
Sovereign Holy Love can only act in harmony with His nature. Thus He
cannot perpetuate error, pain and evil. Nor can He "allow" them to exist
forever. For Omnipotent, Omnipresent Love Himself always succeeds and never fails.
Therefore, Calvary MUST succeed for all the worldfor any exception would mean an
eternal victory for satan.
And to be utterly honest, Im convinced that most Christians, in
their deepest hearts, believe the same thing. Otherwise, instead of opposing (easy and
convenient) abortions, we would all be mounting a campaign for the immediate
sterilization of the human race. That is, if we truly believed that most infants
born in this world are destined as adults for endless torment. For no human parent with a
heart would dream of conceiving a childknowingthat hopeless damnation was its
probable (or even possible) destiny.
Is God any less merciful than we are? Is He only as powerful as we are? Think about it.
"Love is very patient and kind,
never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud,
never haughty or selfish or rude.
Love does not demand its own way.
It is not irritable or touchy.
It does not hold grudges
and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.
It is never glad about injustice,
but rejoices whenever truth wins out. . .
There are three things that remain
faith, hope, and love
and the greatest of these is love"
(1 Cor. 13:4-6,13, The Living Bible).
"Every tongue shall take an oath,
He shall say,
Surely in the Lord I have righteousness and strength!"
(Isa. 45:23b-24, NKJV).
« « «
"Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him . . .
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and all dominions shall serve and obey Him"
(Daniel 7:14,27b, NKJV).
« « «
"Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth
and under the earth and on the sea,
and all that is in them, singing:
To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!"
(Rev. 5:13, NIV).
If most people will be lost forever because Christ does not finally lead ALL to
|then eternity will prove that satan did a better job at corrupting creation than Christ
did in redeeming it.|
|then eternity will demonstrate that satans power to seduce human wills is stronger
than Gods power to influence them toward good.|
|then eternity will show that God devised His own everlasting defeat when He planned His
|then eternity will reveal that Gods love is no different from the "love"
of corrupted men, because it places value on people based on their performance. How so?
All who have failed to hear of Christ and respond to Him within a certain time limit are
|then eternity will demonstrate that Christs atonement for all mankind (in many
cases) is an everlasting failure.|
|then eternity will show that God planned that good and evil co-exist forever, side by
side, in His universe as an eternal testimony of His holy (?) and loving (?) nature.|
|then eternity will prove that our Loving Creator has knowingly brought many
people into being whose suffering shall have no endthat He has done a thing to His
own offspring that no normal earthly father would dream of doing.|
|then eternity will show that GodWho receives no pleasure in the death of
the wickedhas failed to fulfill His promise that He will perform all His good
pleasure to unite all creation in Christ (either because He will not or He cannot do so).|
|then eternity will prove that Gods "desire" that all be saved either is
not a deep and sincere desireor elseit is an irrational desire that He knows
to be vain and futile. Hence, Perfect Love and Wisdom desires what He knows will never
happennot ever! This means that Gods desire is rooted in unreality and is
merely sentimental and wishful thinking.|
|then eternity will show that Gods purpose (to unite all in Christ) will never be
accomplished. Therefore He lied when He assured us, "I have spoken it; I will bring
it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it" (Isa. 46:11, Eph. 1.9-10).|
|then eternity will show that Christ will not, in fact, inherit ALL things. So all
Scriptures that prophesy along these lines were only nice-sounding wordsgross and
misleading "inflated advertising." For Christ shall have drawn only some, not
all, people to Himself. For the gentiles will not hope in Him. Only some gentiles will
hope in Him.|
|then eternity will show that God loves pain. Otherwise He would have retained His
original state of pleasure by never spawning creation.|
|then eternity will show that Gods covenant with Abraham that in Christ all
earths families will be BLESSED is by no means a sure anchor for the soul. For only
mild and temporal and mostly imperceptible blessing was intended by this covenant
for earths families. Such "blessing" will hardly be of comfort when
remembered by vast multitudes agonizing forever whose lives on earth were characterized by
disease, oppression, ignorance, squalor and hard labor.|
|then eternity will show that Loving-Kindness, Himself, has created billions of people
whom He foreknew would never hear Christ proclaimed during their earthly lives and
therefore would suffer forever.|
|then eternity will prove that God created many things for His everlasting displeasure
and therefore is not worthy of all power, honor and praisecontrary to
Revelation 4:11 and Isaiah 46:10.|
|then eternity will prove that, for many, Gods calling them into being was a curse
of such magnitude that its horror defies description.|
|then eternity will prove that Christ will be "satisfied" that Gods
pleasure (forever!) shall only partially "prosper" in His hand. How so? Only the
firstfruits of His world harvest of human souls will ever become His inheritance.|
|then eternity will show that Scriptures calling the church "the firstborn" and
a "kind of firstfruits" were meaningless.|
|then eternity will demonstrate that Christ is not the Lamb of God who takes away
the sin of the world. It will reveal Him as the Lamb of God who tried to take away
the worlds sin and failed.|
|then eternity will prove that abortionists are far more merciful than "God" or
"Christians" who would preserve infants alive so as teenagers and adults most of
them would have to endure endless torment.|
|then eternity will demonstrate that Gods "tender mercies" are over only
some (not all) of His works, for only some will bless His name forever and ever. Many
others will agonize for all eternity.|
|then eternity will demonstrate that Christians who proclaimed so many messages about
"resting in Gods love and grace" were grossly imbalanced in their emphasis
(to put it as kindly as possible).|
|then eternity will demonstrate that Gods will shall never (fully) be done on earth
as it is in Heaven. For when earth yields up its dead from their graves, most who are
resurrected will live outside of Gods will forever and ever. Therefore, Christ
taught us to pray a prayer He knew would NEVERnot everbe answered.|
|then eternity will prove that God will not be the plague and destruction of death
and Hades. For the sting of death in its most hideous formthe second
deathshall endure forever and ever. Thus, Paul was grossly deceived to have shouted,
"O death, where is your sting; O Hades, where is your victory?" For death shall
prove itself to be victoriousin may casesfor all eternity. The second death,
the lake of fire, will sabotage Gods fulfilling all His good pleasure forever and
|then eternity will prove that only some things shall be made new, not all. Moreover
death, sorrow, tears and pain, contrary to Scripture, will endure forever as testimony of
satans victory over Calvary.|
|then eternity will demonstrate that God has called Himself the "Savior of all
men," fully knowing He would never save but only a few. Thus He only wanted to sound
nice when He referred to Himself as "the Savior of ALL men."|
|then eternity will prove that God is weaker than evil. Or else, eternity will show that
He chose to go into everlasting collusion with evil when He created all things so that
evil forever could exert greater power than His over the wills of many people.|
|then eternity will demonstrate that Christ failed to accomplish His purpose to save the
worldthat which was lostand to destroy the devils works. For He shall
have saved only some of the world, and some of that which was lost, and
destroyed only some of satans works.|
|then eternity will reveal that love is neither committed nor unfailingnor is it by
any means unconditional.|
|then eternity will show that Holy Love has foreseen and therefore fore-planned for
everlasting disaster for much of His own creation.|
|then eternity will demonstrate that God is kinder to animals than He is to human beings.
For He has allowed death to end any suffering that beasts endure in their earthly
lifetime. Yet He has ordained endless torment for human beings, created in His image.|
|then eternity will either demonstrate thatbottomlinehuman beings (contrary
to Scripture) are in fact their own saviors through the strength of their own ingenuity
and will-power. Or else, eternity will show that God has chosen to save some and brought
others into existence for the purpose of endless suffering.|
|then eternity will show that "Love" gives up on His own offspring
foreverin advance of His having created them. For He has foreknown all of His works
from eternity past and fulfills all His plans based on His foreknowledge.|
|then eternity will reveal God as the author of endless pain, error, and evilsince
His own Word states that He Himself willed His creations fall (Romans 8:20-21).|
|then eternity will demonstrate that Christ, contrary to Scripture, never intended to
draw all mankind to Himselfor else He promised to do so but was unable to fulfill
His promise. Therefore John 12:32 is meaningless at best and a lie at worst.|
Experience Explodes Arguments
After six months of agony, it happened overnight. It happened when my desperately
wounded heart finally became convinced God loves me. It happened when I suddenly knew My
heavenly Father truly had created all things for His pleasuremyself and loved
ones and you and your loved ones, and they and their loved ones, and they and their loved
ones. . . I woke up on May 1st of 1996 instantly free from:
|a deeply rooted fear of Gods hopeless abandonment,|
|chronic manic suicidal depression,|
|any desire whatsoever for alcohol, even to this very day,|
|dependence on five prescriptions of anti-depressants and related medications,|
|tormenting sexual night dreams and obsessions that had recurred off and on since age
twelve and had brought great heartache in my marriage,|
|a love/hate relationship with God and the resulting morbid perfectionism that had nearly
ruined my life and marriage.|
After my attempted suicide in August of 1995 my wife, Paula, was deeply heartbroken.
She found herself with no choice but to commit me to the care of a Christian psychiatric
hospital. I was also under the wonderful care of Helen Crossland, founder of Homes of Hope
Ministries, and the godly and refreshing influence of her husband, Don. Bless them, bless
them, Lord! Had it not been for their wise counsel (as well as that of our on-going
seasoned inner-healing counselor and spiritual mom, Carolyn Barnett), I probably would be
a goner today. I also thank God for the unconditional love, wise counsel, deep generosity,
and caring heart of Dr. Wanda Stephens, founder of Living Hope Institute in Little Rock,
Arkansas. I also owe much to Dr. David Haas for believing in me when I had lost all
ability to believe in myself. The same goes for Dick King, who pastors Emmanuel Baptist
Church. Also I owe deepest thanks, along with Paula, to the proven friends and partners of
our ministry. They continued to support us financially during the very darkest days
of our lives. And I thank God for all who continue to do so. We will need support as the
Lord leads and anoints us to impart His healing hope to those who weep under the shadow of
darkness. Bless them abundantly, dear Father! And bless all our dear and proven friends
who have sacrificed much in order to shower us with love and every kind of assistance
possible. (And friends, you KNOW who you are, need I mention?)
Back to my story. . . I had attempted suicide. What had happened? I had lost all hope,
thats what had happened. About a year before I went under, I was given a book that
contained selections from George MacDonalds writings. (Anyone remember the Scotsman
C.S. Lewis often referred to as his spiritual master/teacher?)
As I read and re-read that book over the next several months, I often blubbered and
cried like a baby. Was it possible? Could it be that God could be that good? I
began searching the Scriptures.
But it was too late. The damage to the memory banks of my brains neuron cells was
too massive. My head could hope, but my heart could not. I had spent too many years trying
to find wholeness the wrong way. Too many years trying to meditate on the love of my
heavenly Father while also trying desperately to believe with integrity:
|Gods ever-active, unfailing love is unconditionalbuton the
1) That you are in the elect (Calvinism) or that God has foreknown
that you are one of the few who will repentin this lifetime (Arminianism).
2) That you hear of Christ in this lifetime.
3) That you respond to Him in this lifetime.
4) That you trust only in His mercy and His graceas well as trust
in your own ability to walk in consistent obedience. For thus you must prove
your salvation (Calvinism) or assure your salvation (Arminianism).
5) That you dont die in sin.
6) That you endure until the end (based on a wrong interpretation of
|God is committed love/Gods love, however, is not committed to many people
|God "loves" everyonebut, however, even so . . . (Arminianism).|
|God has chosen to help some people/God has chosen to abandon most people.|
|God saves hopeful failures/God gets rid of hopeless failures.|
|Love is kind/Love has spawned billions of people He already knows are doomed for endless
|God is all powerful and loves you. However, He has ordained that your free
will shall be the bottom line factor that determines your eternal destiny. Thus, your identitywhether
a child of God or a child of everlasting evil and darknessdepends on your
|God is the Savior of all/He is not the Savior of all.|
|The Lord wishes the best for you and you must love Him with all your heart, though He is
not fully committed to you or anyone else, unless people are diligent to trust and
obey. In other words. He loves you, but dont count on it.|
|God is Everlasting Forgiveness/Eternal Wrath and Vindictiveness |
|Our Lord is utterly victorious and will destroy the devils works. Yet the devil
will destroy most of Christs works (people) forever.|
|God is worthy of all power, honor and praise because He has created a few things for His
pleasure. However, when I sing that chorus, I must say "all things." |
|God is Sovereign, so He can commit any atrocity He pleases (Calvanistic agony once
again). OrGod is good, but the whole reason He gave us free wills was so He would
eventually have a universe forever divided between "winners" and
"losers." A universe He will weep over for all eternity. In other words, God
loves pain!? (Arminian torment again.)|
|You can count on God if you are in the "elect" (Calvinism). Or,|
|You can count on God if He can count on you (Arminianism).|
|You must believe all the Lord says in His Word, but He also wants you to "rest in
His grace," so you must try not to always take all He says too seriously. On
the other handperhaps you had better take Him more seriously! Yes or no? (How
could we Arminian Christians talk so much about grace even while we teetered
on the brink of a possible Christless infinity!?)|
|God, in His holy, sovereign grace, may have chosen you for salvation. How dare that you
not rejoice that your friends, neighbors and loved ones may be predestined for
eternal torment! Truly spiritual people can delight and hope in the Lord no matter what!
Charles, whats wrong with you!? (Torment from my attempt to cling to Calvinism).|
|The Lord is gracious, tenderhearted, compassionate and patient. He does not cast off
forever because of the multitude of His mercies. Even so, it isnt wise to carry that
idea too far. He gets rid of some people. That is, He "loses ability" to
ever reach them, etc., etc. . . . That does sound nicer, doesnt it?
All of these hopeless contradictions were entrenched in my belief system, posing as
"truths." Shocking? Have a look at these . . .
|God thinks you are "very special." Dont worry that in His
foreknowledge Hes written off most everyone else. Just trust . . . |
|Perhaps God wants us to believe all the Bible, but not to think about parts of it too
much, so well have courage to trust in His grace? Also, He wants us Christians to
preach only the comforting parts of itat least most of the time, in order to make
Him appear nice? (Calv-Arminian agony working.)|
|Maybe God hopes everyone in the world at least will feel loved by Christians
before He consigns most everyone to endless torment. In the meanwhile, we Christians
should oppose abortion (!) and build hospitals and try to provide every help possible for
the worlds starving and homeless multitudes . . . ? (Believe me, I tried very hard not
to think about this horrifying contradiction.)|
|All earths families will be blessed in Christ, Abrahams "Seed."
Well, a little bit, for a few years (so I was trained to believe)before most of them
are sentenced to endless despair. (Powerful promise, huh?)|
|God loves you and is committed to you for who you are, not for what you do.
Nevertheless, He has already planned in advance to abandon most people because of
what they do or dont do.|
|God is love/hate (Guess which system!)|
|God is good, but . . . (Guess which system!)|
|You can trust God, though it isnt wise to trust Him too much. You must
trust the reliability of your free will. For it is appointed unto man once to die, and
after thatno hope.|
|And heres the heartbreaker: Jesus loves all the little children of the
worldred and yellow, black and white. Are they precious in His sight? Yes. They are
precious until they reach the age of accountability.|
Need I say more? My "God-Picture" was utter chaos! Ironic, isnt it?
After all, I had written and published two devotional books, revealing the loving heart of
my heavenly Father. What made it worse was, my loving Father actually was revealing
His true heart to me. Even in the early eighties (I can see it now!) He was beginning His
blessed invasion. In the meantime, my spirit knew Him in one way, but my brain perceived
Him in another way.
Talk about agony! Problem was, at the time I had no adequate SCRIPTURAL FOUNDATION for
the kind of "Father of tender mercies" I was hearing from and conveying
in my speaking and writing.
So yes, my understanding of the Lord had finally evolved into something beautiful. But
was it too beautiful? Thats what disturbed me; it was only the
"beautiful" side of God that gave me any hope whatsoever! What I dared not do
was to think much about His austere aspects, His judgmentsat least as
tradition has taught us to perceive them. For in my framework of understanding there was
no hope in Gods judgments. Not for despairing people who could not hope or people
who are not in the "elect" (depending on whether my tortured mind was laboring
under the despair of Arminianism or Calvinism).
But in the throes of my own battles against the world, the flesh and the devil, how
could I avoid thinking of the Lords judgments on occasions? Besides, I had
felt a growing uneasiness with the way I had always approached the Bible: meditate on the
nice parts, "believe" the horrifying parts, but dont believe them too
much. I had to find some sort of grace to count on! So my policy had been to stuff
"Everlasting Horrors We Must Believe About God" in a "backfile" in my
brain, labeled "Required Orthodox Tenets" and then try not to think of them
much. Ive often wondered if my Calvinistic and Arminian friends do the same thing. .
Is that your policy? If youre deeply wounded and scrambling to survive while
searching for healing, I do not recommend it. That is exactly what I did for years!
I backfiled much of my belief system. Believe me, this is a sure recipe for eventual
Now, I want to ask a respectful, yet honest question of my readers, especially
Christian pastors and counselors: how can we help thinking people get healed of
deep inner traumas while encouraging them to "believe"and yet not be too
concerned about all that is written in the holy Word of our Lord? Unless we can
behold our loving Lord in all of His terrible (awesome!) beauty, how can our hearts ever
be fashioned into His holy likeness? Is the secret of deepest healing of the heart found
in playing "believe, but dont think about" mind games with the Bible? Is that
how the Lord (secretly) expects we should deal with His Word?
That, I regret to report, was my way of ministry for many years. I taught folks to give
mental assent to the orthodox (?) teaching of endless tormentand thenI found
myself urging them to focus on the love and grace passages in Scripture. For I knew no
other way to convey Gods heart as my spirit knew Him to be. But praise the
Lord! Those days are over. However, perhaps, as a leader or counselor, you have been
"stuck" in the same way I was. You know that healing can only come when people
know they are valued and loved unconditionally. But your paradigm or concept of the
gospel has forced you (unconsciously, as was true in my own case) to "downplay"
certain parts of Scripture to help people entrapped in paranoia. Im praying the Lord
will use this book to help free you to minister what your heart already knows.
Identity! Identity is what spawns behavior. Identity is what determines desires,
emotions, perceptions and feelings. I am convinced that any interpretation of
Scripture that undermines a solid sense of identity, HAS to be wrong. For identity is what
Christ came to give us! He is the Light that shines on every infant that enters, kicking
and squalling, into this pain-wracked world.
Calvinism undermines identity. It tells us we have purpose (a good purpose) and
valueifwe can be CERTAIN our conversion experience and all subsequent
"confirmations" we receive of it arent spurious. Furthermore, it transmits
to us a bone-chilling picture of God: God is Holy Love/Holy Love is everlastingly
wrathful, unforgiving, arbitrary and biased. Calvinism is embarrassing to its adherents.
It forces them (the grace-oriented ones) to present the gospel sounding much like
they believe in Christs total triumph. Afterwards, however, Calvinist leaders are
forced to train their new converts to become either arrogant religionists who feel
superior to the "non-elect" or despairing manic depressives.
Arminianism (and its half-brother, Calv-Arminianism) undermines identity. I am
not criticizing people who embrace any of these systems. Many Christians are like I
was for yearswhat other choice do we have? I understand that. However, now that you
have read these pages, you are seeing that there is abundance of Scripture for more hope,
arent you? My earnest prayer is that you will prayerfully study the Scriptures.
Arminianism leaves the identity issue open to question. It transmits this picture of
God: God is Holy Love/Holy Love is noncommitted or weak. For if our frail sin-impaired
wills ultimately determine if we are Gods children or children of everlasting
despairwho we AREthen deepest healing will elude us in this life. How can we
trust a "God" who tells us we had better trust in ourselves? We will not
have time to be healed. We will be too busy trying to make right choices! How do I
know this? Ive been there! And again, Arminian Christians will find themselves
singing and preaching (as much as possible) as if they believed in Christs Total
Victory (except the "legalistic" ones who take their theology seriously).
However, their new converts will be trained: "Bottomline, its up to you."
And the result? The same result as Calvinism: some people becoming self-righteous
religionists (as long as youth and vitality hold out) and others becoming suicidal manic
depressives. And of course, there will be a good number of people in all the above systems
who will manage to maintain a semblance of balance and cope pretty well. That is, until
they experience enough agony of self-doubt to desire answers to hard questions.
What is the cure for all of this? Just to do what 20th century grace-oriented
evangelical churches have always been doing? Keep sweeping the hard Bible bits under the
carpet? Even while we publicly talk in terms of "identity" and
"unconditional love" and "resting in Gods grace?" To the agony
of our thoughtful listeners who are struggling? Is this the answer?
No! Enough is enough. The lie of conditional love must die or we cannot live. We
can exist and copewe can even appear to livebut that lie must bite the
dust so we can live. Its time that we Bible-believing Christians stop fearing being
ostracized or unkindly labeled. Its time that, for the sake of our
children, we understand and proclaim Christ as the thoroughly Good News He is. Our
children cannot live with true righteousness or hope unless they know
Whoseand whothey ARE.
Im a new man because I now can delight in all I know about my heavenly
Father. I no longer backfile His judgments, I rejoice in them! I can hope in his judgments
and even sing of His judgmentseven His age-abiding judgments. I now know My Heavenly
Father is committed. Not just "loving," but committed. What a difference
meditating on His utter goodness has made in my life! Ask Paula! My wife will tell you.
Even my friends who have yet to see the fullness of Gods love as weve seen it
will tell you. Im a changed Charles. I know who I am. I love being a husband
and a grandpa more than ever these days and so enjoy being alive. YES! And my
identity is not "minister" (though I love the ministry!).
Paula and I so yearn that others experience the wholeness God has brought into our
hearts and our home. Its been prophesied by individualsworldwidewho knew
nothing about us, that a dream in our hearts will happen. What is that dream?
For many years, Paula and I have envisioned teaming up with other ministries the Lord
will join to us, to bring healing to broken hearts. Especially for hearts that have
endured harsh spiritual abuse. And all based on: "God loves you, but you must
. . ." Dont misunderstand. Im not saying I have no appreciation for the
fact that the Lord wants us to learn to make good choices. Nor am I saying the Lord
does not want each of us to feel uniquely special to Him. And by no means am I saying we
shouldnt encourage people in a wholesome fear of the Lord. Anyone who has lived for
a few decades knows our Lords judgments are real. Actions produce consequences!
However, fear of rejection is the most common culprit that catapults people into
We cannot have it both ways. We cannot teach unconditional loveand at the same
timetell shattered people that Gods unfailing love is (somehow?)
conditional. Whether it be conditioned on their "special election" or
conditioned on their performance! Such non-sense is not the gospel. Its
heartbreaking despair. Have you ever wondered why some Christians become atheists? Or
commit suicide? Having read these pages you can see why, but those are the kind of people
our hearts yearn after. We know the Lords heart yearns after them even more.
Are you drowning in the quagmire of spiritual despair? Take heart, my friend! Salvation
is not a gamble, it is a Giftits not of works, but of Christso no
one can boast! Very soon the time is coming when the body of Christ will believe what
it has sung about and proclaimed. The Lord is up to somethingmagnificent!
Oops! I got up on my soapbox again, didnt I? Back to the vision. . . Paula and I
yearn to be part of a team that listens to the Holy Spirit, and in His wisdom and
power liberates spiritually and emotionally abused hearts so they will hope again. We
envision a "Restoration Ranch." It will be out in the country (somewhere!) next
to a large lake. (For years, perfect strangers have described this vision to us
propheticallyin detail!having no natural knowledge of what the Lord had put in
our hearts.) We envision serious chemical, sexual and emotional addictions being healed.
Marriages healed! Christian leaders restored and made whole.
We also envision a "school of the Holy Spirit" on the same grounds. It will
be "hands on, learn as you listen to God" training for Christians who yearn to
learn to hear the Holy Spirit for the healing of wounded hearts. We know this
vision will happen. Interestingly enough, the Lord has now "maneuvered" us to
live in the Dallas/Ft.Worth areawhere He long ago told us He would establish
it! Awesome, huh? Some very interesting things have been stirringPraise the Lord!
Salvation by faith in Christ alone, the holiness of God, the miraculous ministry of the
Holy Spiritall of those wonderful realities have been "coming back" to the
body of Christ over the last five hundred years.
Whats next? Every fiber of my being sings that the Lord is about to reveal His
true heart and plan for His creation to many, many people worldwide. It wont be long
before the FULL "faith once delivered to the saints" will return to us all,
accompanied by unprecedented signs and wonders. Hide and watch! And when Gods
firstborn family members know their identitywatch out, world!
Christs healing light will shine on you.
Isaiah 52:14, John 3:16
I AM just, pure and holy. My love is limitless and seeks not its own. When those dark
thoughts cloud your mind, causing you to question My love, I ask that you do one thing:
remember the cross.
See it now. See the One crucified. See the humiliation, the horror of Innocence
disrobed, mutilated and bleeding. Pain racks His every atom. Each gasp of air is agony
untold. His every nerve is a conduit of fire.
Can you hear Him cry? No one else can either, but I can. I hear it foreverhow
could I forget it? Its almost the sound of a boya stifled, intermittent cry it
is . . .
No, child, dont turn away. Not yet, please. Do you see the thorns piercing His
brow? The disfigurement of His face? The spikes splitting His hands and His feet? The
jeering crowds at the foot of His cross? They didnt kill him. They would have if
they could havebut they could not. He gave His life. He shielded His enemies
who were worthy of death by dying Himself in their stead. He suffered murder to save His
murderers. He suffered shame to save His mockers. And He would do it again. Again and
again. And so would I. Is this not the destiny of Perfect Love in a fallen world?
This is the way love is, and this is the way I AM. Never forget it.
(Selection from the devotional From the Fathers Heart, by Charles Slagle,
Finally . . .
If the message of this book has liberated your heart to trust and love the Lord more
deeplywonderful! That was its purpose.
May I share a word of advice? This word especially applies if you have experienced deep
wounding through spiritual abuse. Ask the Lord to grant you grace to:
|refrain from debating about this full gospel or being overly anxious to help others to
"see" it. Give the Holy Spirit room to work!|
|forgive people who in the past conveyed the gospel inadequately to youor perhaps
even spiritually abused you. Instead, thank the Lord that they gave what they had,
and ask Him to shower His healing and blessing upon them.|
|not make understanding Christs total victory a require-ment for fellowshipping
with your Christian brothers and sisterswhatever you do!|
|not make this full gospel "your subject" conversationally more than enjoying
the Lord Himself and bringing His healing life to others. People who think a good
deal, who have been deeply wounded, can fall into that snare while the devil throws a
party! JESUS CHRIST MUST REMAIN THE FOCUS. (The early Pentecostals had to learn the same
lesson about sharing their newfound freedom in the Holy Spirit!)|
|refuse to start a new denomination or "non-denomina-tion; the Lord
knows there are too many already!|
|be led of the Holy Spirit in all situations where the Lord Himself receives honor
andby His powerlives are transformed and healed. Even if it means on occasions
He may lead you to minister truths that seem to reveal little or nothing of Christs
|become a brighter light that attracts others to Christ Himselfand not just words
and concepts about Him.|
|not be hurt if some Christians misjudge you. Trust the Lord to do business. He will!
Hasnt He always? Remember, some who misunderstand you today may be beside you
proclaiming Christ to a needy world tomorrow!|
|be at liberty not to go to great lengths to hype or to hide your
understanding of the gospel. Just enjoy constant fellowship with the Lord and trust His
light to shine through you.|
|remember that, by Gods astonishing grace, many Christians who do not completely
share your understanding of Scriptureneverthelessknow Gods heart,
perhaps better than you do! So avail yourself of every opportunity to be blessed by your
other praying, Christ-honoring brothers and sisters. You need them and they need you!|
JESUS IS LORD!
Suggested Reading List
Christ Triumphant, by Thomas Allin. In a style similar to that of C. S. Lewis,
Thomas Allin shows the Scriptural and philosophical absurdities in the traditional dogma
of eternal punishment. This full length book is especially valuable for the historical
evidence he gives to show that many of the early church fathers believed in the
restoration of all things. Copies may be obtained by writing to:
Concordant Publishing Concern
15570 Knochaven Rd.
Canyon Country, CA 91351
Restitution of All Things, by Andrew Jukes. This full length book is chiefly
Biblical exposition and presents a strong case for the theology of the full gospel or
restoration. While this book is not easy reading, it is most helpful for anyone wanting to
thoroughly study the Scriptures in this regard. It may also be obtained through the above
Concordant publishing concern also publishes some short booklets dealing with the
translation of the word "eternal" which are highly informative and useful. These
Eonian: Everlasting or Age-lasting?, by Grace H. Todd
Whence Eternity?, by Alexander Thomson
Time and Eternity, by Grace T. Stevenson
The Outcome of Infinite Grace, by Dr. Loyal Hurley. This sixty-two page booklet is
a brief yet thorough treatment of the gospel of restoration. It is excellent. Copies may
be obtained by writing to Concordant.
The Prophetic Telegraph. This is a free mailing put out periodically by Arthur
& Rosalind Eedle. It presents research on a wide range of spiritual topics, including
the full gospel of restoration. To join their mailing list write to:
The Prophetic Telegraph
Oxleigh, Langham Rd.
Lincs LN13 9SQ
Happily Ever After, by Robin Phillips. Though this booklet is yet unpublished, Mr.
Phillips is happy to give photocopies of his manuscript to anyone who is interested.
Phillips presents a good overview of the main scriptural evidence for universal
reconciliation and answers some of the common objections. Copies may be obtained by
writing to Robin & Esther Phillips at the same address given for The Prophetic
Discovering the Character of God, by George MacDonald. This book, published by
Bethany House, gives selected readings from the writings of nineteenth century author
George MacDonald, whom C. S. Lewis regarded as his spiritual mentor. This was the book
that first led me to an understanding of the full gospel of restoration.
Original article found at: http://www.sigler.org/slagle/interest.htm