Ever hear about Christian universalism? Or wonder if a Christian should be supportive of this doctrine, or instead involved in refuting universalism? Universalism is a theology which maintains that all persons are connected to the divine and that eventually, all will be reconciled to God. Universalism uses ideas which are acceptable to a wide range of belief systems in order to make inroads. Universalism easily adapts to the outward forms and practices of a particular group, while remaining steadfast in regard to its own principles. Thus the doctrine is particularly dangerous, for in the guise of seemingly 'Christian' ideas, universalism undermines the truth about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, a Christian should be concerned with refuting universalism.
Universalist groups emphasize themes such as love, forgiveness, acceptance and reconciliation. People find these ideas attractive, and universalist principles may be found within the creeds of many religions. However, just because many people believe so does not make a theology correct. In fact, at times this may indicate just the opposite conclusion. Scripture affirms that the road to life is narrow, and comparatively few walk upon it. Therefore, a person should carefully examine the tenets of universalism, or any other doctrine.
This is especially true about Christian universalism. The problem with this doctrine is that it may at first appear to be very acceptable. Universalist principles are nearly invisible, for the emphasis is upon the idea that all humans will eventually be reconciled to God and arrive safely in heaven due to salvation provided by Jesus Christ. The belief that salvation is the work of Christ, not resulting from one's own efforts or righteousness, is a Biblical concept. The Bible does say that the free gift of God is eternal life through the atonement provided by Jesus Christ. Christ's death on the cross certainly was sufficient to atone for the sins of all mankind.
However, Christian universalism would insist that Christ's atonement did atone for everyone's sins, and that therefore now all are acceptable to God. By grace, everyone is 'home free'. Again, Scripture does say that one is saved by grace. However, Jesus never said that all would be saved or reconciled. In fact, Jesus often solemnly warned of the consequences of unbelief. That would not have been necessary if a blanket pardon would be available.
Predictably, Christian universalism emphasizes the love and forgiveness of God, and suggests that since Scripture says that God desires all mankind to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, there would be an affront to His majesty and power if He did not ultimately get what He wants. That may seem reasonable, and is especially attractive if a person has loved ones who are not particularly interested in the things of God. It would be very comforting to know that they are going to be reconciled to God regardless of their unbelief. However, one should not base one's theology upon such longings, but rather upon the Bible's teachings. If an individual is concerned with following Biblical principles in the matter of salvation, he would soon turn towards refuting universalism, for a universal salvation without repentance would be no salvation at all.
Another universalist idea is that only a sadistic God would assign unbelievers to hell. The reasoning is that a loving God would never allow such a horrible consequence for sin, or that such vindictiveness was beneath Him. No one, especially God, should wish such punishment upon another individual. However, the existence of hell does not mean that God relishes such a prospect, or that He is unconcerned. In fact, it is probably because of the fact that mankind is made in the image of God that people find hell repugnant, for God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus to die so that people would not have to endure such torment. Forgiveness and salvation may be familiar concepts. However, many people, including Christians, are not quite as comfortable with the concept of the utter holiness of God. Delighting in His mercies, a person can be somewhat uncomprehending about His wrath against sin. Not being able to conceive of holiness in its fullness, people may regard sins or the rejection of His gracious salvation as small things, easily set aside. Yet the Judge of all the earth must do what is right. His character requires that He act with justice as well as love.
Therefore, refuting universalism is necessary because it undermines both the true nature of God's holiness and the gospel of Jesus Christ. While some may say that Christian universalism gives a positive picture of the vast power of Christ's death on the cross (in that this secured pardon for all), the truth is that this view does damage to the truth of the gospel, because universalist doctrine emphasizes the love of God at the expense of His holiness. A person must be very careful not to twist passages of the Bible to fit their own interpretation. Sometimes verses which seem to support universalist tenets may actually mean something very different when examined in context. As Hebrews 2:1-3 warns, Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip...How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him..?. It does matter if people reject so great a salvation, and those who reject Him do so at their own peril. Like two sides of a coin, justice and love meet in a perfect balance at the cross. There God is revealed as just and the justifier of those who believe in Jesus. Love is also revealed at the cross. Like a judge who metes out a just sentence and then steps down from the bench to serve the sentence for the offender, God declares the death sentence against sin and then bears the penalty Himself.http://www.christian...niversalism.htm