You are hereEthics and Eschatology, Ethics and Universalism

Ethics and Eschatology, Ethics and Universalism

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By dkpret - Posted on 06 October 2005

by Don Preston
I want to add my “two cents worth” to the current discussion of universalism. This topic is currently being widely discussed in both preterist and non-preterist circles.I want to add my “two cents worth” to the current discussion of universalism. This topic is currently being widely discussed in both preterist and non-preterist circles.It seems to me that one thing that is undeniable is the fact that from the prophetic perspective, the key characteristic of the New Creation was/is to be “righteousness.” As Peter anticipated the arrival of the New World, he wrote “according to His promise, we look for a New Heavens and Earth, wherein dwells righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). The exact meaning of this is, naturally, somewhat controversial. Is man made righteous purely and solely through the Fiat act of God, irrespective of any participation on man’s part, or is man counted righteous, as Abraham was, through his faith in the work of God? Some preterists espouse that since A.D. 70, there is no such thing as sin, no evil; there are even those preterists who say that man is not even saved by faith in Christ!

Patently, the issue of universalism is currently a matter of widespread discussion in preterist circles.1 It seems to me that many have gone beyond the scriptural testimony in their understanding of the New Creation, failing to understand that Biblically, the New Creation demands that we live holy lives, and that we condemn sin today. I consider it a dangerous error to take the position that there is no such thing as sin today, and that all men, regardless of their faith in Christ or lack thereof, are destined to receive the blessings of his atonement. I want to approach this topic from a slightly different perspective than what I have seen presented so far. My focus here is on ethics and eschatology, and on ethics and universalism.

I want to emphasize two things: First, I am not ascribing to all preterist universalists (hereafter PU), the logical implications of their doctrine. It is very easy to take a position without fully understanding the implications of that doctrine. This is very clear from 1 Corinthians 15. There were some seemingly devout believers in Corinth that took a position concerning “the dead ones” but they did not think through their position. Therefore, Paul began by showing them the implications of their doctrine. Paul did not say that they believed what he presented. He said that if they believed what they taught, then, logically, their doctrine led to other conclusions that they themselves did not accept. For Paul, to accept one was to lead to the other, and while he did not charge them with the implications of their doctrine, he nonetheless held them accountable for leading the way to the logical end of what they taught.

So, in other words, I am concerned to show that the logical implications of saying that all men are saved regardless of faith, that there is no such thing as sin or wickedness, no such thing as a moral standard of right and wrong to which men must submit today, is to say that all men are free to live lives of profligacy and indulgence. Now, to be sure, thankfully, I have not heard or read any PU openly espouse such a lifestyle. However, I do have in my files, but will not divulge names, an Internet exchange in which a PU said that since A.D. 70 there is no such thing as right and wrong, no sin, no law of morality. The church cannot therefore, condemn fornication, adultery, homosexuality, or any other kind of actions. The church, the body of Christ, has no standard to proclaim, except, “God’s grace is great! You are saved!” My point is that you cannot teach a doctrine without implications. And if the implications are dangerous, then the doctrine is dangerous.2

Second, building on what I have just said, if one takes the position being espoused by some PUs, I suggest that the direct, logical implication of that doctrine is the very antinomianism condemned by the inspired N. T. authors. You might not personally espouse or accept the implications, but if you teach that doctrine, and others accept and act on the implications, then Biblically, that is a very dangerous thing.

ETHICS AND ESCHATOLOGY: THE MOTIVATION FOR HOLINESS

In formal debate and in informal studies, one of the most common objections to Covenant Eschatology that I hear is that the coming of the Lord is, persistently, in the N. T., the ground for ethical paranesis, or exhortation. Peter wrote, “seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of men ought we to be?” (2 Peter 3:11). Other writers expressed the same sentiments. So, it is argued, since the N. T. authors based their exhortations to holiness on their convictions of Christ’s coming, then, if Christ has come, there is no more ground for ethical exhortation. This objection fails on several grounds, but let me take note of just one or two.

Biblically, eschatology is not the only ground for holiness. Rather, fellowship and relationship with God is the ultimate ground for holiness: “Be ye holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16). In other words, those who would follow the Lord, should be like the Lord because of what He is! Not from fear of doom, destruction and damnation, but, because we want to be like Him. Now, in the very nature of the case, to be like God means that we love what He loves, and we hate what He hates, we condemn what he condemns! The suggestion being made that there is no longer any standard of morality and of right and wrong suggests, no, demands, that God’s intrinsic nature has changed.

The question naturally arises, does God no longer hate those things that always were antithetical to His very nature, to His very character? We are not discussing God’s modus operandi. We are discussing His nature. Or, were the things that Jehovah said He hated, just a bunch of arbitrary “rules” that He made up and said that He hated those things, when in fact, they were okay with Him? If God’s very nature abhors certain actions, and rejects them, then to be holy is to hate those things and reject them. Unless the very nature, the very heart of God has changed, then He still abhors immorality, He still rejects dishonesty, He still condemns murder.

Consider the preaching of John and Jesus, in regard to the question of ethics and eschatology. Both John the Immerser and Jesus proclaimed, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven has drawn near.” Why were the people to repent? Because of the imminence of the kingdom! Thus, ethics and the kingdom go hand in hand, right? Would the arrival of the kingdom mean that the exhortations to repentance and holiness would no longer be applicable? Would the arrival of the kingdom nullify ethical conduct, or magnify it? It will surely be argued that when the kingdom arrived in its fulness that righteousness would be emphasized. Life in the kingdom, in fellowship with Messiah, would be incentive for living for Him in holiness. After all, if one dwells in the presence of the Righteous King, that person would want to reflect the glory of that King, right? I would agree!

What this argument fails to understand is that the kingdom did not fully come in its glory until the parousia! See Matthew 25:31f; Luke 21:28-31; 2 Timothy 4:1f; Revelation 11:15f). So, if it is argued that righteousness would be the order of the Day, when the kingdom arrived, then one cannot argue that the fulfillment of the parousia negates ethical paranesis! This argument will be examined later in more detail, in regards to the PU argument that the parousia has destroyed any objective moral law of right and wrong. For now, it is enough to understand that eschatology is not the only ground for ethical exhortation and moral living. Rather, the full arrival of the kingdom demands holiness and righteousness.

So, I suggest that those who object to Covenant Eschatology based on the misguided claim that a fulfilled parousia negates the demand for moral living, are guilty of misunderstanding the relationship between the full arrival of the kingdom, ethics and eschatology. The consummation of eschatology was not to bring ethical conduct to an end, it was to emphasize the nature of God’s holiness, the holiness of His New Creation, and the demand for living according to the standard of that New Creation: “Seeing then that all these things are to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought we to be?”...we look for a New Heavens and Earth, wherein dwells righteousness” (2 Peter 3:11-13). I believe that McKnight has ever so slightly touched the hem of the garment by suggesting, “Until we tie the surviving remnant, the church, into Jesus’ predictions about both salvation and judgment, in connection with A. D. 70, his teaching about God, ethics, and kingdom cannot be given their proper historical significance.”3 I suggest further that those who are suggesting that all moral mandates ceased to exist at the parousia are likewise failing, badly, to understand the source, motivation, and demand for ethical conduct in the kingdom.

ETHICS AND MORALITY BEFORE THE END

Since this article is, by and large, addressing universalism as it is being manifested in the preterist world, I am not concerned with proving that Christ came in A.D. 70, revealing the New Creation. I want to ask two questions at this point:

Do the N. T. authors demand ethical moral living on the part of the first century, pre-parousia saints? This is easily and irrefutably answered in the affirmative. Of course the N. T. writers demanded moral living! Paul and the rest of the inspired writers demanded that Christians, as members of the New Creation, live lives of holiness! This is critical, for the inspired writers believed that the New Creation had begun, and was simply awaiting consummation. So, the fact that the inspired writers demanded holiness of the New Creation, is highly significant and informative.

Did the N. T. writers condemn immoral conduct on the part of the pre-parousia saints? Once again, there can be no doubt as to the answer. Paul is emphatic that if those members of the New Creation were to abandon their faith, and enter once again into profligacy, they could not inherit the kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9f). He did not believe, nor did he teach, that they had been sanctified and justified, cleansed, in order to have the freedom to commit the sins of the flesh. On the contrary, he taught that as the New Creation, they were expected not to live that life, and he said they would be condemned for living that life! This kind of teaching is of course, repeated in Galatians 5:19f; 2 Peter 2, and one has only to read the letters to the churches of Pergamos and Thyatira to see the identical moral requirements, and warnings being given.

What is important to see is that these moral mandates, and condemnation for violation, were present before the parousia, but were characteristic of the New Creation! The New Testament writers were instructing the pre-parousia saints how to conduct themselves in light of the impending consummation, in light of the fact that the consummation meant that what was in place, morally and ethically, was to be the order of the Day. The moral mandates of Christ, pre-parousia, are nowhere, in contradistinction to some other elements of the pre-parousia, church, said to only last until the parousia! On the contrary, the moral mandates of the pre-parousia body were preparatory for the consummative body of Christ, post-parousia!

Let me illustrate with a situation that existed pre-parousia. The mystery of Christ was Jew and Gentile equality in Christ (Ephesians 3:6f). This was the focus of Paul’s distinctive personal ministry (Colossians 1:24-27). His message was that in Christ “there is neither male or female, Jew nor Greek,” and he taught that in Christ, “neither circumcision, nor uncircumcision avails, but faith that works through love” (Galatians 5:6). His gospel was scandalous, revolutionary. Our point is that this equality proclaimed by Paul was a New Creation reality, “in the making” as it were, but was to be perfected, by Christ, at the parousia. In other words, that equality was an already but not yet reality, and when the parousia occurred, that reality was to be emphasized, not terminated. What was “partially true,” but demanded of the New Creation, pre-parousia, was expected even more, post parousia.

The same is true of ethical conduct, and the condemnation of that which is antithetical to the very heart of God. The New Testament writers were fully aware that the New Creation had broken into the world, and that this being true, it demanded that they live lives of holiness, rejecting and condemning that which was in violation to the very nature of the New World. They did not believe for one moment that the full arrival of the New World would obliterate the existence, reality and the danger of immorality. They knew it would continue to exist outside the New Creation after the end (Revelation 21:27). They did teach that there was a haven and deliverance from that danger, but, that deliverance was in the City, not outside.

So, the New Testament writers mandated holy living on the part of the New Creation, and condemned immorality on the part of the New Creation, prior to the end. They taught that the holiness they were proclaiming was the kind of holiness that was befitting children of the King, and the coming New World when it fully arrived. If the current teaching among some preterist universalists is true however, then what Paul condemned among pre- parousia, New Creation saints can no longer be condemned. It is no longer sin, although it was sinful and dangerous for those pre-parousia saints. This raises the question: why would Paul condemn, in pre-parousia saints, those things that could not be condemned in the post-parousia New World?

PRE-PAROUSIA GRACE AND ETHICS

An answer to the above question might be offered, that at the parousia, God’s grace covers all. However, this overlooks the fact that Paul and the rest of the New Covenant writers proclaimed the abundant grace of Christ in the pre-parousia New Creation (Ephesians 3:17f). But, while they proclaimed and rejoiced in the abundance of God’s grace, at the same time, they warned against “taking advantage” of that grace, by leading profligate lives. In other words, the inspired writers did not believe that God’s grace covered rebellion against God’s grace! After all, it was God’s grace that instructed them to live “soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age” (Titus 2:11f). And to return to the point just above, lest it be argued that Paul was saying that they were to live holy lives in the end of the Mosaic Age, while this is true, we would also reiterate the point that they were to live those holy lives in anticipation of the New Order where that kind of life was also demanded. Are we to suppose for even one moment that Paul was saying that Christians were to live holy lives in light of the end of the Old Order, only to be set free from those constraints of holiness in the New World of Christ, the World of righteousness?

The choices here are relatively few.

First: Paul was demanding holiness of New Covenant Christians based on the mandates of the Old Covenant. This is patently false, since Paul never called “Gentiles” into obedience of the Mosaic Mandates.

Second: Paul was demanding holiness based on the New Covenant of Christ, but, the demand for that holiness was only temporary, since the end of the age was near. This being the case, one would have to prove conclusively that the moral nature of God and of the Son, from which God’s moral laws have always flowed, has changed, dramatically, and that now, in the New Creation, that soberness, righteousness and godliness is no longer demanded of New Creation saints.

Third: The third option is the one I am proposing, and that is that the moral mandates–based on the righteousness of God Himself-- dictated by Paul were given to pre-parousia saints in light of the impending end of the age. That holiness is a permanent part of the very warp and woof of the New Creation.

The implication of saying that there is now no sin, no moral standard of right and wrong, is to demand that Paul’s moral “legislation” was either temporary, or wrong. I have not seen one scripturally derived or logically based argument to prove either one of these possibilities.

But, again, the argument is made that now, everything is about grace. Grace covers all; it is comprehensive. It is universal! What this overlooks is that grace was very much at work in the pre-parousia world, and in spite of grace at work, there was still sin, there was still condemnation for those outside of that grace, and there was still the demand that man respond to that grace through faith! There was even condemnation for perverting and distorting that grace.

I have heard it said that unless we today are preaching grace in such a way that men can misunderstand it and misapply it to mean that “anything goes,” then we are not preaching grace like Paul preached it. And, interestingly enough, there is, perhaps, some merit to that suggestion, although in my opinion it is a bit too strong. It is certainly possible for men to pervert and distort things no matter how clear-cut, no matter how concise, no matter how well we think we have communicated. So, we don’t have to teach in such a way that it “allows” misunderstanding and perversion.

Nonetheless, Paul’s doctrine of grace was misunderstood (was it misunderstanding or just perversion, the result was the same) by those who said one of two things.

First, they taught that since grace abounds where sin is, then that means we should, or at least we are free to, indulge in the works of the flesh.

Second, Paul was misunderstood, or perverted, to say that because grace abounds, there is no such thing as right and wrong, no moral “law” to which man, i.e. Christians are amenable, therefore, licentiousness cannot be forbidden or condemned.

What was Paul’s response to these perceptions of his doctrine of grace? He gives it in Romans 6:1: “What shall we say then, shall we continue in sin, that grace might abound? God forbid!” Now, if PU is correct, Paul was only temporarily true. He should have said, “Well, now, you have to understand that my condemnation of immorality is only temporary, and that while I am not suggesting that you actually indulge in immorality after the parousia, I cannot condemn it if you do, because then, there will be no such thing as sin! God’s grace will cover you then, if you do decide to become profligate, so just wait until the parousia, and things will be different!”4

So, our point is that in the pre-parousia period, no one taught abundant grace more abundantly than did the apostle Paul. Perhaps no one understood the grace of God more than he (1 Corinthians 15:9-10). Yet, in spite of his understanding of the comprehensive nature God’s grace, he uncompromisingly condemned those who taught, believed, and practiced the idea that God’s grace allows a life of profligacy. If the one that understood grace better than any of us today demanded lives of self discipline, holiness, and conformity to the will of God, and condemned in no uncertain terms those who abused his doctrine of grace so as to allow and encourage selfish indulgence, then is it not dangerous today to espouse a doctrine that embraces or permits the very abuse of grace that he condemned?

So, Paul proclaimed the marvelous grace of Christ, and its’ comprehensive nature prior to the parousia. In full knowledge of the extensive nature of that grace, the apostle said that those who taught that God’s grace encourages, excuses or allows open profligacy were perverting God’s grace. It was such a strong perversion of God’s grace that Jude described those who taught that doctrine of unlimited grace as “twice dead,” and both Jude and Peter said those who taught that doctrine of unlimited grace would be condemned at the parousia (Jude 14-15). This tells us several things.

1.) God’s grace does not negate moral law, rather, it emphasizes it (Titus 2:11f).

2.) God’s grace did not, in the pre-parousia kingdom, extend to open rebellion against God.

3.) The doctrine of God’s grace that taught, pre-parousia, that God’s grace covers open moral transgressions, and negates all moral law, was a perversion of the truth concerning Christ’s grace. To reiterate, no one taught more about grace than Paul. He taught, “you are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14), but immediately added that being under grace demanded that they not “yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin; but yield yourselves unto God, as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:14f).

Notice that Paul does not say “you are not under the law” here, even though he does say that they had died to “the law” in chapter 7. The definite article is missing, and this is not by accident. Paul was saying that they were not under a law system. The PU posit is that since we are not under “the law” today, and not under “law,” that therefore, there is no moral law, no such thing as right and wrong, no sin. This is a direct violation of Paul’s doctrine. He affirms that they are not under “law” as a system, but under grace, but nonetheless says that grace forbids them (us!), to live lives given over to immorality. Grace teaches, grace demands, and yes, grace condemns that which is contrary to the heart and the nature of the grace giver!

Notice that three times Paul warned the Romans against giving themselves over to becoming the “slaves” of self indulgent immorality. He told them that the “fruit” of doing so was “death.” No this very fact completely destroys PU. If universalism is true, then nothing actually, objectively results in death. (Patently, the death in view is not physical death). If anyone, at any time, was condemned to “death” then universalism is falsified. Paul warned the Romans that to abuse God’s grace and give oneself to indulgence as a slave of sin would result in death.

It cannot be rejoined that Paul was speaking only of the pre-parousia situation, and that therefore that does not apply today. That is irrelevant, not to mention false! It overlooks what we have noted about Paul delivering the New Covenant in preparation for post parousia life. It also does not matter if one speaks of the pre-parousia situation or the post parousia situation here. The fact is that Paul said that the “end” of becoming a slave of sin was death. If PU is correct, he should have said, “If you give yourself over to sin, you will be threatened with death, but will never experience it, the end will actually be life.” If the end result, not an interim or temporary result, but if the end result of that kind of life, either pre-parousia or post, was true, the PU is falsified.

Notice the contrasts between PU and what Paul taught. Paul taught that the Romans were not under law, but that grace condemned profligacy. PU says that we are not under law, that there is no standard of right and wrong, no such thing as sin today. Paul said that to abuse grace and live a life of profligacy produced the fruit of death. PU says there is no such possibility.

If today, the PU posit is true, then Paul’s pre-parousia warnings are falsified and nullified. If PU is correct, it basically means that the antinomians were simply ahead of their time! They taught that God’s grace does not condemn profligacy. PU says that is true today. They taught that God’s grace allows a life of indulgence. They taught that God’s grace will not condemn. PU says that God will not condemn a life of sensuality. So, we ask again, were the antinomians simply ahead of their time? Was Paul’s doctrine that said grace forbids and condemns profligacy a 40 year flash in the pan, to take the thrill out of life for that one generation? Are all future generations of New Covenant saints not in fact under the New Covenant constraints that Paul proclaimed? Don’t forget, Paul was saying these things about grace and morality to the New Creation, instructing them how to live in the New Creation. He was not imposing Old Covenant law on the New Creation!

4.) Since the doctrine of grace as taught by Paul was the New Covenant doctrine of grace, preparatory of life in the kingdom, post-parousia, then, to suggest that today there is no such thing as moral law, no such thing as sin, is a direct contradiction of what the New Covenant apostles taught about God’s grace. To say that today, God’s grace does cover those in open moral rebellion is to justify what Paul’s doctrine of grace condemned. To say that today, there is no moral law, is to teach the very antinomianism condemned by Paul, Peter and Jude.

Let me reiterate that all of the New Testament authors were, naturally, fully conversant in regard to the grace of Christ, and its comprehensive nature. They knew better than any of us today how broad that grace was, and in light of that knowledge they unequivocally condemned those who applied that grace to the rebellious, the profligate, the unbeliever. In spite of our difficulty today with the “universal” nature of God’s grace, those who taught it initially, and best, excluded some from that comprehensive grace!

One can discuss the extent of God’s atoning work all day long, and that is surely important. However, in the final analysis, if our theology says that since Jesus died for all men, that this means that those who give themselves over to immorality inherit the kingdom anyway, then you do thereby fundamentally distort Paul’s proclamations. He knew that Jesus died for all, did he not? He knew God’s grace was comprehensive, did he not? He knew that God is the “savior of all men, and especially those who believe,” did he not? Yet, even in light of this knowledge, he, and the rest of the N. T. authors, declared that there were some things that would exclude one from the blessings of the grace of Christ, after Christ finished his work.

PRE-PAROUSIA DANGERS

POST PAROUSIA BLESSINGS?

To emphasize what we have just seen, I want to focus on four areas of concern to the N. T. writers even as they expressed their appreciation for God’s grace. In other words, the inspired writers affirmed on the one hand that Christ died for all men, and said that God was “not willing that any should perish.” They desired that men would understand the vastness of the grace of God. Yet, at the same time, they addressed areas of concern, and when they discussed these issues, they undeniably excluded some from the benefits of the wonderful grace of which they spoke.

I want to focus on four areas of concern that the apostles condemned in no uncertain terms. And they condemned those guilty of these things in full knowledge and recognition of the grace of God! They spoke of these issues prior to the parousia, in full light of that coming event, and said that those who were guilty of these things would not receive the blessings attendant with the parousia! Now, by the very nature of the case, it seems that for anyone to be excluded from the blessings of the parousia, especially the blessings mentioned by the authors in these discussions, was to be excluded from the spiritual blessings of life and immortality itself. And that of course, negates the very premise of universalism.

PROFLIGATE IMMORALITY

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9f)

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19f).

Let me reiterate something here that is vitally important. Paul was not addressing the mere weakness of the human nature when he spoke of these problems and dangers. He was addressing the danger of yielding ones body as a slave to this manner of life (Romans 6:16f). He was addressing the danger of open rebellion against God by giving oneself over to licentiousness. A mistake of weakness is one thing, and Paul is not addressing that issue. He is addressing “the sin” of open rebellion. He is addressing the situation also, just addressed above, that some were saying that God’s grace allowed the child of God to live the “fleshly life” and still be covered by God’s grace.

Another thing that has to be considered is that Paul was anticipating the arrival of the kingdom, and all concomitant blessings. Needless to say, the arrival of the kingdom is the time of the giving of eternal life and immorality (1 Corinthians 15:50-56). It is the time of the resurrection and judgment (2 Timothy 4:1). To forfeit the blessings of entrance into the kingdom, was to forfeit salvation itself. Thus, Paul, Peter (2 Peter 2), and Jude, specifically say that those who gave themselves over to the life of the flesh would not enter into kingdom blessings, i.e. salvation.

Universalism has to alter Paul’s words, or deny them outright. PU has to say that those guilty of those things then, were punished for a while, and then taken to heaven. I have not found one single scriptural, logical argument in support of this, but, it is logically demanded to support the PU posit. Similarly, to support universalism, it would have to be argued that those guilty of those things were, or are, given the opportunity to catch a glimpse of condemnation, after they die, and are then, in light of that vision of horror, given the opportunity to repent and enter heaven. Again, I have not found one sound argument in defense of this, but something like this has to be argued for the PU argument to be tenable. PU has to say that ultimately, those who were or are guilty of the life of the flesh did, and do, after all, in direct denial of Paul’s words, inherit the kingdom.

To suggest that those things that would exclude one from inheriting the kingdom at the parousia (1 Corinthians 6:9f; Galatians 5:19f), will no longer exclude one from the blessings of the kingdom now that it has arrived, demands that there has been a fundamental alteration in the very nature, not only of God, but of the New Covenant as well. Paul was expressing New Covenant realities in these texts. He was writing to Christians to whom he had proclaimed the abundant grace of God. Yet he warned them that to give themselves over to immorality5 would result in loss of the kingdom blessings.6 Since Paul, as proclaimer of the grace of God, was “legislating” New Covenant realities, then, to repeat, if those things that Paul warned about are no longer dangers to the salvation of the body of Christ, there has been a fundamental change in the very nature of the New Covenant. Any way that you want to express it, the view that says God’s grace is so all encompassing that there is no longer any such thing as sin, no moral law, is the very kind of perversion of Paul’s grace that he unequivocally condemned.

Notice the following:

Paul said that the profligately immoral person would not inherit the kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

The kingdom represents fellowship with God, immortality and life (1 Corinthians 15:50f).

The kingdom would fully arrive at the parousia (Revelation 11:15f; 20-22).

John said that the immoral remain outside the city, after the parousia. That is they remain outside the kingdom wherein is found fellowship with God, immortality and life (Revelation 22:15).

So, Paul–who wrote of the salvation of “all men”-- nonetheless said that someone, i.e. the morally profligate, would not inherit the kingdom. The kingdom represents salvation (Matthew 25:31f). Therefore, the morally profligate would not inherit salvation. Universalism is falsified if the morally profligate did not, or do not inherit the kingdom/salvation. The morally profligate did not/do not inherit the kingdom. Therefore, universalism is falsified.

LEGALISM

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” (Galatians 5:1-4).

Paul is addressing the Judaizing problem. He struggled mightily with these Judaizers, who taught that the Gentiles, “must keep the Law of Moses and be circumcised to be save” (Acts 15:1-2). These Judaizers were Christians. However, for the discussion of universalism, it does not matter who they were! The point of fact is that Paul stated emphatically that:

1.) Those who submitted to physical circumcision for theological reasons were subject to the entirety of the Old Law.

2.) Those who–and of course this is a direct referent to Christians– submitted to circumcision, “Christ shall profit you nothing.”

3.) He emphatically said that those who sought their justification in Torah and circumcision, “you are fallen from grace.”

Question: can a person be saved without the benefit, i.e. the “profit” of Christ? We are not even discussing the Moslem, the Hindu, the atheist, etc.. We are talking about the so-called believer. Paul was speaking to and about Christians, and he said that those who sought their justification through Torah, i.e. legalism, that Christ was of no benefit to them.

The PU has to say that the “benefit” of Christ here is not related to or identified as eternal salvation. Perhaps it is some “temporal” benefit. But where is the suggestion of that in the text? Or, the PU has to simply deny, outright, what Paul said. In other words, the Judaizers, who taught a different gospel than that delivered by Paul, and as a result of that were “anathema” (Galatians 1:6-9), ultimately were not anathema at all!

Chronologically, it makes no difference where one stands in regard to this text, and its warning. If one takes it in reference strictly to the first century situation, then it does not change the fact that Paul said there were some in that situation that Christ would not benefit! And, if a person today can be guilty of trying to live by “law” and self-justification, then does not Paul’s warning still apply? Is the principle of justification by works condemned only for Paul’s first century situation, or, is it okay for a person today to seek justification through personal perfection?

How could Paul, who wrote that, “God is the savior of all men, and especially those who believe,” harmonize that doctrine with his warnings that Christians seeking justification from the Law would receive no benefit from Christ? How did Paul harmonize his doctrine of the marvelous saving power of grace, with his warnings that those who sought justification through Torah would in fact fall from that saving grace? Unfortunately for those of us who live this far removed from Paul, he never tries to explain this tension. It is clearly more of a problem for us than it was for him. Yet, we cannot afford to deny his words of warning, his specific and emphatic declarations that those guilty of “legalism” have no benefit from Christ, and in fact, fall from his saving grace.

The argument is sometimes made that at the parousia, “the law” and “the death” were to be thrown into the lake of fire, and that therefore, sin-death no longer exists as an objective danger. These statements are of course true, but do not fully explicate the situation, nor do they explain the reality of the situation of Paul’s day, nor mitigate his warnings. These facts do not take into consideration the pre-parousia world in which Paul wrote.

Paul wrote before the objective passing of “the law.” However, he wrote to those who had died to the Law through the body of Christ (Romans 7:4), and for whom Christ had, “abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10f). True, the objective reality of the post parousia world had not yet arrived, but they were, as already noted above, a part of, and participants in the New Creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Yet, as we have shown, even for those who had died to the Law, and been “raised from the dead” (Ephesians 2:1f; Colossians 2:12-13), Paul condemned the profligate life, and he condemned a return to the Law! What was to be true after the parousia– the passing of “the Law and the death”-- was already at work in the pre-parousia saints in Christ, and yet, Paul still condemned profligacy and legalism in those saints! Is it not dangerous therefore, for modern students to ignore or overlook Paul’s’ pre-parousia awareness of grace, his awareness of the dying to the Law, his awareness of their raising to life, and yet, his uncompromising condemnation of profligacy? What was demanded of those dead to the Law, but alive to Christ in the pre-parousia period, was in fact the foretaste and preparation for life in Christ post parousia.

Universalism is falsified if anyone would not be, or will not be benefitted by Christ’s work. Those who sought (seek) justification through the Law (or law), are not benefitted by Christ’s work. Therefore, universalism is falsified.

UNBELIEF, AND OTHER ISSUES

“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” (1 John 2:22-23)

“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 9)

“Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:15)

It is highly significant that John wrote some of the more “universal atonement” words in the N. T.: “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2).Yet, the very one that, like Paul affirmed the “universal” atoning work of Christ, also affirmed that those who reject Christ are “liars,” they are “antichrist,” and they do not have i.e. possess fellowship with, the Father.

What does it mean to not have either the Son or the Father? Is that a salvific issue? Is that strictly an issue of temporal blessings? This is untenable. John was not concerned here with temporal blessings. He was concerned with fellowship, and he said that those who deny Jesus as the Christ do not have either Christ, or the Father! This sounds suspiciously like “I am the Way the Truth, and the Life, no man comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). Can a person have eternal life, redemption and salvation, if they do not have fellowship with either the Father or the Son? If so, with whom do they have fellowship, and who is it that forgives their sin? Who is it that extends grace to them, if they do not have the blessings of either the Father or the Son?

These verses affirm, directly several things:

1.) That salvation is not by the Fiat act of God separate and apart from man’s acceptance of Christ.7

2.) There must be “acceptance” of Christ, by the believer (Cf. John 1:11-12).

3.) Those who refuse to accept Christ have no fellowship with the Father.

4.) Those who refuse to accept Christ in faith are liars in their denial, because the Truth is that Jesus is the Christ, and their unbelief is a denial or rejection of Truth. They are not only liars, they are “antichrist” i.e. they stand opposed to Christ.

Now, for the PU to posit salvation for those who are “antichrist” they must be able to demonstrate that the enemies of God have ever been rewarded by God. They must be able to prove with scripture, not emotionalism, that God ignores unbelief and rebellion, and actually rewards it with salvation. They must be able to prove, with scripture, that what John really meant is that the unbelievers are only temporarily liars and antichrist, but that they will ultimately not be liars and antichrist, because once they realize the awfulness of their condition that they will be taken to heaven. He said no such thing.

At this juncture, it would be good to take note of a situation that Revelation describes, i.e. the post-parousia world. In Revelation 21: 27 we are told that after the end, after the arrival of the New Creation when every person who has ever, or will ever live, is supposedly declared justified and redeemed according to PU, that there are still liars outside the city! They do not dwell in the presence of the Father and the Son–just as 1 John 2:22f suggests. The Tree of Life is inside; they are outside, and they do not enter the city. The river of life is inside. They are outside.

In one discussion with a PU, I pointed these things out, and was simply met with a derisive comment that I was “nitpicking.” However, it is not nitpicking to honor the words of the inspired text! What does it mean to be outside the city, in the post parousia world?

So, here is what we have: Before the parousia, John says that those who deny the Son do not have the Father, and they are liars.

In Revelation, John describes the post parousia world and says that liars remain outside the city, outside the blessings of the city. The question is, how can John depict anybody outside the city, unable to enjoy the blessings of the Father and the Son, if universalism is true? Is being outside the city the same as being inside the city? Is life given to those outside the same as to those inside?

The description of the post parousia worlds gives no hint of a “second chance,” no hint of acceptance in, or of, unbelief. No suggestion that God’s grace is so comprehensive–or compelling-- that it brings the unbelieving “liars” under the umbrella of that grace. No hint that God’s “desire” that all men would be saved has over ridden man’s rejection of His grace.

Just as Jesus said to Jerusalem, “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stones those who are sent to thee! How often I would have gathered you under my wing as a mother hen gathers her chicks, but you would not!” (Matthew 23:37). Was it Jesus’ “will” that Judah come to him in fellowship and obedience? If we accept his words it was. But, they would not! And as a result, they were destroyed. Likewise, God “desires” all men to come to His salvation. Yet, clearly, in Revelation, some, i.e. those who work abomination, liars, etc. would not, and they are excluded from the city! God did not drag them, kicking and screaming into the City! He offered His Son to invite them in, but they “would not” and as a result of their refusal, they remained outside.

Remember who is writing these things. It is the apostle who said that Christ died for all men! Was John contradicting himself? More importantly, was the Holy Spirit confused? No. It seems to me that there are only a few possible solutions to this issue:

1.) Christ died for all men, and the benefit of his atoning death would be applied to all men whether they believe or do not believe. However, unless John was contradicting himself, this is patently not true in the light of what he says in the verses given above. The liar does not have the Father. The one denying the Son has neither the Son nor the Father. The murderer does not have eternal life. Thus, the atoning benefit is not automatically applied to all men, although Christ died for all men.

2.) Christ died for all men (1 John 2:2), but the benefit of that atoning death is applied only to those who accept Christ (1 John 2:22-23). By accepting Christ, they are of the Truth, and they have both Father and Son.

John’s doctrine of “universal salvation” must be viewed as “all, except, and all who.” In other words, Christ died potentially for all men. He died effectively for all who accept him.

Universalism is falsified if anyone forfeits or fails to obtain the fellowship of the Father and the Son. Those who reject Jesus as the Christ forfeit, or fail to obtain, the fellowship of the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22-23). Therefore, universalism is falsified.

PU is falsified if, after the parousia anyone remains outside the parameters of God’s city, i.e. outside of His grace. Revelation 21:27/ 22:15 posits those who remain outside the parameters of God’s city, i.e. of His grace after the parousia. Therefore, universalism is falsified.

We should point out that any proposed “second chance” doctrine must distort John’s inspired words. To get universalism, in the PU sense, from John, one must take 1 John 2:2 as the over riding principle that negates and mitigates what John said in 2:22f; 3:15; 2 John 9. Was John so confused as to on the one hand affirm the salvation of all men, regardless of their attitude or belief in Christ, and then affirm that if anyone denies Jesus that they do not have the blessings of Christ? That sort of suggestion would impugn inspiration.

What John should have said, if the PU concept of universalism (at least some advocates), is correct, is to have said: “Those who deny the Son, will be threatened with loss of fellowship with the Father, but when they repent of their unbelief, they will have that fellowship.” But he did not say that. If PU is correct, he should have said that, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life, until they see their awful danger, repent, and enter life.” He did not say that. If universalism is correct, John should have written that those who “transgress and go beyond the doctrine of Christ” would be threatened with loss of the Father and Son, but that threat would not be real, because they will undoubtedly be taken to heaven anyway, because, after all, Jesus died for them. He did not say that.

In fact, John did not say what universalists needed for him to say. He said that Christ did indeed die for all men, but he also said that all men would not enter into the blessings of that atonement. And we cannot emphasize enough that John was fully aware of the incredible grace of God. He knew full well how marvelous, deep and wide it was. Christ’s grace could encompass anyone and everyone, no matter what they had done, if they accepted that grace through faith! But in full knowledge of that grace and its wonder, he nonetheless said that there were limits to that grace, and one of the limits of that grace was unbelief, and rejection of Christ. This is not the doctrine of universalism.

APOSTASY

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” (Hebrews 6:4f).

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”

We could write a book on these verses. But, this article is already getting too long. Just a few observations.

1.) In chapter 6, the text does not say “if they shall fall away,” it literally speaks of those “falling away.” There is no hypothetical situation here. The author is considering those who have been partakers of the Spirit, and tasted of the heavenly gift, etc. These are Christians! They were apostatizing. And the writer likens them to the thorns and non-productive plants of the field “whose end is to be burned” and rejected (6:8). Was the author simply expressing the idea that Christians who went back into Judaism were doomed to die in the city, or does the idea of “rejection” not go beyond that?

2.) In chapter 10, the author is dealing with those who had been “sanctified” (v. 29), and “enlightened” (v. 32, from photesthentes. Robertson, says this is equivalent to “regeneration,”8). These are like those in chapter 6 who have tasted of the heavenly gift, and partaken of the Spirit of God. The only difference is that in chapter 6, the writer contemplates those who were falling away, and in chapter 10 he is encouraging the readers not to fall away.

3.) In chapter 10 the author is considering those who openly, rebelliously, reject the Way of Christ, and return to the Law. So, we are dealing with a situation similar to that under the “legalism” heading, but, here, we have open apostasy back into the Old Creation. These had once come to “the full knowledge of the truth” (v. 26– from epignosko). This is not just intellectual knowledge, but comprehensive acknowledgment. They had made it theirs! They had known Christ! Once again, we are not dealing with the simple human condition of weakness of the flesh. This is open apostasy, open rebellion, open rejection of that once believed, embraced and practiced.

4.) Those who had once embraced Christ, and his grace, but were now openly rejecting him and returning to the Law, were guilty of three things: a.) They had trodden Christ under foot. They were guilty of crucifying Christ afresh (Hebrews 6:4f). b.) They were despising the very blood of Christ, the blood that confirmed the New Covenant of grace, counting it as an unholy thing. c.) They were guilty of “doing insult” (from enubrizo, a “strong word” per Robertson, p. 414 ), to the very spirit of grace that they had received. They had known and experienced grace but were now rejecting that grace! Was God going to impose grace on those who knew of it, but still did not want it?

5.) Those who were guilty of these things were subject to a fate worse than those who despised the Law of Moses and died a physical death as a result. Question: What is worse than physical death?

It can’t be argued that all the writer is expressing is the threat of physical death in the impending Jerusalem holocaust. That would be the same kind of death suffered by those who despised the Law of Moses! Incidentally, those who rejected Christ were to suffer being “cut off from the people,” because they were in fact being disobedient to the Law, that testified of Jesus (Acts 3:23f)! So, in effect, those who rejected Moses and the Law through rejecting Christ did suffer the penalty of the Law. However, those who had accepted Christ, and then rejected him, would endure a greater, worse punishment than that!! So, again, the question is: What punishment is worse than physical death? There can only be one answer, and that is “spiritual death.”9

In these verses, there is no hint of a second chance. No hint of grace imposed. No suggestion of repentance on the part of the apostate. There was only something worse than physical death for those who had come to rejoice in the crucifixion of Jesus, and had come to despise the New Covenant–the covenant of grace, forgiveness and salvation-- and had come to despise the very grace that they had once received.

Now, it might be rejoined that no one today can be guilty of that since the Old Law has been removed. This is a non-sequitor. Can anyone duplicate precisely, what those who crucified Jesus did? No. But, according to the writer of Hebrews, to once embrace Christ and then to forsake him is tantamount to engaging once again in his crucifixion! Can a person today come to agree with those who crucified Jesus? You know they can, they have, and they do.

Furthermore, can a person today be guilty of involvement in the world, accept Christ, and then abandon Christ and become an unbeliever? Consider a Moslem. Islam rejects Christ’s atoning death, and denies his resurrection. He is not the Son of God! Well, if a Moslem abandons Islam by faith in Christ, but then later rejects Christ and once again embraces the former belief that Christ is not the Son of God, did not die for his sins, and is not raised from the dead, just how different, in principle, is that from the situation in Hebrews? He has made the transition from faith to unbelief! He now counts the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified an unholy thing. He is now insulting the spirit of grace, is he not? He now denies the Son, does he not? If the rejection of faith and journey to unbelief is still possible, then is not the danger of that transition not still valid? After all, what we have threatened in Hebrews 10 (and cf. Hebrews 2, 12 also), was not Old Covenant wrath (only). It was worse than Old Covenant punishment!

Let me express this like this. It does not matter, to some degree, who the writer of Hebrews is discussing.

1.) If a person takes the Arminian view, then those who were once sanctified and redeemed by the blood of Christ were now apostatizing and were to receive a fate worse than physical death.

2.) If a person takes the Calvinistic view, then these were never really “saved” in the first place, having only an appearance of salvation. Nonetheless, from the writer’s perspective, if, even taking a Calvinistic view, if anyone ever did, or ever will, suffer a fate worse than physical death, then universalism is falsified. And undeniably, in Hebrews, the author was saying that someone was to suffer such a fate.

3.) It does not matter how one wishes to delineate between the words atonement, reconciliation, and salvation. The fact is that there was a group under consideration that were to receive a fate worse than physical death.

The fact is that in Hebrews we have a group of people who had and were “falling away.” They had been partakers of the benefits of Christ’s blood, God’s grace and gifts. However, they had now rejected Christ as the Messiah, and, per 1 John 2:22f, were now classified as liars because they now rejected Jesus as Messiah. Thus, They no longer had the Father and the Son. Further, a case can be made that they now “hated their brother” i.e. Christian brothers, and as a result, now, they did not have eternal life abiding in them. They now counted the blood of the covenant, by which they had been sanctified an unholy thing, and were insulting the Spirit of grace. Thus, there awaited them a fate worse then physical death.

Had Christ died for them? Surely, for it is his blood by which they had been sanctified.10 Christ’s blood is a direct referent to his atoning work (Hebrews 9:24-28), and is thus a salvation reference. So, we have a reference here to a group of people, and remember that it does not matter if a person takes a Calvinistic perspective or an Armenian, this group of people was to receive a fate worse than physical death. Thus, if this group of people did in fact receive that threat of a fate worse than physical death, then universalism is falsified.

Universalism is falsified if a person could or can forsake Christ and suffer a fate worse then physical death. Those in Hebrews 6, 10 were forsaking Christ and were in danger of a fate worse than physical death. Therefore, universalism is falsified.

Universalism is falsified if a person could (can) reject faith and reject grace, and be subject to a fate worse than physical death. Those in Hebrews 6, 10, had or were in danger of, rejecting faith and rejecting grace, and were in danger of a fate worse than physical death. Therefore, universalism is falsified.

Now, we have to be reminded again that if the author of Hebrews was Paul, that he was the author of the statements that God desires all men to be saved. He wrote that God wanted all men to come to knowledge of the truth and be saved. He wrote that God is the savior of all men, especially those who believe. Yet, in full recognition of those facts, Paul (or whoever wrote Hebrews, it does not matter), was still compelled by the Spirit to say that while God wants all to be saved, there were some who were going to effectively reject that grace, that salvation, and suffer a fate worse than physical death. I therefore suggest again that the Biblical doctrine of Christ’s “universal work” is that “he died for all men potentially, but for the believer effectively.”

POST PAROUSIA ETHICAL DEMANDS

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:11f)

I have argued thus far that Paul and the rest of the N. T. writers were giving their moral mandates and commands, not based on the Old Creation, but on the New, preparing and instructing the New Creation members for life in the New World. In other words, what was wrong morally, in the pre-parousia New Creation, was to be wrong when the New Jerusalem came down from God out of heaven. What was holy, pure and good in the pre-parousia world was to be expected when the New Order was fully in place. Paul nor any other inspired writer ever suggests that there would be a time when morality, based on the holiness of God and the New Covenant, would not be demanded of the children of the King. The text above demonstrates this definitively.

Notice that Paul says that the Old World of darkness was ready to pass. The Day of the Lord was near, to usher in the glorified New Creation. Consequently, the apostle urges his readers to live lives of holiness by putting aside, among other things, “rioting and drunkenness, chambering and wantonness, strife and envying.” See also the works of the flesh in 2 Corinthians 6, Galatians 5, 2 Peter 2 , Jude, and Revelation again. And now note, that in putting these things off, and clothing themselves with Christ, they were to live “as in the day.” This highly significant term means one thing: “live your lives as if the Day of the New Creation had fully arrived!”

The implications here are undeniable.

First, to engage in profligacy was to live in darkness, and it was wrong.

Second, to put on Christ and live a holy life was right.

Third, to live a holy life was demanded.

Fourth, to live a holy life was to live as if they were already in the Day, where that kind of life would be the standard!

Fifth, undeniably, to refuse to live the life consistent with the Day would be wrong. It would be to refuse to put on Christ.

What these undeniable facts show us is that in the New World, the world of the Day, that there is a definite standard of right and wrong. Those things listed by Paul, i.e. “rioting, drunkenness, chambering, wantonness, strife and envying,” and the other evils listed in the other texts, are still evil, they are still sin, because they are a violation of the very nature and character of the Day!

The fact that Paul sets forth a standard of right and wrong that would, and does, characterize life within the New Creation, is totally destructive to claims of some advocates of PU. To say that there is no right or wrong, that grace covers even the most rebellious of unbelievers, flies in the face of Paul’s demand for a certain kind of living when the Day arrived.

This same kind of demand of righteous living, and implicit condemnation of immorality is to be found in Peter’s famous statement that they were anticipating “a new heavens and earth, wherein dwells righteousness.” That world of righteousness, the body of Christ, was not to be a world in which morality has become subjective, unknowable, or non-existent. It is to be a world of righteousness, based on faith in the one who founded and perfected this Aeon. Just like Abraham believed God and it was imputed to him for righteousness, the N T. writers believed that imputed righteousness, through faith, was the order of the Day. They knew that there was no righteousness through the Law (Galatians 3:20f). They knew however, that for those who believed, as Abraham did, that they,“became “the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 3:26-29).

The N. T. writers did affirm that Christ died for all, and desires that all men be saved, they affirmed nonetheless, uncompromisingly, that salvation is in Christ, only in Christ, by faith.

We have seen that Paul said that “the end” of becoming a slave of immorality was death.

We have seen, that in the pre-parousia world, the N. T. writers affirmed that those who lived lives of immorality would “will not inherit the kingdom.” We have seen that John, in describing the post parousia world, says that the immoral are outside the city. They have not inherited the kingdom!

We have seen that John, writing before the parousia, said that those who deny Christ do not have the Father or the Son, and are liars. The same author, describing the post parousia world, said that liars are without the city, excluded from its blessings.

We have seen that in the pre-parousia world, the blessings of God were to be found “in Christ.” In the post parousia world of Revelation blessings are found only “in the city.”

These irrefutable facts falsify the doctrine of universalism. An emotional appeal to the “mercy and grace of God” cannot mitigate or falsify these inspired statements and descriptions. We have no authority today to impute to the rebellious unbeliever what the inspired writers promised to those of faith.

END NOTES

1. The discussion of universalism is being revived outside of preterist circles as well. A recent new book Universal Salvation? The Current Debate, Robin A. Parry and Christopher H. Partridge, editors, (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2003), reveals that the topic is being revived within scholarly circles once again.

2. Very clearly, one has to prove that the implications that one thinks that they see in a doctrine, are indeed valid. I have had any number of opponents of Covenant Eschatology claim that it implies this or that, and therefore it is wrong, when in fact, what they claimed was an implication was just an over active imagination, based on faulty assumptions on their part, as they attempted desperately to maintain a long held view.

3. Scott McKnight, A New Vision for Israel, (Grand Rapids, Eerdman’s, 1999)13.

4. Part of the issue here is the reality of objective right and wrong. Some might object by saying that adultery, homosexuality, thievery, murder are still “wrong” because they harm people, not because they are still considered dangerous sins in God’s eyes. This is semantic sophistry. David realize that his adulterous sin was a sin against God, not just against Bathsheeba and her family (Psalms 51): “Against you and you only have I sinned.” You cannot relegate “sin” to a simple matter of offending fellow humans. The atheist will argue that these things are wrong because they harm people, but that there is no objective standard of right or wrong, for which man must answer. So, will PU adopt the humanistic relativist mentality, wrapping it up in theological robes? The end result is the same, a rejection of the righteousness of God.

5. In other words, Paul was not warning that simple “weakness of the flesh” would result in loss of kingdom blessings. He was addressing the danger of committing “the sin” i.e. the sin of Adam, by open, continuous rebellion against the will of God. In Paul’s writings, there is a distinct difference between “the sin” and “sin.” For Paul, “sin” is the human in weakness, struggling with his desire to serve the Lord, and his own frailty. “The sin” is man in open rebellion. He is not struggling. He wants to be his own god, the ruler of his own destiny and decisions. It is the later Paul has in mind in 1 Corinthians 6, Galatians, Hebrews 6, 10. etc.

6. In a sense, in the discussion of universalism, it does not matter who Paul is addressing. His statements that those who give themselves to rebellion against God’s moral law excludes someone from enjoying the kingdom blessings, after the time of the end!

7. Only God can provide salvation. So, in that sense, salvation is a Fiat act of God. However, that is not John’s point, nor mine. My point is that John affirms that a person must be actively involved in accepting Christ in order to receive the blessings that the Father has offered. If there is no active acceptance of Christ, there are no blessings from the Father.

8. A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures of the N. T. Vol. V., (Nashville, Broadman, 1932)414

9. Very clearly, the author does not have any kind of temporal chastisement in mind, because any kind of temporal “chastening of His children,” could never be worse than the physical death of the text’s comparison. This threat is exponentially worse than any temporal chastisement, and that can only be spiritual death.

10. It is my personal conviction that too much emphasis is being placed on a supposed distinction between the atonement of Christ, reconciliation, redemption and salvation. In the mind of a Jewish reader, the completion of the work of Christ, in the antitypical fulfillment of the High Priestly function, would bring about reconciliation for the alienated. That reconciliation would be accomplished through forgiveness of sin, because sin is what alienated in the first place. However, the forgiveness of sin is the climax of the atonement process, and the climax of the atonement praxis was in fact salvation. For Paul, redemption is inalienably linked with forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7). So, while there may be, and are, nuances in the different words with some variation of emphasis, nonetheless, substantively one would be hard pressed to draw sharp distinction between these terms.

DavidF's picture

Don: You have assessed the effects of universalism irrefutably.

Whenever this doctrine is expressed it is incredibly easy for the Christian (let alone the natural man) to think “so then, there is no need to repent of sin. Why fear God?” As you said, that kind of thought pattern is very dangerous for spiritual life and anyone who teaches universalism is likely affecting others to accept and act unethically on the implications.

Very well written Don Preston. Along with Sam’s article, it’s good to see your sober, critical look at this.

davo's picture

vento: Barry,

Actually, I have to agree, in that I don't believe Don really dealt with what you, Ed, Davo etc. are propounding. I'm not sure I've seen you folks claim "anything goes" now. I'm not sure where he got that from? I think he's made a case against universalism, generally, but not with the particulars of your position.

I hope that Don will interact with some of the comments you guys posted here.

Take care,

Scott

HALLELUJAH!! – someone who DOESN'T AGREE with us "grace folk" is open enough to see and honest enough to state the bleedin' obvious. Thank you Scott. – hope that wasn't too emotional for the rest of you good folk :)

Kyle: I don't think Don is singling out Pantelism or even attempting to address the varying degrees of PU espoused on this particular website.

Kyle, you couldn't be more right, and that's the problem – the likes of Don, Sam and DaveC have well and truly been suckered in by Roderick's fragrant PU; start say something loud enough then long enough and soon others will believe and follow. Then throw the obligatory "emotionalism" badge into the mix as a way of NOT dealing with ACTUAL points of view raised, then stir – hardly makes for up front and honest dialogue.

Like, will Don respond to some of the issues I raised? – most likely not. In writing my response to some of Don's thoughts I realized I was probably wasting my time, so stopped – just like I responded to Sam's treatise on "universalism" as he sees it; no response. I even challenged one of Roderick's faulty notions HERE, but again no response. I must conclude that either they will not or they can not – well judging by the amount of dialogue [NOT] I'm inclined think perhaps it's the latter – prove me wrong gents.

davo – pantelism.com –

"And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." 1Jn 2:2

MichaelB's picture

Ya Davo - I think Don is scared of you - LOL

Davo - even if he did address everything you believe you guys would just say - "thats not we are saying".

davo's picture

Seriously Michael, no one is scared of anyone, nor should there be any need to be. Yet I find it interesting that only now after months of somewhat internal dialogue/debate here @PP there is finally coming some "reaction" from those who wither to now have been somewhat silent on the matter [at least here at PP where much of this discussion has being taking place] and are now proposing their own anti-universalistic points of view – while ignoring the "fulfilled" or in my case "pantelistic" view that we've been espousing, and which IMO is far more "consistently prêteristic" than those who are only now chiming in with their opinions – which of course they are welcome to do. It would just be somewhat germane if "they" would at least deal with the "fulfilled issues" that we've been raising, as opposed to just jumping on Rod's anti PU circus bus.

MichaelB: Davo - even if he did address everything you believe you guys would just say - "thats not we are saying".

Believe it or not, based on the evidences thus far I may be in agreeance with you.

davo – pantelism.com –

"And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." 1Jn 2:2

MichaelB's picture

Davo - lets say it is pre- AD70...

Please tell me which of these is or isn't related to faith / belief?

Salvation
Grace
Redemption
Justification
Reconciliation
Inheritance
Righteousness
Atonement
Forgiveness of sin
Covenant

davo's picture

"Let's pretend for a moment - pre -AD70" – ok, lets pretend for a moment that you're asking a genuine question which is not just a pretext for some prescribed answer you're just waiting to get to – forgive my cynicism :)

There are degrees of "faith" or covenantal "faithfullness" attributable to all the above – some on man's account, some on God's and some both.

"Salvation" which is a work of God is "grasped" [received] in faith by believing.

"Grace" which again is God's "gift" is more fully apprehended by faith – though present to all regardless, though not benefited from in life to the degree that it is available, either through ignorance or arrogance – which really when it all boils down to it "arrogance" is in fact just ignorance anyway.

"Redemption" was primarily the restorative work of God toward Israel that He "faithfully" fulfilled in Christ in bringing Israel back to Himself.

"Justification" by faith speaks more to the "vindication" of the believer in the coming end time. There is also the aspect of Christ's faithfullness in bringing the state of justification, or being "put to rights" with God on man's behalf.

"Reconciliation" was the end result of the faithfulness of Christ in outworking God's will on behalf of His creation Israel, which when redeemed brought about the reconciliation of humanity.

"Inheritance" is that position of "authority" as "sons or children of God" that faith brings one into where God can outwork His will on earth as it is in heaven.

"Righteousness" again is that condition and therefore place where one can faithfully outwork the fruits of it in doing good to all – the net result of which is peace.

"Atonement" was between God and Christ alone, yet on man's behalf, and shows God's faithfulness to man irrespective of man's beliefs – beliefs ARE important, but the lack thereof cannot negate the atonement.

"Forgiveness of sin" is a reality regardless of personal faith, HOWEVER, faith in Christ enables the benefits of such forgiveness in life to translate into real peace and assurance of heart and the like that without such knowledge one is all the worse off without it.

"Covenant" renewal demonstrated God's faithfulness to His people Israel in that He fulfilled what He promised them through and in Christ.

Michael, I'm currently at work right now and am really only glossing across these and with a bit more time and thought could probably explain these all better than I have – all the relevant scriptures to each one I've gone over many times before in the various posts I've made over some time now so you'll probably know which ones I have in mind. Again these are not definitive answers and could be teased out more.

davo

MichaelB's picture

Davo writes:
Again these are not definitive answers and could be teased out more.

Davo - I once had a pastor tell me that "there are ways around it" in regards to Daniel 12.

This sure sounds alot like "teasing out" multiple definitions for each of these words as you see convenient.

davo's picture

Thanks Michael for your consistency – yep I knew should have known better, you know, that small still voice. I really do need to get back to my ethos of finding "a son of peace" as per Lk 10:6 – anything less really is a waste of valuable time.

ciao!!

davo – pantelism.com –

"And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." 1Jn 2:2

Everlasting's picture

Davo,
If you haven't done so the last few days please check your messages.
Everlasting

davo's picture

big ooopps and big sorry to all those folk who have messaged me but went unanswered - trying to rectify that now.

davo

leo724's picture

I would love to have an opportunity to "dialogue" with someone about this article point by point. Since it is so long and I have just enough time to read these exhausting articles, I will just ask one question for now and maybe someone can answer it for me.

Don says " Universalism is falsified if anyone would not be, or will not be benefitted by Christ’s work. Those who sought (seek) justification through the Law (or law), are not benefitted by Christ’s work. Therefore, universalism is falsified."

My question is would Don say that Universalism is falsified because the apostle Peter was not benefitted by Christ's work?

Notice the that the quotation marks supplied by the New American Standard translation indicate that Paul's statement to Peter extend to the end of chapter two.

Galatians 2:11-21

11But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned . For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, "If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be! For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly."

My point is that Paul uses Peter as an example to the Galatians of a Judaizer compelling the Gentiles to live under that Law. Paul says that Peter is condemned. Paul's grand speech about Law and grace is directed to Peter. Peter is the one Paul describes as going back to the Law and even dragging Barnabas with him.

Doesn't this mean that Christ was of no benefit to Peter? I realize that this question will make no sense in the context of Don's section on legalism but isn't this exactly what the context of Galatians says? If so, then I am pretty sure that benefit means something other than salvation.

davo's picture

Absolutely correct.

leo724: If so, then I am pretty sure that benefit means something other than salvation.

Or, how we as westerns have understood and consequently dealt with "salvation".

davo

leo724's picture

Great point Davo. I was, of course, using the word "salvation" in the sense it was being used in Don's article.

My current view is that salvation simply means deliverance from bondage to the Old Covenant Law of Moses and redemption to the New Covenant of righteousness in Jesus Christ.

Bill

davo's picture

leo724: My current view is that salvation simply means deliverance from bondage to the Old Covenant Law of Moses and redemption to the New Covenant of righteousness in Jesus Christ.

Yep, I think that says it pretty good.

davo

MiddleKnowledge's picture

Don,

I appreciate the work that you have done with this article. Thank you very much.

This is the kind of leadership that will have to be shown in the future of the preterist paradigm for preterism to grow from a gangly teenage stage of discoordination to a fully matured Christian theological paradigm.

Blessings,

Tim Martin
www.truthinliving.org

Virgil's picture

Tim, you are absolutely right! One thing relevant to this issue is your article on the flood. I remember you posting it here a long time ago, and Ed Stevens e-mailing me and asking me to take it down immediately because "it makes Preterism look bad." In my "gangly teenage stage" I think I did that. Of course, your article deeply affected my own view of the flood and it's back here on this site. It shows how this kind of open dialogue changes people and brings them closer to truth.

I've been facing the same bickering and whining about this discussion over "universalism" -- we are talking too much about it, we are giving it too much exposure, we are not giving it too much exposure, we are too mean to some people, we are too nice to some people, and on and on.

Covering our ears and refusing to listen to others will get us nowhere. That goes for all of us, no matter what theological background.

the_prophet_whiteboy's picture

First of, My hat is off to Don Preston and Sam Frost for their wonderful ,insightfull and Scriptural postion on the fallacies of the PU movement.

Second comment is directed to Ed " Prooftext" Burley.

Roderick writes articles, Not the Bible.

Look, Its not fun when your theology is shot down by the Word. I do understand where you might be coming from. I was once a freewiller, So I know the "emotional baggage" that comes with this view. Its like watching the movie "beaches" and peeling onions.

But with that being said, Its ok to admit that your theology was wrong, but your now :maybe" heading to a Christ centered doctrine.

Ed, we all have takeing and giving some ribbing on these discussions, But these emotional attacks against Roderick are uncalled for. If you have a issue about being wrong take it up with the Creator, not Roderick.

Thanks for your time and consideration on this matter,

Whitey

Ed's picture

Whitey,
Do you even have a clue as to what you are saying? You condemn me for attacking Roderick, and yet, if someone did a search on every comment you have ever made on this site that was directed toward me, including this one, they would see that you have never done anything but attack me from the beginning. You have never added one single solitary constructive comment to anything that has ever been discussed. Your most constructive comment that you ever made was "Good job Roderick!" or something like that.

Now, if you really want to be constructive, answer my questions that I posted under Kyle's response to me after my response to Roderick. I'm sure you won't touch them with a ten foot pole because you are unable to answer them. This post is the best you can do.

IHIG,

Ed "Prooftext" Burley
www.infinite-grace.com

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

MichaelB's picture

Ed writes:
IHIG,

Ed even your "sign-off" can't be found in the bible.

But I did find this...

Romans 5
2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

Of course it is pre-AD70...

Please tell me wich of these, pre-AD70, is not in regards to faith / belief.

Salvation
Grace
Redemption
Justification
Reconciliation
Inheritance
Righteousness

Barry's picture

This is what I wrote in an article posted here at PP for everyone to see and talk about.
Quote:
Now some dear preterist brothers and sisters will reject the complete end of Adam’s headship, but the problems in consistency that arise are numerous. Once Adam’s headship is extended beyond the end of the age then those who lived on beyond the end of the world who had, attained victory through the last Adam, could then be subject once again to the very world that had passed away. Getting Adam’s headship to extend beyond the destruction of the works of the devil is problematic at best.
The problem then is that all, or almost all (depending on the view of the preterirst) of the above are interlinked with each other. How do you obtain a true victory in AD 70 if any of the above is ongoing beyond the verdict of victory? This is one of the many problems that we are faced with when we do not approach the scriptures in a mindset of total and complete “victory”. That victory can be referred to as a type of “common grace”.
Common grace does not imply an identical commonly applied inheritance in the age that was about to be. It does mean a common forgiveness of sins as the old passes away. Without a real sense of “inclusiveness” in the final analysis there is a tendency to turn full preterism into partial preterism because there is a tendency to limit the victory that was attained in the end of the age.

Let’s get back to our original question [finally, some might add], “Why is there evil in the world today?” Our answer will depend on how we view the finality of that which has passed away. Does that which has passed away have a residual effect? Perhaps, but in the opinion of this Bible student this is not where we will find our answers.
Another term that may help us understand the continued application of what the new age pronounced, is “reflection”. The term “residual” may imply a portion of the old, which has made its way through. The term “reflection” may be used as an explanation that the whole of the world has changed but there are still issues and growth and transformation that reflects heavily on the past.
In this way then the old world of sectarianism has passed away because the standing of that world has ceased. Instead of having a residual of that old world we have a reflection of the past that must now we worked through in the new world where “peace” has been made in its fullest sense. Peace, is the world we live in. Unity cannot be made through us for it is already made. Peace cannot be made through us for it is already made. There is however an application of that unity and an application of that peace which has been made in Christ. There is a reflection of the old that is being worked out in the new. This is common grace in its continued and continuing impact. It is not a continued eschatological transformation but an evolution that reflects the issues of the past.
In this refection of past history there is a reflective outworking of the old age in our new world. Not that the old world is still with us but that the new world of unity and peace in Christ has an outworking application pattern that reflects the old in somewhat of a reverse.
End Quote.

This is what I posted in the blog of universalism here at pp.
1 Cor. 15:
51) Behold, I show you a mystery; WE SHALL NOT ALL SLEEP, BUT WE SHALL ALL BE CHANGED,
52) IN A MOMENT, in the TWINKLING OF AN EYE, at THE LAST TRUMP; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and WE SHALL BE CHANGED.
53) For THIS CORRUPTIBLE MUST PUT ON INCORRUPTION, AND THIS MORTAL MUST PUT ON IMMORTALITY.
54) So WHEN this corruptible SHALL HAVE PUT ON incorruption, and this mortal SHALL HAVE PUT ON immortality, THEN SHALL be brought to pass the saying that is written, DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY.
55) The STING OF DEATH IS SIN; and the STRENGTH OF SIN IS THE LAW.

I've been asking the detractors of common grace to come forward and deal with things in there covenatal implications. The END is the END OF THE STRENGTH OF SIN. How do you apply it???????

This was posted in the same thread.
Matt. 13:
37) He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of Man;
38) The field IS THE WORLD; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
39) The enemy that sowed them is the devil; THE HARVEST IS THE END OF THE WORLD; and the reapers are the angels.
40) As therefore the TARES ARE GATHERED AND BURNED IN THE FIRE; so shall it be IN THE END OF THIS WORLD.
41) The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and thy shall gather out of his kingdom ALL THINGS THAT OFFEND, AND THEM WHICH DO INIQUITY;
42) And SHALL CAST THEM INTO A FURNACE OF FIRE; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43) Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

If you have the same generation still being weeded out in the new age then you do not have covenant eschatology. How are you dealing with it??????????

Same thread again.
Acts 3:23
“And it shall come to pass, that EVERY SOUL, which will not hear that prophet, SHALL BE DESTROYED FROM AMONG THE PEOPLE.”

Philippians 3:
18) (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ:
19) Whose END IS DESTRUCTION, whose God is their belly, and whose glory IS IN THEIR SHAME, who mind earthly things.)”

James 1:
10) But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass HE SHALL PASS AWAY.
11) For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: SO ALSO SHALL THE RICH MAN FADE AWAY IN HIS WAYS.”

1 Peter 4:
7) But the END of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.”
1 Peter 4:17
…what shall the END be of them that obey not the gospel.

2 Peter 2:
12) But these, as natural brute beasts made [“bred ] to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall UTTERLY PERISH IN THEIR OWN CORRUPTION;
13) And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness…”

So here is the obvious problem. They did not all die physically but they did all die second death. They did not all die physically but they were all destroyed in the flesh and did “UTTERLY PERISH IN THEIR OWN CORRUPTION”.
How are you dealing with the covenantal implications.
Do you still have old covenant creatures outside the new jerusalem in the new age???
If so how?????
If not did they all die prior to the new age????

Same thread.
Rom. 13:NKJV
11) And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; FOR NOW OUR SALVATION IS NEARER THAN WHEN WE FIRST BELIEVED.
12) The NIGHT IS FAR SPENT, the DAY IS AT HAND, Therefore let us cast off the WORKS OF DARKNESS, and let us put on the armor of light.

1 John 2:8) NKJV Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you. Because the DARKNESS IS PASSING AWAY, and the TRUE LIGHT IS ALREADY SHINING.
1 John 2:NKJV
15) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16) For ALL THAT IS IN THE WORLD- the lust OF THE FLESH, the lust OF THE EYES, and the PRIDE OF LIFE- is not of the Fahter but is OF THE WORLD.
17) And the WORLD IS PASSING AWAY, and the LUST OF IT; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
18) Little Children, it is the law hour….

2 Peter 3:
10) But the DAY OF THE LORD will come as a thief in the NIGHT; in the which the heavens shall PASS AWAY with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also AND THE WORKS THAT ARE THEREIN SHALL BE BURNED UP.

How do you explain the above verses????
Did the lust of the flesh from Eve pass away or not????

Unless you deal with these questions you will not be dealing with the covenatal implications of what Barry has been saying concerning common grace in the new age.

I am not saying that there is not a personal extrapolation to a personal deliverance by God that is formulated in the context of the new age.
I am saying that unless you deal with the context of fulfillment that you cannot correctly extrapolate to the new age application of deliverance.
Deliverance from the old covenant is a common grace application. The strenght of sin can not be applied in the same context as in the old age. Faith in the new age does not produce deliverance from the old age. Nor can it produce deliverance from the second death which was covenantal.
Nor can we overcome the same world that they in the fulfilled sense overcame.
I well come meaningfull dialogue that addresses the issues.

Barry

we are all in this together

MichaelB's picture

Was the garden the entire physical world or did it have boundaries (rivers etc) and was it a place in the physical (global) world?

When heaven and earth passes away, is it the entire physical world or a place in the physical (global) world?

Is the new heaven and new earth / New Jerusalem the entire physical (global) world or is it a place in the world?

Who was the New Covenant made with?
A) No one.
B) The entire physical global world.
c) Israel.

Barry's picture

Did sin enter into the world through one man?

we are all in this together

MichaelB's picture

Romans 5
18Consequently, just as the result of ONE TRESPASS was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was JUSTIFICATIOON that brings life for all men.

So how did the JUSTIFICATION come for all men.

Romans 4
24but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us WHO BELIEVE in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

Romans 8
30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Romans 10
10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

Therefore - those that did not have faith received CONDEMNATION and were not justified.

Barry's picture

Rom. 10:
10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Rom. 13:
11) And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out ot sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12) The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

1 Peter 1:
9) Receiving the END OF YOUR FAITH, even the SALVATION OF YOUR SOULS.
10) Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should COME UNTO YOU:
11) Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

13) Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and HOPE TO THE END for the grace that is to be brought unto you AT THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST.

I keep asking you to deal with fulfillment and you keep going in circles.
The benifits of faith in the new age cannot be identical to what brought about fulfillment and the passing away of the old covenant that was from Adam.
Barry

we are all in this together

MichaelB's picture

Barry we can talk about after 70 AD as soon as you can admit that those prior to 70 AD who died outside of the faith DID NOT RECEIVE THE INHERITANCE.

29And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?

for the slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman's son."

For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

Notice ETERNAL LIFE was the inheritance.

They received it in the AGE TO COME.

will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.

So please stop trying to say that eternal life just means living through the age.

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels

Eternal means eternal.

26but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him—

1Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant

Kyle's picture

Don,

For what it's worth this is one of your best columns yet! Thank you for stepping up to the plate to provide insights and scriptures on this topic. I can see all of PP readers benefitting from this article.

leslie's picture

Don, I would like to 'hear' you debate Ed and/or Barry on the Voice of Reason on this issue of PU. Postings are nice, but, why not let 'the whole world' in at one time as you go Grace to Grace with Ed and/or Barry. The air needs to be cleaned better than it has been. Great article. Your Brother in Christ. Les

Brother Les

leslie's picture

Virgil, I did not forget PPs pod cast. I just think that there would be more listeners on VoR. Les

Brother Les

davo's picture

Don Preston: However, I do have in my files, but will not divulge names, an Internet exchange in which a PU said that since A.D. 70 there is no such thing as right and wrong, no sin, no law of morality. The church cannot therefore, condemn fornication, adultery, homosexuality, or any other kind of actions. The church, the body of Christ, has no standard to proclaim, except, “God’s grace is great! You are saved!”

Don, these may well be the words of someone that you say advocates your defined PU, yet you spend your entire article caning such a proposition as stated above and placing all who have been thus labelled by Roderick Edwards and others on this site into said camp – YET up until this point I for one have not seen much in the way of interaction from YOU with those by deliberate implication you lambast. Unfortunately you have set up a singular straw man to build a straw house for that which you consider stubble. Much of what you present as an argument supposedly against the PU position most folk here of the "wider grace" view would not have issue with, i.e., moral and ethical rectitude for the servants of God.

Don Preston: …Some preterists espouse that since A.D. 70, there is no such thing as sin, no evil; there are even those preterists who say that man is not even saved by faith in Christ!
So, in other words, I am concerned to show that the logical implications of saying that all men are saved regardless of faith, that there is no such thing as sin or wickedness, no such thing as a moral standard of right and wrong to which men must submit today, is to say that all men are free to live lives of profligacy and indulgence.

This is your first major error in dealing with what has been discussed here @PP in recent times – none that I can think of advocate anything like your charge of profligacy and indulgence.

You may or may not have an issue with pantelism as I have been presenting it here @PP, but one thing is for sure if you have been following anything that I've said is that NO, I am not saying "that all men are saved regardless of faith" but that all ARE reconciled, and that the distinct deliverance that "salvation" brings is a deliverance into the call of God for service, NOT a deliverance into Heaven post death – hence the NT injunctions to holy living as is pertinent to those called to serve Him in serving others.

This then being the case such service must by its very nature follow the ethical/moral will of God. But this not what you are saying PU folk are advocating – so perhaps you could elaborate? – since you go on to say: "Since this article is, by and large, addressing universalism as it is being manifested in the preterist world…".

Don Preston: So, it is argued, since the N. T. authors based their exhortations to holiness on their convictions of Christ’s coming, then, if Christ has come, there is no more ground for ethical exhortation. This objection fails on several grounds…

Don, you need to at least identify some sources for such claims i.e., which prêteristically orientated folk are actually arguing such things; otherwise it simply looks like you are contending with a basic proposition against "universalism" [which may be fair enough], as opposed to specific PU arguments the implications of which you say exist.

Don Preston: Biblically, eschatology is not the only ground for holiness. Rather, fellowship and relationship with God is the ultimate ground for holiness: “Be ye holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16). In other words, those who would follow the Lord, should be like the Lord because of what He is! Not from fear of doom, destruction and damnation, but, because we want to be like Him.

That Don is a key message of pantelism, i.e., because one has been reconciled to God such "holiness" of which ALL benefit, is undeniably possibly.

Don Preston: If God’s very nature abhors certain actions, and rejects them, then to be holy is to hate those things and reject them. Unless the very nature, the very heart of God has changed, then He still abhors immorality, He still rejects dishonesty, He still condemns murder.

Yes, for it is these very things that frustrate and forlorn one's fellowship with Him and others – probably the greatest of which is murder, something Jesus says believers do when they slander a brother.

Don Preston: Both John the Immerser and Jesus proclaimed, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven has drawn near.” Why were the people to repent? Because of the imminence of the kingdom! Thus, ethics and the kingdom go hand in hand, right? Would the arrival of the kingdom mean that the exhortations to repentance and holiness would no longer be applicable? Would the arrival of the kingdom nullify ethical conduct, or magnify it?

Of cause the arrival of the kingdom in consummation would in no way impinge on the continuance of ethical holiness – the call to "repent" however was more in line with the eschatological reality that the end was nigh and that to change one's thinking [repent] and believe Jesus' message [the gospel] would mean deliverance from the ensuing wrath [Lk 13:3-5].

Don Preston: It will surely be argued that when the kingdom arrived in its fulness that righteousness would be emphasized. Life in the kingdom, in fellowship with Messiah, would be incentive for living for Him in holiness. After all, if one dwells in the presence of the Righteous King, that person would want to reflect the glory of that King, right? I would agree!
What this argument fails to understand is that the kingdom did not fully come in its glory until the parousia! See Matthew 25:31f; Luke 21:28-31; 2 Timothy 4:1f; Revelation 11:15f). So, if it is argued that righteousness would be the order of the Day, when the kingdom arrived, then one cannot argue that the fulfillment of the parousia negates ethical paranesis! This argument will be examined later in more detail, in regards to the PU argument that the parousia has destroyed any objective moral law of right and wrong.

Don, for one you have offered a straw man; then two, answered according to YOUR own objection – Pantelism does NOT argue for the destruction of "any objective moral law of right and wrong" – nor does pantelism lead to any implications of such. What do you provide in the way of PU quotes of evidence for such? Certainly this "may" be the case for some advocates generically of universalism – but you are making a stated case against what you describe as PU.

Don Preston: Do the N. T. authors demand ethical moral living on the part of the first century, pre-parousia saints?

Did the N. T. writers condemn immoral conduct on the part of the pre-parousia saints?

Absolutely.

Don Preston: If the current teaching among some preterist universalists is true however, then what Paul condemned among pre- parousia, New Creation saints can no longer be condemned. It is no longer sin, although it was sinful and dangerous for those pre-parousia saints.

Don, again to make such a claim it might be helpful to elucidate more fully exactly what it is these supposed "preterist universalists" have put in print – so we can all have some clarity as to what this "current teaching" is to which you are objecting.

Don Preston: The implication of saying that there is now no sin, no moral standard of right and wrong, is to demand that Paul’s moral “legislation” was either temporary, or wrong. I have not seen one scripturally derived or logically based argument to prove either one of these possibilities.

What I have said is that there is NOW no sin that NOW separates man from God as it did pre Cross-Parousia. It was the "offence of" sin that God did away with through Calvary – now THAT is not saying there is no more sin.

Don Preston: …there was still the demand that man respond to that grace through faith! There was even condemnation for perverting and distorting that grace.

The greatest perversion of that grace was to insist on a return to law-righteousness.

Don Preston: Yet, in spite of his understanding of the comprehensive nature God’s grace, he uncompromisingly condemned those who taught, believed, and practiced the idea that God’s grace allows a life of profligacy.
…is it not dangerous today to espouse a doctrine that embraces or permits the very abuse of grace that he condemned?

Is it not dangerous today to espouse such charges to fellow brethren when in all honesty you have provided not one scrap of PU evidence that espouses according to as you say – this IMO is less than helpful in these discussions as it "appears" more a case of your own issues with generic universalism as you seem to be understanding it – Don please correct me if I'm wrong.

Don Preston: The PU posit is that since we are not under “the law” today, and not under “law,” that therefore, there is no moral law, no such thing as right and wrong, no sin.

Once again, I can't speak for the PU's you are supposedly positing as saying such, but pantelism is saying NO SUCH THING.

Don Preston: Notice that three times Paul warned the Romans against giving themselves over to becoming the “slaves” of self indulgent immorality. He told them that the “fruit” of doing so was “death.” No this very fact completely destroys PU. If universalism is true, then nothing actually, objectively results in death. (Patently, the death in view is not physical death).

Of cause it wasn't physical death – it was moral death; to be morally destitute and bankrupt i.e., dead.

Don Preston: …if our theology says that since Jesus died for all men, that this means that those who give themselves over to immorality inherit the kingdom anyway, then you do thereby fundamentally distort Paul’s proclamations.

True, and to this pantelism agrees. However, "inheriting the kingdom" was about coming into God's priestly call of service – coming into the priestly kingdom, and thereby being designated "sons" or "children" of God. Such a designation however speaks unquestionable of the "authority of the saints" as servants and witnesses to God's grace. It would be helpful Don if you actually read my last article here @PP where I demonstrate this.

Don Preston: …the inspired writers affirmed on the one hand that Christ died for all men, and said that God was “not willing that any should perish.” They desired that men would understand the vastness of the grace of God. Yet, at the same time, they addressed areas of concern, and when they discussed these issues, they undeniably excluded some from the benefits of the wonderful grace of which they spoke.

So quite clearly then from a consistent "fulfilled" view i.e., pantelism, those that God was "not willing that any should perish" was applicable to the generation at hand, i.e., the "this generation" AD30-70.

Don Preston: Now, by the very nature of the case, it seems that for anyone to be excluded from the blessings of the parousia, especially the blessings mentioned by the authors in these discussions, was to be excluded from the spiritual blessings of life and immortality itself.

If you stick with the biblical texts you will find that the exclusion came in the form of loss of rewards in the Parousia, and no distinction is made between the living and the dead in this, so your reading of "immortality" into this is simply that – a reading into the equation of your assumptions.

Don Preston: To forfeit the blessings of entrance into the kingdom, was to forfeit salvation itself.

Pantelism actually agree with this, but what it doesn't agree with is the underlying assumption that this statement is mostly based on – that forfeiture of salvation equates to a post death calamity, be that ETC or annihilation. The forfeiture of salvation equates to falling from grace which is none other than returning to a law or works based righteousness – and in the "this generation" that had dire consequences.

Don Preston: John said that the immoral remain outside the city, after the parousia. That is they remain outside the kingdom wherein is found fellowship with God, immortality and life (Revelation 22:15).

And who were the practicing immoral, murderous, idolatrous, practicing liars and cowardly unbelievers? Why none other than those who clung to their old covenant mode of existence, those who died in their sins not knowing in life the forgiveness that was theirs:

Yes, those beholden to the old covenant were those who remained outside?
1] dogs and sorcerers i.e., evil workers and mutilators [Phil 3:2]. Those who promulgated law observance for righteousness.
2] sexually immoral, murders, idolaters and liars. And what did Jesus, John and Paul say on these? [Mt 5:21-22, 28, 32; Col 3:5; 1Cor 10:14; 1Jn 2:22; 3:15].

These were the fruit of those under the law. Paul in Galatians 5 contrasts Law versus Grace, Flesh versus Spirit, OC versus NC – it was life under the OC as opposed to life in the NC. And the "works" of the flesh [life according to self righteousness i.e., circumcision – law] against which the life in the Spirit i.e., NC railed, as are listed in Gal 5:18-21. And Paul really leaves nothing out, for as to cover all bases he says in verse 21 "and the like" – in other words, any unrighteous work. As Paul goes on to say:

1Cor 10:6-11 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

How do we know this for sure?

3] whoever loves OR practices a lie [Col 3:9; 1Tim 4:1-3]. Again, this was life under the OC, out of which Paul's audience [relevance] had knowledge. Now that is the application of Rev. 22:14-15 pre or post Parousia.

Now do we therefore live like the devil – certainly not! Are we so shallow that the only reason we don't deliberately go out and do wrong is to keep our salvation? Or is it a case of we "do right" in honour of God and His great mercy that we as believers have come to know. It is why Paul wrote to Timothy of God's all encompassing deliverance to "especially those who believe" [1Tim 4:10] – in other words believers know it and so live in it.

Don Preston: Now, for the PU to posit salvation for those who are “antichrist” they must be able to demonstrate that the enemies of God have ever been rewarded by God. They must be able to prove with scripture, not emotionalism, that God ignores unbelief and rebellion, and actually rewards it with salvation. They must be able to prove, with scripture, that what John really meant is that the unbelievers are only temporarily liars and antichrist, but that they will ultimately not be liars and antichrist, because once they realize the awfulness of their condition that they will be taken to heaven. He said no such thing.

Don, once again with regards to salvation you seem to have in thought that "salvation" means "going to Heaven when you die" – yet you speak of the need for scriptural proof, well where is it? If you would deal with pantelism in stead you would realize that salvation IS a matter of faith in Christ and that the consequent salvation is coming into the call of God for service.

Don Preston: What does it mean to be outside the city, in the post parousia world?

It means to be sitting in the darkness of ignorance, ignorance of the grace of God – just as it was pre Parousia. Israel was to be the light to the nations, yet they abdicated their priestly role. Believers in Christ NOW fulfil that glorious role lights to the world.

Don Preston: The description of the post parousia worlds gives no hint of a “second chance,”…

Don Preston: We should point out that any proposed “second chance” doctrine must distort John’s inspired words.

Your "second chance" presupposes a first chance – where in Scripture do you find your "first chance"?

Don, IMO you make so many sweeping generalisations and interspersings of "universalism" with "PU" that what you have presented is less than accurate of the beliefs of most folk here [myself included], and thus IMO pretty disappointing, CONSIDERING that you have interacted so little if with those designated as PU advocates here at PP. I have no issue with your contentions against universalism per se, but it is clear from you article that THAT is what you are arguing with, as opposed to really exploring out the depths of what "fulfilled grace" is really saying as advocated by some here. Why not dialogue with real people about real beliefs here, in stead of drawing the long bow of conjecture as to what some are allegedly saying.

davo – pantelism.com –

"And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." 1Jn 2:2

Kyle's picture

Davo,

I don't think Don is singling out Pantelism or even attempting to address the varying degrees of PU espoused on this particular website. Indeed he is required to set boundaries and make a generalization in order to set himself up for response. I don't see anything wrong with this. If he attempted to discuss all the measures of specifics claimed by PU individuals here, he would have been all over the place resulting in an impossible-to-read article (it is already long enough as-is)

I thought he did an excellent job, and so far I can't quite see where he make a direct disagreement with Pantelism.

amie's picture

Kyle,

I think that the majority of voices out there right now would consider themselves "Pantelists" - especially in the fulfilled world. Pantelism is defined as:

"The belief that the Scriptures were (so are) prophetically, therefore redemptively, fulfilled in their entirety in the person and work of Jesus Christ; consummated in His prophesied 2nd Coming [Parousia] evidenced by the completion of the Old Covenant age circa AD70, and the entrance of the eternal New Covenant age– our present time."

Amie

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at, change.

[url=www.bugsinheaven.com]www.bugsinheaven.com[/url]

Erick's picture

Don states:

“In spite of our difficulty today with the “universal” nature of God’s grace, those who taught it initially, and best, excluded some from that comprehensive grace! One can discuss the extent of God’s atoning work all day long, and that is surely important. However, in the final analysis, if our theology says that since Jesus died for all men, that this means that those who give themselves over to immorality inherit the kingdom anyway, then you do thereby fundamentally distort Paul’s proclamations. He knew that Jesus died for all, did he not? He knew God’s grace was comprehensive, did he not? He knew that God is the “savior of all men, and especially those who believe,” did he not? Yet, even in light of this knowledge, he, and the rest of the N. T. authors, declared that there were some things that would exclude one from the blessings of the grace of Christ, after Christ finished his work.”

It is highly significant that John wrote some of the more “universal atonement” words in the N. T.: “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2).Yet, the very one that, like Paul affirmed the “universal” atoning work of Christ, also affirmed that those who reject Christ are “liars,” they are “antichrist,” and they do not have i.e. possess fellowship with, the Father.

John’s doctrine of “universal salvation” must be viewed as “all, except, and all who.” In other words, Christ died potentially for all men. He died effectively for all who accept him.

The N. T. writers did affirm that Christ died for all, and desires that all men be saved, they affirmed nonetheless, uncompromisingly, that salvation is in Christ, only in Christ, by faith.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Erick:
Don, although you make a great case that antinomianism is not biblical in ANY age, I’m afraid that discussing the nature and extent of Christ’s atonement IS really at the heart of the debate over universalism. In other words the logical conclusions of a doctrine may show that it’s dangerous, but it doesn’t necessarily show that it is false, and it certainly doesn’t compel one to embrace the alternative. IMO It still stands as logically true that if Christ died for all the sins of every human (and denying Christ is a sin of which we were all guilty at one time) then every human is saved. Therefore, he either didn’t die for the sin of unbelief (so that no one is saved) or he didn’t die for every person (which is the truth :^) Stating that “Christ died for all sinners and every sin, however…” is a defeated argument before it even gets out of the gate. In other words, the CROSS as well as the Parousia are integral to this debate, and where we misunderstand the one we are bound to make a mess of the other (it will only be a matter of degree). Both Antinomianism and Universalism are unbiblical, but one cannot deny that the latter is at least logically consistent (even if wrong), given Arminian presuppositions; and when one throws in the classic Arminian proof-texts that speak of “all” “world” etc. (as you yourself have done) then some of the air is taken out of your sails even when writing an article on the absurdity of preterist antinomianism. Don’t get me wrong, I think you wrote a great article, but it only addresses the by-product of Preterist Universalism, not the foundation (Arminianism) on which your own house is built. The nature and extent of Christ’s atonement is the ONLY thing this debate is REALLY about.

Respectfully,
Erick J. Blore

Erick's picture

correction: I should have said "A potential by-product" (not "the by-product of PU") as antinomianism is not by necessity a by-product of PU (though the tendancy seems to exist with it).

Virgil's picture

I’m afraid that discussing the nature and extent of Christ’s atonement IS really at the heart of the debate over universalism

No kidding Erick! :) Of course it is...I have been saying this for over a year now. The extent of the atonement, reconciliation and redemption is where the rubber meets the road.

MichaelB's picture

Yep Virgil - The Atomnement is everythhing

FOR WHOM DID CHRIST DIE?

The Father imposed His wrath due unto, and the Son underwent punishment for, either:

1. All the sins of all men.
2. All the sins of some men, or
3. Some of the sins of all men.

In which case it may be said:

1. That if the last be true, all men have some sins to answer for, and so, none are saved.
2. That if the second be true, then Christ, in their stead suffered for all the sins of some in the whole world, and this is the truth.
3. But if the first be the case, why are not all men free from the punishment due unto their sins?

You answer, "Because of unbelief."

I ask, Is this unbelief a sin, or is it not? If it be, then Christ suffered the punishment due unto it, or He did not. If He did, why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which He died? If He did not, He did not die for all their sins!"

Barry's picture

Your question is not valid.
It is not valid because it does not embrace the difference between the cross and the consumation of what the cross started. In short then it does not accept eshcatology in a "passing away".
What you would then have to prove is that those in the changeover of the ages who did not accept the cross were never bought.
Your post will not allow for the fact that Christ had bought some that denyed the Lord (2 Pet. 2:1, 1 Cor. 6:20). If they were bought then Christ had died for them!!!!! They could not have been bought if Christ had not died for them.
If Christ had not died for them then they were not bought.
Eschatology allows for the fact that some who are bought died the second death before they are forgiven all there sins. Even those who believed are forgiven there sins in application when they believed. So the application of applied benifit in eschatology is not at the moment of the cross but in the moment of acceptance.
Your post makes no eschatological sense.

we are all in this together

MichaelB's picture

Barry writes:
Your post will not allow for the fact that Christ had bought some that denyed the Lord (2 Pet. 2:1, 1 Cor. 6:20).

Barry - 1 Cor 6:20 is irrelevant. If they were committing adultery etc they were told they "would not inherit the kingdom".

2 Peter is your real argument. I will address 2 Peter 2:1.

2 Peter 2:1:
The false prophets are "denying the Lord who bought them" so Jesus died even for unbelievers.

Answer: This verse is not discussing the atonement of Christ. 1 Peter was written to Jews. So it is probable that 2 Peter was also. (1 Peter 1:1; Galatians 2:7) To a Jew who was not a Christian "the Lord" would most naturally refer to God the Father, not Jesus. And the Jews were "bought" by God in the Exodus.

Exodus 15
16 terror and dread will fall upon them. By the power of your arm they will be as still as a stone— until your people pass by, O LORD, until the people you bought pass by.

So Barry - Jesus laid down his life for the sheep. Are you saying he actually lost sheep even though he said he wouldn't Barry?

Also - How could some people not be sheep?

John 10
11"I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 26"But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. 27"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 29" My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.

Barry's picture

Barry writes:
Quote:
Your post will not allow for the fact that Christ had bought some that denyed the Lord (2 Pet. 2:1, 1 Cor. 6:20).

Barry - 1 Cor 6:20 is irrelevant. If they were committing adultery etc they were told they "would not inherit the kingdom".
End quote.

So that the person Paul is addressing if committing adultery was never bought with a price?????????

Quote: [Emphasis mine in the form or Capitals.}
2 Peter 2:1:
The false prophets are "denying the Lord who bought them" so Jesus died even for unbelievers.

Answer: This verse is not discussing the atonement of Christ. 1 Peter was written to Jews. So it is probable that 2 Peter was also. (1 Peter 1:1; Galatians 2:7) To a JEW WHO WAS NOT A CHRISTIAN "THE LORD" WOULD MOST NATURALLY REFER TO GOD THE FATHER, NOT JESUS. And the Jews were "bought" by God in the Exodus.

Exodus 15
16 terror and dread will fall upon them. By the power of your arm they will be as still as a stone— until your people pass by, O LORD, until the people you bought pass by.
End quote.

Basically you are claiming that the shadow of purchasing was never fulfilled to them in the cross.
2 Peter 2:19-20 speaking of the same people, which are the Judaizers, directly contradicts what you just said.
Jude reiterating Peter’s then previous work speaks of exactly the same folk as having denied the Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 4-5). Jude shows your failure once again as Jude relates the Egypt shadow in its then applicable terminal generational mode as it applied in the denial of the Lord Jesus Christ, the revealing of the Father. A denial of what is legitimately offered through the cross.
I’m surprised how far you have taken this away from its evident first century context.

Quote:
So Barry - Jesus laid down his life for the sheep. Are you saying he actually lost sheep even though he said he wouldn't Barry?

Also - How could some people not be sheep?

John 10
11"I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 26"But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. 27"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 29" My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.
End Quote.

The emphasis of the scriptures is the salvation of the sheep in the preservation of them as to what would and could enter from one age into the next. Also the destruction of those who are not sheep for what they were in that age illustrates that the “life” of the old creature would not be preserved. The life of the old creature would utterly perish in their own corruption in the end of the age. Salvation through the cross could then be applied. It is eschatologically applied. This is not a second chance because the permanency of the destruction of the old life is just that permanent.
It is seen to be a second chance through the eyes of those who wish to validate 1800 years of chruch history in its tranditional but flawed "self view" instead of accepting what is written.
Barry

we are all in this together

Erick's picture

dang you're fast, i just posted that, LOL :^)
... but anyway, Amen.

Virgil's picture

Now, for the PU to posit salvation for those who are “antichrist” they must be able to demonstrate that the enemies of God have ever been rewarded by God. They must be able to prove with scripture, not emotionalism, that God ignores unbelief and rebellion, and actually rewards it with salvation.

Don, with all the other great things you mentioned in your article, you are now (as many others) misrepresenting the position you are criticising. I am not aware -- at least from my studies -- that Universalists believe God ignores unbelief and rebellion and rewards it. Now, I am with you - faith brings life. But why say that Universalists HAVE to show that God ignores unbelief and rebellion when they don't believe such a thing, at least as far as I know?

Christ died for all men (1 John 2:2), but the benefit of that atoning death is applied only to those who accept Christ (1 John 2:22-23). By accepting Christ, they are of the Truth, and they have both Father and Son.

Now here I am saying that atonement is Universal in nature but specific in application and I am labeled as a universalist/calvinist-hater. You say the same thing and you get applauses. You must have a better way with words brother :)

I really like the way of "ethics" in which you are approaching the argument. I am not sure if it will convince anyone of anything, but it is an approach I have never considered before. With that said, consider the implications of the AD 70 Parousia upon the world. Compare the pre-Roman wickedness of the world with the state of the world today. The blessings bestowed on believers are somehow affecting the whole world, and the whole world is enjoying them as well. So the world's "ethics" are way above what they used to be. Christ's Presence is changing the entire world, and at the same time, the questions I continue to have regarding the reconcilliation of all things in Christ remain unanswered. The more we ask those questions, the more people squirm and call us names. In fact, there are those who pretend to have arrived at the truth and have it all...you know...the self-righteous, know-it-all people. :) I appreciate the way you are approaching the argument Don. For too long I've given airtime to people who promote a hate message and attempt to just simply destroy those who disagree with them. It's always refreshing to see you participating with your wisdom and charity.

Barry's picture

Quote:
“So, in other words, I am concerned to show that the logical implications of saying that all men are saved regardless of faith, that there is no such thing as sin or wickedness, no such thing as a moral standard of right and wrong to which men must submit today, is to say that all men are free to live lives of profligacy and indulgence. Now, to be sure, thankfully, I have not heard or read any PU openly espouse such a lifestyle. However, I do have in my files, but will not divulge names, an Internet exchange in which a PU said that since A.D. 70 there is no such thing as right and wrong, no sin, no law of morality. The church cannot therefore, condemn fornication, adultery, homosexuality, or any other kind of actions. The church, the body of Christ, has no standard to proclaim, except, “God’s grace is great! You are saved!” My point is that you cannot teach a doctrine without implications. And if the implications are dangerous, then the doctrine is dangerous.”
End Quote.

Did you contact or interact with the person in question to get a full and complete idea of the concept or idea of what is actually being said in view of the strength of sin having passed away?
Sounds a lot like, “I got something on you in my files, na,-na-na-na-na!” Am I mistaken?

It is clearly apparent that you do not understand the ethical focus that Common Grace promotes. Nor do I know ANYONE who promotes ANY TYPE or variation of "fulfilled Grace" that concludes that ethics are unnecessary toward the benefits of what it is to be a follower of Christ.
What you have not done IMO is allow for the finality of fulfillment to re-frame those benefits.
After all the elect who lived to the new age were completely saved in AD 70 not in their postmortem whenever that might have been. Your article seems to controdict the whole idea of "hold fast firm until the end". It seems that you fail to reframe the benifits of faith in light of fulfillment.

Your article is too long to address at one time. I may start a thread in the forum depending on the interest in continuing this dialogue for a longer time.

To start with your view of repentance seems to be very different from what I am hearing from Christ and John the Baptist.
Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand was NOT a repentance that came BECAUSE OF BELIEF but to ALLOW BELIEF. What they were to change their mind about is that HUMAN POTENTIAL (which the old covenant was attached too for both Jew and Gentile) was the way in which the kingdom would be inherited.

John 1:17
“For the LAW was given by Moses, but GRACE AND TRUTH came by Jesus Christ.”

Mark 1:
14) “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,”
15) “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: REPENT YE, and BELIEVE THE GOSPEL.”
[Without repentance they could not believe the gospel.]

Matt. 21:32
“For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not; but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, REPENTED NOT AFTERWARD THAT YE MIGHT BELIEVE HIM.”

Matt. 3:2
“Repent for the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND”.
Matt. 3:3
“For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye THE WAY OF THE LORD, make his paths straight.”
Matt. 3:8
“Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance”
Matt. 3:9
“And THINK NOT to say WITHIN YOURSELVES, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that GOD IS ABLE of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.”

Those who had accepted John’s teaching, which was in the “way of righteousness” were, “confessing their sins” and being baptized by John. This was a baptism of repentance, in acknowledgment of their HUMAN LIMITATIONS, which the LAW EXPOSED. In acknowledgment of human limitations, which the law exposed, they were CHANGING THEIR MINDS about HUMAN POTENTIAL as the vehicle that could bring about a right relationship (the kingdom of heaven) with God (and henceforth transformation from the heart). This is a baptism that the religious leaders did not acknowledge. The RELIGIOUS LEADERS COULD NOT CHANGE THEIR MINDS ABOUT HOW THEY VIEWED HUMAN GLORY. They did not repent SO they COULD NOT BELIEVE. They could not imagine that their human genealogy, which declared them as children of Abraham, was something that the coming kingdom of heaven would no longer recognize. For “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom”.
The repentance that was preached was a change of mind and heart about “HUMAN POTENTIAL” being able to establish relationship with God. And so John the Baptist is comparing the difference between THINKING that you are a child of Abraham through human potential and what it would mean to be a child of Abraham simply through God potential. Changing their minds about human potential allowed them to have faith in God. The raising up or resurrection of children of Abraham from “stones” is an EXPRESSION of what was ONLY POSSIBLE THROUGH GOD’S POSSIBILITY. This change of mind was ESSENTIAL TOWARD BELIEF. What was coming in as a matter of “righteousness” was coming from God’s possibility, and what was going out or passing away was the COVENANTAL VALIDITY that was attached to human potential in the old covenant from Adam.

Acts 3:19
“REPENT YE therefore, and BE CONVERTED”

What you have presented so far about the context of repentance “for the kingdom is at hand” is a repentance done in view of belief and is not the context of the repentance that is in question. When Christ and John the Baptist are preaching.
The context of “repentance” on the BELIEVER’S PART in view of ethical behaviour as a first-fruit self-sacrifice has to be dealt with separately from these scriptures.
And this we may get too.
Barry

we are all in this together

Roderick's picture

I want to thank Sam Frost, David Curtis, & now Don Preston for clarifying that preterism DOESN'T lead to universalism.

For a while there, it seemed that preterism was going to become synonymous with universalism (everyone is “saved” even without confessing Christ), but many of the main authors & speakers in preterism have come out strongly against preterist universalism (PU) And now Don Preston adds his comments in a very clearly written article & radio interview. Access these resources via the following links: Samuel Frost: Universalism and Preterism: Bedfellows or Bedlam? David Curtis: Universalism? Don Preston: Ethics and Eschatology, Ethics and Universalism Don Preston: On John Anderson’s radio show, Voice of Reason Roderick Edwards: Confronting Universalism Obviously pockets of PU will remain, but the various websites dedicated to PU or accepting of PU are being abandoned by people who want to stick with a sound Christological and biblical perspective.

Ed's picture

Wow Rod, now you are self-proclaimed as one of "the main authors & speakers in preterism." In one fell swoop you have placed yourself on the same level as Don Preston, Sam Frost, and David Curtis - three PASTORS. Oooo, must give you goose-bumps.

Actually Roderick, Don's article does nothing to change my mind, just as yours didn't either, or Curtis' or Frost's. You guys are really NOT that important. So, perhaps you guys should stop patting yourselves on each others' backs, and get over yourself.

Those of us who believe that Jesus did what he came to do will continue to believe it.

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

Kyle's picture

I thought Don's article was fantastic. Ed, perhaps you could find the time to rebutt Don's column on your website and send me the link. I always enjoy hearing both sides of interpretation.

Ed's picture

Kyle,
I respect you greatly, but I won't do that for a couple of reasons. 1)I don't care who or who isn't convinced, it matters not in my theological position, 2) I don't have time to put forth that type of effort right now (I am taking 12 Graduate credit hours, while working a full time job to provide for my family, and 3) no one has explained to me the obvious:

IF "the last enemy to be destroyed is death..." how is it that death still reigns well over 50% of the people who have lived since the Parousia?

Second, IF death is the sting of sin, and death has been destroyed, how is it that there is still "sin" that causes the "sting" of death?

Third, IF the law is the power of sin, and the law has been fulfilled, wherein lies sin's power?

Fourth, IF Jesus held the keys to Hades and Death in the first century, why are so many people supposedly still in spiritual death?

Fifth, IF the Parousia brought the fulfillment of the expression, "Oh grave, where is your victory, death where is your sting?" How is it that Hades and Death still reign over the vast majority of humanity?

You see, Don, Sam, David, Rod, Michael, et al want to argue these great theological points, but they are unable to answer, from a full preterist perspective, these last 5 comments. I am not going to comment on anyone's disjointed futurist comments about "hell", etc. when they are unable to give me adequate explanations for what the BIBLE says would be the result of the PAROUSIA. We are not talking pre-Parousia here, we are talking POST-PAROUSIA.

ed

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

Kyle Peterson's picture

Ed,

I'll be sure to check your website and perhaps find a moment to dialogue with you there. Good questions!

MichaelB's picture

Or how about a live debate =)

Virgil's picture

Ed - Rod's comment was obviously a jab at Planet Preterist. He is now apparently actively encouraging people to leave this website and hop over to his website, where all Truth can be found. Talk about modernism on steroids man! This is the mentality of the previous few hundred years when humans thought they had it all figured out - a utopia of knowledge of our own making where we know everything there is to know about science, technology...and of course, theology. What Christians thought to be true was Truth, and those who questioned it were pernicious heretics and they should be ostracized. Does it sound familiar? Aren't almost all Preterists going through these trials now at the hands of other "Christians?" This is nothing new. It's the mentality of self-righteousness and bigotry...egoism and conceitedness.

And I disagree with you regarding Sam and David Curtis. I would never put the two of them in the same pot with Roderick Edwards. I value Sam's friendship greatly and he goes out of his way to dialogue and understand other points of view. So does David Curtis, and David's awesome work on the feasts have affected an untold number of people in a positive way. Let's not throw all our calvinist brothers out with the bathwater. I love these people..I value their knowledge and friendship, and I would never ostracize them for having a different theology than mine.

This is not about theology Ed. It's about egos bigger than Everest :)

Roderick's picture

Virgil,
I am most certainly NOT actively encouraging people to leave PP & come to TKC. TKC has a clear focus (Preterist, Sovereign Grace, Consistent Cessationist), so many of the members of PP would not want to be part of TKC. So, no Virgil, despite your paranoia, I am not, nor would I want to actively encourage people to leave PP -- You & your policies are doing a fine job of that all by itself -- AND THAT IS THE POINT OF MY COMMENT.

Where these people go after they leave PP is up to them, but brother if you keep being so paranoid (look how quickly you respond to every post, look how you tell us you carry a glock to Walmart), if you keep being so "naunced" (You say you're not Arminian or Univerasalistic-minded, yet most things coming from you clearly are -- Look, I admire Don Preston because he fully admits his theology is Arminian in nature), if you keep acting this way you will destroy PP. I was actually encouraged when Kyle & Jared took over (though it doesn't really appear they have), because I was hopeful some of the pure emotionalism would subside.

You keep accusing people of being know-it-alls simply because we seek to say the Bible is clear about the character of God. You want everything and everyone to be as nuanced as yourself, and if they aren't you accuse them of being hateful or know-it-alls. You are turning PP into a relativistic grave, where the soil is always shifting. You accuse people of self-righteousness, bigotry, egotism, & conceitedess -- and then you call THEM hateful? Brother????????????????? Can't you see what you are doing to yourself & PP. I for one would love to see PP get back to a solid Christology, so that we can all move forward. But if you can't see Sam Frost's, David Curtis', & now Don Preston's articles as gentle wake up calls (from the people you love), then nothing will get through to you Virgil.

Lastly, Virgil you are missing the point if you think this is merely over calvinism, as you instruct people not to throw out all our calvinist brothers. It is about being clear. Is the Bible clear about ANYTHING Virgil? If not then we are to be pitied. You seem to want to erase the slate and start all over again, shaping the Bible to fit your preconceived ideas. Virgil, I will say this openly so that all may hear/read it: I LOVE VIRGIL VADUVA but I am very concerned about his constant insistence on an unclear God, an unclear Bible, an unclear theology. AND THAT IS WHAT IS CAUSING THE DISAGREEMENT. I hope & pray that some day we can become close, but until we can agree about the clarity of God, the Bible, & theology -- then I can only see this divide widening.

May God bless & keep us,
Roderick

davo's picture

You guys are really NOT that important. So, perhaps you guys should stop patting yourselves on each others' backs, and get over yourself.

None of these other guys (Don, Sam, and Dave) have, to my knowledge, assembled any sort of list calling themselves "main authors & speakers". I don't think that any of them have any such attitude.

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