Christian Universalism: An Argument Against Fear

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It’s All About “Eternal Hell” vs. “Restorative Love”

In my discussions with fine Christian folks of all stripes from across the world, I have gratefully discovered that most Christians are much more likely to embrace the concepts of Christian Universalism than any of us assumed they’d ever be.

When it comes right down to it, the vast majority of people simply don’t believe in an “eternal” hell. They do still believe in some form of divine judgment, but it is a finite judgement for nearly everyone I’ve asked.

So the question is: if we don’t believe in an “eternal hell”, what do we believe in?

In this article I intend to present some of the basic tenets of Christian Universalism for your consideration.

What is “Christian Universalism”?

Christian Universalism is the set of tenets which holds the following to be true:

  • All humans are created in God’s image. Therefore we have a common parent in the family of God. (Gen 1:27)
  • God is in ALL things, and ALL things are from God and belong to God. (Rom 11:36, Eph 4:5-6)
  • God’s will is to save (heal/restore) all the world. (Jn 3:17)
  • God is love, and there is no punishment in love. (1 John 4:18)
  • The actions of God through Yeshua the Anointed absolved “our condition of sin”. (Rom 5:18-19)
  • God taught us to love our enemies, therefore God must do the same. (Lk 6:27)
  • Salvation is an unmerited gift from God: it cannot be earned so that no one can claim preference before God. (Eph 2.8)
  • All is made equal before God, for God (Christ) is in all. (Col 3:11)
  • All people are now baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor 12:13)

In short, Christian Universalists believe that God is one, and there are no other gods but God. (Deut 32:39) God is all powerful, and when God acted through God’s beloved Son, the Word made flesh, Yeshua the Anointed (Christ), he acted once and for all in the name of love and grace for the sake of salvation for all. (Heb 10:8-10, 1 Pt 3:18)

We believe that God is all-powerful and God’s love is irresistible, and that God’s will is for all things to be restored, refined, and reconciled unto God, even evil.

2 Corinthians 5
18. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19. that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

Universal Salvation

Universal Salvation is the belief that all people, from all religions or spiritual beliefs (or lack thereof) are still loved by God and are saved. Be they Muslim, Hindu, Sufi, Buddhist or pagan, all of God’s Children are saved from the power of everlasting death.

However, for Christian Universalists, we do not believe that this means every religion is created equal, much less are beneficial. Some religions promote individualistic selfish interest, violence, and judgment of the “others” of society. Some branches of Christianity and Islam are guilty of this very perversion.

But we also believe that there are Great Universal Truths inculcated within all of the world’s compassionate religions which promote mercy, forgiveness, community, and humility. We hold these truths to be as inspired as our own traditions and just as relevant in the spiritual journey of humanity.

Of course, as Christian Universalists, we believe that the Word of God was made flesh in the identity of the man, Yeshua of Nazareth. We believe that the nature, will and compassion of God was most fully incarnate and expressed through this man’s life and teachings. Fully human and fully God, The Word and Wisdom of God showed us how to live and love as Children of God. And through the selfless nature of his exemplary death upon the cross, and though his subsequent resurrection, we find proof of God’s immeasurable love for his Children and God’s absolute victory over death.

What About Judgment?

The first instinctive reaction for many people when they hear that “all people are saved” is to assume this means we receive permission to do anything we want cart-blanche and without consequence.

They imagine the Hitlers, and Dahmers, murderers, molesters and abusers of this world getting “into Heaven” without any consequence. They just waltz in and “get” Heaven.

This couldn’t be farther from the truth and it would be a terrible mistake to think and act as such.

There will be consequences for all of our choices in this life. All of us, even for “believers”. We all will face God’s judgement someday, either in this life or the next.

For you see, God wants to reconcile the whole world to God, and for this to be accomplished all of our souls must learn to abandon thoughts of evil. Yes, we are all saved from death into life, and God must save/heal/rescue all of us from our sinful ways.

We must not confuse the forgiveness of sin with the restoration/reformation of the human soul. The former enables the latter to occur.

Yeshua’s exemplary sacrifice upon the cross demonstrated to the world three things:

  1. God loves us all more dearly than we can ever know.
  2. There is life in God after death.
  3. The Law of Moses has been fulfilled. The price of The Law has been paid, not to satisfy God’s need for retributive justice, but our own.

God does not desire “an eye for an eye”. That is retributive justice. God desires restorative justice, in which our broken soul is reformed and restored into the likeness of Perfect Love with God.

But what is the process of this restoration to God?

The Refining Fire of God’s Love

The following (seemingly terrifying) promise from Yeshua’s own lips describes the nature of God’s purification of our hearts and souls by divine fire:

Matthew 13:42
“And (they) shall cast them into a furnace of purifying, refining fire there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

From the HELPS™ Word Studies:
In Scripture, fire is often used figuratively – like with the “fire of God” which transforms all it touches into light and likeness with itself.

God’s Spirit, like a holy fire, enlightens and purifies so that believers can share more and more in His likeness. Indeed the fire of God brings the uninterrupted privilege of being transformed which happens by experiencing faith from Him. Our lives can become true offerings to Him as we obey this imparted faith from God by His power.

Ebeneezer Scrooge and God’s Restorative Love
The key to understanding the nature of God’s judgement is to know who Ebeneezer Scrooge is. That’s right: Scrooge.

In Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol“, Scrooge, a faithless, heartless and brutal man, experiences this very kind of refining fire. He is tormented. He wails. He gnashes his teeth. But this is not a retributive torment, but a restorative torment. Through his being exposed to the devastating, uncensored reality of his life, Scrooge began to realize the true toll his choices had exacted upon his fellow man.

God exposes us to all of the horrible reality of our choices in our lives: past, present and future. The devastating fire of God’s love is a light so relentless that no darkness can hope to flee from it, even within the deepest recesses of our hearts.

In the face of the sheer uncensored consequence of our actions, our souls and hearts cannot help but to relent the stubborn struggle against the truth of God’s love and God’s will for us to love and forgive each other in kind.

This is the nature of God’s judgment for us all. Out of love, we will be made whole once more.

The best news of all is the revelation that, like Scrooge’s experience, this “refining fire” can be experienced in your life today. It doesn’t need to wait for some later “Judgement Day” revelation.

Is “Right Belief” a Factor In Our Receiving Grace?

No. Grace is God’s unmerited favor. There is nothing we can “do” to earn it; it is a gift from God. (Eph 2.8)

Therefore, Christian Universalists believe that even a declaration of faith, such as “I believe in _______”, is a work to earn righteousness and negates Grace. Statements of belief are not a factor in one’s eligibility to receive Grace. For example, to declare that “I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and my Lord and Savior” is not a prerequisite for Grace and salvation.

Then Why Be a Christian at All?

We, as Christian Universalists, believe that this unmerited Grace for all people is a direct result of Yeshua the Anointed and his exemplary love for us and his selfless sacrifice upon the cross. We are grateful to God for his amazing love and this unmerited Gift, and we worship God’s son Yeshua as our Lord and Savior, the Word made flesh, as a way of showing our gratitude.

But our worship does not justify us to receive salvation, only Grace can do that. In fact, the act of worship is only for our own sake: to recharge in the spirit, to find support and solace in communion with our brothers and sisters. Worship is NOT for the sake of God, nor what he desires.

What Does the Lord Require? (Micah 6)

6. “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
7. Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
8. He has told you, mankind, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

If “Belief” Is Not a Factor, What Is Our Christian Identity?

John 13

34. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

What we declare we believe, how we worship, who we worship, the color of our skin, the language we speak, our wealth, our poverty, our age, our history, even the gender of our lover… none of these things will define us as Christians or not.

Our Christian identity is found in whether of not we love one another as Christ loved us.

Is the Muslim who loves as Christ loved us my brother or sister in Christ? Yes, amen! Is the Buddhist? The Hindu? The Sikh? The Pagan? Yes, yes, and yes, amen!

What Is The Point of All This?

There is nothing you need to “do” to be saved! God loves you, and will restore us to God’s perfect love, every last one of us.

The point of all this, my dear brothers and sisters is freedom. Freedom from fear: the fear of death, the fear of damnation, the fear of failure.

Live life without fear, and you will empowered to love without fear!

And a world filling with people free of fear and loving and sacrificing for each other as Yeshua loved us and sacrificed himself for us, that is the key to the Kingdom on Earth. A new age where the values of Yeshua are the majority: selfless love, compassion, restorative justice, equality, and forgiveness.

We can do none of these things with fear in our hearts.

Comments

  1. Thomas, no, God is not co-dependent, He will not force people to love/worship Him, and there is no greater payment fo rsin than Christ’s death on the cross. It seems like we are talking pass each other. It is obvious to me that you are confusing salvation by grace, based soley on grace through faith, and judgment which is based on the deeds of like. Unfortunately, few Christians understand the difference which is of the utmost importance. Thus, the believe in eternal torture which means that God, who is omniscient, is too dumb to figure out a way to destroy sin without destroying sinners or torturing them forever. For crying out loud, since human beings, who are not omniscient, can figure out a commonsence way of solving this dilemma, certainly God did even before the creation of the first human being. That way is called “irresistible grace,” which does mean that God’s saving grace cannot be resisted at all, only that it will not be resisted forever. If you are open minded enough to know the truth of Christian Universalism, read my book, “Spiritual Terrorism: Spiritual Abuse from the Womb to the Tomb.” In my book I explained in detail the relationship between salvation by grace and judgment based on deeds of life and much more. There is a lot of free information on my website: HealingSpiritualTerrorism.com. Your mind is bound with fear; Jesus said that you will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32). Be completely fear free!!!

  2. It is not a dilemma that needs solving. If you say it is, then you deny the full-power of Jesus. Jesus can deal with that in you and all others who believe this way. The only request by his followers after Jesus fully revealed the Way, the Truth and Life to his disciples, was “Lord, help us in our unbelief!”

    The only unforgivable sin is “denying the Holy Spirit.” Holy Spirit is the promise of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. In other words, if you reject that promise, you choose not to enter in that covenant. It is available to everyone and works on behalf of all. Believers prayers move God in that way dramatically. Stephen, in the midst of his stoning in which Saul was on the front row, made a request.

    Acts 7:59-60

    While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.

    Saul became Paul on the Damascus Road. Paul was the worst and most murderous according to his own account. And yet, he was saved by grace and considered all of his knowing Judaism lost for the sake of following Jesus. The covenant choice was made and signed in the blood of the Lamb.

    The Father’s covenant is not alterable.

    I have known people who have had similar isolated experiences like Paul, except they were not blinded. They encountered Jesus on their own without aide of another in their presence. They had heard like Saul and denied but Jesus’ word did not return void. It penetrated by Holy Spirit and destroyed the work of the enemy in their lives.

    Prayers of others moved the heart of The Father and the Son and the invasion of their own heart of stone commenced.

    My wife and I met a guy in a coffeehouse who was a guitar playing drug dealer. We would share the gospel in the coffeehouse every week. For about 4 weeks he sat with us and even came to one bible study. Then he was gone. Did not see him at the coffeehouse ever again. About a year later, a guy and his friend show up at church and says, “do you remember me?” “No,” I replied. It was this gentleman. He looked completely different. Unrecognizable with a countenance and smile as wide as the sea. He had received Christ as his savior, was completely delivered from heroin and pot, and was ministering the Gospel to kids who were once like he was in prior years.

    He came to thank my wife and I for sharing with him and believing for him. God dit all. As ambassadors, we carry this message that must be communicated.

    • Thomas, this is a long post and you are all over the board. I, honestly, am not sure what your point is. I appreciate your example of the person accepting Christ as his Savior and his life being transformed, but what does that prove except that one more sinners has been saved by grace (Eph. 2:8,9)? It would take a very long post to respond point-by-point to everything you have said so I will just state the case for Christian Universalism with just one verse which is a simple and yet profound as it gets. “Even as all die in Adam, even so, all live in Christ. (I Cor. 15:22).

      • Amen.

      • You have taken away belief as a function of Christianity with what is proposed theoretically in Christian Universalism.
        According to the CU doctrine, it does not matter what you believe because eventually you are going to face the truth head on and be exonerated by some cosmic cleansing with fire. This concept renders the power of the Cross void and the Supremacy of Christ (the Son of God) in Colossians 1 moot.

        He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

        • Quite the opposite, Thomas. By claiming that belief is necessary in order to have salvation, you place salvation in the hands of the individual, thus making the power of the cross moot. If it is up to me, who needs Jesus? The work of Jesus through His life and death on the cross CANNOT be overcome!

          • Wow. Concise, clear… wow.

          • That’s hilarious. I guess when you buy a soft drink you have no power to choose Coke or Pepsi because free will given to you by God does not exist.

            • What is “free will”? Philosophers throughout the ages disagree on just what this is. How can I have free will when I am influenced by the very “I AM” that created me?

            • Thomas, free will is finite, sandwichwed between BIG points void of any free will. In fact, most of the most important events and factors of our lifetime are not free will.

              You did not choose to be born.
              You did not choose who your parents were.
              You do not choose to get sick.
              You do not choose to die.
              You do not choose when to die.
              You do not choose if God saves you or not.

              • While it is nice to think the way of Bell in reguard to lost soulsI feel his grateest damage could be done to believers early intheir walk or when facing the loss of an unsaved loved one.The questions are some asked by most people christans or notMyself included. I however have different conclusions than him.I also know lots if people thatcwoukd never read his bookOnce they found out what it is about for fear from whatever.Gid’s peace to you

        • Thomas, you have made the mistake that so many opponents of Christian Universalism make, that it makes no difference what you believe since sinners are going to be saved anyway. It does make a difference what people believe and do since they will not be cleansed by “some cosmic cleansing fire.” Sinners will feel the pain they have inflicted on others, which maybe a painful process, and they will be purified of their sins by God who is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29)! It makes perfect sense that God will thus consume sin which purifies sinners. To God be the glory now and throughout all generations forever! Amen!!!

          • Um….. so no hell? Because the only thing you have said about hell is that “When it comes right down to it, the vast majority of people simply don’t believe in an “eternal” hell. They do still believe in some form of divine judgment, but it is a finite judgement for nearly everyone I’ve asked.”

            Jesus spoke of hell quite frankly:

            Mathew 10:27-29.

            7 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.

            • Right, Thomas, so if God will watch after even a cheap little sparrow, God will surely take care of his children which are worth much more than a bird. You can couch this saying with the lillies of the fields and the birds of the air sayings about depending on God to provide.

              What a great quote to support God’s loving providence!

              • Trig, your point is well taken. God’s care of sparrows is a great example as to why he will care too much for people to torture anyone at all much less forever. Those who believe in eternal damnation often have it backward. Many often say that God will punish sinners forever in hell fire because God is holy, just, and righteous. As I stated in my book, “Spiritual Terrorism,” the fact that God is holy, just, and righteous are exactly why God, as fire, will consume sin purifying sinners, thus, reconciling and restoring the whole creation to Himself..

          • A few thoughts come to mind;Which is gatreer?A world where no evil exists or a world where both good and evil exist where good conquers evil?Can God force people to freely choose him?There are times in history where the Bible tells us that God changed his mind. With Nineveh when God declared that the city would be destroyed in 40 days. But how can God change his mind? I believe that God did not change. He was not telling Jonah what would happen, instead, he was foretelling his servant what could happen if there was the city did not repent. By the same token, can God change his mind about Hell because of something those who did not accept him do? If so, then he maybe God did not tell us what would happen. He simply told us what could happen.

  3. Thomas, the term “body and soul” is a hebraic expression which is not literal. For example this terms is used for a forest (Isaiah 10:18). Yes, Jesus spoke about hell frankly including hyperbole but He did not, as eternal damnations contend, talk about frequently. The opposite is true. Jesu’ definitive and final answer on the purpose of hell is “For everyone [in hell] will be ‘salted with fire’” (Mark 9:49). The best translation of Jesus’ mixed metaphor is in the Good News Bible: Today’s English Translation, “Everyone will be purified by fire.” It is IMPOSSIBLE for being “salted with fire” to be literal.

  4. Trig, have you finished reading my book, “Spiritual Terrorism,” yet? As of yesterday, there are 21 reviews of my book on amazon.com and, of these, 19 are five-star ratings. If you have finished it and think that it is worth a five-star rating, would you be willing to write a brief review and post it on amazon.com with a five-star rating? I would very much appreciate it.

    • Boyd, I am reading it, but as of the last month, I have barely had time to even write. I promise I will review it when I am done. It is a very important book and I will get it done very soon.

    • Are u only going to keep promoting your book? Send me a FREE copy if it is so awesome! Or are u only out to make $$ off of God’s kids??

  5. Trig, great! I will look forward to reading your review of my book. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  6. Hey Trig,
    Were you ever with Gene and Helen Edwards? I recall the name Trig from one of their cassettes. Also, I am with you in your understanding of “Jesus” or “Yeshua” and the entire failure of present day xianity to present his true mission. His mission was/is one of all of us being included. Nothing else. We are all one with him. Period. No ID card required.

  7. Ruckrover says:

    It is a joy to see so many websites proclaiming the full gospel – real good news – of universal salvation, and Trig I think your description here is one of the most succinct and convincing.

    Some other websites go through many more of the over 600 scripture verses that point towards Gods restitution of all creation. I’m not a biblical fundamentalist, though I believe with enough understanding of historical, cultural, linguistic and idiomatic context, the books of the bible can real much of the reality of creation and the essential truths of salvation in Christ Jesus. However fundamentalist, literalist readers of the bible are also becoming believers in universal salivation on the weight of hundreds of scripture verses, verses under-emphasised for the past 1,500 years of christendom. Just google search and you’ll find these websites.

    To me with a medical scientific background what I find compelling is the increasing revelation from eye witness accounts of heavenly and hellish realms from thousands of people who’ve had near death experiences. These are being scientifically studied and consistent themes emerge: God loves all unconditionally, there is no wrath of God but there is tough-love and divine sadness and compassion (and sometimes loving humour) as God sees many of His beloved souls locked in sin and traversing hellish realms as a result. What is revealed to many who’ve had the longest and deepest NDEs is souls finding release from hades/hellish realms (prayers for these lost souls do help) and the definite message from God/Jesus that ALL shall be brought home in the fullness of time. God has all eternity for His love to triumph, none of us created souls can hold out against such irresistable Grace for eternity.

    Go read a hundred NDE accounts (there’s at least a thousand on line and many more in the numerous books over past 37 years since Raymond Moody’s “Life after Life”) and then see if you can still hold to a doctrine of eternal damnation and a wrathful god who needed penal substitution to satisfy his need for justice – if any doctrine was adopted from the worst of paganism that fundamentalist/evangelical/conservative catholic doctrine of so-called salvation was. That doctrine is what keeps many of the very best people who love goodness from accepting Jesus – and they’re right! Though it is a shame on the churches that that is the effect.

    When the true good news and glad tidings to ALL on earth is proclaimed then there’ll be a real universal revival and the kingdom come!

    • in the book. As I read the book part of me was saying, YA, YA! YES! But then in other parts I’m thninikg No, NO! NO, NO, NO! NO WAY Rob! In those parts, Bell actually rips Scripture out of context and makes it say what he wants to say. Just one example is where Bell talks about Jesus bringing Heaven to earth, which I really liked part of that. But then he goes to Matthew 20 where Bell cites the the mother of James and John who asks Jesus that each one of her sons sit on his right and his left, when Jesus comes into his kingdom. Now, as a pastor who is also a student of the Bible I mean, not to flaunt credentials, but I have an Masters in Divinity I wasn’t prepared for how Bell interpreted this passage. This is what he wrote: In Matthew 20 the mother of two of Jesus’s disciples says to Jesus, Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.’ She doesn’t want bigger mansions or larger piles of gold for them, because static images of wealth and prosperity were not what filled peoples heads when they thought of heaven in her day. She understood heaven to be about partnering with God to make a new and better world, one with increasingly complex and expansive expressions and dimensions of shalom, creativity, beauty and design. Page 47Now, I read that and I wrote in the margin of the book Come on Rob, that’s exactly what she wanted! She absolutely wanted bigger mansions and piles of gold for her sons and for herself. Her request was totally self-centered! And, frankly, you don’t need a Masters in Divnity to see that. You just need to read the context! It’s clear! Anyone should be able to see that So, I’m really concerned. I’m concerned that Rob leads a church of 10,000 and they buy this stuff. I’m concerned that he influences at least 100,000 or more Christ-followers around the country. I’m concerned in a number of other areas that he’s created an image of God that dillutes the love of God, because in the book he bascially hits the eject button on God’s Holiness and Justice and Sovereignty, which in my mind and heart and theology cannot be separated from God’s love. And, Bell also caricatures and mocks other vibrant Christian ministries who apparently have hijacked the message of Jesus. Bell doesn’t name them, but if you’ve been around you could easily fit some names in. Some of these are ministries who are led by faithful, kind, high integrity leaders who are motivated and weep at the thought of people actually heading to a Christless eternity. One last thing I’ve very concerned about. It appears Rob Bell has an authority problem. He doesn’t really submit to the authority of Scripture, he creates a God in his image and he may not really submit to any church authorities as well. That’s a problem. I’ve heard it said, when God begins to look too much like your pastor, the congregation is in trouble. Seems like Rob Bells God is looking too much like him. That’s a concern don’t you think?

  8. You’re right about Bell’s skill as a communicator. But this book isn’t a train of thgouht so much as it is an attempt to comfort people with the idea that we create our own hell her on earth and after death, unbelievers will be given another chance. The problem is Bell takes words out of context, distorts thier mearning, and then uses them to prove his point. You may want to click on the reviews I noted above. They go into quite a bit of detail.

  9. I was raised in the Pentecostal believe system in New Zealand. My Grandfather and my parents were also members of the same ideology. I have always believed that “Christ died for my sins” and have always considered myself to be “Christian”. I no longer align to any church and that is simply for the reason that after my father’s death there was an excommunication from those that I had grown up with and considered to be my “church families” including many of my blood relations. This situation came about because my father had contracted cancer of the bowels and rather than go through a drawn-out sickness resulting alternately in his death he took the option of suicide… I was the one that found my father after he had died and I had carried him into the house and placed him on his bed. I then rang the police and our church pastor. I remember well the instance of this pastor coming to the house in company with both an elder and a woman from the Church. On talking to each other, the pastor made the remark, which I overheard, that my father had gone to hell. It so happened that I was in the shed were dad had died at the time of their arrival and they were not aware of my presence. These people were lifetime friends of my fathers and so it was quite a shock for me to overhear their conversation. I made no comment to them at that time because the Police along with the Doctor had now arrived at the house and I had to attend to their enquiry.
    Over the interim years following my dad’s death, I had turned my back on all churches excepting for marriages and the deaths of my relations, friends and workmates. I would only fellowship in my own home with my wife and whoever was with us from my family and our friends at the time. My children have all accepted Christ as their Saviour and because they are now spread across many nations I keep in contact with them by phone and/or email. We are Great Grandparents now and in the twilight of our years. None of my parent’s generations are now living.
    A number of years ago while we were living in Australia. I received a telephone call from one of my father’s old friends and he asked me if he could stay with us for a week. He too was a retired Pastor. After he arrived he asked me if I would go for a walk with him that evening along the beach. I naturally said yes and so in the twilight of the day we walked together through the sand along the seashore and there he opened up his heart regarding my fathers death.
    His great concern was his long held belief that my father had gone to hell and for many years he had been troubled that my father was “Lost”. This man had known my father since they were teenagers. I asked him if he literally believed the words of the Bible or if he only followed a doctrine that suited his denominational leanings. He could not give an answer at that time so I asked him if he would pray with me there on the sand. We knelt together in prayer and asked the Lord for an answer to his quandary.
    The word immediately came through and we were both of us reminded of those words in Romans:8

    “For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angles nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    We both praised our Lord and then prayed once more that our “LORDS WILL” will be done and that our hearts would be comforted on the matter. The lord is our Shepherd and his will is the final resolve.
    His comfort is an eternal comfort……As his Lordship is eternal…..

    Rod T

    • Rod,

      That is a beautiful testimonial.

      My own journey to this moment started when I was 14 and my cousin asked me if I though the idea of hell lines up with who I’d come to know God as. And I couldn’t say yes. She went on to explain that she had been doing reading and study into the true meaning of the word ‘hell’ and that she could no longer believe that it was Dante’s idea of eternal fiery torment. From there, over the years, I’ve take my own time to look and somehow I’ve come to this conclusion – something similar in the CU belief. And… as my own very young reflection of that – I’m experiencing a glow in my soul – almost like a sigh of relief – that I’ve only ever experienced in intense worship services. I feel so intensely that so much of what keeps people from fully practicing the greatest commandment “Love God and Love you neighbor” is this idea that ‘bad people burn in hell for eternity and my loving deity puts them there’. It’s a journey and a process but for the first time in years I feel like I’m on the right track.

      I’m only 19, but I hope one day to have the sort of legacy you do Ted. To have a this conviction in God’s mercy and eternal love without a shadow of a doubt and to watch generations of people and children flourish from me because of it.

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