Teaching through the book of Romans involves unpacking Paul’s portrayal of the Majesty,Mystery and Antinomy associated with God’s Sovereign Election throughout chapters 9-11. I submitted the following observation with the flock regarding those who struggle to join in with Paul’s doxology at the ineffability of God [romans 11:33].
Many succomb to the temptation of one of the following experiences:
>A Crisis of personal faith: when Jesus shared the mystery of his flesh and blood in John 6, many of his disciples defected and followed him no more because of the mysterious difficulty of his teaching.
>A Perversion of The faith: in order to soften or deny the reality of God’s revealed character and attributes, they resort to extra biblical doctrines like universalism, annihilationalism, or open theism.
I am convinced that Rob Bell, Billy Graham, Carlton Pearson and Joel Osteen are proponents of
christian universalism [aka Ultimate Reconciliation] because they reject hisorical doctrines rooted in God’s character enscripturated.
This shouldn’t be surprising. Here are a few more notables who embraced and promoted the heretical doctrine of universalism over God’s communicable attributes of wrath, hate and vengeance. As you can see, it is an ancient heresy being repackaged more plausibly by the likes of Rob Bell.
1. William Barclay, the famed “Prince of Expositors” nearly the end of his life came to the conclusion that in the end all mankind would be saved…Near the end of his life, William Barclay, famous for many writings, but especially for his Commentary, believed in Universal Salvation. In his autobiography, he states,”But in one thing, I would go beyond strict orthodoxy – I am a convinced universalist. I believe that in the end all men will be gathered into the love of God.”
2. In the early days, Origen was the great name connected with universalism. Origen believed that after death there were many who would need prolonged instruction, the sternest discipline, even the severest punishment before they were fit for the presence of God. Origen did not eliminate hell; he believed that some people would have to go to heaven via hell. He believed that even at the end of the day there would be some on whom the scars remained. He did not believe in eternal punishment, but he did see the possibility of eternal penalty. And so the choice is whether we accept God’s offer and invitation willingly, or take the long and terrible way round through ages of purification.
3.Gregory of Nyssa offered three reasons why he believed in universalism. First, he believed in it because of the character of God. “Being good, God entertains pity for fallen man; being wise, he is not ignorant of the means for his recovery.” Second, he believed in it because of the nature of evil. Evil must in the end be moved out of existence, “so that the absolutely non-existent should cease to be at all.” Evil is essentially negative and doomed to non-existence. Third, he believed in it because of the purpose of punishment. The purpose of punishment is always remedial. Its aim is “to get the good separated from the evil and to attract it into the communion of blessedness.” Punishment will hurt, but it is like the fire which separates the alloy from the gold; it is like the surgery which removes the diseased thing; it is like the cautery which burns out that which cannot be removed any other way.
*William Barclay: A Spiritual Autobiography,” William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., copyright 1975, p. 65