Dr. James White deals with the subject of Universalism, an ancient heresy that is making in-roads into the professing evangelical Church in our day. Even if you are sure it is wrong, are you able to show this from the Bible? Its very important, in light of the current widespread falsehoods being expressed by Rob Bell’s “Love Wins” book (and others out there), to be able to articulate what it is we believe and why we believe it. You will find the audio of Dr. White’s message here.
Surely we cannot accept… universalistic ideas, because, if we do so, it means that we find ourselves contradicting the plain teaching of Scripture in those places where there is a clear division between the saved and the unsaved, the good and the bad, the redeemed and the lost. In spite of the arguments based upon a philosophic idea of the love of God, the Scripture draws the ultimate distinction between eternal salvation and eternal destruction… There is only one salvation—by the blood of Christ—and no-one can enter the kingdom except by belief in Christ. Such is the Universal teaching of the Scripture…
The mystic secret which we as Christians are allowed to share is that God will ultimately restore the original harmony, and re-unite again all things in Christ. Christ is over all and the old harmony will be restored . . .these blessings only apply to those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. No harmony is promised to others; they are sent to ‘everlasting destruction’; but they will be outside the cosmos, as it were; they will be out of harmony and will not disturb it eternally. As regards the fallen angels it is clear that there is no hope for them. They are ‘reserved in chains’ in the pit until their final damnation comes (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). Satan also is to be cast into ‘the lake of fire’ where he and all his followers are to be tormented for ever (Revelation 20:10).
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God’s Ultimate Purpose : An Exposition of Ephesians 1, 1 to 23 (Edinburgh; Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth Trust, 1978), 202-07.
Before we move on from the hoopla concerning Rob Bell and his “Love Wins” book (and I would really love to do so), we need to make sure that we as Christians know how to defend the truth. Universalists are seeing Bell’s book as a victory for their cause and to see the book in the Christian community and in Christian bookstores means that it is something we will have to deal with for some time.
Sadly, deceived people, deceive people, and the deception of universalism is gaining in roads into the Church in our day – the inevitable result of man centered religion that stresses the love of God to an extreme. That’s usually what heresy is – truth taken to an extreme.
A little knowledge of Greek can be a dangerous thing and Rob Bell’s handling of the text of Scripture is deplorable, but left un-challenged, it can be used as a tool of deception. Heresy is not a victimless crime.
Greek scholar, Dr. James White has served us all by providing commentary answering the most poignant part of Rob Bell’s book here:
“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” – C.H. Spurgeon
Heresy is usually orthodox truth taken to an extreme. Universalism – the idea that all people will eventually be saved, is not a new heresy. It is usually the default position taken when the love of God is over-emphasized to the point where others of His attributes are diminished.
There is a universalism of the mind and also of the heart. Intellectually, we might grasp the realities of heaven and hell and of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but if this knowledge does not lead us to share the gospel with others, are we not functional universalists?
When was the last time you and I cared enough for someone to share the gospel with them? If its been a long time, do we REALLY believe what we’re saying?
Someone pointed me to this video today where David Platt asks some probing questions: