TABLE OF CONTENTS
Interpretive Errors of Christian Universalism
Christian Universalism thrives on an agenda of breaking down all walls of covenantal truth that establish barriers between cosmologic domains. The doctrine is intent on removing all such barriers to create illegitimate merging of applications across them. Such merging is based on imaginative leaps of assumption that have either misapplied or no basis of exposition in the scriptures themselves. Following are key false interpretive mergers Universalism makes against the scripturally established cosmologic barriers as well as other interpretive errors:
1. Christian Universalists apply future restorational terrestrial living conditions to the netherworldly dead (treating the dead as the living).
Universalists ignore the living continuity of human seed that defines future terrestrial generations to claim that all future earth conditions showing the “whole earth” joyfully worshipping the Lord ipso facto show the cross domain reconciliation of damned souls back among the living seed. They ascribe to the past generations of netherworld dead the identity of future unborn generations of the terrestrial domain—an application made entirely on blind assumption with no foundation.
2. Christian Universalists equate divine lordship with divine saviorship.
Universalist doctrine thrives on a common romantic mis-equation of Christ’s lordship with His saviorship due to the oft close association of the words “Lord and Savior” in a salvation context (e.g. Is. 19:20; 43:3,11; 45:21; 49:26; 60:16; Hos. 13:4 → especially II Pt. 1:11; 2:20; 3:2,18; Jude 25). However the complete biblical record extensively shows that the lordship of God and Christ is exercised upon their effectually unredeemed enemies under purely authoritarian conditions of anti-reconciliatory vanquishment with no reference to salvation. Therefore, applying Christ’s saviorship to the unreconciled netherworld by virtue of His lordship over the netherworld is an unfounded error against the larger scope of anti-reconciliatory biblical application of universal lordship.
3. Christian Universalists presume time has an end.
The presumption that time has an end is critical to the Universalist assertion that the netherworld domain under fiery judgment must come to an end because cosmic duration is referenced in terms of “ages” (not “eternity”). However the belief has no scriptural support, but is instead directly contradicted by scripture. It is thus a purely human presumption without basis in spiritual fact.
4. Christian Universalists apply divine covenantal truth to those outside of divine covenant.
Universalists ignore the restrictive delineations that define relationship between God and His sovereignly select, exclusive covenantal people so as to treat all mankind as if existing under an imaginary undeclared “universal covenant” of salvation, even without regard to domain of existence. Universalists find ways to cleverly redefine all language pertaining to election, holy separation and remnancy that otherwise witnesses to God’s choice to relate to some people redemptively but not to others—so that it can be made to apply inclusively of all people anyway.
Thus, for example, all psalmic or prophetic declarations that speak of God’s never-ending lovingkindness toward His living remnant (in spite of their rebellion) are interpreted to refer to all men with whom God has no covenant, as if He did. This application is made not only intra-terrestrially between the future wicked and righteous of the restoration age, but interdomainally between the terrestrially living and the netherworldly dead. (This is seen for instance in the Universalist interpretation of Ezekiel’s vision of the dead bones of Israel that come back to life, interpreted to mean that all the rebellious netherworld damned will one day come back to life.)
The best biblical pattern attempted for justifying this extended idea of “universal cross-domain covenant” is the New Covenant’s own transcendence of the Old Covenant’s confinement to Israel in order to reach out to all men of all races outside Israel (Gentiles). This application however ignores the overall confinement of God’s covenant-making power to the terrestrially living (to which Ezekiel’s vision also speaks), and the inherently spiritually discriminatory aspect of both God’s Old and New Covenants beginning with Israel itself. That God extended His New Covenantal offer to all men outside Israel thus does not mean that spiritually all men are now of His Covenant, the same way that not all Israel was spiritually of His Covenant under Moses. Spiritual covenant is decidedly not universal under any dispensation.
(Universalists and others misinterpret the straightforward concept of sovereign divine unilateral covenant as “respect of persons.” Respect of persons however refers to the treating of men by differing standards of justice or favor based on their own human status or merit ((Ac. 10:34→I Pt. 1:17); Dt. 10:17; Job 34:19). It does not apply to divine choice in selectively establishing relationship with some men but not with others. For example, God’s sovereign choosing to love Israel over other nations is not a demonstration of “respect of persons.” Jesus sovereign election of twelve disciples and not others is not a demonstration of “respect of persons.” God specifically denies that His elect covenantal love is based in any respect of a natural human quality (See Dt. 7:6-8).)
5. Christian Universalists merge provisional and effectual covenantal truth.
Universalists ignore or deny the critical spectrality difference between provisional and effectual saving truth. Where the scriptures painstakingly labor by parable and by doctrine to distinguish separate universally provisional and restrictively effectual dimensions of salvation, Universalists reject such distinction. They assert that the universally provisional dimension of salvation is automatically absolutely effectual simply by virtue of its universality, such that there is no finally distinct restrictively effectual dimension of salvation that admits the lesser provisional dimension, although universal, can be irretrievably forfeited, thus finally ineffectual. To the Universalist, all salvation is of one unthwartably effectual universal dimension—even if it must (as they assert) be prosecuted interdomainally into the netherworld post judgment before it takes effect (see next below)—again, all directly against the clear parabolic and apostolic teaching of distinct salvational dimensions with differing effectuality.
6. Christian Universalists apply the word “salvation” beyond final judgment and destruction of the first cosmos.
The word “salvation” throughout scripture is applied preventatively of final judgment, deriving its definition with respect to judgment’s ultimacy and finality, having no other meaning. Christian Universalism is therefore not a doctrine of salvation, but of post-judgment transmutation of anti-existential being and should be described as universal transmutation.
7. Christian Universalists transmute the definitions of words which fall outside the accepted Universalist view of divine character to mean their opposites.
Universalist transmutation of words is targetedly performed on all words that pertain to destructive wrath and judgment to make them mean “redemption, discipline” etc. in ways that no common first reader of scripture would have ever taken them and no Universalist today would mean by such words in common use. (For instance, no Universalist throwing a dead branch onto a burning brush pile would say “I am pruning my branch.” Or no Universalist squashing a cockroach would say “I just disciplined this bug.”)
8. Christian Universalists wrest apostolic writings to expand terms of inclusion outside the parameters of apostolic mental context.
This is performed most often respecting the word “all” which is assigned absolute non-exceptional meaning pertaining to salvation in every case in order to defend the absolutist monofaceted concept of salvation, even though examination of the complete thought flow in the apostolic letters shows that unclosed enmity still finally characterizes the terminal end of many.
9. Christian Universalists assemble inorganic collections of scriptures favorable to their assertions divorced from their organic foundations.
While Christian Universalists can indeed weave “many” isolated scripture fragments together to support a concept of eventual universal reconciliation, the collection of verses is spun together only in reference to one another, but all the fragments are divorced from the organic contextual foundations from which each is individually derived—foundations which delimit their meaning and otherwise completely contradict the Universalist application through the collection as described in the preceding points.
10. Christian Universalists do not derive a view of God’s character and purpose from the dispassionate organic study of scripture, but clothe a humanly rationalized and emotively derived view of divine character and purpose with supportive scripture.
Christian Universalism is a humanist philosophy of redemption in search of a scriptural foundation wherein the scripture whole is made to fit a pre-accepted view of what God must be like and how He must “fairly” behave in dealing with mankind. As such, it is a false theology of salvation and is to be condemned as heresy.