Are You a Practical Universalist?
“One of Satan’s great deceptions is convincing lost people they are not lost. A second deception is convincing Christians that lost people are not truly lost,” wrote cultural apologist and author, Jim Denison, in a recent post on his web page the Denison Forum.
Universalism is a philosophical and theological doctrine that basically believes and teaches that everyone will be saved and spend eternity with God in heaven, regardless of their religious or spiritual beliefs.
In 2018 Michael McClymond wrote a book entitled The Devil’s Redemption: A New History and Interpretation of Christian Universalism in which he denounced the rising popularity of a doctrine that Biblical fundamentalists and conservatives have rejected for most of church history.
In a 2019 book review, Christianity Today interviewed McClymond and entitled their article How Universalism, ‘the Opiate of the Theologians,’ Went Mainstream.
In the interview, McClymond offers this assessment:
“Universalism isn’t just a theological mistake. It’s also a symptom of deeper problems. In a culture characterized by moralistic therapeutic deism, universalism fits the age we inhabit. As I argue in the book, universalism is the opiate of the theologians. It’s the way we would want the world to be. Some imagine that a more loving and less judgmental church would be better positioned to win new adherents.”
His observations are in sync with Denison’s conclusion:
“Here we face one more satanic deception: that sharing the gospel is “imposing” our beliefs on others. Postmodern secularists have convinced many Christians that tolerance is the highest value, that telling people they risk eternity separated from God in hell is intolerant and bigoted.”
These are the times we’re living in. And if you don’t think such notions are influencing a younger generation of Christians and others impacted by today’s political correctness, you’re not listening very well.
Too many are listening to New Age luminaries like Oprah Winfrey who once asserted that Jesus “can’t possibly be the only way to God, instead of reading their Bibles.
Jesus confidently proclaimed, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
Peter professed that salvation is found only in Jesus when he boldly proclaimed, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Paul penned that he “preached Christ crucified” who was a “stumbling block” to the Jews and a message of “foolishness” to the Greeks. Yet, He was the means of salvation to all who believed (1 Cor. 1:14-25).
And what is the end of those who reject Jesus and the Gospel message?
“When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)
To Denison’s point, what we truly believe about the Bible doctrine of salvation, and eternal punishment will affect our ministry. Our message. Our mission. Do we really believe our friends, neighbors, and relatives will be lost for failing to obey the gospel?
Or are we “practical universalists” secretly feeling like they’re good people, and God, who’s a God of love,” would not condemn them?
“Here we face one more satanic deception,” suggests Denison,” that sharing the gospel is “imposing” our beliefs on others. Postmodern secularists have convinced many Christians that tolerance is the highest value, that telling people they risk eternity separated from God in hell is intolerant and bigoted.”
It’s time for Christians to wake up. Arise from spiritual slumber. Reject the deeds of darkness. And denounce the devil’s devious doctrines.
Let’s quit tarnishing our Christian witness by our endless wrangling in social media over masks and matters of personal opinion. Over partisan politics. And over social issues.
People are lost in sin. They need Jesus. They need to hear His gospel. And they need to see the light reflected in our lives.
Don’t listen to Satan’s lies. In the words of the 19th-century hymnist, Will Thompson:
“There’s a great day coming. When the saints and the sinners shall be parted right and left, Are you ready for that day to come?”