The Cult of Christian Universalism

In his sermon on The Shack Dr. Michael Youssef noted that the author, William P. (Paul) Young had told a professor in the seminary that he attended that he had converted to Christian Universalism. I went to the Christian Universalism site and found the following:

“Christian Universalism is different from Unitarian Universalism. Unlike Unitarian Universalism, Christian Universalism is the belief in universal salvation through Jesus Christ, the incarnate Lord. Christian Universalists are both Christian and Universalist. And we believe that is how Christianity as a whole should be understood. The Christian Universalist belief is that God manifested Himself in human form as a man named Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, who was the perfect moral and spiritual teacher for all mankind, for all time. Jesus Christ came to earth to teach people about the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father, and to encourage us to forgive one another for our sins, as God forgives us. Jesus taught his followers to be merciful, peaceful, charitable, and full of love and compassion for all human beings.

Though we may recognize goodness and value in some other religions besides Christianity, Christian Universalists believe that following the way of Jesus is the best way — indeed the only way — of truly walking in the path of God. But it is not any creed, confession, or religious label that saves us; it is the way of Jesus itself, our trust in the Almighty, and our own attempt to live according to the simple yet profound principles taught by Jesus. Some people who call themselves “Christian” but do not have the love of Christ in their heart may actually be less Christian in Jesus’ eyes than some people who do not profess Christianity at all, but who practice the way of Christ in their everyday life.

Universal salvation is the main belief that distinguishes the Christian Universalist faith from traditional, fundamentalist forms of Christianity. Universalist Christian believers accept the authority of the Bible, but we disagree with the way most churches and Christians have interpreted certain Biblical passages about hell and salvation. Yes, there is such a thing as hell for some souls after death, but in the original, untranslated text of the Bible there is not a single verse of scripture that teaches that hell is eternal. In fact, there are many verses in the Bible that strongly suggest that every soul God has ever created will someday escape hell and be reconciled to their Creator.

Christian Universalism, therefore, is Biblical Universalism, the belief that the Bible itself teaches the universal reconciliation of all souls to God at the end of time. The Bible says that this will happen because of the power of Jesus Christ to save souls from hell. There is no “point of no return,” such as committing an “unpardonable sin” or dying without accepting Christ, that could ever cause a soul to be lost forever. No one is beyond hope, because Jesus Christ has absolute power and as much time as he needs to bring God’s goal of universal salvation to fruition. Hell is a redeeming, cleansing, purifying fire that destroys the satanic ego and reforms the human personality in the image of Christ — not an eternal vindictive torture by an angry and sadistic god.

Popular Bible translations pervert the meaning of important verses about hell. This has been done because of misguided religious tradition, in an attempt to support a pagan concept of eternal torment that was not part of original Biblical Christianity, but came to be accepted by the Roman Catholic Church and also continues to be taught in most Protestant churches. The Bible uses colorful language to describe the punishment of the wicked, but this is within the context of ancient Jewish apocalyptic parables and visionary literature and was never intended to be taken literally. Furthermore, every verse in common versions of the Bible (such as the King James or NIV) that speaks of “eternal” or “everlasting” damnation is a blatant mistranslation of the original Greek or Hebrew, neither of which uses a word referring to eternity in the Bible, but only a limited or unspecified period of time.

According to the Biblical Gospel, as affirmed by Christian Universalism, Christianity is not supposed to be a harsh and pessimistic religion that condemns billions of people to an eternity of pain, just because they didn’t happen to profess the correct religious doctrines while they were alive on earth. No, true Christianity is a hopeful and optimistic faith, a faith that announces the good news for all the world — the positive and uplifting message that through Jesus Christ, all souls can someday be saved! That is the belief of Christian Universalism, and Christian Universalists hope that eventually, all Christians will understand that the universalist interpretation of Christianity is what Jesus intended. Jesus came to earth to tell people about universal salvation, not eternal damnation.”

The emphasis by red-lettering is mine. The heretical implications are: (1) Salvation is “by following the way of Jesus” which God will enable all of us to do; the atonement is not a factor. (2) The interpretation of hell is patently unbiblical, as can be seen easily by an examination of the pertinent New Testament scriptures, either in good translations or the original Greek. (3) Although it is not stated overtly, belief in the full deity of Christ is implicitly denied. (4) All persons can or will be saved; the Bible teaches exactly the opposite. (5) The definition of God’s sovereignty is not biblical.

In short, Christian Universalism is a Christian cult.

If you have read The Shack carefully, you should be able to spot the underlying beliefs of Christian Universalism. I would encourage you to go to the Christian Universalism site and investigate for yourself. ~JB

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9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Chris on November 13, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Actually that is not correct. There is nothing cultic about Christian Universalism, if there was you would be condemning many early church fathers. Most christian universalists believe in salvation through faith in Christ alone. The article is just pointing out the importance of following the way of Christ and Loving others. Also there is no denial of the deity of Christ, as the creator of the website you quoted that from is a trinitarian. As for the doctine of hell, christians agree and disagree. Times are desperatetly calling for unity in the church. This is very important and we need not divide over differences in non-essential doctrines (in this case the fate of the unbeliever). There are other groups that are truly cultic that need to be focused on such as mormons (believing in multiple gods and denying the deity of Christ), jw’s (denying the deity of Christ), atheists etc. Not to mention there are many hurting and suffering people out there that desperately need the Love of Christ. So let the church unite.

    Reply

    • Chris said, “Actually that is not correct. There is nothing cultic about Christian Universalism, if there was you would be condemning many early church fathers.”

      Chris many of those early church fathers are already refuted and condemned. Origen was an early church father but everything he believed or taught is not believed to be correct today just because he was an early church father. He castrated himself! Should we continue that practice because he was an early church father?

      Also to Sunshade, “if damnation is the core of christianity.” Well, it isn’t, Jesus is and because of faith in Him we are saved. That is why we call Him Savior. I find God very merciful in the fact that through faith in His son I am saved. So, through faith in Jesus we can be in God’s presence. Hell is not being a part of that, it is lacking God’s Spirit. How can God save those in Hell when his Spirit does not reside there? Isn’t it His Spirit that draws us close to Him?

      Thanks,
      Reggie

      Reply

  2. Posted by Sunshade on January 2, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    I’ve read this artical, I’ve explored the theology,theory and ideas, and just like the “orthidox” church is divided, so is universal church is. Some deny chirst full deity, some say he is the pure reincarnation of God the Father. The Bible is a book of many things, wisdom,history, poetry, prayer, hope, entertaniment, prophcey and of love. Hell is real, but if God is better then humans, then God will not give up on all, but save all once his promise is forfilled, once our promise is forfilled. The bible is univerisal, from old Hebrews, to Israelists, to Early Christians, to philosophy thinking Gentials, to use of today. I have to agree with Chris, on this one. The basic is important, and if damnation is the core of christianity, then we’ve got a problem here, cause Jesus spoke of humility, serves, peace, turning the cheek, love and hope. Salvation for those now who believe, Freedom of sin to all when the time comes.

    Reply

  3. Posted by JC on June 20, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    It’s good that you encourage people to go to the Universalism “sites” such as http://www.bibletruths.com and http://www.tentmaker.org because if GOD gives that person eyes to see and ears to hear, they WILL see by the Holy Spirit that the doctrine of eternal torment is a “Damnable Doctrine of Demons,” a “Fiendish Fantasy created by MAN (Augustine to be exact-Well, he borrowed it from Greek and Egyptian Mythology) to control MANKIND in TERRORIZING DEHABILITATING FEAR and TORMENT.” The teaching of Eternal Torment IS a FALSE DOCTRINE and is a CULT in and of itself since it controls the masses through false claims and the twisting of scriptures that IN THEIR ORIGINAL LANGUAGE NEVER “EVER” said such vile things!!! Go to the OT and PROVE that there was a place of torments after death (Hell translated Sheol NEVER meant a place of torments, but the unseen and imperceptible!!! And if it’s NOT in the OT AT ALL, then how can it be in the NT? Please explain why didn’t God warn Cain of such a fate, or Sodom, or Noah’s generation?? Why did King David say although I make my bed in Hell (Sheol=grave), I will yet praise you?? All God EVER said is “though shall DIE for thy wickedness.” Man was MADE MORTAL and we DO NOT have an IMMORTAL soul!! When you die you’re DEAD until the resurrection… Why can’t people see this PLAIN truth? Because the religionists of this wicked day DON’T WANT TO!! They secretly WANT their enemy to rot in some fabled smoking hell-hole of EVERLASTING torments because they HAVE NO LOVE, NOR MERCY, NOR RESPECT for their fellow man as JESUS CHRIST came to set these relationships straight and show what LOVE REALLY IS and how it Fulfills the Law! I’m too tired to argue, but I hope some questioning person comes here and is blessed by THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH OF ULTIMATE RECONCILIATION!!

    It might take you a few years of prayer and reasearch to see that so many are DEAD wrong about the judgement and hell(pun intended), but when you finally GET IT and it all clicks in your heart and in your spirit, and God GIVES YOU the TRUTH and sets you FREE from the “traditions of man”, you will NEVER be a Slave to FEAR and BONDAGE EVER again!! That I promise!

    God is faithful and He IS Love! He is NOT a failure! HE WILL BE ALL IN ALL!!!

    Reply

  4. Unity in the church, at the expense of Biblical truth, is wrong.

    Agreeing or disagreeing just shows someone isn’t agreeing with what the Bible says.

    Who told you that hell is a non-essential doctrine? Believing in a god that would never send someone to hell is called idolatry.

    Damnation is not the core of Christianity; salvation is! (John 3:17)

    The greek words this article refers to actually do mean eternal. “Aionas ton aionon” – literally “ages of the ages.” Read ( http://www.carm.org/religious-movements/universalism/hell-eternal ) for the full presentation.

    I would encourage those still doubting to read Matthew 25 and Revelation 20.

    Hell is not a pleasant subject, and a place we don’t want anyone to go to. But, God is holy and just, and will display His glory through both the condemned unbeliever and the saved believer…

    22What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

    23And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory

    Romans 9:22-23

    May God bless you in seeking His truth.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Matt on September 16, 2009 at 7:25 am

    Actually, you’re way off base. Christian Universalism is not heretical at all. It is the true Gospel, translated the correct way from the Greek and Hebrew writings of old. It was the prevailing doctrine of Christendom for the first 400-500 years after Christ, before the Church of Rome (Catholic Church) got it’s grubby hands in control of church doctrine and corrupted it. Your statements showing error in red clearly demonstrate your lack of knowledge about the subject.

    In the end, there are 3 schools of thought in Christianity. You can rationalize, attempt to reason away, but it really comes down to this in the end:

    1. Calvinism: You believe God could save everyone, but won’t.
    2. Arminianism: You believe God would save everyone, but can’t.
    3. Universalism: You believe God can and will save everyone, in time.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Sean on October 23, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Amazing. How can you even say “Although it is not stated overtly, belief in the full deity of Christ is implicitly denied” when just a few lines before it reads “The Christian Universalist belief is that God manifested Himself in human form as a man named Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ”.

    Reply

  7. Thank God, I will die and be eternally dead.

    http://www.jesus-wept.net/dyingtolive.htm

    http://www.jesus-wept.net/guilty.htm

    Our only hope is God’s character.

    Reply

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