The Fuss About Universalism

A friend of mine sent the following email to me regarding Universalism:

I first became aware of universal theology when I saw Bishop Pearson on 60 Minutes. More recently Time Magazine had Pastor Rob Bell on its cover.  A few days ago I came across universalism in a book on religion in America.  It noted that this is not a new concept, having been discussed by some of the Church fathers as early as the end of the 2nd century. In more “recent”
times it was noted after the English Reformation and also in Germany around
the same period. It took off in America during the 1700s influenced by both foreign and home-bred theologians.

To me, the question arises why the big fuss in modern times about a school of Christianity that has been around for almost 2 millennium.

It’s actually an excellent question, and one is hard pressed to know why people are so upset – until you consider the following.

The fuss is that Universalism puts most of the institutional Church, which has claimed to be the doorway to salvation, out of business. No “sinner’s prayer;” no “salvation decision;” no need to be a Christian to be acceptable to God, much less “accept Jesus as your personal savior;” no thought and behavior control; no need to confess and receive absolution; no “one true Church” because we’re all saved already.  Since the vast majority of Churches focus on the above, they are very threatened by the above.  The question has been asked of many, “If Jesus returned tomorrow and said that salvation was accomplished, would your church have anything to talk about?”  An astonishing number of churches have to admit they’d have nothing to discuss if they couldn’t threaten people with eternal damnation.

After you eliminate all of the behavior control nonsense that much of the Church specializes in, you are left with teaching people to develop a spiritual practice and work toward establishing the Kin-dom of God on earth – the heart of which is the social gospel, which most conservative religious types prefer to ignore!  It’s one thing to love Jesus to get your ticket to heaven, it’s another to love Jesus enough to want to actually live by his example.  The former takes a “decision” and a one time action, the latter requires a life changing transformation.

That’s why so many are threatened by Universalism.  They see their meal ticket and their power slipping away.  Funny, I thought religion was supposed to be about God, not Churches and their power and control games!

It’s easy to underestimate the impact of Universalism. It means everyone – drug addicts, abortion providers and their clients,   prostitutes, criminals, the LGBT community, the mentally ill, the homeless, even politicians are inseparably connected to God from before they are born throughout eternity.  It’s all good because it’s all God.

That is a frightening concept to those who have built their house of cards on the foundation of judgment and hell fire.

10 thoughts on “The Fuss About Universalism

  1. Yes! You hit the nail on the head! If we were to take away all the “negative” reasons to be part of a church, (Hell, damnation, etc.) many churches would be CLUELESS as to what to talk about. Ask a “typical” Christian for some POSITIVE reasons one should follow Jesus, and they would probably be speechless. It’s not that there AREN’T positive reasons, it’ that so many focus so entirely on the negative that they can’t even THINK in terms of the positive. We need a major paradigm shift, and we need it NOW!

  2. Dear Bishop,

    Yes, in my personal opinion, our relationship with God is meant to be one of simplicity and humankind has made it out to be all to difficult with the legalities we have imposed all based around religious rituals. No, “religion is not supposed to be God and it is supposed to be about (institutional) churches and their power and control games…take a look at the Latin etymology of the word “religion”: Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary traces the word back to an old Latin word religio meaning “taboo, restraint.” A deeper study discovers the word comes from the two words re and ligare. Re is a prefix meaning “return,” and ligare means “to bind;” in other words, “return to bondage.” I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t have any desire “to return to bondage” when Jesus’ mission was to “set the captives free”.

    Furthermore, and again in my own personal opinion, I believe that Jesus has already returned for the second time, otherwise how could the Kingdom of God be “at hand”, here, with us, now in the present moment? Is it not Christ who brought the Kingdom to us? And is it not Christ who is the head of the Kingdom? If that is so how can a kingdom exist in the space and time where it actually is without the Head? Jesus is everywhere, all of the time. He does not need to literally “return” to earth because he never “left” after he showed his glorified body, he is omni-everything, just as God is. Jesus came the first time when he was born incarnate, and he returned when he rose from the dead and showed his glorified body. He now lives among us. There is no need for “another coming”, he is already here. Now, some may say my theory is “whacky”, but then there are a lot of strange theories floating about and all remain to be seen which are true and which are false. I know what I know and I know what I experience on a daily basis with my relationship with God within and with Christ himself and the Holy Spirit who reveals the Truth to me.

    In short, if we are to believe in Universalism, then we must accept the entire theory of it, in whole, not in part. There is no need for “religion” for it is human’s doing, not God’s. And we must understand that once a human’s body perishes, even Christ’s, there is no need for it to be born again of the flesh for now it is of a glorified substance with no need of physical/material matter like humans have, it has evolved passed the need of carnal material into a realm that exceeds the lower vibrational energy that can only see, touch and hear the things of earthly means. Once the fleshly body perishes the Spirit-person, like Christ, is then free to move about all dimensions, even quite possibly jumping in quantum space and time, able to operate, just like Christ in omni-everything, just as God is, not being equal to God, but alas recognizing our original existence, as co-creators along with Jesus next to God.

    This theory does, in fact, erase the actual existence of hell because it explains the existence of the original birthplace of each and every one of us, the reason we do not need “religion” where pagan rituals initiate us into any certain belief system. But instead, we are offered, in fact, freely given, a deeply personal, but simplistic relationship with God who accepts His own Creation back into His Realm as if we never left, just like the metaphor of Jesus never leaving God’s side even from the beginning of creation, even though, in the metaphor, Jesus came to earth, performed his work and eventually plunged into the abyss of hell (I contend a “hellish state of being”) before he arose with a glorified body. Each of us may have one last and final “cleansing” we must experience before we can, in good conscience, live freely in eternal life next to God, alas though, we will live with God again, from whence we once came. Our flesh will return to the dust it was made of, and so our Spirits will return to our Creator.

    Many blessings as you write your book “A Journey Toward Awakening”.

    1. I very much agree with you, though I would say that since human beings find comfort in rituals – from gathering around the dinner table at holidays, to how we get dressed in the morning, to graduation ceremonies and football games – then I don’t see any problem with spiritual (as opposed to religious) rituals designed not to appease some distorted notion of an angry God but rather as a kind of community celebration and sharing. I also agree that Jesus has already come again, and continues to return whenever love (eros, philia, and agaipe) is experienced. I would say that Jesus comes again, and again, and again – not to signal an ending, but rather to celebrate every new beginning in human experience.

      I appreciate your insights and experience – they resonate deeply with mine!

  3. ok, but what’s that weirdness about Jesus being a spiritual teacher just like in other religions, do you not know that Jesus is God? ‘Immanuel, God with us’… in the beginning was the Word, etc… what fresh ‘hell’ is this de-deifying of Christ?

    1. I’m not taking Jesus’ divinity away, I am reminding everyone else of theirs. In John 10 Jesus said – quoting God- “I tell you, you are gods”. When called “good teacher” he responded “Why do you call me good? God alone is good.” I don’t believe Jesus was being gamey, I think he was expressing his self-understanding. Also, in his farewell discourses, he said to his disciples that they would do greater things that he (Jesus) had done. If all these things are true, then how can Jesus be different in the ways we have thought him to be? I agree he was different in that his level of realization was complete and so God dwelling within him shone through without being obscured, but I agree with Jesus that you and I can achieve the same thing.

      1. no no, we are not God… little ‘g’ gods can’t do much of anything…

        and God explained that scripture to me… ‘why do you call Me good? There is none good but God’… but He wasn’t saying DON’T call me good, or DON’T call me God… He was asking the guy ‘WHY are you doing that? do you KNOW I’m God, or not? what’s it gonna be boy? yes or no? come on, I can wait all night, what’s it gonna be?’ just joking around, it obviously wasn’t set to the tune of ‘paradise by the dashboard light’…. but the point stands.

        anyway, ‘greater things shall you do?’ … have you ever met a Christian who can do ANYTHING Jesus did?? nevermind GREATER things, pfffft… now i have not gotten an explanation from God on that one, but if i had to guess, it would be when we receive our glorified bodies because ‘when we see Him, we will be LIKE Him’
        i’m just very disturbed by the sudden lie from ‘hell’ that Jesus isn’t God… it’s spreading thru universalists like wildfire, and making us look foolish, and making it so that other Christians won’t become universalists.

      2. Interesting. So, Jesus is from hell when he denies that he is God. I do believe that’s blasphemy. When God tells you things, does She call you on the phone or send an email? Snail mail? Psychotic process? Wait, you wouldn’t be attributing your human reasoning to God, would you? That seems rather grandiose to me. I will admit that the contortions you do to make your claims are very impressive. Too bad they don’t make for sound theology.

      3. excuse me??? and you call yourself a ‘bishop’??? when you are so unkind and rude? i have no further desire to talk to you, please delete my comments

  4. Oh, my! You’re an Internet troll, spending your time looking for posts that don’t align with your rather fundamentalist perspective and then attacking them. In this case you obviously read a few of my posts before launching your attack, but the one you commented on is seven years old! That took a lot of digging! You’re comments aren’t to aid discussion, which would be welcome no matter your perspective, but rather to shut down discussion by announcing God’s (i.e. your) perspective – but I am a mean bishop for pointing that out? Please!

    Well, I’ve spoken with God during our weekly Saturday night phone call. She says I should leave the comments up, so I guess I can’t take them down. What I can do, in fact what God told me I must do, is write a full length post about Internet trolls like you. Keep an eye out for it!

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