About Us

ChristianUniversalism.com represents a community of believers who have come to see that everything we had ever dared hope about God is indeed what the Scriptures reveal!  We have also come to realize that the Evangelical Church itself has been teaching this in various ways, moving and converging together into one comprehensive view of the God of the universe…

In fact, the Evangelical Church is presently providing the theological foundation for Christian universalism in at least ten areas.  All is being taught at the same time …but not yet all in the same place! 

The Church is currently proclaiming and teaching us:

1. That God is all-loving and that Christ’s blood was shed for every person who ever lived.  That God’s heart is a heart of love and that He desires all men to be saved.   (Arminianism)

2. That God is all-powerful and sovereign over His creation and no desire of His can be thwarted.  That Christ’s atonement was effectual for everyone for whom He died.   (Calvinism/Reformed faith)

3. That the purpose of being chosen or elected by God is not for ourselves but to be a blessing to the world as taught in Gen 12:3.  (The missional movement)

4. The belief that every person is made in the image of God which leads us to see that, “we do justice when we give all human beings their due as creations of God” (Tim Keller).  He continues, “The Biblical gospel of Jesus necessarily and powerfully leads to a passion for justice in the world…If God’s character includes a zeal for justice that leads Him to have the tenderest love and closest involvement with the socially weak, then what should God’s people be like?” From Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just  (the social justice movement)

5. That “restorative justice” ought to replace punitive justice in our prisons leading us to see the nature and goal of true Biblical justice as returning what is wrong to its “right-useness.”  While punitive justice (called secondary or rectifying justice) may need to be applied the ultimate end we are told is for repentance, restoration and  reconciliation which is God’s primary justice.  (the restorative justice movement)

6. The return to the Resurrection as the “lynchpin” of our faith focusing on its centrality and implications for personal holiness, community, evangelism and cultural change.  We are being shown how the Resurrection was the preeminent theme of the Early Church and means of power for personal and cultural transformation.   (see “The Cross Is Not Enough” by Clifford and Johnson)

7. The Church is being more honest than ever about their desire for Christian Universalism to be true.  While they affirm what they believe Scripture to say about an eternal hell they are not holding back from saying that it troubles them greatly and that they “wish it were not true.”  God says “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  Our collective desire is a huge indicator that God has indeed written it on our hearts!

8. The theme of total restoration is found in more and more worship songs.  We are regularly singing about “all things new” and “You make beautiful things out of dust” (Gungor). Mercy Me sings, “All of creation sing with me now…every knee will bow, every tongue will praise the Father, praise the Son and the Spirit in One.”  Hillsong’s last album is just brimming with songs of ultimate restoration and, “all of the universe at Your feet.” See many more examples here:  http://godslovewins.com/songs.htm

9. The balance of a Systematic Theology approach with the Story of God as a method for looking at the Bible as a whole.  We are being led to see that the Bible is not a bunch of rules with stories throughout but rather One Grand Story with principles sprinkled throughout. This approach reveals more clearly the history and path of God as a missionary God continually pursuing His creation.  (Biblical Storying method, see echothestory.com)

10. The Church’s emphasis on a more cosmic redemption involving the entire created order and the belief that Christ’s death was to restore the universe eradicating all evil, sin and decay.  This naturally begs the question of where do you place “a world of damned people” (billions) who traditionally we have been taught will be consigned to eternal death in a location in God’s universe called hell? Well, we just don’t talk about it.  Listen to a sample of the overriding restoration language of Christianity Today editor, Mark Galli,

“To be holy means to be set apart for divine purposes.  God wants nothing less than all creation, which is now subject to decay, futility, and corruption, to become sanctified, alive, and completely dedicated to His purposes.”  Jesus Mean and Wild (pg. 44)

Tim Keller is continually weighing in on this theme frequently quoting the line from The Lord of the Rings, “everything sad is going to come untrue.”  Hear this quote from The Reason for God:

“How then, will the story of human history end?  At the end of the final book of the Bible, we see the very opposite of what other religions predict.  We do not see the illusion of the world melt away nor do we see spiritual souls escaping the physical world into heaven. Rather, we see heaven descending into our world to unite with it and purify it of all its brokenness and imperfection.  It will be a “new heavens and a new earth.”  The prophet Isaiah depicts this as a new Garden of Eden, in which there is again absolute harmony of humanity with nature and the end of all injury, disease, and death.”

                                            Tim Keller,  The Reason for God  (pg 232)

So there you have it, either you must conclude that every church represents a different God within a different religion or you can let yourself see the big picture:  That God is, in His fullness, all of the above.  Which aspects would you leave out?  All together they form the worldview of “Christian Universalism” or “Ultimate Restoration.”

“We don’t have it all together but together we have it all.”  

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Wayne December 19, 2012 at 9:00 am

Hi there,

Love your site.

I’m wondering if you are aware of Alvin Plantinga’s views on universal reconciliation?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhohcPhMdxs&feature=share

Best regards,
Wayne

admin December 19, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Thanks Wayne for sharing that little gem. Yes, I have seen it and was very excited to hear of yet one more “evangelical” speak what is the desire of his heart…that all will be redeemed.

I don’t know where his brother stands on all this but he skates pretty close to the edge also:

“To speak of sin by itself, to speak of it apart from the realities of creation and grace, is to forget the resolve of God. God wants shalom and will pay any price to get it back. Human sin is stubborn, but not as stubborn as the grace of God and not half so persistent, not half so ready to suffer to win its way.

“Moreover, to speak of sin by itself is to misunderstand its nature: sin is only a parasite, a vandal, a spoiler. Sinful life is a partly depressing, partly a ludicrous caricature of genuine human life. To concentrate on our rebellion, defection and folly — to say to the world, ‘I have some bad news and I have some bad news’ — is to forget that the center of the Christian religion is not our sin but our Savior.

“To speak of sin without grace is to minimize the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the fruit of the Spirit, and the hope of shalom.”

— Cornelius Plantinga “Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be”

Holly March 19, 2014 at 10:58 am

To Whom it may concern,

I’m looking for a church in Atlanta area that teaches universalism. there’s a Unitarian church but not sure about that one. I actually live in Covington Ga east of Altanta. If you can direct me, it would be so appreciated.

Thank you

Holly

phillip March 19, 2014 at 9:52 pm

Hello Holly,
You can check with this new website where they try and connect Christian Universalists together and also to let folks know where there are existing churches:

http://www.UniversalSalvationInformation.com/

As Christians who believe in Ultimate Restoration we would not recommend a Unitarian church since they deny the incarnation of Christ and the trinitarian life of God. To deny God as a community of love and fellowship would negate the very concept of God as love. An “Omni-Being” would be incapable of love given that the nature of love is to share and to give.

I encourage you to keep searching and to understand that many churches are in transition and although they may not come right out and declare Christian Universalism nevertheless they have many of the elements that make up the paradigm of universalism such as preaching an all-inclusive atonement and emphasizing the faith of God in His image and likeness as the ultimate frame of reference, not our faith.

I pray you find a church where you can fellowship around the eternal reference we have in the finished work of Christ and therefore celebrate the infinite value of each person!

grace and peace…
Phillip

Dale Schaefer April 28, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Hi, I just found your site and am intraegued by all of your information. The love of God flowing through our broken humanity in a redemptive way is silencing to me; I can only look to him in speechless adoration.
I am fairly new to the Christian Universalist perspective though I have been a follower of Jesus for 35 of my 53 years…
I am curious to know how the UR camp deals with different peoples within Gods kingdom; primarily with the Church, or better the Bride of Christ, separate from the world of humanity. Revelation 19 speaks of the marriage supper of the Lamb & the Bride who has “made herself” ready for this event. This “making herself ” ready is surly not redemptive in any way with regard to salvation, but it does demonstrate a position of love reflected from the heart of the bride towards The Lamb. Judas may be redeemed through the sacrifice of the Lamb & through the grace of God, but he did not make himself ready to be part of he bride of Christ….do you see different people groups within Gods kingdom or do all melt into one redeemed body of the human family?

Thank You, dale

Gerry April 29, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Thank you Dale for sharing. But re. your question: I feel we will all melt into one redeemed body of the human family. Our administrator is on leave for a season and I can only check comments a short while every week, so for now please understand that we are understaffed to answer comments or engage in dialogue. Hopefully we’ll be back on track in a month or so. Blessings to you, Gerry

Kevin May 22, 2014 at 4:09 pm

This website is brilliant. I am a former Calvinist turned hopeful/dogmatic universalist. I am hopeful that it is true and I am convinced that a strong case can be made from scripture, theology, and reason. It was actually Calvinism that lead me to where I am today. I was always a bit of a 4-pointer and limited atonement was the hang up–I just didn’t see it in the whole of scripture. Everything old to new testament pointed towards a God who would take away the sins of the world. In the end, I had to let the Calvinism go. God’s goodness, grace, justice, and love were swallowed up in all of the talk about his glory (especially as revealed in his wrath against the unelect). I am so much happier now, and scripture reads so much clearer. I hope this theology gains more traction. It’s always been a minority position within the Christian church, but there were a lot of early church fathers who embraced it. God bless you guys for doing what you do. May God’s goodness, grace, justice, and love one day reign upon the earth so that all the glory might go to him. As John Piper says, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” Let it be so for all of Adam’s descendants.

Admin May 22, 2014 at 10:19 pm

Thanks for your comment and the encouraging words Kevin. Yes, as a former Calvinist myself I have had the same thoughts. It was while reading a John Piper book (What Jesus Demands From the World) that it hit me that even God’s commandments are prophetic of God’s salvation of all mankind. They are not ultimately instructions for moral behavior but a prophetic word that must be fulfilled. When Jesus summed up the law as “you shall love the Lord…and your neighbor as yourself” it was especially clear. He did not say “You must love…” or “you should love” or even “Love!” as a command but Karl Barth revealed that it is a prophetic creative command just like “Let there be light.” So even the 10 commandments are prophetic promises! (This understanding was enhanced by pastor Peter Hiett.)

Piper creates a paradigm that demands a universal salvation with his Christian Hedonism. Tim Keller creates his own apologetic for UR with his 4-point Calvinism and his borrowing from Arminianism to defend his doctrine of eternal conscious torment. The most exciting thing I have discovered in these past 10 years as I have studied the doctrine of the Ultimate Restoration is that if you see the Body of Christ as one, it IS the majority view of the Church! Either we have to divorce each other in the Body of Christ or we must admit that when you put all our strengths together it reveals Christian Universalism.

Dale Goodyear May 26, 2014 at 10:01 pm

Hi! I just wanted to add Rev. Mike Bickle (International House of Prayer, Kansas City) to your list of pastors proclaiming God’s love for and delight in his children. His books include “Passion for Jesus: Growing in Extravagant Love for God” and “The Pleasures of Loving God”. Like other evangelists, he hasn’t completely given up on the traditional dogmas on Hell, but he constantly emphasizes God’s delight and pleasure in humanity, and emotional intimacy with God; and he is much into “Bridegroom Theology”, too.
And he seems less Calvinist than John Piper gets at times (as when Piper says, in his recorded sermons on Hebrews, that the idea of all humanity being saved by Jesus diminishes Piper’s own special and personal salvation by Jesus.)
Anyway, I really have benefited from Mike Bickle’s books and audio sermons. He points out that the original Reformers, Luther and Calvin, were very intellectual, too much emphasizing head over heart, and that there’s a spiritual revival happening among Christians to find our heart’s passion for God by first feeling His passion for us. Very wonderful stuff! 🙂

Admin May 27, 2014 at 10:54 am

Thanks Dale, I will check out Bickle’s ministry. Continually love to hear how the Body of Christ is proclaiming this gospel of grace with more and more abandonment.

It is truly sad to think that Piper feels he cannot experience God’s love to the full unless others are being tormented in an eternal hell. “If we ask for mercy, we will freely receive mercy. And when we get mercy we will want mercy for all.” (Peter Hiett)

Yes, it is an exciting time to be alive. While the Body at large is often busy drawing theological lines in the sand and criticizing one another, God has declared us to be “one Body.” We are one in Christ and therefore one with each other whether we see it or not. When you look at the strengths of all our differing theologies (including John Piper’s!) together we are being astounded by a beautiful panorama of God’s extravagant love in Christ–the only hope for this world. The Arminians provide essential aspects of our salvation and the character of God while the Calvinists provide others…so many amazing treasures found in the Body of Christ–but they must be taken as one. Alone they create empty man-made religion (ie., “God wills to save you but can’t” -or- “God could save you but doesn’t have the will to” -or- “just try harder to obey God in order to be accepted”). Praise God that we are losing our lifeless religion and more and more seeking and finding life and freedom in the pure love and grace of God. This is naturally bringing the Body of Christ together!

It is absolutely true that we cannot have a love for God that has not been first awakened and ignited by His love and passion for us! (1 Jn 4:19) As Andre Rabe says, “It is not what we believe about God that defines Him but what He believes about us that defines us.” As He loves us passionately and intimately it is His faith in His creation/redemption that is the source of our faith. God’s thoughts about us have never changed since our creation in Adam in Genesis 1:26 as His image and likeness and this was exactly what Jesus came to redeem …and reveal! (See Francois du Toit’s The Mirror Word Translation.)

grace and peace,
Phillip

Dale Goodyear May 27, 2014 at 11:59 am

Thanks for your thoughts,Phillip! Very wonderful stuff. The third book of Mike Bickle I’m reading is his take on David’s intimate relationship with God, “After God’s Own Heart–Becoming a David Generation”.

The sermons I’ve listened to so far are Rev. Bickle’s 24-part series on the spiritual interpretation of the Song of Solomon, i.e., the love of Christ and the soul. (He has not only the audios, but all the transcripts and study notes for every lecture, all for free download–so it’s a full course accessible to either read or listen to, or just skim the notes of, with a lot of valuable insights. What first struck me most was his explanation of the beginning of Song of Songs, where the spiritual or symbolic interpretation since even before Christian times has been, “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of his Word”.)

I’m looking forward to reading Francois du Toit, including his Mirror Word Translation.
Grace!
Dale

Admin May 28, 2014 at 9:46 am

Dale, I listened to Bickle’s first lecture. I believe you’ve highlighted the essential heart of our faith. It is no accident that the Song of Songs is located in the middle of the Scriptures. Unfortunately religion has reduced the Divine Romance to a set of principles etc., As Jason Gray says in his song, “It’s more like falling in love than something to believe in. More like losing my heart than giving my allegiance…”

According to Jewish physicist Gerald Schroeder the Talmud states, “All the writings of the Bible are holy but the Songs of Songs is the holiest of all.”

This Romance is written on the heart of every human being, for Scripture says: “All the ends of the earth will remember and return to the Lord.” (Psa 22) And we know that you cannot remember and “re-turn” to something/Someone you have never known! Mike Bickle is just one more voice in the Church pointing to our origin as the love-dream of God.

Andre Rabe (friend of du Toit’s) has a sermon called Divine Romance on YouTube. A different style than Bickle but you might enjoy.

Karen September 18, 2015 at 5:06 am

You and your reader’s might enjoy Fr. Aiden Kimel’s blog site, “Eclectic Orthodoxy” where he has been discussing this topic for some time now. I’m a former Evangelical become Eastern Orthodox, a transition driven largely by my struggle with the typical Evangelical understanding of the nature of Final Judgement and hell. In the services of the Orthodox Church, the universal love of God for mankind and Christ’s victory on behalf of a all mankind over hell and death demonstrated in His glorious Resurrection have never lost their prominence. I believe you will find many of your Orthodox brothers and sisters sharing this journey with you with the added advantage of a deep theological roots in the early Fathers, many of whom are unfamiliar to modern Christians. The Orthodox Church has always regarded “Songs of Solomon” as an allegory of the love of Christ for His Church. Thanks for all the work you are doing!

Karen

Phillip December 2, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Thanks Karen…Yes, we love Fr. Kimel’s work and have his blog listed in our resources! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! I agree with what you are saying… we often share with folks that if they are looking for a community of believers who are more centered on Christ as victorious to check out the EO church.

Lucas Miles January 1, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Hi, I wanted to let you know about a new book that I wrote called, Good God: The One We Want To Believe In But Are Afraid To Embrace. Here is a link regarding the book. I’d be happy to provide a free ebook if you might be interested in reviewing it for your site. Thanks in advance for your consideration! http://worthypublishing.com/books/Good-God/

Phillip January 4, 2016 at 6:34 pm

Thanks for letting us know about your new book Lucas. I love the title! We would love to check out your book in consideration for a review here on this website. Please send to phillip@godslovewins.com. Thanks!

Grace and peace!

Phillip

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