What follows is a reply to Mike Winger’s rejection of Christian Universalism.
Mike is a delightful Bible teacher – I cannot agree more with him about Calvinism’s “Limited Atonement” – but I think he misses the mark when it comes to Biblical Universalism:
The same hermeneutical move you are critical of regarding 5-pointers is what you cannot see you are guilty of:
You insist that Jesus death for “all” must be all mankind – but it is not effective for all (or applied to all) because not all will believe.
Does it bother you at all that Paul nowhere makes such a strong distinction? For instance you quote from 2 Cor. 5, but insist that it doesn’t “apply” to all (since all do not believe) – and yet Paul says, “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view!”. Of course there must be repentance for the subjective experience of the reconciliation Christ has accomplished – but Paul twice assures us that the Gospel WILL be Victorious: Every knee will bow – and every tongue [gladly] confess [swear allegiance] that ‘Jesus is Lord’.
You IMPOSE an interpretive framework on the outrageous, scandalous claims of the Gospel with your “extent vs application” distinction. it’s a clever way (and I think sincere) to avoid the shocking reality that the good news really is GOOD NEWS! But what you have given with one hand you take away with the other:
when it comes to the “application” of salvation you utterly fail to acknowledge the certainty that God is bringing about what He has purposed in Christ: the unity and reconciliation of ALL things.
You also fail to support the shocking intent of Paul and leave us with a weak outcome – an underwhelming “gospel” that still leaves the majority of humanity suffering in hell forever – in other words, with your gospel – “where sin abounded – grace did not quite abound as much”…
Mike – can you face the fact that what you are saying is that GOD’S PURPOSE IN CHRIST WILL ULTIMATELY FAIL FOR MOST OF HUMANITY?!?
That what happened through the first Adam will NOT be victoriously reversed by the second/last Adam, Jesus Christ! That for ALL eternity the state of things will go on with a severe fracture and chasm down the middle of God’s beloved Cosmos – i.e. between those whom He loved yet are doomed forever – and those who happen to put their faith in Christ before they died (at which point God’s disposition towards the unrepentant sinner and enemy must change from one of longing love to utter contempt).
And why does it all come down for you that it’s just up to the weak and sinful “free” will of individuals (which is far from “free” regarding our bondage to sin, and being taken captive by Satan). Think about this: Apart from the first Adam, not one single human used their “free will” and asked to be born into this world – sinners destined for hell. And yet you strongly assume that any given human’s eternal destiny is ultimately up to their “free” will – and that we alone have the power to prevent the redemptive work of Christ from its final application to ALL of “Adam’s helpless race”?!?
No – it will not do: Isaiah 55:11 assures us that God’s Word will not return to Him void – but will accomplish ALL that it is sent to do. The ultimate fulfillment of that promise is none other that THE “Word” – the Logos, Jesus Christ who was sent to “save the Cosmos” – and will do just that, and not condemn it! (John 3:17)
Through Him, the last Adam – ALL will be made righteous (Romans 5) – ALL will be made alive (1 Cor. 15) – and God will be “all and in all” (1 Cor. 15:28)!
THAT is truly, indisputably, “Good new of GREAT Joy”!
God bless you Mike – I know you are very knowledgeable and very sincere.
But do not let either popularity or institutional commitments keep you from looking far more deeply into these things…