Friday, July 15, 2005

Why Consider Universal Reconciliation?

But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.

- Isaiah 53:5 -

In today's evangelical Christianity there are two competing views of Christ's death on the cross for our sins. Each view is considered to be orthodox and neither view is considered to be heresy. The truth of the gospel cannot be expressed without taking a side on which view is true. They cannot both be true. One view must be a false gospel.

One view says that Christ's death on the cross accomplished salvation only for those whom Christ died. Christ only died for some. For many others Christ's death on the cross was not sufficient for their salvation. His death was not for them, His blood was not shed for them, and He did not provide salvation for them.

There is nothing in Isaiah 53 that limits the extent of Christ's death. Why should we seek to limit it?

The other view is that Christ's death on the cross accomplished salvation for no one. Christ died for everyone but His death was ineffective in itself. His death did not save. It made salvation possible for everyone, but it saved no one. If no one believed (whatever believed means and it's not as obvious as you might think) in His salvation then His death would save no one. It would have accomplished nothing.

Isaiah 53 presents a picture of a God who bears punishment instead of those who deserve it and a God who heals, not a God who makes healing available.

I think that the Scriptures teach both that Christ died for the sins of everyone and that His death made Him the actual Savior of everyone. There is no one for whom He did not die and He is not just the potential Savior. He is clearly called Savior in the Scriptures.

These two views of the death of Christ have been made up, in spite of what the Scriptures say, in order to deal with the problem of Hell. If the Scriptures didn't speak of Hell, I feel that everyone would agree that Christ died for all and that His death saves.

My question is why not consider the possiblity that the passages speaking of Christ's death are not the ones to be questioned, but rather that the passages on Hell are to be questioned.

Why do we fiddle with the passages on Christ's death and not instead fiddle with the passages on Hell?

My answer to that question is that we are afraid to listen to the Scriptures and instead would rather listen to a tradition of men that has been handed down through the years by a church corrupted by the need to scare people to get their $upport.

Why not be today like the Bereans of long ago?

Acts 17:10,11

The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.