Universalist - Denying God's Power

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, September 19, 2013 0 comments

I happen to be someone who likes animals. I’m fascinated by learning about their habits, their unique characteristics created by God, and how they survive by protecting themselves from harm and providing for their own needs. But recently, I was reading about a creature that I hope I never come across. The humpback anglerfish has to be one of the ugliest sea creatures I’ve ever seen. You can find a picture of it on Wikipedia if you’d like. The reason I was reading about it was because of its “aggressive mimicry”. It is designed to look like a harmless species, when it actually intends to devour anything that gets near it. If you look at the picture, you can see its wide mouth, which enables it to swallow smaller prey whole, and its long, sharp teeth, which allow it to tear apart something larger. It lures its prey by looking like a prey itself. In addition, some actually emit light from their heads to attract prey.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I would be talking about something that would seem so despicable. Last week, I talked about the Apostle Paul’s final words before leaving this earth, in which he warns Timothy that a time will come when people will reject sound doctrine and listen to those who “say what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3). Well, earlier in the same letter, Paul gives a different descriptor for these people. He says that they will be “having a form of godliness but denying its power” (3:5). Essentially, he says that some of the people who will be living in such a way that rejects Christ might actually be seen in CHURCH! They might engage in rituals that seem to worship God, they might pray, and they might give to the needy. However, their apparent godliness is merely a “form”, and they deny its power in directing their lives. The “light” they are shining is merely to attract others to themselves for selfish gain, just like the humpback anglerfish.

Anyone who denies the power of godliness denies the power of God. Such a person says in effect that God’s Word cannot tell him how to live, even though he has the appearance of one who believes in it. Friends, one example of this type of person would be a Universalist. As Katie said in Monday’s post, Universalists are those who believe that all of mankind will eventually be saved. In other words, how they choose to live their lives is irrelevant. If you want to read more about the beliefs of this recognized denomination, you can go to www.newadvent.org/cathen/15181a.htm. I’ll give you some of their doctrinal principles that are according to that website. First, they say they believe in the Holy Scripture, and that it contains a “revelation of the character of God and of the duty, interest, and final destination of mankind”. Next, they believe in one God “who will finally restore the whole family of mankind to holiness and happiness”. The website tells us that a later convention resulted in the denomination’s shortened view on essential principles, stating that they believe in the “trustworthiness of the Bible as containing a revelation from God” and also “the final harmony of all souls with God”. These core doctrinal beliefs seem on the surface to be free of contradiction, unless of course one actually looks at what the Bible has to say about the final destination of mankind.

I would encourage you to look deeper at what the Bible says about the place called “hell”, and also to look in the archives from August 2012 and see the posts Katie and I wrote on HELL. For now, I’ll just urge you to look at the very end of the Bible. Revelation 21 and 22 talk about the characteristics of “heaven”, the place where God dwells with those who followed Jesus as Lord. It then tells us that “outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood” (22:15). So clearly, if you believe in the “Holy Scripture” and the “trustworthiness of the Bible” as the Universalist denomination says that it does, a belief in the “final harmony of all souls WITH God” is contradictory when at least some will be OUTSIDE the place where he dwells!

I cannot say who is a Christian and who is not a Christian because, thankfully, I don’t have that right or that responsibility. There is one righteous and just Judge and I’m not him. In addition, having an inaccurate theological position does not automatically disqualify one from salvation. However, it is vitally important that anyone who calls himself a follower of Christ knows the truth of God’s Word, and allows God’s power to transform and dictate the course of his life. We cannot foolishly and selfishly believe that we can live in rebellion to God and still have harmony with him in the end. And if anyone who has the form of godliness teaches this, we must respond with loving truth and correction. Universalism sounds like something we’d all like to believe, but we must remain steadfast in the knowledge that those who reject God’s power and truth will be separate from him for all eternity, so that we are that much more motivated to do all we can to stop people from continuing on that path.