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The New Testament Vision of Universal Salvation


Deadworm
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This thread is intended to explore the possibility implied in the NT that all humanity, righteous and unrighteous alike, might ultimately be saved.  The 6-point topical outline is offered neither because I want to lecture nor because I insist on sequentially following it, but rather to inform readers of the issues I hope to cover and to help readers decide when and whether they want to insert their points, objections, and questions in the discussion.  How far we progress through these 6 issues will depend on the board's interest and response.  I recognize that I'm a newbie, and so, I don't even assume that there is much interest here in this issue.  The thread is thus my little experimental probe.

(1) NT Texts that imply the possibility of salvation without a formal profession of faith in Christ in  this life                                                                                                                                                      (2) Texts that imply a postmortem rescue or deliverance of the unredeemed dead                                                                                                                                                                                                 (3) Texts that seem to imply that human resistance ultimately cannot prevent the fulfillment of God's desire and intention to save everyone                                                                                          (4) Texts that celebrate the vision of a cosmic restitution that locates everyone, including the unrighteous dead, in Heaven, worshiping God and confessing Christ as Lord                                     (5) The Counter-argument: Texts that seem to imply that only a limited number, the elect, will be saved                                                                                                                                                            (6)The Synthesis: An Attempt to formulate coherent perspectives on universalism vs. particularism in the teaching of Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John the Seer

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6 hours ago, Deadworm said:

This thread is intended to explore the possibility implied in the NT that all humanity, righteous and unrighteous alike, might ultimately be saved.  The 6-point topical outline is offered neither because I want to lecture nor because I insist on sequentially following it, but rather to inform readers of the issues I hope to cover and to help readers decide when and whether they want to insert their points, objections, and questions in the discussion.  How far we progress through these 6 issues will depend on the board's interest and response.  I recognize that I'm a newbie, and so, I don't even assume that there is much interest here in this issue.  The thread is thus my little experimental probe.

(1) NT Texts that imply the possibility of salvation without a formal profession of faith in Christ in  this life                                                                                                                                                      (2) Texts that imply a postmortem rescue or deliverance of the unredeemed dead                                                                                                                                                                                                 (3) Texts that seem to imply that human resistance ultimately cannot prevent the fulfillment of God's desire and intention to save everyone                                                                                          (4) Texts that celebrate the vision of a cosmic restitution that locates everyone, including the unrighteous dead, in Heaven, worshiping God and confessing Christ as Lord                                     (5) The Counter-argument: Texts that seem to imply that only a limited number, the elect, will be saved                                                                                                                                                            (6)The Synthesis: An Attempt to formulate coherent perspectives on universalism vs. particularism in the teaching of Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John the Seer

I think you need to back up a step and define salvation.  Personally, I equate justification and salvation.  It is the realization that you are capable of discerning the will of God and of carrying it out.

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3 hours ago, Deadworm said:

I'm mean "salvation" in the traditional sense of receiving eternal life through Christ.  But, as you will see, the NT vision of universalism can include those who live up to the limited spiritual light  they have received.

Sounds like you have a sermon queued up, so let 'er rip.

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Shucks.  Thought you had something going there.  I would challenge you, however, to use everyday language as much as possible and avoid Christianese.  

Words like salvation, eternal life and universalism only communicate between Christians, and even then they do not mean the same thing to everyone.

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Regarding "(1) NT Texts that imply the possibility of salvation without a formal profession of faith in Christ in this life" a few things come to mind.

1)  Christ and Jesus are not interchangable terms, so we are a bit wobbly at the get-go.

2) The appearance of the patriarchs at the transfiguration fits the criterion.

3) Infant baptism as salvific without any formal profession.

4) Per Luther, salvation by profession is a form of salvation by works.  In Islam one is saved by formal profession of the shahada, which puts a glaring light on the error.

5) Profession alone is no guarantee.  Not everyone who says, "Lord, Lord" will be saved.

My personal belief is that Jesus fundamentally changed the relationship between God and all of mankind, making a new divine connection for humanity.  Our evangelical charge is not to have people profess faith in Jesus, but to inform them of the good news that it is now possible for God to exist in the tabernacle of our persons.  

Salvation now depends on prayer instead of intellectual professions, rites and actions.  

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