God Demands Exclusivity and Abhors Teachings of Universal Salvation.
One particularly consistent message in scripture, from beginning to end, is that God expects exclusivity of worship unto Himself. In fact, in the book of Exodus (34:14), he is called a “jealous God.” How many times has our lord chastised the people of Israel for not being faithful to his commands, or falling into idolatry? Possibly the most dramatic example can be found in 1 Kings 18:20-40, where the Prophet of God — Elijah, dramatically defeated the prophets of Baal.
In the 14th Chapter of John, Jesus draws a line in the sand (figuratively speaking), saying that he is “the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Continuing on he says “If you really know me, you will know my Father as well…” In saying this, Jesus is proclaiming that He is the only way into the heavenly realm — not Secular humanism, Pachamama, Ala, the Buddha, or any other religious paradigm. Without a need for Christ-centered salvation, there would be no need for the Catholic Church. In the understanding of the heresy of Universalism, faith in Christ is unnecessary for salvation.
From the beginning of the Church, the followers of Christ understood that Jesus demanded exclusivity. Countless martyrs give witness to this as FACT. This, alone, should be ample example in support of why traditionally-minded Christians continue to reject the notion of universalism, or that “we have a reasonable hope that hell will be empty,” which is resonating throughout modern catholic theology.
We all have ancestors, friends, and family who may not have found their way to conversion to Christ. This fact is not limited to any particular region of the world. There is not one way to heaven for Africans or Europeans that is different from those of us in the Americas. Spiritual relativity does not change the clear words of scripture.
The idea of universal salvation has been growing in popularity ever since the Second Vatican Council, especially in the document “Lumen Gentium.” I was reminded of this bit of religious cognitive dissonance early this week, by a religious brother and popular musician, who is currently teaching on “Soteriology,” which is a fancy way of saying the “study of salvation history.” This well-meaning, but deceived soul started out by saying “It [salvation] is neither exclusivism nor universalism. Sorry brother, if salvation is not exclusively found in Christ, then by definition, it moves into the realm of universalism.
Last year I had a discussion with a Kenyan Catholic (non-Roman) priest who stated that ever since Pope John Paul II’s visit to Kenya that he has embraced the theology of that council. His rationale appears to be an understanding presented by the late pontiff, that his ancestors who never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ would be “saved.”
Additionally, in our day, Pope Francis is expanding on this erroneous teaching. Firstly, Francis has been consistently been rejecting the need and command that Christians become evangelical people — preaching the good news of salvation to the whole world. This pontiff has also been reported as telling people that atheists will be in heaven and that the multiplicity of religions is God’s will. Others such as bishop Robert Barron are advocating this concept. In one of Barron’s many popular YouTube videos he says that we have a “ reasonable hope that hell will be empty.”
Contrary to what Pope Francis, Bishop Barron, and the modern Church of Nice are teaching, Universalism was taught by Origen (185-254 A.D.), but was declared a heresy by the Council of Constantinople in 543 A.D.
The main argument for universalism is that a good and loving God would not condemn people to eternal torment in hell. Some universalists speculate that after a certain cleansing period, God will free the inhabitants of hell and reconcile them to himself. Others say that after death, people will have another opportunity to choose God.
For some who adhere to Universalism, the doctrine also implies that there are many ways to get into heaven. Bishops such as Barron often temper their heresy by claiming that “we have a reasonable hope that all will be saved.” The only way you can believe as Barron does is to reject the words of Jesus in John 14:6, where he is quoted saying; “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Universalism teachers utilize passages like Acts 3:21 and Colossians 1:20 to mean that God intends to restore all things to their original state of purity through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:18; Hebrews 2:9), so that in the end everyone will be brought into a right relationship with God (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). In this sort of exegesis, they essentially only present part of the story, neglecting things like Acts 3:23 “Everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be cut off from the people.”
The teachings of universalism run counter to the cohesive and consistent teaching of the Bible that “all who call upon the name of the Lord” will be united to Christ and eternally saved, not all men in general.
Jesus Christ taught that those who reject him as Savior will spend eternity in hell after they die:
- Matthew 10:28
- Matthew 23:33
- Matthew 25:46
- Luke 16:23
- John 3:36
Universalism Rejects God’s Demands for Justice
Universalism focuses exclusively on God’s love and mercy and ignores his demands for justice and denies eternal damnation. It also assumes that God’s love depends on what he does for humanity, rather than being a self-existing attribute of God present from eternity before man was created.
The modernist error is rosy optimism of the universal perfection of man, sin is, for the most part, an irrelevancy. In this understanding, sin is minimized and trivialized.
Even the modern Catechism of the [Roman] Catholic Church seems to be supporting this: By his glorious Cross Christ has won salvation for all men. He redeemed them from the sin that held them in bondage. … Created in the image of the one God and equally endowed with rational souls, all men have the same nature and the same origin. Redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ, all are called to participate in the same divine beatitude: all, therefore, enjoy an equal dignity (pars 1741, 1934). Continuing, we also find support in Gaudiem et spes, from Vatican II (par 29): “Since all men possess a rational soul and are created in God’s likeness, since they have the same nature and origin, have been redeemed by Christ and enjoy the same divine calling and destiny, the basic equality of all must receive increasingly greater recognition.”
In one of Pope Francis’ daily messages, he started out great, admonishing the faithful to joyful service rather than focusing on doom and gloom. The most important facet he related is “loving,” he said, “because the strength of the resurrection renders Christians capable of loving even when love seems to have lost its meaning.” he spoke of the need to have “missionaries of hope,” noting that the call for such witnesses is key in the month of October, which is traditionally dedicated to mission. “A Christian,” the Pope said, is not “a prophet of misfortune,” but rather, their task entails announcing Jesus, “who died out of love and whom God resurrected on the morning of Easter.” Great, right? A cogent response to this message might be, ‘why even bother preaching or being a missionary at all if we have a “reasonable hope that all will be saved?”
The greatest teachings can be brought down to the depths of depravity through a single line of error. “True Christians,” Pope Francis said, are “not sad and angry, but convinced by the strength of the resurrection, that no evil is infinite, no night without end, no man is definitively in wrong, no hate is invincible from love.” “No evil is infinite” and that “no man is definitively in wrong” — these phrases paint a picture in my mind that evil is inconsequential, the concept of hell is an illusion, and that no matter how much we reject Christ and the historic teachings regarding salvation, all will be forgiven in the end. These are the heretical teachings of universalism.
It is precisely in the heresy of universalism that Francis and others find justification to condemn evangelical Catholics who continue to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to Muslims and others outside of the faith. To Francs, these acts are “sins against ecumenism” rather than following the great commission.
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
In universalism, the Great Commission is rendered feckless. The lie of universalism is that sin does not matter and conversion to faith in Christ is not necessary. Could this insidious heresy be the reason why vocations to the priesthood are so low and multitudes of Churches are closing due to both the lack of attendance and absence of clergy? If a conversion is irrelevant and preaching the Gospel is just some sort of catharsis, why bother — live for today for tomorrow you’re in heaven. This is the false gospel of universalism. This teaching is coming down from the heights of the magisterium, from wolves in sheep’s clothing.
As a Catholic Christian, in both the Old Catholic and Carmelite traditions, I firmly reject the lies of modernism, especially universalism. I stand firmly alongside the Prophet Elijah, and Our Lady of Mt Carmel in pointing to the necessity of following Christ alone, as the source of our salvation and the object of our worship.
I will never cease calling on all members of the Church Universal to take a stand with the saints of old for the truth, speaking out whenever the wolves preach error from the ambo of your church or from positions of so-called authority — no matter how high the heresy reaches.
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