A follow up to "If Grace is True," Phil and Jim reflect on what it would mean if churches really believed that God = love. Rather, they are welcomed as beloved children of God, yearning for the same happiness and fulfillment that drives us all. If we call others unsaved, wicked, sinners, pagans, or heathens, we no longer recognize them as children of God.
I had hope for universal salvation, and had been thinking on these things largely because of my love for Origen, but still found this book largely unsettling yet extremely valuable because it was so very unsettling - what Gulley had said about the dichotomous way of thinking that many of us in the church are raised with is absolutely true.
The author has for his foundation the hypothesis that God will save everyone. It is a sweet sentiment on his part, but in order for this "open buffet" theology to take place, the person needing salvation has to ask for help in order to get saved. The person has to reach out his hand and heart to receive salvation from the One who saves those who distinctly make it known to Him that they "need" him. The trouble with this theology of "God will save everyone" is that they think that they are making reservations up there in Heaven as if they are booking a flight and making reservations to Hawaii or something. The author preaches "universal salvation" which means God will save everybody. This theology pathetically presents God as a "gate-keeper" who has the keys and he is letting everybody in, as a sweet granny giving away cookies to everybody. Answer: Only to the person that reaches out to receive it. We either let him in and thus receive his salvation OR shut the door in his face and a few minutes keep crying like a child, "Look, he's left me.
For years I have found established religion very confusing and hypocritical from an ethical standpoint.
Unwilling to abandon us, God works in the lives of every person to redeem and restore. I believe God will accomplish the salvation of every person, in this life or the next, no matter how long we resist." In book two the authors attempt to answer the so what question. - A relationship with God is inherently desirable; the carrot of heaven and the stick of hell are perversions of the real motivation to seek God + God loves everyone - Jesus came not to save worthless human beings, but to articulate a vision of a God that sees all people as deserving of love - We forget that every person the Church welcomes is morally flawed. The Church, offering a foretaste of heaven, should be a place where people come to be accepted, loved, healed, and restored + Christ is bigger than Christianity and salvation is not about religion - The humble, meek, merciful, just, pious, and devout souls are everywhere of one religion; and when death has taken off the mask they will know one another, though the diverse liveries they wear here make them strangers. William Penn - Jesus didnt suggest salvation was a matter of theological orthodoxy, doctrinal purity, or religious loyalty. It allowed me to ignore the rich extent of Gods revelation to people in cultures and religions across the world. Though I remain a Christian, one who has come to know God through the life and teachings of Jesus, Ive accepted my proper place as a seeker after truth rather than the possessor of all wisdom - Gracious Christianity is committed to the lifestyle of Jesus, confident that living his way of life can usher in the kingdom of God. It trusts that God still moves and acts in the world, not simply in Christians, but in anyone who commits to loving neighbor and enemy. Convinced of the ultimate salvation of all people, it can focus on living in the present rather than worrying about the future Potent Quotables: When God looks on us, God smiles.
Gulley and Mulholland have really done a great job of stretching my mind, helping me to truly understand a new level of grace.
Gulley is also the Pastor at Fairfield Friends Meeting House in Camby, Indiana.