By Gary Amirault
Tentmaker Ministries and Gary Amirault are at the forefront in the battle to restore the early church's belief in "apokatastatis", that is, the "restoration of all things as spoken by the prophets." (Acts 3:21) This teaching/belief runs through the entire Bible from Genesis through Revelation. The Hebrew prophets got a glimpse of it and recorded their hope. Jesus declared it and died for it. He is the "savior of the world" whether Christian believe Him or not. The apostles and prophets believed Him and taught it. The church for the first 500 years of its history carried it throughout the world. But Augustine, Jerome, and Constantine, through their pagan teachings and practices which they brought into the church persecuted those who embraced this "Larger Hope," this, "Greater Faith." Ultimately, through fear, excommunication and death the teaching of eternal punishment was injected into the church leading it to produce what historians call "The Dark Ages."
However, throughout that time and through the Reformation up to this very day, there has always been a remnant who was faithful to declaring the Victorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the whole world. This remnant became very small during the Dark Ages, but sparks up to be noticable during the Reformation. Most church historians will not let us know that many Anabaptists believed in universal salvation through Jesus Christ. During our generation, the Holy Spirit is beginning to fan that flame. The internet is buzzing with new sites declaring the Good News that Jesus will save everyone, that no one is doomed to a Hell of everlasting punishment. Worship songs and prophetic utterances are sounding out the "restoration of all things" as spoken by the mouth of the prophets. (Acts 3:21) There is hardly a week that goes by in which a new book on the Victorious Gospel of Jesus Christ isn't written. My library is full of books espousing universalism, that is, that Jesus Christ will "draw all mankind unto Himself," and even more. (John 12:32)
Declaring this Good News which has been given many names brings on many battles. Listed on this page are some of the main fights we have encountered with organizations who want to snuff out the light of the teaching of universal salvation. This ancient Christian teaching has been given many names in recent years: universalism, universal restoration, ultimate reconciliation, universal salvation, doctrine of inclusion, Larger Hope, Greater Faith, transmillenianism among others. I call it "The Victorious Gospel of Jesus Christ." I like that name. It is victory centered, Christ centered, Gospel centered. It makes me want to shout a Hallelujah! It's not new. It's as old as our heavenly Father's plan for humanity. He purpose the Lamb to be slain "from the foundation of the world." It was in His mind that once all mankind tasted what separation from Him was like, that He would restore all back to Himself through His Son Jesus, the Christ
Listed below are some articles and letters we've written during some of our disputes with those who would like to quench this movement. These disputes, battles if you will, will one day end.
Disputes with Matt Slick, founder of Christian Apologetics and Research, CARM
Lengthy letter to Matt Slick
Unique Proof for (Biblical) Universalism by Gary Amirault who has had a lot of experience with CARM, (Christian Apologetics and Research Minisries) and Matt Slick.
Matt Slick's Slick Double Talk If CARM members really know what Matt Slick of Christian Apologetics and Research really believes, most would consider him a heretic. This is ironic considering Matt believes most Christians are heretics. Matt is a Five Point Charismatic Calvinist.
In a nutshell, here is what the feud is all about. What side are you on?
Belief? Or Unbelief?
The Scriptures and Jesus have made it plain that God’s own people are always slow to believe what the prophets have spoken (Luke 24:25-27). Most modern Christians, like their Jewish counterparts in Jesus’ day, believe that it is the world that is in unbelief. Yet Jesus seemed to imply there was more faith among the heathen than among His own covenant people! (Mark 6:6, 8:10, 8:26, 15:28) Therefore, while the scriptures plainly declare Jesus Christ, Savior of the world (John 4:42; 1 John 4:14; 1 Tim. 4:9-11), the majority of God’s people have never believed Him. But He has always had a “little flock,” a “remnant” who have remained true to the truth. (Luke 12:32; 1 Kings 19:18) The early believers believed quite differently from modern day believers. The early believers believed in the bold promises and statements found in the Scriptures. Modern believers have been seduced by two thousand years of “traditions of men which make the word of God of no effect.” (See Matt. 15:6-9) Let’s look and what the early believers saw in the Scriptures and then discover the state of unbelief the church-at-large is presently in.
Christ, to whom, in whom, and for whom are all things will reconcile all things unto God (Colossians 1:15-20). He makes all things new. (Rev. 21:5) Hence His work is the restitution of all things (Acts 3:21); He is Heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2); in Him not only all nations will be blessed (Galatians 3:8), but even every family of the earth will be blessed (Gen 12:32; 28:14); for the Father has given Him authority over all flesh, to give to whosoever was given to Him eternal life (John 17:2); and so all flesh shall see the salvation of God (Luke 3:6) since the Father has given all things into His hands. (John 3:35) Therefore, contrary to popular Christian opinion, we do not find billions in a Hell cursing God but we find every creature which is in heaven, and on earth, and UNDER the earth saying blessing and honour and glory and power be unto Him that sits upon the throne and unto the Lamb (Rev. 5:13). We find every knee of things in heaven and earth, and under the earth, bends to Him and every tongue confesses Him as their Lord (Philippians 2:10) and we know that no one can confess Jesus as Lord except by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3).
For God, Whose counsel is immutable (Hebrews 6:17), Whose attitude towards His enemies is love unchanging (Luke 6:27-35), will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth (1 Timothy 2:4, KJV); and all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9); and has shut all up unto unbelief, in order that he may show mercy upon all (Romans 11:32); for (out) of Him, as Source, and unto (or into) Him, as End, are all things whatsoever (Romans 11:36); and He has, therefore, put all things into subjection under Christ's feet (Ephesians 1:22).
And so we are assured that God will gather into one all things in Christ (Ephesians 1:10); and His grace comes upon all men unto justification of life (Romans 5:18). So Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands (John 13:3), promises by His Cross to draw (drag in the Greek) all men unto Himself (John 12:32). For having, as stated, received all things from the Father (John 3:35), all that was given come to Him shall come to Him and He will lose absolutely no one (John 6:37-39); but if any stray, He goes after that which is lost till He find it (Luke 15:4). Despite the fact that many of God’s chosen and elect believe God’s hand is too short to save (Isaiah 50:2) God’s hand is not too short to save (Isaiah 59:1; 63:5).
He comes in order that all men may believe (John 1:17); that the world, through Him, may be saved (John 3:17); His grace brings salvation to all men (Titus 2:11); for He takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29); gives His flesh for it's Life (John 6:51); and, because the gifts and calling of God are without Repentance (Romans 9:29), He gives life to the world (John 6:33); is the light of the world (John 8:12); is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world (1John 2:2); is the Savior of all men (1Timothy 4:10); destroys the works of the devil, not some of them only (1John 3:8); abolishes death (2Timothy 1:10); puts all His enemies under His feet including death (1 Cor. 15:26), is manifest to put away sin (Hebrews 9:26); and thus subduing all things unto Himself (Philippians 3:21; the context clearly shows this subjection to be conformity to Himself); does not forget the dead, but takes the gospel to Hades (1Peter 3:19); of which He holds the keys (Revelation 1:18); for He is the same (Savior) for ever (Hebrews 13:8); thus even the dead are evangelized (1Peter 4:6).
Thus all are made alive in Him (1Corinthians 15:22); for Christ finishes, completes His work (John 17:4; 19:30): restores all things (Acts 3:21); and there is no more curse (Revelation 22:2-3); for the creation is delivered from the bondage of corruption (Romans 8:21); and so comes the end when Christ delivers up the Kingdom to God, Who is then All in All because ALL God’s enemies are defeated, the last enemy being death, NOT eternally alive being endlessly punished. (1Corinthians 15:24-28).
Salvation is a gift from God, it is not of works lest anyone be found boasting (Eph 2:8) and that gift has been given to all men despite the fact that some of God’s own people don’t like such generous grace. (Rom. 5:8; Matt. 5:1-16)
We can be assured of all these wonderful and glorious things because nothing is too difficult for Him (Luke 1:37) and while many things are impossible with man, nothing is impossible with God. (Matt. 19:26) Furthermore, God is love (1 John 4:8), a love that love never fails (1 Cor. 13:8), a love that lays down His life for not only His own, but His enemies as well and commands His disciples to do likewise.. (Matt. 5:38-48) Therefore, for God to endlessly punish His enemies would make Him a hypocrite commanding less powerful and less loving human beings to do what He is not willing to do. (Matt. 23)
There is nothing that can withstand His will and no plan of His can be thwarted. (Job 4:42) The Son came to save the world and not condemn it (Luke 5:59). Jesus asked the Father to forgive those who crucified Him (all of us) (Luke 23:34) The Father has laid the iniquity of us all upon the Lamb of God (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus died for all of us. (John 1:29) To punish us now would be double jeopardy. Indeed, we can enter into His peace, believing that it is indeed finished! (John 19:30) The gift of life has been given to everyone. (Rom. 5:18)
It is said in tradition that God has given every person a “free will,” that because God wanted to have a people who loved Him without being forced to, He had to give man the ability to love or hate Him – to choose to be with Him for all eternity or choose to be separated from Him in torture and anguish forever.
The Pharisees, Sadducees, lawyers and scribes, the religious leaders of Israel were well-versed in the Scriptures. But because their hearts were corrupt, they misinterpreted them. They led Israel astray. They were taught that God was going to deliver them from Rome. Instead, God used Rome to destroy them. During the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD a Jewish prophet told the people that if they went up to the top of the temple, God would rapture them away. 3,000 people went up in smoke instead. Many Christians are presently waiting to be raptured from the earth while the rest of the world suffers plagues of hundred pound hailstones and fire after which they would be sent to eternal punishment in Hell. Is this the Spirit of Christ? Or could the majority of the church be under the same delusions the Jews in Jesus day were under? Considering there are literally thousands of different denominations of Christianity today which differ from each other in many different ways yet all using the same set of Bible translations – isn’t it possible the church is in the same position Israel was in 2000 years ago? Led astray?
The traditional church has plainly and quite forcefully told the world and those within her, that the salvation of all mankind is certainly too difficult for Jesus. As a matter of fact, perhaps only a couple percentage points of mankind will end up in heaven while the rest of mankind simply couldn’t figure out how to get saved (Arminianism) or God never planned to save them in the first place (Augustinianian/Calvinism).
Fortunately, God put the burden of salvation upon man upon Himself, NOT upon the church or individuals. Most of the church is Arminian in theology, that is, man must choose to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior AND then perform certain works and/or refrain from certain activities to stay saved. Calvinism says salvation is all of God (and that is correct), but only for a few chosen (and that is false) According to Calvinism, most of mankind under their scheme have been predestined to eternal torture.
The fact is, Salvation is ALLL of God and none of man for all of mankind and that includes the moment one makes a confession to Christ. No one can “choose” Jesus without first being given the faith OF Jesus to make the decision. Even our faith is not of ourselves. We cry “Abba, Father,” because Jesus gave us His faith to even make the cry. Jesus said to His disciples,
“John 15:16 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-- fruit that will last.
And the apostle Paul certainly did not “choose” Jesus. Paul plainly stated how true Christians were going to be added to the Lord’s Body. He gave himself as the chief example:
1 Timothy 1:12-16 12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; 13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
Please note, Paul called himself the chiefest of sinners. Let’s believe him. And how did the chiefest of sinners come into salvation? By the grace, faith and love of Jesus, not by his “decision to follow Christ.” Paul stated THIS was to be the way EVERYONE would enter the kingdom of God. It is all God and none of man lest we be found boasting:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:8-10)
Note that even the true “good works” we will also come from God to prevent us from boasting in them. Speaking of being “ordained,” Acts makes it quite plain, despite the fact the greatest part of the Church doesn’t believe it, that our salvation is ordained of God, that is, predestined of God:
“When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were APPOINTED for eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48, NIV)
And those who are appointed to live will NOT fall away because:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:28-39)
The teachings of the traditional Church has taught there are MANY things that can prevent us from entering into life. Teachers of all kinds of denominations have told us there is much that we must do to “stay saved.” We are often reminded that
“… strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7:14)
Oh, the gate is strait alright and very narrow, but not in the sense traditionalists would like for us to think. The way and the path is as narrow as a single person, the person, Jesus Christ! There is NO other way to salvation but through Him, not our works, not our denomination, not our articles of faith, not our creeds, not our empty rituals, etc. Jesus is the Gate, He is the Door and He is the Way. And there is NO ONE who finds this Door and Way by themselves nor are they capable of walking on this path in their own strength. The Scriptures speak plainly on this:
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;” (Isa. 53:6)
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Rom 3:10-12)
The New Covenant is a blood covenant (Jesus’ blood) between God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus the Anointed One of God on behalf of mankind which was completely in bondage to death and sin. As someone once put it:
"Jesus is a Saviour, not a salvation assistant. He does it for us ALL BY HIMSELF."
The traditional Church has said the Arm of Salvation of God is too short, that most of mankind will be endlessly punished, that He could not save most of mankind from their sins, from their so-called “free” will or from Satan’s power to deceive.
God asked, “When I came, why was there no one? When I called, why was there no one to answer? Was my arm too short to ransom you? Do I lack the strength to rescue you?) (Isa. 50:2)
And the traditional church’s reply is, “Yes, your arm is too short! Most of mankind will be endlessly lost.” Yet the Scriptures contradict this hopeless pathetic answer with:
“Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.” (Isa. 59:1, NIV)
“And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.” (Isa. 63:5)
Look, the Scriptures make it plain why the Father sent the Son into the world. The question is whether we will believe Jesus accomplished what He was sent to do. So far, most of the Church is in unbelief in this regard. They really don’t believe what is plainly written. They are in the very same condition the Jews were in nearly 2,000 years ago … UNBELIEF!:
What was the purpose of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection?
God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:17)
And if anyone hears my words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. (John 12:47)
Who comes down from heaven and gives Life to the world. (John 6:33)
The Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. (Luke 9:56)
And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself. (John 12:32)
As you have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as you have given Him. (John 17:2)
The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. (John 3:35)
God, Who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, Whom He has appointed heir of all things, through Whom also He made the worlds. (Hebrews 1:1,2)
(Dear Christian, please note God’s plan was never to save only a handful of Jews and Gentiles. His plan was to take out a priesthood unto Himself who would stand in agreement with Him to save the whole world. But just like the Jews, must Christians have proved to be unfaithful in this calling.)
His purpose is very clear: to reconcile all things back to His Father. (Col. 1:16-20)
Jesus said He finished the work and accomplished His purpose which was also the Fathers purpose…to be the Savior of the whole world…to reconcile everyone back to His Father and our Father!
So plain, so simple even a child can understand … but apparently too simply for the church leaders of the many thousands of different denominations around the world. What a mighty Savior! What great love! What great power! And yet most of those who believe they have been called and chosen, the “elect,” don’t believe it even though it is plainly written.
Does Grace abound much more than Adam’s fall which led the entire human race into sin, death and condemnation? Not according to the traditional Church. It says most of mankind will stay in sin, death and condemnation for all eternity even though the Scriptures very plainly declared Jesus the Savior of the whole world, not just a part of it.
The traditional Church says one of two things: Either God never planned to save most of mankind (Calvinism) or God or God’s agent in the earth (the Church), has failed to overcome God’s enemies with love. The Scriptures tell is that “Love Never fails” (1 Cor. 13:8) and that “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37) but most have been brainwashed not to believe these Scriptures.
But the Scriptures speak otherwise:
“Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. 15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. 18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. 20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 5:14-21)
Jesus marveled at the unbelief of the first “chosen people,” that is, the Jews. But I believe the church has outdone the Jews in the area of unbelief. And now this short verse begins to make much more sense considering what we have considered in this article:
“…when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8, NIV)
Oh, foolish one, why do you doubt?