Jan 30

Are You a Functional Universalist? posted by jwatson on Jan 30, 2013

Some people believe that not only do all dogs go to heaven, but all people go there too.

Universalism is defined as “the doctrine that emphasizes the universal fatherhood of God and the final salvation of all souls”. Obviously, a belief in universalism eliminates the imperative of evangelism. If such a belief is true, Evangelism Explosion could stop printing materials, cancel the 3500 plus training events scheduled worldwide, tell our hundreds of staff to find new ministries, and close up shop.

But let me assume that you thoroughly reject universalism. I’ll also assume that you believe in a real heaven and a real hell and that every soul on earth will spend eternity in one place or the other. In other words, you believe in the mission and ministry of EE.

What we reject in our minds, however, sometimes is revealed in our actions.

Many Christians have become “functional universalists,” acting as though every person is bound for heaven.

Some signs that you may be a functional universalist:

  • An emphasis on day-to-day routines over eternal priorities.
  • Engaging friends in conversations about everything but God.
  • A laissez-faire attitude toward people and eternity.

Several years ago a national survey showed that while 60% of Americans believe in hell, only 4% feel that it is their destination. For the population at large, such a feeling is to be expected. But when Christians adopt a lifestyle of functional universalism, our churches utterly fail to make Jesus’ last command our first concern.

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