Matthew 7.13-14 – Universalism
Posted: 6 July 2010 in Matthew

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

A priest friend of mine is a staunch universalist. The obvious problem with the universalism is that it cannot very easily be squared with what the Bible has to say on the subject of salvation, and the above passage is an example of that. Another example is Matthew 25.31-46.

I am not one of those who thinks that we can take whatever we find in the Bible, and indiscriminately apply it to the world we live in today. Clearly we cannot do that, and there are hopefully few people who think that Paul’s uncritical acceptance of slavery is in any way applicable in today’s world.

Nevertheless, if something is going to be set aside as not being applicable in the twenty first century, a better reason is needed than simply not liking what scripture has to say for itself – especially when it is reporting words which come directly from the lips of Jesus himself. There is nothing in the two passages mentioned above to suggest that they are in any way culturally conditioned, and so universalism must be set aside as false.

We cannot properly revere God unless we accept as revealed truth whatever he has to say for himself in the Bible. In the twenty first century it is too easily forgotten that God is not inviting us to take part in a debate: He is telling us what the situation is.

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