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      12-30-2014, 11:06 AM   #61

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Originally Posted by 128Convertibleguy View Post
Your Bible knowledge is excellent, but your history is wrong, just as it was when you said you did not know of any church with universalist beliefs. One can find many sources for the following, here's one with a nice diagram showing the breadth of the influence of universalist beliefs on many religions.

"The Patristic Era

The early church from the time of the Apostles until the 4th century was primarily a Universalist church. Most of the church fathers during this period believed that all people will be saved. Over time, alternative doctrines about the fate of sinners grew more popular, such as annihilationism and eternal conscious torment. These doctrines were often held by Christians who could not read the New Testament in the original Greek language in which it was written, and who interpreted the Bible through the lens of barbaric forms of paganism. It is noteworthy that Irenaeus the Bishop of Lyons wrote a lengthy book called Against Heresies in the late 2nd century, which never once mentioned universal salvation as a heretical belief. This is because for the first few centuries of Christian history, Universalism prevailed as the mainstream understanding of the Gospel."

Note that, at the time, few Christians had ever seen a proper Bible, much less been able to read one.

As stated above, the Council of Nicea, 325AD, was the first time that eternal damnation for essentially all non-Christians became the mainstream of Christian belief.

The site above reminded me of yet another church with very strong universalist views, the Unity Church.

"The Unity Church does not conceive hell to be a place of eternal torment in which people are eternally punished with fire because of their beliefs and/or actions during life. It is not a place to go to after death. Rather it is a state of consciousness to be suffered here on earth. Charles Fillmore wrote: "One does not have to die in order to go to hell, any more than one has to die to get to heaven. Both are states of mind and conditions, which people experience as a direct outworking of their thoughts, beliefs, words, and acts. If one's mental processes are out of harmony with the law of man's [sic] being, they result in trouble and sorrow; mental as well as bodily anguish overtakes one, and this is hell".
1) I think you need to provide better evidence and research than simply providing a link to an universalist website.

2) Due to a lack of organized doctrine, there was a plethora of differing views in the early Christian church, which is why certain councils (Nicea) were convened to streamline and organize the religion. Local religious clergy had a lot of leeway on how and what kind of doctrine they would espouse. Hence, there were some early Christians who had views/ideologies that were similar to universalism, though not exactly the same. But to say that was a majority view, especially without concrete evidence, is foolish on your part.

3) What little doctrine there was for the early Christian church, was based on the Bible/scripture. The Bible pretty clearly states what Hell is and how it works. There is some debate by theologians even today on whether or not the "fire and brimestone" descriptions are meant to be taken literally, but there is very little debate on whether there was a Hell and whether or not it was eternal. The Bible is pretty clear on those aspects.

Wikipedia is not at all the best site for this kind of stuff, but its good starting point for someone like you who obviously prefers to throw around biased sources as "credible evidence."

Last edited by Dalko43; 12-30-2014 at 11:18 AM.