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Is There Such a Thing as Christian Universalism?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
May 5, 2021 6:30 am

Is There Such a Thing as Christian Universalism?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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May 5, 2021 6:30 am

Episode 699 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes


1. How do you witness to teenagers who are not receptive to the gospel?

2. When Jesus healed people, did he use oil?

3. I am a new Christian and am finding a hard time finding fellowship with other believers. Do you have any advice?

4. I live in Romania and am a member of the Russian Orthodox church, but I don’t agree with much of their teaching. For instance, recently on Easter I heard a priest share that all humanity will be saved. But is universalism even biblical? Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus being the truth and the life, and repentance all make no difference if we all are eventually saved. What are your thoughts?

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Does the Bible teach that all people will eventually be saved? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Keep them for the next 25 minutes, and Pastor Adriel would love to talk to you.

Again, that's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts. You can watch us on YouTube, and you can email us with your question at First up today, let's go to Steve in Memphis, Tennessee. Hi, Steve, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hi there, Pastor Adriel. First, let me say that I really enjoy your program, and I pray that God will continue to bless you and your ministry greatly.

Thank you. My question concerns witnessing to young people in the age group of high schoolers, I would say ages 14 through 18, which is roughly grades 9 through 12. For those who seem to have a basic belief system that includes a belief that God exists, I know they can usually be brought at least to a knowledge of the saving grace of Christ.

But for those who absolutely are denying any existence or belief in God, how can we begin a dialogue with them and what can be said so that they can at least start thinking about the possibilities of God and hopefully start to get that closed door that they have open just a crack? Steve, what an excellent question and one that's near and dear to my heart because I really started walking with Jesus when I was in high school. I think it was my sophomore year, and I sort of had a knowledge of God. My mother did everything that she could to teach me a little bit about God.

She was a single mom. But I really didn't have a deep understanding of the scriptures, and it wasn't until a Christian family really opened up their home to me and were hospitable, had me over for meals, that I began to learn more about the Bible. And so part of me thinks, depending on the kind of ministry that you're doing, feeding teenagers always can seem to attract them. That was honestly one of the things that attracted me, but it opened up the door for me to hear the gospel, the word of the gospel, the word of God.

And we know that that's where the power is. Paul says in Romans chapter 10 verse 17, faith comes by hearing and hearing through the word of Christ. And so anytime anyone believes, whether they're a young adult or someone who's older, later in life, it's a miracle of the Holy Spirit, and it's a miracle that God accomplishes through his word. And so I think building relationships, opening up your home, hospitality, asking questions and responding to the questions that young adults have, teenagers have, there are a lot of questions that people have about God. And so I think part of it is engaging in the work of apologetics, defending the faith, responding to the oftentimes really honest questions that people have that don't frequently get answered in the church. And so we have to be sensitive to that. What are the questions that are being asked, and how can we respond to those questions from the scriptures in a way that's intelligent and wise and is true?

And so I think that those are some things that you could begin to do. Also, I mean, obviously, prayer is key. And I don't want to just say that as if it's just sort of a given, right? But I think oftentimes we miss this. We need to be praying for the people who we want to see come to Jesus, because ultimately, as I said earlier, it's a work of the Holy Spirit. I think about what we read in Acts chapter 16, where the disciples are preaching, and one who heard us was a woman named Lydia from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. We need God to open the hearts of people so that they might listen to the word. And so you're praying for that. You're praying that God would open the hearts of these young adults. You're being hospitable. You're sharing the love of Christ with them indeed, but also in word, because you know that the gospel is what transforms lives.

And so those are some of the things I would say. And that was really instrumental for me, as I said, just the hospitality of a Christian family, them opening up their homes. Initially, they weren't even really trying to preach at me or anything like that.

They were just befriending me. And it really was wonderful. And I got to be sort of a fly on the wall and see how their family operated. They loved to read the Scriptures. They would pray before they had meals.

And I began to ask questions. And so I think just spending time with people, investing in them, and exposing them to loving Christian communities is a really important thing and a good start, Steve. Are you involved in some young adult ministry in your neighborhood?

Well, per se, I've got a really heartfelt love for young people. We had come upon a situation not too long ago where a young family member who's been brought up in a non-Christian home, and they have been just taught by their mom and dads that there definitely is no God. There's just silliness, and they don't want to hear anything about the Bible, of course.

They just think that that's just made up from men writing. And just trying to get through to this young man, and he just shuts down. Just trying to figure out what's a good way to get him to be a little more receptive.

Yeah. Well, like I said, prayer, and then just, I would say, reaching out, building a friendship, a relationship, investing in the people who we want to see, know Jesus, not loving them just so we can share the gospel with them, but loving them because it's the right thing to do, and because sharing the gospel is the loving thing to do. And so it sounds to me like the Lord has laid this individual and maybe some other young adults on your heart, and I think that's a gift from God.

You take that, that burden that you feel, and you turn that into prayer, and you ask the Lord to give you opportunities to be able to share his love with this young man and see what the Lord does. And may God bless you, Steve, and bless your family. Thanks for giving us a call. We'd like to send Steve a copy of the book, Core Christianity, which might be a great help, starting point for him. We've also mentioned some other resources here in the past, including C.S. Lewis's book, Mere Christianity, and The Story of Reality by Greg Kochel. All of those really give us, I think, a great starting point for apologetics and being effective evangelists. So thanks so much, Steve, for your call. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Our phone lines are open right now for the next 20 minutes.

833-THE-CORE is the number, 833-THE-CORE, which if you want to dial it out, it's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Paul in Johnston, Rhode Island. Paul, welcome to the program.

Hello, Pastor. I have a question about being anointed with oil for healing. I haven't seen anywhere in Scripture where, when Jesus healed, he used oil. Yeah, well, I don't recall of any place in the New Testament either where Jesus anoints someone with oil first and then heals them.

Typically, he'll lay hands on them, or sometimes he doesn't even lay his hands on them. It's interesting, but we just see very clearly that he is the great physician, the healer. The places in the Bible where it talks about anointing with oil, certainly in the Old Testament, it talked about anointing, in particular, people to set them apart for particular offices. The kings were anointed, the priests, the prophets were anointed. But in the New Testament, we are encouraged to anoint with oil, in particular, in James 5. James 5, beginning in verse 14, James said, If anyone among you is sick, let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.

First thing was this picture of being set apart. I think the oil is also a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit. This is a very symbolic act there in James 5, calling on the name of the Lord with faith and praying that God would raise up the one who is sick.

James says in the Lord, Here is your prayer. The Lord will heal. Now, we know that God doesn't always heal in every instance, but there are instances where the Lord does heal, and we're encouraged to pray in this way. I think that sometimes in Christian circles, we can sort of have a view of anointing oil that isn't necessarily biblical. We treat it as this sort of magic potion. We're just anointing everything in our house, that kind of a thing, and anointing ourselves and whatnot. Again, in the Bible, that's not really how it was used.

It wasn't this magical substance that would just bring about healing, that kind of a thing. It was very symbolic. Jesus, we call Jesus the Christ. It's from the Hebrew word Messiah.

Really, it just means the anointed one, the one who is called by God, set apart, and in particular, set apart to fulfill the offices of a prophet. He declares to us the will of God for our salvation of a priest. He made atonement for our sins once and for all. He ever lives to make intercession for us as his people and as a king. He governs us. He rules and defends us. He cares for us. He gives us his word and spirit. When we call Jesus the Christ, we're saying he is the anointed one, but you don't see Jesus in the Gospels going around just anointing other people, that kind of a thing. He would heal them because he had the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, he would heal those who were sick. Paul, thank you for your question, brother, and may the Lord bless you. Thank you so much, Paul, for being a regular listener to Core Christianity. By the way, we should let you know that our program airs live, but some radio stations air it on a delayed basis. So if you want to call and talk to Pastor Adriel live on the air, here's the time to call. It's 1130 a.m. Pacific Time, which translates into 1230 Mountain, 130 Central, or 230 Eastern Time.

For that half hour period, you can call into the studio at our phone number, which is 833-THE-CORE. Let's go to Silky in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hi, Silky. How are you? What's your question for Pastor Adriel?

I'm good. I just was wondering, I just became a Christian not too long ago, just gave my life to God, and I lost a lot of friends, and I just don't have like fellowship. And I'm just like wondering if it's okay to like date or be friends with people who aren't Christians or aren't into the same thing, you know, like about God, like the way I am. And I don't know, it's kind of hard because I feel lonely and I just don't really know what to do.

Hey Silky, thank you so much for giving us a call. And one, I praise the Lord that God has brought you to himself, that you've recently dedicated yourself to the Lord. Jesus loves you and he's given you his church, his body. When we are united to Jesus by faith, when we come into a relationship with Jesus Christ, we're not just united to God, we're also united to the body of Christ. That is a fellowship of believers. And because that's the case, we should be, you should be, as a Christian, a part of a local church where the Word of God is faithfully taught, where there are other brothers and sisters with whom you can have community, fellowship, friendship, those kinds of things, and where you can continue to grow in your faith.

And so that's the first thing I want to say. Now, is there anything wrong with you as a new believer having friends that are not Christians? Well, I think you just have to ask yourself, it really is a wisdom thing here. Are they influencing me negatively in my newfound walk with the Lord? If they are, then maybe it's not the wisest thing for me right now to spend a lot of time with these particular friends. If that's not the case, maybe they like spending time with you because they see the new joy that you have, this relationship with God, and you're having a positive influence on them, then I would say, well, yeah, go for it. Maybe God will use you to have a positive impact on these friends. But we want to exercise wisdom here. The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15, verse 33, he's quoting from the Proverbs, that bad company can corrupt good habits.

We tend to reflect the people that we spend a lot of time with. And so if we surround ourselves with people who don't love and know God, and that's where all of our time is spent, the reality is it's easy to get sort of dragged down in that. And so I would encourage you to get plugged in to a local church where you can begin to build relationships, friendships with other believers who are encouraging you in your walk with God. While not cutting off your non-Christian friendships, I think you continue to love them. Remember what Jesus said, I came to seek and to save the lost.

God showed mercy to you, he showed mercy to me, he wants to show mercy to the people who are around us, who are in need of his grace and mercy. And you asked specifically also, is it okay for me to date, have relationships with non-believers? The apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 6, verse 14, don't be unequally yoked with unbelievers.

Now I think in that context there, one of the things he's getting at is we're not supposed to be united in these kinds of relationships. I think of dating relationship or marriage with someone who is not a Christian. The most important thing is what we say about Jesus Christ. And you want to be in a relationship with somebody who knows Jesus, who loves Jesus, and who is going to help you in your walk with Jesus continue to grow in your relationship with the Lord.

And so I would say have friendships that you can encourage and be encouraged by. And even if those people aren't believers, that's okay, but you have to exercise wisdom if they're bringing you down in your walk with the Lord. But in terms of romantic relationships, don't pursue those with people who aren't Christians, who aren't believers. You want to pursue a relationship that's God-centered, centered on Jesus Christ. Now let me just, as I've mentioned, the importance of being in a church. Are you a part of a church yet? How was it that you recently dedicated your life to the Lord? Yeah, I'm a part of a church at this point. I just recently, like a couple months ago, became a part of the church. But I feel like it's a lot of older people and that's fine because I'm 23 and it's like a lot of older people and just not people my age, you know, that I feel like I can hang out with. And I've tried to, like, you know, I feel like I've tried to see, like, can I hang out with a couple of even the older members and it just hasn't worked out. Like, I don't know. I just, I don't know. Sure.

No, I'm sensitive to that. And I know that that can be a challenge in terms of fellowship, especially if what you're looking for is those friendships. First and foremost, the key thing with being a part of a local church is what is the church teaching? Is this church, is the teaching that I'm hearing here helping me grow in my relationship with God, in my understanding of what the scriptures say?

That's the main thing. You know, the primary marks of the church, how do we determine whether or not a church is a good church, a true church? Well, is the word of God being faithfully taught? Are they worshipping Jesus in the way that he calls us to worship him? You know, there's baptism, there's the Lord's Supper. Are they encouraging? Are they exercising that sort of mutual fellowship, edification, exhortation that we see throughout the Bible?

Those are all important pieces. The most important piece, though, is the preaching of the word. Now, I would say, you know, if you aren't able to get plugged in, and especially if the word of God is not being taught faithfully, if you're not growing in your understanding of God's word, maybe there's another church nearby where there are other people around your age and people that you can continue to build friendships with, but where the word of God is also being preached really clearly that you might consider checking out. I do know that the fellowship piece is a really, really important piece, and so I want to pray for you right now, just that the Lord would guide you to the perfect church, to the place where you're supposed to be, that he would surround you with that kind of fellowship and friendship that you're looking for, and that you would continue to grow in your relationship with Jesus. Let's pray right now for Silky. Lord, thank you, God, for bringing this sister into your family. Thank you, Lord, for the recent work that you've done in her life. Jesus, thank you for your love for her. Thank you for the forgiveness of sins.

Thank you for your church. And I pray for my sister, Lord, that you would help her to get plugged into a church, that you would lead her, that you would guide her to a place where you are going to be preached clearly, where she's going to grow in her understanding of your word, and also, Lord, where she can be surrounded by brothers and sisters who can encourage her in her walk, who she can have friendships with and grow together with. Would you please bless her? Would you guide her?

Would you protect her also from the evil one? We know that when anyone turns to you, Lord, that there is a celebration in heaven, but we know that that makes Satan very upset. And so I pray that you would protect my sister, that you would surround her with your angels, and that you would continue to sanctify her, to cause her to grow more and more, Lord Jesus, in your love and in your word. We pray all these things, gracious Father, in Jesus' name. Amen.

And Silky, hang on the line. We'd love to send you a copy of our book, Core Christianity. As a relatively new Christian, we know we'll find that helpful. We also have a great core question on our website on how to find a good church. Just look for the core questions and how to find a good church.

That will give you some really good guidance on finding the right type of church that God would have you plugged into. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adrian Sanchez. If you're a regular listener to this program and you find it helpful in your Christian growth, we would love to invite you to join what we call our inner core. Yeah, Bill, we want to invite everyone to consider coming alongside of us as a member of the inner core. We're very thankful for each inner core member, for their regular gifts that help us to accomplish our mission. With people every single day sharing the truth of God's word, new listeners discover Core Christianity and your support helps us to keep reaching people all around the world with this radio program, the podcast, the entire website, all the articles and resources that we have over at With your monthly donation of $25 or more, you can be a part of the team that's making it possible for us to answer these questions and share the core truths of the Christian faith. By signing up to be a member of the inner core, we'll also send you a signed copy of the book that started it all, Core Christianity, Finding Yourself in God's Story by our founder, Dr. Michael Horton, a friend of mine and a wonderful theologian. Much like our radio program, this book is going to unpack the essential beliefs that Christians share in a way that's easy to understand and it shows why these beliefs matter for our lives today. We'd love to have you partner with us here at Core Christianity by joining the inner core. You can go to our website at forward slash inner core to learn more. That's forward slash inner core, or you can call us for that resource or any one of our resources at 833-THE-CORE. Well, let's go to a voicemail we received from one of our international listeners.

Hi guys, I'm Erina, listening to you from Romania. I belong to the Orthodox Church here, but I do not really share many of their beliefs. Like this one thing we just mentioned a few days ago on Easter Sunday and is usually a common belief among our orthodox nation. It said something like death, meaning spiritual death, and hell do not exist anymore and we're blessed and eventually all saved.

My question is, how can this be true? I mean, is this not some kind of universalism? What about Matthew 7 with 1314? I mean, why even bother to make the effort to repent as we go further and bring people to faith if anyway we're all saved eventually? Thank you in advance and be blessed.

Thank you, sister, for giving us a call all the way from Romania. May the Lord bless you and continue to grow you in your faith. You know, the question that you ask, is universalism true? Is it taught in the Bible, this idea that all people eventually are just going to be saved?

The answer is no. That's not a view that is taught in the Holy Scriptures. Universally, the Church historically has also rejected this idea.

There have been some people in the history of the Church who tried to suggest it. In recent days, there have been more people who have been rejecting the doctrine of hell and embracing this idea of universalism. But it's just not biblical and the majority of Christians throughout Church history have recognized that because the teaching of the Bible is so absolutely clear. You think about the book of Revelation, Revelation 20, verses 11 through 14, and talks about all those whose names are not written in the book of life being cast into the lake of fire, those who reject the truth. Paul in 2 Thessalonians, chapter 1, verse 8, he says the very same thing, that those who do not obey the Gospel will face the punishment of eternal destruction away from the presence of the Lord. Jesus himself repeatedly talked about hell as this place of eternal fire. You think of Jesus' words in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 9, verses 42 and following. You think even of Jesus' words when he gives the sheep-goat judgment in the book of Matthew, chapter 25, and he says, depart from me, those of you who are workers of iniquity, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. So over and over again in the Scriptures, it's absolutely clear that there is a place of judgment, a place of perdition, and that's scary for a lot of people. I think it's not a very comfortable doctrine.

It makes us uncomfortable. But the reality is when we're thinking about who it is that we worship, a holy God, and what sin is, it's this transgression against the eternal one, the holy one, that the free offer of the Gospel that he gives to us is so wonderful, so good, and yet to reject it, to turn away from God and to rebel against him is such a heinous thing. We have to have a higher view of God and a greater understanding of the depths of our sin, and if we don't, then the doctrine of hell is going to be just really, really confusing. Now let me say to you this as well, sister. I praise God that you don't just take what people tell you, like this priest in Romania, but that you challenge it on the basis of what the Scriptures say. Luke said in Acts 17 about the Bereans, the Jewish people in Berea, that they were more noble than those in Thessalonica because they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if the things that the disciples said were true. And that's what you're doing, examining the Scriptures and testing what you hear. Continue to do that, and may the Lord bless you. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833, the CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program, and be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-21 22:30:51 / 2023-11-21 22:41:03 / 10

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