The Universal Plan
Universalism is a New Age philosophy that is becoming very popular all around the world. Basically, Universalism allows people to define God and religious worship into any configuration that they like. It’s a religion without any one particular god, or any specific form of worship: just pick and choose the pieces that you like and create your own free-form religion!
There are some groups known as Universal churches, but I don’t know anything about what they practice, how they worship or what they believe. So the comments in this book are not directed at specific people, groups or churches. It is the Universalist philosophy that I’m concerned about, because it is so prevalent. Universalism is rapidly becoming the new socially acceptable, politically-correct view of God.
The modern Universal philosophy says that all religions are the way to find God. But this is not actually possible, because the gods themselves do not allow it. Each religion requires some commitment to their way. None of the world’s religions have signed up for the Universal Plan.
So this leaves Universalism looking very lame. They claim to have the best god of all, the god that is suitable for all religions: but actually they don’t have any god. Their god is nameless, faceless and imposes no obligations on them, yet somehow this vague and vaporous god loves them all the same.
I understand their motive: people believe that if they can reconcile the religions of the world, there would be less strife. If world religions would only “play nice” it would be a huge step forward toward world peace. And the world situation at this time shows they are probably right. But their solution – to blend all religions into one – it will never work!
And it’s actually very presumptive to believe that the gods even want to participate in Universalism. Did anyone try to organize this, or call world religious leaders together and get them to agree? Of course not. We know what would happen; such peace talks would get nowhere.
So Universalists bypassed any attempt at reconciliation between religions and made up their own. And they fully believe they have chosen the higher road. Universalists believe they have an enlightened view of God that is superior to the narrow view held by specific religions. However, if there is a “Universal god”, then it is simply another god that can be tacked onto the list, because Universalism is not a one-size-fits-all religion.
Clothing which is “one-size-fits-all” doesn’t actually fit anybody. It’s too big on some and too small on others, too short or too long… and even when it does fit someone; it’s a baggy shapeless garment without much to offer. Perhaps that is why people like Universalism: it is comfortable and convenient.
A Universal religion sounds very nice but it has no substance. That’s because the Universal god does not exist. It is merely a world peace fantasy.
And even though Universalism has the outward appearance of being a peaceful religion, it is actually an enemy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ because it indirectly teaches that you don’t need the Cross of Christ to go to heaven. You can go straight to the God of love; without any need for what Jesus did for us on the Cross.
Hot or Cold
And Jesus also said, “I wish that you were hot or cold, but because you’re lukewarm… I will spit you out of my mouth.” Rev. 3:16 ESV
In other words, being neutral about world issues and world religions is worse in God’s eyes than making a choice. We are expected to work harder than that, in order to discover Truth. Jesus does not want us to be major-league fence-sitters!
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV
Jesus wasn’t neutral. He said it plainly: the only way to God is through Himself. Jesus clearly opted out of Universalism with just that one statement. God also says in Isaiah 42:8, “I am Jehovah, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise unto graven images.”
The God of the Bible absolutely refuses to be part of Universalism. He will not share his glory with any other god or any other religion.
Universalism tries to cover all the bases, but actually: it doesn’t cover any bases. Those who choose Universalism need to know that you can’t have your religion the way you want it. It’s not possible to reconcile world religions: there is no middle ground.
If God truly is a real and living almighty God, it is presumptuous to think we can define who He is according to our own ideas. In fact, it’s incredibly absurd.
Universalism is not the path to peace, so don’t be fooled by people who set up road signs for roads that don’t exist.
The most serious problem with Universalism is how it indirectly denies the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Universalism does not need the redemption of the Cross, because the Universal god loves everybody and is too loving to send anyone to hell. Therefore, what Jesus did on the cross is no longer necessary. Instead of a bloody cross, the Universal god broadcasts love and peace and flowers for everybody.
Universalism doesn’t seem to understand the nature of Good and Evil. The religions of this world are powered by real supernatural beings that are in conflict. The Bible even describes this conflict: in Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” KJV
Jesus described evil as a personality, when he told the religious leaders:
You are of your father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and doesn’t stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks on his own; for he is a liar, and the father of lies. John 8:44 WEB
Universalism denies the reality of evil: they prefer to gloss over it. They don’t understand that Good and Evil do not originate here on earth, and that Satan has it coming to him. Evil is real, and because evil is real; Judgment Day is necessary!
People don’t want to believe in judgment, but the Bible clearly teaches that there will be punishment for wickedness. The words “judge”, “judgment” and “judged” are used 542 times in the ASV Bible so it’s impossible to write judgment out of the Scriptures without removing huge chunks of God’s Word.
Beginning with Adam and Eve cast out of Eden, to Noah’s flood, the Babylonian Captivity, the Rich Man in hell, Ananias & Sapphira… Judgment is all over the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible. The book of Revelation gives a lengthy description of the coming final Judgment.
If you believe the Bible, you must accept God’s inevitable plans for judgment. In fact, the Bible predicts various future judgments: judgment for Christians, judgment for everyone else, and the Bible even mentions future judgment for the animals (Genesis 9:1-17.) Every creature with the breath of life will stand before God in judgment.
Atheists don’t want to believe in judgment either. They use the topics of hell and judgment to slam Christians and blaspheme God. It’s obvious that atheists are very touchy about the subject of judgment. If you want to push their buttons, just mention Noah and the flood to an atheist!
I’ve tried to understand why Noah’s flood puts atheists into a lather. Perhaps it’s because Noah’s Flood is a story of judgment on sin: God finally said “ENOUGH!” and put an end to almost all human and animal life on this planet. So, of course atheists don’t want to discuss it. And of course they don’t want to admit that the flood possibly did happen: there’s no way they can live with what Noah’s flood represents.
Both Universalists and Atheists choose to ignore Judgment Day: it’s not going to happen, end of story! But, Christians know that a head-in-the-sand approach isn’t going to turn out very well.
The knowledge of judgment is what makes true Christians be accountable to God. Every deed, every act, every thought of our private lives is not hidden from Him, and we know it. This accountability is not a burden; it is actually a privilege to have such personal one-on-one training from our God who loves us. As a child learns from His parents, so we continue to learn from our Heavenly Father throughout our lives.
When the day comes that I must stand before God in judgment, I don’t need to be afraid. I already have mileage with God. Jesus knows the road I’ve traveled and the Holy Spirit has been with me the whole way. Therefore, Judgment Day won’t hold any surprises for those who have walked with God. Only Christians can have this confidence.
Universalists want to believe that everyone is going to heaven. They want to believe in the theoretical goodness of all mankind, but unfortunately the world scene damns that theory within milliseconds. We see gross evil going on all around the world.
It’s not possible to believe that everyone gets a free pass to heaven. There’s no justice in that. A holy and righteous God cannot allow it; otherwise heaven would become grossly corrupted too.
If it were true that there is no hell, then Jesus didn’t need to die for us. God could have proved His love in some other way that was not so horrific. But judgment is necessary, hell is necessary and because of hell: the cross of Christ was necessary.
The Cross of Christ is an ugly symbol. There is a reason for that: the Cross is meant to be an unforgettable graphic lesson that sin is terrible and sin is real. The crucifixion also shows us that punishment and judgment are real too. And, the Cross shows us that salvation from sin does not come easily!
The Power to Transform
When talking to Universalists about their beliefs, they are skilled at providing answers for everything. They completely resist the idea that Jesus is the only way to God. Their standard answer is the Love of God, which takes care of everything!
Their beliefs are fluffy, but their determination is not. They’ll keep circling around to the Love of God as the solution for all the world’s problems. They believe there will be no judgment; because God loves us. And there is no punishment for sin; because God loves us.
But, God’s love is not a bunch of fluffy clouds: God’s love is symbolized by the Cross of Christ. The Cross is what was provided by our loving Father in Heaven, and the Cross is the only path to the Father. Jesus obeyed the Father in all things, which included going to the Cross.
The purpose of the Gospel is to help us change into the kind of people we should be, the kind of person I want to be! Christians tell of the transformation in their lives because of Jesus Christ; the power of Salvation to change us!
Isn’t that a far more powerful and magnificent Love than the sloppy love of Universalism? Universalism graciously accepts the mess that I am and allows me to wallow in it: but the Gospel of Jesus Christ has power to transform me!
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. Romans 1:16
We come to God through the Cross of Christ, or not at all. The amazing love and forgiveness of God is only in the Cross of Jesus Christ. This is the message of the Gospel, which has power to change lives.