Patristic Universalism

by David Burnfield

 Re-Think God, Re-Think Grace, Re-Think Hell

1. Does Patristic Universalism believe there is eternal punishment?
Regardless of any view, no one knows the severity of being separated from God.
The Early Patristic Church and scripture teach; that we are all judged and are held accountable for our lives. Christ redeemed humanity from death (eternal separation) from their redeemer. Thus, God is not willing that any perish.Therefore, death does not end God's Mercy, He continues to reach out to those who have been separated from Him through their own deceptions.

  • Deuteronomy 8:5 "Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son."
  • 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance."
  • 1 Peter 4:6 "For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does."

2. Can you lose Salvation if you fall back into unbelief or sin?

No one can lose salvation, Christ secured it with His precious blood.

One can lose sanctification (Purification). Salvation is secure, but we must prepare for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

  • Hebrews 9:12 "With his own blood--not the blood of goats and calves--he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever."
  • 2 Timothy 2:13 "If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself."
  • Matthew 24:44 "Therefore, you [who follow Me] must also be ready; because the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him."
  • James 2:8 "If you really keep the royal law stated in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as." yourself,” you are doing well."

3. Is Baptism required to be redeemed?

Baptism is a symbolic action, and in of itself is not salvific.

Christ won victory for all, and our obedience is part of our sanctification, not a requirement for salvation.

  • Colossians 2:17 "Such things are only a shadow of what is to come and they have only symbolic value; but the substance [the reality of what is foreshadowed] belongs to Christ."
  • Romans 6:4 "We were buried therefore with him through baptism to death, that just like Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life."
  • 1 Peter 2:11 "Therefore I urge you, brothers, on account of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship."

4. Are we saved by faith?

Yes, we are saved through faith. Faith is not limited to this lifetime.

God pursues us in this life and in the next. Faith in Christ will guide us and it is credited as righteousness.

  • Romans 3:28 "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law."
  • Ephesians 2:8 "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God."
  • James 2:23 ""Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend."
  • 1 Timothy 6:11...."Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness."
  • Psalm 139:8 " If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!"
  • 1 Peter 3:18-19 "For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the spirit, in which He also went and preached to the spirits in prison."