The Fallacious Arguments of Neo-Universalists
by Sandy Simpson, 1/4/09

The new Universalists are not as vocal about their Universalism ideas but are far more deadly to the Church as they are not rejected like classic Universalists were decades ago.  The new Universalists would include Emerging Church leaders like Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, Spencer Burke, Alan Jones and others like Wycliffe, Society of  Biblical Literature, World Christian Gathering of Indigenous Peoples, Richard Twiss, Daniel Kikawa, Terry LeBlanc, Rick Warren, Henry Nowen, YWAM, Tony Campolo, Robert Schuller, George Otis Jr., and even Billy Graham.

For confirmation on their statements, go to these articles:

I am going to take some of the arguments made by those who subscribe to Universalism in some form or another and reduced them down to their essence.  Hopefully this will give the reader some ammunition when dealing with the ever increasing presence of Universalism in the modern church.

(1) If everyone goes to heaven then God's creation is perfect. Universalism is a belief that God is all loving and moral and that God is positive and effective. It's a belief that all life does have a purpose, that suffering is nullified in the end. It is a belief that in the end God will be completely victorious. "Universalism has been beneficial in my own conception of God. It causes me to marvel at God's power and love, not God's 'limitedness to save' or wrath. I feel even more gratitude, trust, and wonder of God! How marvellous are God's works!" ("Why I am a Universalist" by Christian Rev. D.R.Deinsen, M.Div.) If God is perfect, then it holds that Universalism is true as a God who saves everyone is better than a God that does not.

But if God is "moral" He cannot, by His own nature, not judge those who have been given every opportunity to believe in Him yet refuse in rebellion to repent.  God is not "victorious" only in saving people (1 Cor. 15:57), but in conquering His enemies (Is. 1:24).  The great victory of God was in sending His only Son to die in place of those who are sinners yet repent of their sin and are saved.  Where is the victory in allowing the enemy and those who follow Him access to the reward of heaven?  God became man (Col. 2:9).  How "limited" is that act?  This argument from Universalists is foolishness.

(2) Imperfect people, atheists and the mentally disabled all go to Heaven. "If mentally disabled people are accepted by God into heaven despite them not being to conceive of God in a normal way then atheists and members of 'wrong' religions can be said to suffer from mental disabilities (intellectual or emotional) preventing them from realising the true God, and God must accept these people too. If God rejects people because of their intellectual or mental shortcomings God is immoral" (From "Salvation of the Disabled" by Vexen 2002 Sep 05)

First of all the Bible says nothing about mentally disabled "all going to Heaven".  That is up to the Lord to decide.  As to "imperfect people" all have sinned (Rom. 3:23).  All people are "imperfect" and the only way to "perfection" is through repentance of sin and belief in the Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15).  This would rule out all who continue in unbelief, including atheists.  Re 21:8  But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practise magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death."

(3) There can be no-one in Hell if there is bliss in Heaven. When we love or care for someone we feel hurt and suffer then they hurt or suffer. If there is a hell, and someone we know is there, then it will cause us suffering. Our suffering will continue as long as we know they are in hell.

This shows Universalists have no understanding of Scripture.  The Bible is clear that, in the new heaven and new earth, the former things will not longer come to mind (Is 65:17).  Our suffering over sinners must be experienced now so that we may help them to salvation (James 4:9-10).  On the other side of death those who are in Christ will not longer have any chance at reconciling people to God (Heb. 9:27).  That dispensation will be over and therefore there no longer is anything that can be done to save someone after that person dies or is brought back for the Great White Throne judgment.

(4) Temporary Hell. "It seems there is good reason to believe in some form of "spiritual imprisonment" or "purgatory" (temporary "hell") for those who, upon death, have thus far chosen separation and rebellion from love and truth. The doors are always open in this realm and God/Reality continues to seek and persuade people, through persistent love, to accept love, truth, goodness, etc. There are likely trials and suffering (like earth but of a different type, ie of the soul, not physical) here as people "sort out" their destinies. Also, this temporary holding place likely functions as a context for divine or karmic retribution to right the injustices committed in one's lifetime. Eventually all beings are wooed by God's intense and persistent love for them however. Everyone is reunited to their Source of Being. God doesn't give up until all are convinced" ("Why I am a Universalist" by Christian Rev. D.R.Deinsen, M.Div.)

There is no such thing as purgatory or a temporary hell.  Before the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:13) those who believe in Christ go to be with Him (2 Cor. 5:8, Luke 23:43, 1 Th. 4:17), and those who do not are held in Hades which is temporary (Rev. 20:13).  But there is no escape from Hades (Luke 16:22-30).  At the Judgment those who have not believed in Christ are thrown into the Lake of Fire (Hell) (Rev. 20:14) after the Antichrist, False Prophet (Rev. 19:20), Satan and his demons (Rev. 20:10, Mt. 25:41) have been placed there by God.  Their torment will be eternal (Rev. 14:11, Jude 1:7).

(5) When the Bible states that Jesus Christ came to save the Jews and Gentiles, the word "gentiles" is referring to the Greeks (Helen) (Acts 20:21, 1 Cor. 12:13) so is therefore not applicable to all Gentiles.

The Bible uses the words Helen & ethnos interchangeably in many circumstances.  The word Helen which refers to the Greeks is also, in many uses, referring to Gentiles in general as well.  The word ethnos is referring to Gentiles (pagans, heathen, peoples, nations) but would also include the Greeks.  The Gospel was not only to be preached among the Greeks but among the nations of the world.

Col 1:27  To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
1Th 2:16  in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last. {Or them fully}
1Ti 2:7  And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle— I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.
Rom. 10:14-15:  “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"
(6) The Gospel was applicable only to the Gentiles in the region of the the Mediterranean.

This is not true.  History records that the Gospel was spread beyond the Mediterranean by the original twelve apostles.

Matthew: The scene of his labors was Parthia, and Ethiopia, in which latter country he suffered martyrdom, being slain with a halberd in the city of Nadabah, Ethiopia.
Bartholomew was flayed alive in Albanapolis, Armenia.
Thomas, the doubter, was run through the body with a lance at Coromandel, in the east Indies.
Philip was hanged against a pillar at Heropolis (Abyssinia of Ethiopia).
Andrew preached the gospel to many Asiatic nations; but on his arrival at Edessa (Mesopotamia) he was taken and crucified on a cross, the two ends of which were fixed transversely in the ground. Hence the derivation of the term, St. Andrew's Cross.
Simon, surnamed Zelotes, preached the Gospel in Mauritania, Africa, and even in Britain, in which latter country he was crucified, A.D. 74.
(Fox's Book of Martyrs,

So the Gospel message was to be preached to the whole world (Lu. 24:27) and believer's were to be discipled from every nation (Mt. 28:19).

(7) (Change of argument) The Gospel and ways to understand and be reconciled to God were sent by God into all the world at Babel.

This is a completely erroneous argument.  Those who had confused languages went out from Babel, dispersed by God in disobedience by confusing their languages and not knowing God but worshipping false gods.

Eph 2:12  remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
1Th 4:5  not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God;
Ga 4:8  Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.
1Co 1:21  For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
The world does not know God and cannot know Him apart from His creative power in nature (Rom. 1:20).  But the world has no knowledge (1 Th. 4:5) or relationship to God (Eph. 2:14), nor do their customs, traditions and cultures provide them with knowledge of God or a way to redemption.  See these articles:

An Endrun Around Rom. 1 And Acts 17 - A Gameplan of YWAM by Sandy Simpson, 3/4/06
More False "First Nations" Teachings - On Genesis 11:1-9 (Babel) & Acts 17:18-34 (Mars Hill)by Sandy Simpson, 5/4/06
Nimrod & Babelcompiled by Sandy Simpson, 5/8/06

Because of this false idea culled from books by Don Richardson, Richard Twiss, Daniel Kikawa and others, Bible societies have begun to seek out the names of local deities, substituting them for the name of YHWH in modern Bible translations.  The only One true God is named YHWH.  He consists of the Father, His son being Yeshua Meshiach (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit (Qodesh Ruwach).  There are many attributive names for God, but only one true name YHWH.  All other names are names of false gods, who are not really gods at all.  Read these articles for further information:

IPM False Teaching About The Names Of God by Sandy Simpson, 6/24/06
"Blasphemizing" The Bible by Sandy Simpson, 7/26/06

(8) (Change of argument) There is no need for the Gospel message as God will not send anyone to hell ... or ... there is no hell.  There will be universal salvation in the end.

"Many people believe in evil, sin, and dark forces.  It is your purpose to teach the opposite which is the Truth: there is no devil, no hell, no sin, no guilt except in the creative mind of humankind." (Anonymous New ager, Well-Being Magazine, 1992)

This is the same message being taught by a number of so-called Christians today.  Prominent Emergent Church theologian Brian McLaren has said:

"For many Christians, their faith is primarily about what happens to people after they die. That distracts them from seeking justice and living in a compassionate way while we're still alive in this life. We need to go back and take another look at Jesus' teachings about hell. For so many people, the conventional teaching about hell makes God seem vicious. That's not something we should let stand." (Brian McLaren,
Universalist ideas have also entered many historically biblical denominations by way of the teachings of false religionists and false teachers.
“Universalism is not as bankrupt of biblical support as some suggest,” (Brian McLaren, The Last Word and the Word After That, ( San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003), pp. 103 (cf. pp. 182-183)

The gospel is not our gospel, but the gospel of the kingdom of God, and what belongs to the kingdom of God cannot be hijacked by Christianity"(Brian McLaren, An Emergent Manifesto,  p. 194, Baker Books, referenced

Sweet calls this the Theory of Everything. This theory not only says that all creation is connected but that it is all inhabited with Divinity (God). (Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, comment by Tim Wirth,

In an earlier appearance on PBS's Charlie Rose, (Tony) Campolo muddied theological waters by stating, "I am saying that there is no salvation apart from Jesus; that's my evangelical mindset. However, I am not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians" (National Liberty Journal, 8/99).

“There is only one message that can change the course of human history forever, end the torture, and bring you back to God. That message is The New Gospel: WE ARE ALL ONE.” (Neale Donald Walsch Friendship with God, an uncommon dialogue, 1999 p. 373)

(A) God of love will not allow any to perish unendingly. Instead, God will bring all men to repentance either without Hell or by means of a purgatory-like Hell. Universalism has a broad appeal because of the positive nature of its message: everybody wins. [Millard J. Erickson, “Is Universalistic Thinking Now Appearing among Evangelicals?” [United Evangelical Action, Sept./Oct. 1989, pp. 4-6.]

Clark Pinnock in His book, A Wideness in God's Mercy promotes a much more open view of the lostness of mankind countering the biblical orthodoxy of past generations. Promoting a wider hope “We have now refuted the restrictivist view that says that only those who actually confess Jesus in this life can be saved. . . . On the contrary, the Bible teaches that many varieties of unevangelized persons will attain salvation.” (Clark Pinnock, A Wideness in God's Mercy)

“...we are asked to believe that God endlessly tortures sinners by the million, sinners who perish because the Father has decided not to elect them to salvation [while they were alive on earth], though he could have done so, and whose torments are supposed to gladden the hearts of believers in heaven. The problems with this doctrine are both extensive and profound” (Clark.H. Pinnock, p 136. William Crockett, “Four views on Hell,” Zondervan, 1992).

“There are a thousand paths to God, and every one gets you there” (Neale Donald Walsch, Friendship with God, an uncommon dialogue 1999, p. 357)

“We have also learned that Gehenna does not mean a place of torment, but is used in the Bible as a symbol of everlasting destruction” (Watchtower Society (JWs), You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, p. 89)

Mother Theresa practiced today’s open Catholicism “I love all religions. ... If people become better Hindus, better Muslims, better Buddhists by our acts of love, then there is something else growing there.” She upheld that there are many ways to God': “All is God--Buddists, Hindus, Christians, etc., all have access to the same God.” (12/4/89 Time, pp. 11, 13)

Robert Schuller has said the very same thing “The Christ spirit dwells in every human being whether the person knows it or not nothing exists except God” (Possibilities, p. 12 Summer 1986, pp. 8-12.)

Pearson explains “The death of Christ made it possible for God to accept sinful man, and that he has, in fact, done so. Consequently, whatever separation there is between man and the benefits of God's grace is subjective in nature and exists only in man's mind and unregenerate spirit. The message man needs to hear then, is not that he simply has a suggested opportunity for salvation, but that through Christ he has, in fact, already been redeemed to God and that he may enjoy the blessing that are already his through Christ ” (Carlton Pearson, Jesus: The Savior of the World).

Read these articles for more information on this subject.

Universalism in the World has Permeated the Church by Sandy Simpson, 10/12/07
Universalism: A Problem for Everyone by Mike Oppenheimer, 2008