An oxymoron, you say? You would be correct! I found this over at Sola Sisters, and found it to be a great resource on New Age spirituality. Be sure to check out the Sola Sisters blog and Facebook page.
It used to be that Universalists behaved and stayed in the New Age where they belonged. But sadly, those days are over. And it used to be that a Universalist message was easy to "hear" and distinguish from the exclusive message of Christ. Again, no more. A new, peculiar brand of Universalism - unique to Christianity - does not deny the reality of sin and the resurrection of Christ, and yet still manages to have a distinctively Universalist message. For the sake of simplicity, I've given this new virulent strain of spiritual bacterium the name of "Christian Universalism." Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it? Like "jumbo shrimp" or "virtual reality." A Christian Universalist is someone who makes a verbal profession of Christ, uses Christian terminology, but who holds to a Universalist view that attempts to work a non-exclusionary Christ into their message. Sometimes a false teaching called "the Wider Mercy Doctrine" is worked into this odd Universalist message, but not always.
Let's start with Dallas Willard who is a prolific writer and is well-regarded in evangelical circles. Dallas Willard, though he is identified as an evangelical, is anything but orthodox in his views. In fact, Willard's own words prove that he is far outside of orthodoxy in his views. In a recent interview, Willard made some shocking statements which I have highlighted below, along with the correct Biblical teaching:
"(A)nyone who is going to be saved is going to be saved by Jesus: ‘There is no other name given under heaven by which men can be saved.’"
"It is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved."
The "Wider Mercy doctrine," in a slightly revised form, has been the main creed of Universalist belief for centuries. Universalism teaches that all religions are the same and that all beliefs are ultimately pointed toward the one true Deity. It does not matter which religion is accepted or practiced, they are simply different roads that ultimately lead to the same destination. (online source, my emphasis)
"The first of these five untheorized observations is that New Light embodiment means to be "in connection" and 'in-formation' with other Christians. Deeper feeling and higher relating go together. The church is fundamentally one being, one person, a comm-union whose cells are connected to one another within the information network called the Christ consciousness." p 122
"The power of small groups is in their ability to develop the discipline to get people "in-phase" with the Christ consciousness and connected with one another." p 147
"New Lights offer up themselves as the cosmions of a mind-of-Christ consciousness. As a cosmion incarnating the cells of a new body, New Lights will function as transitional vessels through which transforming energy can renew the divine image in the world, moving postmoderns from one state of embodiment to another." p 48
"Christ consciousness" was - and still is - a very prominent New Age Spirituality term used to describe a Christianized form of panentheism, which is the belief that God is "in" all things.
"A surprisingly central feature of all the world's religions is the language of light in communicating the divine and symbolizing the union of the human with the divine: Muhammed's light-filled cave, Moses' burning bush, Paul's blinding light, Fox's "inner light," Krishna's Lord of Light, Bohme's light-filled cobbler shop, Plotinus' fire experiences, Bodhisattvas with the flow of Kundalini's fire erupting from their fontanelles, and so on." p 235
Sweet is attempting to show here that the "light" of God has manifested itself in many different ways through many different cultures. This is contrary to the teaching of the Bible, which is that God chose to reveal truth ("light") through the Jews in the Old Testament times, with Christ being the culmination of this revealed truth in the New Testament. Born-again believers also have the privilege of bearing this light in a dark and fallen world. But, was there real "light" (i.e., truth) coming from "Muhammed's light-filled cave?" Or from the Universalist Quaker George Fox's mystical "light" experiences? Or from the "flow of Kundalini's fire" which was said to be the awakening of "serpent power" in the Hindu tradition? If so, then the Cross was a mockery, for what God would let his own Son die such a wretched, torturous death if all other paths to God were acceptable?
"For in Christ all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross." (my emphasis)
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
"Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent—the LORD detests them both."
Brothers and sisters in Christ, professing Christians have crept in unawares into our churches and are using Christian terminology to teach and promote a damning message of universal salvation. To make matters worse, they don't outright deny Christ (which would be easy enough to spot). They simply say things like this:
"Well, sure, Jesus is important, but couldn't other ways be possible too?"
"Don't put God in a box."
"Who am I to say that God couldn't save someone in any way He wants?"
"Jesus is the only way that we know of."
We must not allow the salvific power of the gospel message to be adulterated with today's easy-going universalist thinking. We must not let this idea of all-paths-lead-to-God infiltrate our own thinking or the gospel message that we proclaim. It is the gospel that saves, and we must not be ashamed of it to the point of watering it down, or worse, denying its exclusivity. God will save all who come to him...BUT, everyone who comes to him must come on the terms God has set forth.
- Who is Henri Nouwen? (standupforthetruth.com)
- What is "Chrislam" and why should you care? (standupforthetruth.com)
- Universal Salvation (kraigkrempa.wordpress.com)