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Patristic Universalism Seminar
©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
• What is Patristic Universalism?
• Presuppositions
• Biblical Support
• Purpose and Duration of Hell
• Mercy Beyond the G...
Patristic Universalism is the belief that God desires
all men to be saved and achieves this desire through
His Son Jesus C...
• All will be held accountable for sin
• Salvation comes only through Christ
• God continues to evangelize after death
• E...
How one interprets Scripture has very little to do with
one’s commitment to the Lord or reverence for His
word and everyth...
Biblical Support
©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
Does Freewill Prevent God From Saving All Mankind?
1 Timothy 4:10
“For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have...
“All” Means “All”
Psalm 22:27
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, And all
the families of the na...
Knee Will Bow
Isaiah 45:22-25
22Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no
other. 2...
Romans 5:18
“So then as through one transgression there resulted
condemnation to all men, even so through one act of
right...
Most traditional commentators argue that Romans Chapter 5 does not teach
universalism because the population of those who ...
But suppose you "receive" a check in the mail for $10,000 from a
rich relative you didn't know about who recently passed a...
Purpose and Duration of Hell
©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
Purpose of Hell
• God disciplines for our good
• We all undergo discipline
• The Lord corrects those He loves
• God correc...
Hebrews 12:7-10
7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For
what son is not disciplined by his father...
I find the traditional view to be quite ludicrous for it
requires us to accept the idea that Christ—who taught
us to forgi...
Exodus 34:6-7
6The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord, a God
merciful and gracious, slow to anger...
Mercy Beyond the grave
©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
Christ’s into Hell
1 Peter 4:6
“For the gospel has for this purpose been preached
even to those who are dead, that though ...
Philosophical Support Scriptural Support
• God never far, even after death
• Never heard the Gospel
• Incorrect informatio...
1 Peter 3:19 and 4:6 are only controversial for the
traditional view of eschatology. The majority of
church scholars “in t...
This concludes the Seminar.
May God Richly Bless you.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans
to ...
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Patristic universalism seminar 2016

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Author and Teacher: David Burnfield will present reasons to consider the Patristic view of Universal Salvation.

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Patristic universalism seminar 2016

  1. 1. Patristic Universalism Seminar ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  2. 2. • What is Patristic Universalism? • Presuppositions • Biblical Support • Purpose and Duration of Hell • Mercy Beyond the Grave ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  3. 3. Patristic Universalism is the belief that God desires all men to be saved and achieves this desire through His Son Jesus Christ. ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  4. 4. • All will be held accountable for sin • Salvation comes only through Christ • God continues to evangelize after death • Everyone will be judged after death • The purpose of hell is remedial and not retributive • The duration of hell is limited and not eternal • Everyone will eventually be redeemed ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  5. 5. How one interprets Scripture has very little to do with one’s commitment to the Lord or reverence for His word and everything to do with the theological presuppositions or model one holds to. ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  6. 6. Biblical Support ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  7. 7. Does Freewill Prevent God From Saving All Mankind? 1 Timothy 4:10 “For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.” (NASB) If I wrote, “All children will receive a Christmas gift, especially those who are members of the church,” by this statement, I’m not saying that only children who are members of the church will receive a gift; I’m saying all children will receive a gift including church members. Likewise Paul is not saying only believers will be saved, but that all will be saved including those who believe. ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  8. 8. “All” Means “All” Psalm 22:27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations will worship before You. (NASB) Here the Psalmist tells us that every nation will “remember and turn to the Lord” and that “all nations will worship before you.” Again, interpreting this passage comes down to how you understand the word ‘all.’ And it seems the traditional view must deviate from the most obvious and straightforward meaning of the text (i.e. that every nation will worship the Lord) and interpret ‘all’ as consisting only of believers. Nobody reading this without a theological bias would conclude that “All nations” refers only to the elect among the Gentiles. ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  9. 9. Knee Will Bow Isaiah 45:22-25 22Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. 23“I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. 24They will say of Me, ‘Only in the LORD are righteousness and strength.’ Men will come to Him, And all who were angry at Him will be put to shame. 25“In the LORD all the offspring of Israel Will be justified and will glory. (NASB) It is clear from v. 22 that those who bow their knee and swear allegiance to God do so willingly because God asks them to turn to him and be saved. If the bowing were forced, God wouldn’t ask…it would be commanded. ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  10. 10. Romans 5:18 “So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.” (NASB) Anyone without a theological predisposition to the traditional model will understand that the major theme of this portion of Paul’s letter is that the population of those condemned by Adam’s sin is the same population that will be justified by Christ’s work. ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  11. 11. Most traditional commentators argue that Romans Chapter 5 does not teach universalism because the population of those who are made righteous is limited to those who have faith in Christ based on Rom 5:17 and the word “received”. First, the Greek word translated as ‘received’ (lambano) in v. 17 can be used in an active or passive sense (“to take” [active] or “to receive” [passive]). For example, a number of years ago I was at a grocery store and as part of an anniversary celebration, the store announced free servings of cake if you went to the bakery section. So I walked to the bakery section and asked for a slice of cake. This would be an example of lambano used in the active sense of "to take" since it required action on my part to "receive" the cake. ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  12. 12. But suppose you "receive" a check in the mail for $10,000 from a rich relative you didn't know about who recently passed away. This would be an example of lambano used in the passive sense of "to receive" since it did not require any action on my part...the check came to me. And just like that check received from a wealthy relative, the justification we obtain from Christ is entirely outside of our control. ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  13. 13. Purpose and Duration of Hell ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  14. 14. Purpose of Hell • God disciplines for our good • We all undergo discipline • The Lord corrects those He loves • God corrects as a Father to a son • Affliction purifies the soul ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism In the Patristic Universalist model, there is a purpose to hell and that purpose is restoration, which is a radical departure from the traditional view, which sees hell as nothing more than a dumping ground for those who rejected Christ. The goal of punishment is to move the sinner upwards towards God, not downwards toward Satan.
  15. 15. Hebrews 12:7-10 7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (NIV) ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  16. 16. I find the traditional view to be quite ludicrous for it requires us to accept the idea that Christ—who taught us to forgive as many times as we’re offended—would undermine His principles and instead of offering forgiveness, punish us forever unmercifully. ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  17. 17. Exodus 34:6-7 6The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty, but visiting the iniquity of the parents upon the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.’ (NRSV) ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  18. 18. Mercy Beyond the grave ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  19. 19. Christ’s into Hell 1 Peter 4:6 “For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.” (NASB) ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  20. 20. Philosophical Support Scriptural Support • God never far, even after death • Never heard the Gospel • Incorrect information • Mistreated by Clergy/Christian • Home Hostile to Christianity • Torture is an attribute of Satan • 1 Chronicles 16:34 • Matthew 11:23-24 • Matthew 12:32 • Matthew 18:21-22 • Romans 8:35-39 • Christ descent into hell ▫ Isaiah 9:2 ▫ Isaiah 49:9,25 ▫ Ephesians 4:8-9 ▫ 1 Peter 3:18-20 ▫ 1 Peter 4:6 ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  21. 21. 1 Peter 3:19 and 4:6 are only controversial for the traditional view of eschatology. The majority of church scholars “in the first four or five centuries,” understood these two verses as referring to Christ visiting Hades to evangelize to those who had rejected God during their earthly lives. ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism
  22. 22. This concludes the Seminar. May God Richly Bless you. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) ©David Burnfield Patristic Universalism

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