Ambassador of Reconciliation
9/26/14 at 09:30 AM 21 Comments

Ambassador of Reconciliation: The First Three Years

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It has become my custom, on the anniversary of starting my blog, to post a list of all my essays with a brief description of each. Today is the third anniversary of “Ambassador of Reconciliation,” a name suggested by my husband from 2 Corinthians 5. The reconciliation of people to God and to one another is a subject that is close to my heart and is a theme of many of my posts. Another prominent theme is love, including a recent post on loving our enemies (94).

Over the last year I have posted a number of pieces prompted by studying different books of the Bible: four essays from the gospel of Mark (72, 73, 77, 78), seven from 1 and 2 Peter (76, 83, 85, 87, 88, 89, 90), two from Revelation (91, 93), and one from Romans (81). Some of my posts pose questions that I wrestle with and invite readers to think about: “Does God Love Everybody?” (80), “Are You Free?” (88), “What Are the Fruits?” (90), “Does God Have a Split Personality?” (91), “Is God Like Gargamel the Great?” (92), and “Who Changes the Human Heart?” (93).

Sometimes I reprint works by other writers, like a testimony by a young woman (75) and a poem by Anne Brontë (79). I asked readers to share their favorite Easter hymns, and I collected them in one post, with lyrics and links to audio (84). I also did an article about sharing our faith with atheists and scoffers (76), and a follow-up to my two posts from April 2013 about the Boston Marathon bombing (86).

On this third anniversary, I offer a challenge to my readers: to find any statements I have made that I have not supported with Scripture. I readily acknowledge that you can find Scriptures that can be used to try to refute what I have said, as many have done. But please alert me to any of my essays that do not have biblical passages or principles to back them up.

E Exegetical
P Philosophical
D Devotional

1) Pick Two (Who Got It Right: Calvinists or Arminians?)
09/26/11 P
Harmonizing Calvinism and Arminianism; how both are partly right and partly wrong.

2) Reconciliation: The Heart of God’s Grand Plan for Creation
10/02/11 E
A study of Colossians 1:15-20, which culminates in the declaration that it is God’s pleasure to reconcile all to Himself through Christ. What is the extent of “all” and what is the meaning of “reconcile”?

3) Presuppositions and Interpretations: How Our Assumptions Affect Our Understanding of the Bible, Part 1 of 3
10/08/11 E
In order to make sure that what we believe is true, we need to examine not just our beliefs themselves, but the presuppositions that underlie them. Many Christians have been taught that eternal damnation is a fact, and that assumption colors their understanding of the Bible. This series looks at what happens when the traditional view of hell is assumed, as in the NIV Study Notes, rather than taking verses in their plain sense. Part 1 discusses a number of verses from the epistles.

4) Presuppositions and Interpretations: How Our Assumptions Affect Our Understanding of the Bible, Part 2 of 3
10/14/11 E
A continuation of Part 1, listing verses from the epistles as well as John and Revelation, along with their NIV study notes and my comments on the verses and notes.

5) I Wonder What Would Happen . . . If a Christian Took a Queer Studies Class
10/14/11 P
Response to an article reporting that a California state university had adopted a Queer Studies minor.

6) “Heaven: We Have a Problem” What the Bible Says About Heaven and Who Goes There
10/16/11 E/P
Some verses in the Bible seem to teach that God will redeem His entire creation. Others seem to teach that many people will never be redeemed. If we believe that the Bible does not contradict itself, how can we deal with the seemingly contradictory passages?

7) Presuppositions and Interpretations: How Our Assumptions Affect Our Understanding of the Bible, Part 3 of 3
10/21/11 E
Conclusion of the series examining how our presuppositions about heaven and hell affect how we understand Scripture.

8) Is There Grace Beyond the Grave?
10/23/11 P
Is there any opportunity for salvation after physical death? The Bible does not state one way or the other, but some inferences can be drawn from what we do know about God’s purposes.

9) Quick Questions: Brief Answers to Common Objections and Questions Regarding Universal Salvation, Part 1 of 2
11/04/11 P
Certain questions and objections frequently come up when discussing universal restoration. This series attempts to give brief answers to the common questions, some of which are the subject of future blogs.

10) Quick Questions: Brief Answers to Common Objections and Questions Regarding Universal Salvation, Part 2 of 2
11/07/11 P
More responses to common questions and objections regarding ultimate redemption.

11) Unity in Diversity and Disagreement
11/08/11 E
The first of three posts about Christian unity, based on the principle “In essentials unity, in nonessentials liberty, in all things charity” (Meldenius). This one is a study of Romans 14, adapted from a lecture given at Community Bible Study in 1991.

12) “That They May Be One”
11/08/11 E
A discussion of what unity is and is not, based on Merrill Tenney’s exegesis of John 17 in his commentary John: The Gospel of Belief.

13) “He Himself is Our Peace”
11/19/11 P
The third of three posts about unity, exploring different ways of identifying the basis of Christian unity.

14) Toward a Unified Field Theory of the Spiritual Universe, Part 1 of 3
11/25/11 P
A comparison of the doctrine of ultimate reconciliation in the spiritual realm to the unified field theory in the scientific realm: how UR harmonizes many apparently contradictory truths into one coherent framework.

15) Toward a Unified Field Theory of the Spiritual Universe, Part 2 of 3
12/06/11 P
A look at more problems raised by the traditional view of eternal damnation and how they can be resolved by a paradigm shift to ultimate restoration.

16) Toward a Unified Field Theory of the Spiritual Universe, Part 3 of 3
12/15/11 P
Conclusion of the series but not the end of the story; undoubtedly there are other ways in which UR resolves problems and contradictions in the doctrine of eternal damnation.

17) Jesus: A Fruitful and Unfrenzied Life
12/28/11 E
A look at a period of time in Jesus’ life from Luke 4, showing how He was able to maintain His equanimity and keep pursuing God’s will in the face of tremendous opposition and obstacles.

18) Fear, Faith, and Freefall
12/31/11 D
A comparison of walking by faith to making a tandem skydiving jump; once we attach ourselves to Jesus, He will keep us safe and direct our lives.

19) Homecomings, Part 1
01/05/12 D
A meditation about the tragedy of rescues or reunions where someone is missing, and the beauty of rescues in which everyone is saved and reunions at which everyone is present.

20) Homecomings, Part 2
01/11/12 D
An analogy between joyous homecomings and the ultimate reunion of all people. God’s plan for humanity includes reconciling all to Himself and to one another—it is triumphant, not tragic.

21) “I Have Called You by Name”
01/14/12 D
A meditation on the fact that God loves everyone with an everlasting love, calls each by name, and engraves our names on the palms of His hands.

22) A Challenge for the Church
01/18/12 P
The fact that a growing number of Christians believe in ultimate restoration presents a problem for the Church: If UR is not true, the Church must deal with this threat to orthodoxy. If it is true, the Church has misrepresented God for centuries. Either way, the Church must deal with the situation. This blog challenges readers to come to the defense of the traditional position.

23) The Minister’s Wooing
01/20/12 P
A chapter from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s historical novel The Minister’s Wooing, which presents a picture of eighteenth-century New England. This chapter explores lofty theological concepts like predestination and eternal perdition, but the highlight of the chapter is when the old black maid, Candace, “talks gospel.”

24) Sorrow and Hope
01/24/12 P
A report on my being dismissed from leadership in Bible study after some of my critics contacted the national office about my blog.

25) “Let Justice Roll On Like a River”
01/28/12 P
Reflections on the concept of justice—what we can learn about God’s justice from our human justice system, and what ultimate justice might look like.

26) What Are the Fruits?
02/03/12 P
Some preliminary observations about the fruits of the two systems of thought: eternal condemnation and ultimate restoration. This essay presents the thesis that a strong belief in eternal damnation can lead to very ugly consequences, while belief in ultimate redemption tends to produce godly fruit.

27) Heir of all Things
02/09/12 E
A comparison of Colossians 1:15-20 and Hebrews 1:1-4, showing the superiority of the Son and the whole sweep of God’s grand plan for creation—from the creation of all things in the beginning to the reconciliation of all things in the end.

28) “I Can Only Imagine”
02/15/12 P/D
A meditation on what heaven may be like based on what know from Scripture, including thoughts about worship, relationships, healing, and growing.

29) Our Adversary, the Devil
02/24/12 P
The introduction to Job in the NIV Study Bible explains Satan’s purposes this way: “As tempter he seeks to alienate man from God…; as accuser…he seeks to alienate God from man…. His all-consuming purpose is to drive an irremovable wedge between God and man, to effect an alienation that cannot be reconciled.” This essay asks, “Will Satan succeed in this goal? Will God’s plan be thwarted? Or will God have complete victory?”

30) What Is Hellfire? Part 1
03/17/12 E/P
The first of a four-part series exploring the meaning of hellfire and judgment. Part 1 lays the groundwork by highlighting some biblical principles that should be taken into consideration in order to understand scriptural teaching regarding what it will be like to encounter God in the afterlife.

31) “Love Rejoices with the Truth”
03/24/12 P
Response to charges by my critics that I am guilty of dishonesty, Scripture abuse, psychological manipulation, operating in the flesh, etc. My hope in answering the charges is to defend my integrity and maintain my credibility and to prevent readers from mistakenly assuming that unanswered accusations are true.

32) In What Way Are God’s Ways Higher Than Our Ways?
03/31/12 E
A discussion of Isaiah 55:8-9 in context. This passage is often invoked to say that it’s OK for God to create billions of people who will suffer in hell forever; we simply can’t understand His ways because they are higher than ours. But a careful look at the whole passage shows that what we can’t understand is the vastness of His mercy.

33) The True Hope of Easter
03/31/12 D
The belief that God will fully accomplish His purpose for sending Jesus to die on the cross and will reconcile all mankind to Himself is not a false hope but is the true hope of Easter.

34) “I Know My Redeemer Lives”: An Easter Meditation
04/07/12 D
Reflections from the book of Job on the theme of redemption—that God has sent a fully worthy redeemer/mediator/arbitrator/witness/advocate/intercessor, His Son Jesus Christ.

35) What Is Hellfire? Part 2
05/05/12 P
Presentation of three possible scenarios for hell: an inferno where the damned suffer conscious torment forever, a state of separation from God, or the eventual annihilation of those who persist in rebellion against God.

36) What Is Hellfire? Part 3
05/13/12 P
An exploration of the idea of afterlife judgment as being in the direct presence of God. For the person who is clothed in the righteousness of Christ, it will be awesome and joyful. For the one who is not covered by the blood of Christ, the unmediated presence of God will be awful and terrifying.

37) Bankruptcy or Prosperity? Lessons from a Corporate Collapse
05/27/12 D
Principles from the book of James about how God wants us to live, illustrated by the bankruptcy of my former employer showing what not to do.

38) Joy Is a Choice, Part 1
06/01/12 E/D
Practical choices we can make in order to experience the joy of the Lord, from the book of Philippians.

39) Joy Is a Choice, Part 2
06/03/12 E/D
Five more principles from Philippians for experiencing joy.

40) Joy Is a Choice, Part 3
06/10/12 E/D
Conclusion of the series on joy, presenting the hope of the ultimate redemption of all as the source of our greatest joy.

41) Calvinism vs. Arminianism: It’s Nothing New
06/12/12 D
Comparison of the ongoing debate between George Whitefield and the Wesleys to the current controversy over Calvinism and Arminianism. Includes Charles Wesley’s poem “O Horrible Decree,” giving his view of the Reformed doctrine of election/limited atonement.

42) Being the Chosen Child
06/16/12 D
Reflections about what it is like to be chosen if others are not chosen, with the life of gymnast Dominique Moceanu as an example. Should we feel thankful and worshipful that God chose us and not someone else?

43) Does God’s Will Trump Man’s Free Will?
06/28/12 E
A response to the accusation that I believe that God’s will trumps man’s will. Guilty as charged! A list of dozens of verses, from every section of Scripture, showing that God indeed is sovereign and will accomplish all His holy will, which cannot be forever thwarted by man.

44) How to be an Effective Leader
06/28/12 P
Tongue-in-cheek “rules” illustrating the difference between the leadership style in the corporate world and the servant leadership exercised by Jesus and practiced by His followers.

45) Called for a Purpose
07/22/12 D
The importance of discerning our life purpose—knowing God’s will for all believers and asking Him to show us His unique purpose for our individual lives. My life purpose involves reconciliation—theologically, to share the truly good news of God’s ultimate reconciliation of all humanity, and practically, to minister to hurting people in order to bring about reconciliation with God and with one another and in one’s inner being.

46) Eternal Punishment, by Lewis Carroll
07/25/12 P
In this essay, Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll explores the logic of eternal punish­ment and presents four possible views that are logically consistent. His object is “not to indicate one course rather than another, but to help the Reader to see clearly what the possible courses are, and what he is virtually accepting, or denying, in choosing any one of them.”

47) Certainty and Uncertainty
07/30/12 P
The positive and negative aspects of certainty and of doubt. God wants us to have rock-solid conviction of faith and assurance of His promises, but in humility to hold the non-essentials more lightly and to be respectful of others who disagree.

48) Jesus Loves Me! This I Know
08/09/12 D
An essay about the vastness of God’s love, which is greater than we can begin to imagine. God’s very nature is love, and His love extends to all of space and time and beyond space and time to all of humanity now and forever.

49) False Hope, True Hope / False Fear, True Fear: Part 1
08/20/12 D
The doctrine of ultimate restoration is often criticized for offering “false hope” to unbelievers and those who love them. It is really the true source of hope!

50) False Hope, True Hope / False Fear, True Fear: Part 2
08/29/12 E
Although we do not need to fear that God will torment anyone endlessly, we do need to fear His judgment. God will judge not only unbelievers but also His own people, in order to deal with sin fully and finally.

51) Ambassador of Reconciliation: The First Year
A list of posts on my “Ambassador of Reconciliation” blog, including the title, date, URL, and a brief description of each. Also indicates whether the post is primarily exegetical (E), philosophical (P), or devotional (D) in nature.

52) Joy Is a Choice, Part 4
09/30/12 D
Observing and talking with people who live joyful lives led me to some more principles for experiencing joy: Love—Move—Learn—Laugh—Dare—Share.

53) In the Beginning…
11/03/12 P
A summary of the different views of creation held by Bible-believing Christians, illustrated by NASA photos of the universe.

54) Let Us Give Thanks!
11/22/12 D

A Thanksgiving meditation on the importance of being thankful. The words thanksgiving, grace, joy, and eucharist all have the same root. This post is an encouragement to become more aware of the connections between these ideas and of the theme of thanksgiving throughout the Bible.

55) The Unselfishness of God
11/23/12 D

Three chapters from Hannah Whitall Smith’s book The Unselfishness of God and How I Discovered It (1903), describing how she came to know the vast love of God. Often omitted from modern publications of her book.

56) The Advil Season
12/02/12 D
Do we experience the time of preparation for Christmas as the Advent season or the Advil season? Lessons from the life of Jesus, who was fully focused on the work the Father had sent Him to do, flexible enough to change course at the Spirit’s prompting, and never frazzled about the demands placed on Him. Each day and throughout His life, He did all that the Father called Him to do, and no more.

57) Is There Life after Birth?
12/10/12 D

Adaptation of a parable about two babies in the womb discussing the possibility of life after birth. They have never seen Mother and they have never experienced life after birth, but one believes that Mother exists and that the life they are living now in darkness is preparing them for life in a world to come.

58) Homecomings, Part 3
12/17/12 D
Reflections on the Sandy Hook tragedy, continuing the theme of homecomings from last Christmas. Will God ever bring about justice through such monumental injustice? Do we have any hope to offer?

59) Heretic!
01/05/13 E
A study of the words heresy/heretic in Scripture and some thoughts about whether Christian universalism is a heresy.

60) Bite and Devour
02/11/13 D
A look at the serious problem of vitriolic comments by professing Christians in online conversations (and by extension, in our everyday speech).

61) Fruitful Words
02/16/13 D

A follow-up to “Bite and Devour,” which urged Christians not to do what Paul warned against in Galatians 5:15. This post cites Galatians and other epistles of Paul to show how our words ought to be used.

62) Skip the Cheez Whiz
A meditation from Colossians about the danger of allowing biblical truth to become encrusted over with layers of human reasoning and philosophy

63) Reflections on The Great Divorce
03/22/13 D
Reflections on C. S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce, his allegory about Heaven and Hell. I believe he gives too much weight to human free will and not enough to God’s sovereignty.

64) Terror at the Marathon
04/17/13 D
My thoughts about the bombing at the Boston Marathon. This act of terror epitomizes the evil in the world, but the joy and camaraderie and unity that the Marathon represents give a foretaste of the reconciliation and restoration of all things that God will achieve in His time.

65) United We Stand
04/23/13 D
More reflections on the Boston Marathon bombing and how the unity of the city of Boston in the aftermath both reveals a universal longing for community and foreshadows the day when all things will be brought to unity under Christ.

66) Inferno
05/15/13 D
Comparing the West, Texas fire in April 2013 and the San Francisco limo fire in May to what God supposedly does to those who fail to come to Christ in this life. God does not let the guilty go unpunished, but punishment that goes on endlessly either has no purpose or fails to accomplish its purpose. We need to listen to the sense of reason, justice, and compassion that God has given us.

67) The Veil Tale
05/19/13 D
A story of God’s providential working in the ordinary circumstances of life, showing His kindness toward us in the details of our lives.

68) “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down”
05/19/13 Book Review
A review of the book The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, about the clash of cultures between the American medical establishment and a Hmong refugee family with a daughter who has epilepsy. Gives valuable insights into understanding cultural differences and making bridges to people from other cultures. Good reading for missionaries.

69) Heaven and Hell: Who Goes Where?
06/12/13 P
A comparison of different beliefs held by Christians about who goes to heaven and who goes to hell.

70) Movie Review: Hellbound?

A review of the documentary film by Kevin Miller (Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed) that explores different views of hell. Interviewees include Hank Hannegraf, Robin Parry, William Paul Young, Frank Schaeffer, Bob Larson, Peter Kreeft, Jerry Walls, Mark Driscoll, Brian McLaren, Mike Bickle, Ray Comfort, and many others.

71) What Does It Take to Get into Heaven?
07/26/13 P
A discussion of the conditions that are put forth for getting into heaven. The fact that there is a lack of consensus among Christians and that every explanation that is proposed has major problems suggests that we may be asking the wrong question. Perhaps we need to re-examine the whole heaven-hell paradigm that says a person spends eternity in one place or the other.

72) Who's the Best?
09/15/13 E
The contrast between worldly authoritarian leadership and biblical servant leadership. Our model is Jesus, who came not to be served but to serve, who took the very nature of a servant and humbled Himself to become obedient even unto death.

73) Fine, Have It Your Way
09/17/13 D
How God's will was accomplished through the conflict between Paul and Barnabas over John Mark. Although the men did not handle the dispute in the most godly way, nevertheless John Mark grew in maturity under the mentorship of Barnabas, the gospel went forth under the leadership of Paul, and eventually Mark proved to be a worthy partner and became the writer of the first gospel.

74) Ambassador of Reconciliation: The First Two Years
A list of all my posts from the first two years of my blog, with the URL and a brief description of each.

75) A Child’s Testimony
The story of a woman now in her thirties about her fear of hell as a child, particularly her fear for unbelieving friends.

76) Always Be Ready to Give the Reason for Your Hope
10/06/13 D
A challenge to Christians to share their hope with scoffers like Mark Twain and his contemporary counterparts, and to do so with grace, gentleness, and respect.

77) “Don’t Toss the Children’s Bread to the Dogs”
11/05/13 D
A fresh look at Jesus’ encounter with the Syrophoenician woman whose daughter had a demon. Was he giving a rude brush-off to a desperate mom—or was He drawing her into an intimate and special encounter with the Savior?

78) Teacher, Teacher, Make Them Stop It!
The problem of Christians who criticize and accuse others whose ministry they don’t approve of, and Jesus’ response to the problem in Mark 9:38-39.

79) “A Word to the ‘Elect’”
12/28/13 D
Reprint of a poem by 26-year-old Anne Bronte, first published in 1846. It expresses poetically Anne’s response to the Calvinist-Arminian debate.

80) Does God Love Everybody?
02/01/14 D/E/P
What does it mean that God is love? Does He love everybody, or only the elect? How is His love expressed and how does it relate to His holiness? Does His disposition toward a person change based on the person’s behavior? Does His love cease when an unbeliever dies in sin?

81) By the Righteousness of One
03/12/14 E
Exegesis of Romans 5, focusing on the parallels between the sin of the one man Adam that led to condemnation and death for all, and the righteousness of the one Man Jesus Christ that led to justification and life for all. Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound!

82) Resurrection, the Series
Reflection on the ABC TV series “Resurrection,” which taps into the deep-seated human longing to be reunited with loved ones who have died.

83) Do Not Repay Evil for Evil
03/24/14 D
Passages from The Message that give the words of Peter, Jesus, Paul, and James about how to have godly relationships—not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but loving our neighbors and even our enemies and using our words to bless.

84) What Is Your Favorite Easter Hymn?
04/03/2014 D
A collection of readers’ favorite Easter hymns, with lyrics and links to soundtracks.

85) Sarah Obeyed Abraham, Calling Him Lord
04/04/2014 E
A discussion of 1 Peter 3:6, examining what Peter had in mind when he commended Sarah, and how she is to be a model for Christian wives today.

86) All Shall Be Well: Boston Marathon 2014
04/29/2014 D
A follow-up to my two posts after the Marathon bombings last year. While the memories of the tragic events of last year were strong, it was a day of beauty and camaraderie and hope.

87) Three-Minute Theology
05/01/2014 D
If you had three minutes to describe the attributes of God, what would you say? Our hope is derived from the knowledge of God, especially the fact that He is both good and sovereign.

88) Are You Free?
05/19/2014 D
Second Peter 2:19 says that false teachers “promise…freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption.” True freedom is not the right to sin, but the power not to sin. As believers in Jesus Christ we have been set free from sin so that we can practice righteousness and serve one another.

89) Nobody Cares How Much You Know…
05/22/2014 D
…until they know how much you care. Prompted by our study of 2 Peter, this essay shows that if we want to impart knowledge, we must let our listeners or students know how much we care about them so that they will be receptive to the message.

90) What Are the Fruits? Part 2
05/26/2014 D
As Peter indicates, some parts of Scripture are difficult to understand and interpret, so good Christians may have different views. We need to be gracious toward others who are also struggling along to try to understand. One way to assess whether or not an interpretation is right is by looking at the fruits it produces.

91) Does God Have a Split Personality?
07/04/2014 E/P
Revelation 14 speaks powerfully of the wrath of God. Does God have two opposing natures: extreme compassion and extreme wrath? Or are all of His attributes in perfect harmony with one another? This essay contends that everything God does springs from the totality of who He is, that all of His actions reflect His character as a whole, and that He does nothing that violates any part of His nature.

92) Is God Like Gargamel the Great?
07/18/2014 E/P
The evil wizard Gargamel, archenemy of the Smurfs, puts people under a spell to make them fall to their knees and bow to him. Does God force people to bow the knee and say, “Jesus is Lord”? Or does He transform them in such a way that they willingly bow the knee and sincerely confess Jesus as Lord from the heart?

93) Who Changes the Human Heart?
07/28/2014 E/P
A reflection on Jeremiah 24:7: “I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.” Does God give us a heart to know Him in response to our turning to Him, or do we turn to Him because He gives us the heart to know Him? This question has implications for the God’s sovereignty/man’s free will debate.

94) Be Like Your Heavenly Father…Love Your Enemies
09/04/2014 E
Our love toward others, even our enemies, is evidence that we are children of a loving God and a reflection of His love and mercy toward all, even His enemies.

95) Ambassador of Reconciliation: The First Three Years
A list of all my posts, starting with the first one on September 26, 2011, with the URL and a brief description of each essay.

96) Book Review: Unbroken
A review of Laura Hillenbrand’s bestseller Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. The book, unlike the movie, includes the most exciting part of the story—the redemption and transformation of a man by the cross of Jesus Christ.

97) Husbands, Love/Wives, Submit
12/02/2014 E
A fresh look at what the Bible says about authority and submission in marriage. Both husbands and wives are to love each other, and both are to submit to each other. And all Christians, including and especially husbands and wives, are to obey all the biblical commands about how to treat others, like the “one another” passages of the New Testament.

98) Burning in Fire
01/02/2015 D
Can you imagine anyone you love being burned in fire forever without being consumed and without relief? A plea to reconsider the doctrine of eternal conscious torment.

99) A Googolplex of Grace
03/09/2015 D
“Where sin did abound, grace did much more abound.” While the magnitude of sin is like a googol, too vast to comprehend, grace is like a googolplex—it dwarfs sin into nothingness.

100) Irresistible Grace
03/14/2015 D
Like Calvinists, Universalists believe in “irresistible grace.” Unlike Calvinists, who believe that most people actually do resist God’s grace forever, Universalists believe that nobody can forever resist God’s grace.

101) The Three Witnesses
04/18/2015 D
Some passages in the Bible seem to teach eternal damnation, but many of us are conflicted about telling people God loves them so much that He gave His Son for them, while also telling them that this same loving God will send them to hell forever if they fail to believe. There are three witnesses that tell us something is terribly wrong with the idea of eternal damnation: our conscience, the Holy Spirit, and Scripture.

102) Let Us Run with Perseverance
04/24/2015 D
Account of the 2015 Boston Marathon, two years after the terrorist bombings. Inspiring stories of courage, perseverance, goodwill, joy, and kindness.

103) Should We Love Everybody? Part 1
05/06/2015 P
Follow-up to “Does God Love Everybody?” My answers to the questions are, “Yes, God loves everybody,” and “Yes, we should love everybody.” The way we treat people is often a reflection of the way we believe God treats people, and we ought to love as He loves.

104) Should We Love Everybody? Part 2
05/12/2015 P
Further reflections on the fact that we ought to imitate God (e.g., “Be holy as I am holy,” “Be imitators of God,” “Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you), and therefore it is imperative to understand what He is really like so we can represent Him accurately.

105) “What If Your Blessings Come Through Raindrops?”
06/10/2015 D
Meditation on God’s gracious purposes in suffering and sorrow, from the funeral of my brother-in-law who died of leukemia, leaving my little sister a widow for the second time.

106) Why Aren’t We Allowed to Believe What We Sing, Say, and Pray? Part 1
06/15/2015 P
An exploration of Universalist themes in Christian music and the disconnect between music that affirms God’s gracious purpose to redeem the whole world and theology that denies it.

107) Why Aren’t We Allowed to Believe What We Sing, Say, and Pray? Part 2
06/15/2015 P
Universalist themes in prayers, primarily from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. We often thank God for the full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice of Jesus for the sins of the whole world. So why don’t we believe that it is truly sufficient to do the job of saving the whole world?

108) Elisabeth Elliot Joins the Great Cloud of Witnesses
06/23/2015 D
An account of the funeral and legacy of Elisabeth Elliot—missionary widowed by the Indians she and her husband were trying to reach with the gospel, beloved author and speaker, and woman of faith, acquainted with grief.

109) Class Reunion Coming Up? Just Do It
An encouragement to step out, go to your class reunion, reconnect with the people you grew up with, and grow with them again.

110) “He makes the barren woman a joyful mother of children”
09/01/2015 D
A call to be more aware of all those who suffer with the affliction of infertility and to be empathetic toward them in their distress.

111) "Real men read Pink"
09/12/2015 E
A response to an anti-freewill statement by A.W. Pink. I agree with Pink that men cannot thwart God's will; if He purposes to save them, they will be saved. But I disagree that He purposed to save only a fraction of mankind.

112) Conversation about the Atonement: Is It Limited or Unlimited? Part 1
09/19/2015 E
An exchange of ideas about the extent of the atonement, with essays by Joe Lindberg and me and comments by others. In Part 1 we lay out the issue and where each of us is coming from.

113) Conversation about the Atonement: Is It Limited or Unlimited? Part 2
A continuation of the dialog about whether the atonement is limited or unlimited in its scope. In Part 2 Joe responds to some of my statements in "Real men read Pink."

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