Those who have opposed my teaching about ultimate reconciliation will be pleased to know that your efforts have resulted in my being asked to step down as a leader in Bible study. After more than a quarter of a century with this group, it is heartbreaking to be told to stop doing the work I love. Year after year, despite many challenges and trials in my own life, God confirmed that He wanted me to continue in leadership, and I assumed that I would be with the study until I died. I thought if we ever moved to another state, or even back to my husband’s home country of Peru, I would seek out a sister study and get involved there. Having always been committed to the study and supportive of its philosophy, I never thought I would find myself in this position.
And yet, God often uses difficult situations to shake us out of our assumptions and lead us in new directions. We might not voluntarily choose a certain path; He may need to rattle our complacency and open our eyes to the path He chooses for us. Our responsibility is to remain faithful, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and choose joy instead of bitterness.
One thing I am looking forward to is the greater opportunity to share the truly Good News of Jesus’ complete victory over sin and death on the cross. Out of respect for the study, I refrained from bringing up the topic, but now that I am not a representative of the study, I have freedom to share what I hold dear and to openly proclaim “the reconciliation that God has purposed for His creation and [help] people experience restoration and reconciliation with Him, with one another, and within themselves,” as I state on my blog.
I can hear the sighs and see the rolling eyes of certain of my readers, but I would caution you against rushing to judgment. Consider the words of Gamaliel, speaking to the people who wanted to kill Peter and the other apostles. He reminded them of two different leaders who had appeared, “claiming to be somebody,” and rallied others to their cause. They were killed, their followers were scattered, and their movements came to nothing. “Therefore,” Gamaliel cautioned his hearers,” in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God” (Acts 5).