"There are many ways of
viewing [the atonement].
We are left in no doubt
about its efficacy and
its complexity. View the
human spiritual problem
as you will, and the cross
meets the need. But the
NT does not say how it
does so."

Leon Morris







What We Believe...

In elaboration of the historical Creeds (which do not mention an eternal hell) …

*We believe that the Bible reveals the character of God and His Story. We find His Story to be one of "creation, fall (exile), redemption and restoration". Through the Story of God we are made aware of His plan, His purpose, His power, and His pleasure.

His plan:

15 "The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." (Col. 1:15-20)

His purpose:

"With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ." (Eph. 1:10)

"For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
'Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor'
'Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?'
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen." (Rom. 11:32-36)

His Power:

9 "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority...He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." (Col. 2:9-15)

His Pleasure:

"You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created." (Rev. 4:11)

*We believe the word of God is only "alive and active" in connection with the Word of God Himself, Jesus Christ (John 1) and cannot be intellectually separated from Christ and His Spirit or we will end up with dead orthodoxy and not the life of Christ Himself within us.

"To them God has chosen to make known among the world the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:27)

*We believe in One God, the Creator of the universe. How God brought this about is irrelevant as a point to argue since either a literal 6-day creation or an evolutionary process are both astounding miracles. Science will not contradict the Bible. God is Lord over, and therefore in league with, true science or else He is not God.

*We believe there is fellowship within God, some call a "trinity", meaning One in three. This is not a dogma but part of a beautiful drama of love between the Godhead unified in their plan, purpose, power, and pleasure which we believe includes the restoration of the fallen universe including every person who ever lived. There has never been any tension within the Godhead, but all together planned and purposed to redeem mankind. As Michael Williams put it, “The triune God acts covenantally in history: the Father creates, the Son redeems, and the Holy Spirit recreates”. (Far As the Curse is Found, pg xi)

*We believe there has been a "fall" from the creation’s original glory and that things are "not the way they are supposed to be". The fall was depicted repeatedly in the Story of God as “exile” which describes each of us before we are aware of (and have embraced) our redemption. We believe that death is not natural and is a direct result of our rebellion against God and not a part of creation's original design.

*We believe that "the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 3:23). Therefore the second Adam (Christ) came to undo the doing of the first Adam, to reverse the curse, to destroy death, sin and evil, and to restore all things unto Himself. (Col. 1:20, Eph. 1:10)

"There is no greater love than this that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)

"God was is Christ reconciling the world to Himself." (2 Cor. 5:19)

"For He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world." (I John2:2)

*We believe the atonement has many facets and that it cannot be limited by any one theological camp. As it has been pointed out it is, together, like:

a defendant going free,
a relationship being reconciled,
something lost being redeemed,
a battle being won,
a final sacrifice being offered,
an enemy being loved,

*We believe that if the atonement does not make us into "atoners" (world-changers) then we have not been inhabited by its living truth. We recommend Scott McKnight's book on this subject, "A Community Called Atonement":

"Atonement theology, McKnight insists, cannot operate with only one theory; it needs all of the Biblical metaphors and each of the atonement models. They all come together... More than just being gutsy, orthodox, creative, as well as scholarly in character, this book actually atones; it models what it sets out to demonstrate, namely, that the church is summoned to work with God in His atoning work."

Hans Boersma, J. I. Packer Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology, Regent College

*We believe that there is judgment. Contrary to the accusations, we believe more seriously in God's holiness and therefore judgment. The difference is the nature of that judgment. We believe all judgment is remedial even when it is said to "destroy" the sinner. While our salvation is said to be all of grace we are told in no uncertain terms that we must have the fruit in alignment with a changed heart. If not, we are inauthentic and have not truly heard the message of God's love and forgiveness and we will be held accountable. Whatever we have held out against God, (the Grain of the Universe), will be refined out, “as though one going through the fire.” (I Cor 3:15)

Most Christians shrug off Scriptures that talk about being accountable for their actions and insulate themselves with verses about grace. This is because whenever they encounter a verse speaking about judgment they feel threatened with eternal hell. But if we know that all God's judgments are right and good we will have the courage to look at these passages and maybe they will finally strike some healthy fear and bring about some changes:

“In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. ‘This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.’” (Matt. 18:34)

“Do not judge for you shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (Rom. 14:10)

“Do good for you will receive according to what you have done whether good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10)

“The Lord will judge His people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb. 10:31)

“Do not grumble against each other brothers or you will be judged; the Judge is standing at the door.” (James 5:9)

*We believe in the final restoration and consummation of all things in Christ, a desire and plan that cannot be thwarted. Job 42:2 says, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”

“The message of the empty tomb is that God’s triumph over sin and death is total, that history is moving toward nothing less than a fully restored and glorified universe. All that went into the tomb under the curse came out raised to newness of life. The restoration of all things, signified and promised in the resurrection of Christ, is the direction in which redeemed creation is traveling. This is both the believer’s hope and the horizon in which we must understand all reality.”
..................................................................Michael Williams, Far As the Curse is Found, pg 291

*Finally, we believe that anything we say we believe is negated by a life inconsistent with that belief system. Orthodoxy leads to orthopraxy... always. There is no true orthodoxy without orthopraxy. To have a belief system divorced from a lifestyle of love was a thought foreign to Jesus and the Biblical writers. So the above beliefs mean absolutely nothing if not accompanied by a life reflecting God's own heart for the world...love, justice, redemption, and restoration.

Also, from the “Evangelical Universalist” site:

Minimal Statement of Faith for Evangelical Universalists

1) We believe in the divine inspiration of the Old and New Testaments (the Bible) and consider them authoritative for Christian faith and practice
2) We believe in the faith of the Church as contained in the Nicene Creed
3) We believe the Bible teaches the hope that God will eventually redeem all humanity through Christ