"Miserable are those who measure the authority of a
doctrine by the numbers receiving it. Truth always overcomes,
though for a time it is found among the few. He who, for
proof, betakes himself to numbers, confesses himself conquered.
Let me see the beauty of truth, and immediately I am persuaded.
A multitude may overawe, but cannot persuade." Athanasius
not Ultimate Restoration denying 1500 years of Church tradition
and the majority view?
In response to the assertion that the eternal nature of hell
has always been the majority view of the Church we must ask,
the majority of whom? The clergy? Or the common people too
afraid to question for fear of being ostracized, disfellowshipped,
A viewpoint only can be said to be legitimately
held in the context of freedom. It must be accompanied by
conviction and support of that view. By the comments we hear
and the things people have written, no it is not, nor has
it ever been the majority view. Holding to a view out of fear
and hoping secretly that it is not true is not evidence of
an authentic conviction.
These are the things you have heard from people,
pastors and even said yourselves:
"I wish it were true but I must preach
"I would like to hope God is going to restore everyone
but the Scriptures speak otherwise."
"Unfortunately people, this view is wishful thinking.
"It would be nice to think so but it is just a fairy
tale." (Fairy tales can trump God's Story?)
Or sometimes, the hope slips out:
Pastors at funerals: "Well, he didn't accept
Christ before he died, but God is bigger."
"There's just so much mystery, who's to say what God
is really up to. We just need to trust Him"
For someone to say they believe it but "wish
it were not true" is a vote against the view not for
it. Even more revealing is what it says about our loyalty
to our King since this is not just a viewpoint but a conviction
about the very character of the Almighty Creator. If God's
nature is reflected in what He does then to wish this behavior
of God were not true is actually a declaration against Him.
In any other context of sovereignty this would be considered
Please do not compare this hope about eternal
matters with temporal wishes and hopes. We indeed hope that
tomorrow doesn't bring human tragedy to ourselves or anyone
else. But our faith is in the God who "raises the dead"
and who can take what was meant for evil and use it for good
(Joseph). What we are talking about here is the idea of a
permanent condition of suffering sentenced upon billions of
human beings for all of eternity. This is therefore a permanent
decree of God emanating from His nature and therefore an integral
part of the God we will worship for all eternity. To not like
this is betraying the very God you claim to worship.
Note that this is very different from the human
feelings of Job or the Psalmists who sometimes voiced how
they did not think God's temporal dealings with man were fair.
Even Romans 9 if read in its context proves to be about vessels
of temporal destruction used for His glory (feels unfair).
Then God wraps it up at the end of chapter 11 by saying,
"All of Israel will be saved." and,
"He consigned all over to disobedience so that He might
have mercy on them all. O the depths of the knowledge and
wisdom of God...His ways are past finding out...for from
Him and through Him and to Him are all things! To Him be
the glory forever. Amen."
I may not understand these dealings of God but
I can at least leave the temporal mysteries to Him since He
assures me that He will conquer the last enemy of death and
that His is "making all things new" and "reconciling
all things to Himself".