"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 296-373 AD



Is 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, or fired?

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 the truth."

"I would like to hope God is going to restore everyone but the Scriptures speak otherwise."

"Unfortunately people, this view is wishful thinking. Grow up."

"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 betrayal...high treason.

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".