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A tangled web of history set right (01/27/2007)
From: Jamie Smith

Jude 1:3 - "...contending for the faith once given over to the saints." "The faith" of Christianity today involves the belief that Christ died for all mankind so that they would have a chance to save themselves via a wise decision for Christ. This has led to the common teaching of "Hell" in nearly all churches. Was this what was given over to the saints?

The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, vol. 12, page 96 (1908) states: "In the first five or six centuries of Christianity there were six theological schools, of which four (Alexandria, Antioch, Caesarea, and Edessa, or Nisibis) were Universalist, one (Ephesus) accepted conditional immortality, one (Carthage or Rome) taught endless punishment. Other theological schools are mentioned as founded by Universalists, but their actual doctrine on this subject is not known."

Most modern Christians do not realize that before the doctrine of conditional salvation became orthodox, the understanding that Scripture teaches Universalism (God saves all though Christ's work) was the dominant theology. The author of the Nicene Creed was himself a believer in unconditional salvation and the council knew it and accepted it. In the middle of the sixth century, emperor Justinian declared that several teachings of Origen were condemned. This occurred after Origen's death as he lost no debate on the concept of God's unconditional love while alive.

"Therefore, the common teaching today is not that of the early church but is according to the later Roman influence of paganism mixed with some Christian tenets" (Hough/Nungesser).

Admittedly, in exposing certain things, there may be offense. The writing style at times may seem arrogant even though it isn't wished. Often startled by the lack of foundation of those that oppose, yet allowing no place for superiority. In that spirit, comments are welcomed.

What is God really like? Does He love mankind impartially or does He have favorites? What is His will for mankind? Does He have both the power and the inclination to accomplish His will? So many simple and basic questions go unanswered for those seeking truth. 

 

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