Saviour of All Fellowship
November 1999
Dear Friends in Faith,
     In his book “The Inescapable Love of God” Thomas Talbott claims that “universalism is a plain and obvious teaching of the New Testament.” On page 55, he writes: “Let us now begin to consider the positive case for a universalist reading of the New Testament. I shall contend that the universalism of the New Testament is not only all pervasive, but clear and obvious as well. It emerges most clearly, perhaps, in the letters of Paul, in part because Paul addresses the issue more systematically than others do, but it is also implicit in the theme of victory and triumph that pervades the entire New Testament. It is so clear, I shall argue, that in the end we must try to account for this mystery: Why is it that so many, including perhaps a majority of scholars in the west, seem to have missed it?
     “Perhaps ‘missed it’ is the wrong expression, however. The real mystery is why so many have failed to appreciate the universalism of the New Testament and why so many have tried to explain it away. For no one who reads the New Testament carefully could possibly miss the many passages that display the theme of victory and triumph and at least appear, when taken in their own context, to have a clear universalistic thrust . . . . But there is, of course, another prominent theme in the New Testament as well, namely that of God’s judgment and wrath; and the failure to understand this second theme sometimes induces people to ignore, or even to explain away, the all-pervasive theme of victory and triumph.”
     Thomas Talbott is a professor at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. He has tried to find a mainline, conservative, Christian publisher which would handle his book but was unsuccessful. In the end it was published by one of the several “print-on-demand” companies which print copies only as they are sold. This has the disadvantage of making the book expensive (between $25 and $30 postpaid for this 223-page book). It may be purchased on the Internet by going to: http:www.upublish.com/books/talbott.htm or by ordering through your local bookstore. The ISBN # is 1-58112-831-2.
     The day of fellowship here in Almont on Saturday the 6th was rather nice. J. P. was the main speaker for the day. We were pleased to get re-acquainted with our friends and fellowship over the scriptures. The next fellowship will be in February. We will let you know the particulars for the schedule at a later time.
     In a recent article in Christianity Today, entitled “Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Arminian,” Roger Olson expressed the opinion that Arminians (stressing the believer’s responsibility) and Calvinists (expressing God’s sovereignty) need each other. Although he did not bring up the matter, we have noticed that those who call themselves “Evangelicals” often will use Calvinistic arguments against the word “all” in passages such as Romans 5:18 and 1 Timothy 2:4 and Arminian arguments against the effectiveness of Christ’s work and the power of God’s will in the same passages. What is needed is that Evangelicals hold fast to what is said, both about the “all” and about God’s achievements in and through His Son. This would make it unnecessary for any division of Evangelicals between Arminians and Calvinists.

Yours in God’s grace,

Dean Hough and Tony Nungesser

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