Saviour of All Fellowship
Dear Friends in Faith,
Thanks to our readers for the many inquiries and expressions of concern and support during our recent difficulties. Dean continues to regain strength after his surgery, with good long-term prognosis. Tony, who has had to take on extra responsibilities during this time, has been slowed by a bout with flu, but we are both enjoying our work with the Concordant Publishing Concern and this small ministry of the Saviour of All Fellowship. It is certainly a privilege to have a part in the teaching and defense of the truth that God is the Saviour of all mankind!
It must be burdensome for others who rejoice in God's grace in saving us through the death and resurrection of His Son to have to defend the doctrine of everlasting hell. Karl Barth once spoke of this inconsistency as Strange Christianity, whose most pressing anxiety seems to be that God's grace might prove to be all too free . . . (God Here and Now, p.34). A. E. Knoch called this attitude sordid selfishness. F. W. Farrar, in a quotation that we have recently reprinted and offer on request, described the claim that if punishment is not eternal, then we can have no hope for endless life, as an argument at once so unscriptural and so selfish that . . . one may hope that no one will ever be able to use it again without a blush.
Mr. S., Sr. has introduced a new publication entitled The Bible Inquirer, which indicates a bold stand for the truth of the evangel of God's grace in these days of apostasy.
In a book put out by Catholics entitled GOOD GOATS (Paulist Press, 1994), Dennis, Sheila and Matthew Linn, bring out different ways of dealing with some of the scriptures which deal with God's judgments. The sub-title of the book is healing our image of God. The authors set out to show that we tend to act more loving when our image of God is one of love and not torment. Similarly, if we believe God gives up on people forever and does away with them by sentencing them to death in hell, then we can give up on some people forever and do away with such people by sentencing them to death through capital punishment (p.43). All the images of fire and hell they maintain, were not originally meant to be taken literally.
The authors claim, The optimism we express here is consistent with the consensus of current Roman Catholic theology." They refer to writings by John Sachs and others, including Karl Rahner, who expressed the hope for salvation for "all human beings and not just a few. (p.67). But we note that this is held as a hope only, due to the Roman Catholic position regarding free will.
Yours in God's grace,
Dean Hough and Tony Nungesser
P.S. (March 22)-Because of muddy roads and feelings of uncertainty about my health, I cancelled the meetings here on the 20th. But T.M. from eastern Ohio, who had planned to come with a group of others, called to ask if it would be all right for them to come anyway for an informal time of fellowship. And that is the way it happened. It was a good time, and I apologize for being so faint hearted.