Saviour of All Fellowship
September 2006

Dear Friends in Faith,
     In the journal called Themelios in January 1979, the Rev. N.T. Wright wrote an article entitled, “Towards a biblical view of universalism.” In this article he was actually against the type of universalism our readership enjoys. In that article he took the passages we use such as Romans 5:12-21; 11:32 and 1 Timothy 2:4; 4:10 and tried to show that they were not proving absolutely all would be saved. For instance, concerning the Roman passage he stated: “the gospel is for all, Jew and Gentile alike, who believe (Rom.1:16-17).” And Mr. Wright, in the same article showed that Christ taught “eternal punishment.” Therefore, whatever we might make of those passages which we think teach universalism, we must keep in mind what Christ taught (according to Wright’s thinking). Concerning 1 Timothy 2:4, Rev. Wright said it’s context is verses 1-7 and “is about prayer, and the need in particular to pray for all men, especially those in authority . . . . Universal prayer must be made because man does not know whom God will save.”
     But it appears that Rev. Wright has had a change of heart. He now advocates the type of universalism we enjoy. In a later publication entitled “What Saint Paul Really Said” he wrote:
     “There [in Romans 8], Paul outlines and celebrates the hope that one day the entire cosmos will have its own great exodus, its liberation from bondage to decay. The point is this: the covenant between God and Israel was always designed to be God,s means of saving the whole world. It was never supposed to be the means whereby God would have a private little group of people who would be saved while the rest of the world went to hell (whatever you might mean by that). Thus, when God is faithful to the covenant in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and in the work of the Spirit, it makes nonsense of the Pauline gospel to imagine that the be-all and end-all of this operation is so that God can have another, merely different, private little group of people who are saved while the world is consigned to the cosmic waste-paper basket. It is not insignificant that the critical passages at this point, the middle of Romans 8 and the middle of 1 Corinthians 15, have themselves often been consigned to a kind of exegetical and theological limbo with Protestant exegesis in particular appearing quite unsure what to do with them . . . . If it is true that God intends to renew the whole cosmos through Christ and by the Spirit–and if that isn’t true then Paul is indeed talking nonsense in Romans 8 and 1 Corinthians 15 . . . if the Church is commanded and authorized to announce that gospel, it cannot rest content–for exegetical as well as theological reasons–with anything less than this complete vision.”

     We had a very nice day of fellowship at the Klinger’s home the 16th of this month. Though we were saddened that some could not make it due to health reasons, nonetheless, we rejoiced in our happy expectation.
Yours in God’s grace and peace,

Tony Nungesser and Dean Hough

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