Why Universalists Should Have a Sense of Urgency and a Plan of Action
By Eric Stetson — September 2007
(Note: This is an abridged combination of two articles originally published in The Christian Universalist Connection newsletter.)
In a world filled with bad news — and full of zealous religious people, even Christians, who preach a message of hate and exclusion — we who know the Good News of a God of love and the salvation of all have a special responsibility to be receptive to the move of the Spirit and to give our all for the spread of the precious message that we have already received. For just receiving the truth of God’s victorious plan is not enough. We are called to share the Good News with the world, a world that is aching to hear something spiritual and meaningful, other than doctrines of anger and division emanating from countless pulpits and upon the pages of fear-inducing tracts.
I believe — I yearn — that the true Gospel shall arise again and sweep across the globe, transforming the hearts and souls of millions. I long to see the day when the forces of Fundamentalism, and all their crusades, suicide bombs, and the fire-and-brimstone rhetoric that fuels these atrocities, shall perish from the earth, vanquished by the overwhelming power of the Love of God and the knowledge of this redeeming love that shall fill the earth. I have faith that this is possible — but only if those who want to see this happen are willing to take a stand for their beliefs, to stand strong with boldness against the evil of Fundamentalist, Damnationist religious ideology.
Many people who believe in Christian Universalism like to emphasize the sovereignty of God and the inevitability of His victory. In one sense, that is well and good. But putting too much emphasis on this can cripple the power that is latent within human beings, who are expected and needed to be God’s agents of positive change in this world. God will win the victory because our souls are being transformed as we arise to serve the Lord as His disciples. Like soldiers in an army of light and love, we are the peacemakers, the reconcilers, the ambassadors of Christ to the nations, whose solemn duty it is to help bring God’s plan to fruition here on earth. …
Whether we like it or not, we live in a world where religion matters — a lot. Contrary to the smug atheists who proclaimed in the 19th and 20th centuries that “God is dead” and a glorious era of rationalism was upon us, the reality is that religious belief is as strong as ever, and the most fanatical and doctrinaire types of religion actually seem to have gained ground in recent decades as more moderate forms of religion have faded into the background. …
Friends, one of the main reasons that rabid, angry forms of Fundamentalism are on the march all around the world, sowing hatred and destruction, is because people who believe in a Universalist type of spirituality are not doing enough to stand up for their alternative, positive beliefs. All that it takes for evil to triumph is for the good to do nothing. But the power to change the world is in our hands. Will we feel a sense of urgency and take action, sacrificing as the early disciples of Christ did to share a message of hope and brotherly love with the world — creating churches, working together in networks, giving our hard-earned money to spread the faith, and showing that we care about our beliefs and that our beliefs matter? Or will we slouch down into the easy couch of apathy, thinking that “I don’t really need to do anything because I’m saved anyway, and so is everyone else”?
If we take the apathetic route, we will leave to our children and grandchildren a world ruled by Fundamentalist religious zealots, because they will face little opposition in their quest to gain power over the culture, over politics, over people’s hearts and minds and all the institutions of society. But if we arise boldly and stand strong for Universalism, the earth may yet become a brightly shining orb of spiritual enlightenment. Posterity will thank us for the sacrifices we were willing to make to encourage the world to become a more humane and civilized place, filled with the knowledge that all people are God’s beloved children and that God has a plan for all to learn and grow and become perfect in His image.