Reviewing Lee Salisbury’s Eternal Punishment – Is It Really of God?

Contradictions In Holy Scripture: Regarding Every Man

If the doctrine of “eternal punishment” is even possibly untrue, it should not be taught. It seems to me a person dedicated to presenting the Gospel of Christ Jesus to others would want to tell only the Truth; that is the Truth that is not doubted.

The Truth that is not doubted is this; Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. He is the Savior of all mankind. He came from Heaven and was obedient to His Father’s command. He lived. He taught. He was wrongly accused of blasphemy by His own people. He was convicted to death on a cross. He died on that cross after terrible physical persecution was laid on His Body. His Body was taken from the cross and properly prepared for burial. He was placed in a grave. Three days later He was resurrected from that grave and He made Himself known to His Apostles, then about 500 others and finally to Paul on the “Road to Damascus.” After forty days He ascended to Heaven and now sits at the right hand of the Father. All this done so as to be a sacrifice worthy and appropriate to justify the world in the sight of the Father.

All of this Gospel of Christ Jesus is verifiable in His Holy Word. There is much, much more regarding Christ like living that is clearly written in God’s Word. Men build doctrines based on their interpretations of His Word. Some doctrines bring glory to God. Others do not. The doctrine of “eternal punishment,” in my humble opinion, does not glorify our Father.

The orthodoxy offers contradictions with scripture to serve as proof texts for their theology of eternal conscious torment.

We have examined contradictions regarding God’s grace to all men. Let’s look deeper still into scriptures that are contradicted to support eternal conscious torment.

1 Corinthians 11:3
But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

1 Corinthians 11:28-29
Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.

The most salient point to be taken in this is that the “…head of every man is Christ….” Scripture does not segregate Jews from Samaritans, Assyrians from Babylonians, the Catholic Church from the Reformed church. Scripture simply says “the head of every man is Christ….”

The chapter comes to a close with an admonition to make sure all conflicts are resolved before taking communion. Examine yourself. Repent. When the examination is done and all conflicts are resolved, take the bread and take the wine. Christ is the head of every man.

Eternal conscious torment does not believe that Christ died for the sins of all. Some people remain reprobates and continue their rebellion even after death. To the orthodoxy’s way of thinking Christ’s love by way of His death on the Cross is not sufficient for all men.

It seems there is another imperative to explore. Eternal conscious torment is a judgment ostensibly given by God to those who continue in their rebellion against God. Prominent men in the orthodoxy have claimed that others who do not believe as they do are destined to eternal conscious torment. These prominent men and many that support them judge those who disagree with them and condemn them to eternal conscious torment. These prominent men advocating for their theology of eternal conscious torment are bringing judgment on themselves.

John 1:9-10
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.

Jesus Christ is the Light. He “…gives light to everyone….” His Light isn’t given only to this group or that; this nation or that; this man or that man. His light is in everyone. Every thing created is created by Him. His Spirit is given to everyone. When we die our spirit returns to Him Who gave it. “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.”

The orthodoxy has to ignore the plain meaning of these verses. If they agreed then their doctrine of eternal conscious torment would start to crack. If they agreed that God’s love for everyone includes putting His Spirit into everyone, then they could no longer declare the torments of eternal suffering are untrue. They could declare that God’s Spirit returns to Him as scripture shows, but then they have to condemn the man for being able to overrule the will of God. The man’s will to reject God is stronger than God’s will that all men be saved. Man’s will has to be stronger than God’s boundless mercy.

Hebrews 2:9
But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

He is light in every one. He died for every one.

Jesus was obedient to His Father. He stepped away from His heavenly place and took on human flesh. He became the Savior of all. Jesus was obedient to death. His blood shed for the sins of all men. His body broken for the sins of all men.

Jesus was obedient to His Father. He is God’s grace. “…By the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” God’s grace for everyone.

That is the simple plain reading from scripture. The orthodoxy contradicts the plain meaning of these verses. To the orthodoxy “everyone” is not really “everyone.” Their “everyone” consists of those God chose or consists of “everyone” who chooses God. Either way they consider themselves to be saved.

To the orthodoxy “everyone” is exclusive.

Mark 9:49
For everyone will be salted with fire.

These words from Christ Jesus. When He says everyone will be salted with fire He means to say “everyone will be salted with fire.” There is not a hope that any one could escape this Holy Judgment. “Everyone will be salted with fire.” The good, the evil, everyone. The baptized, the heathens, the God fearing and the atheist; all will be salted with fire.

To be salted is to be preserved. God is fire; an all consuming fire. His is a fire of renewal. His is the fire that cuts away sin. His is the fire that circumcises the hearts of all men.

I rather think it an honor to be called to be salted by fire. Holy fire. Preserved for a holy ministry.

The orthodoxy believes they will be salted by fire, but the persons disagreeing with them will be reserved for a more dreadful eternal fire.. They hold a fortunate doctrine that they are saved and the rest of creation is lost to eternal conscious torment.

Scripture does not teach eternal conscious torment. The simple plain meaning of everyone is everyone.

Isaiah 45:22-23
“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.

My orthodox friends will probably declare that “all the ends of the earth” only consists of those who “Turn to me and be saved.” That would be an unfair application. These words mean only what they mean.

“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth!” Then God reinforces who His audience is when He declares, “To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.” Every knee, all the ends of the earth indicate a universal group. No denominations to argue over what this word or that authority says. “Every tongue shall swear allegiance.”

That is more than just confession. To swear allegiance is to swear your life for the cause. In this case the Cause is allegiance to God. Those of who have repented will repent again. Those of us who have never repented will repent. Each of us will be judged. None will be judged to an eternal conscious torment. That’s good news.

Philippians 2:9-11
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The Name of Christ Jesus is the Name above all other names. There is none of greater honor. There is none other that blesses us with grace. When His Name is called out “every knee shall bow” and “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…!” All of this to glorify our Father God. By the power of His Name do the knees of every generation bow and tongue of every person confesses Christ is Lord.

The orthodoxy requires that we believe that at the Name of Jesus only a few knees will bow. Only a few tongues will confess Jesus Christ is Lord. The glory that is due the Father is lessened because only a few will find salvation in Him. The rest, those who are condemned to eternal conscious torment, will be looked upon from heaven by the Christ that could have saved them, but didn’t.

The contradiction exists in the value of “every knee” and “every tongue.” Universalism simply regards the plain meaning of scripture as the best meaning. Every person will be reconciled to God. No person will be abandoned to a place that cannot be proven exists.

1 Corinthians 15:21-24
For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.

I appeal to these verses frequently in this study. The clear meaning of scripture is this; Adam sinned and consequently came physical death. Jesus comes to end the curse of physical death. Under Christ Jesus all of those who are deceased will be raised to life. There is an order in the resurrection of the dead. First, Himself, then those who He owns, then at the end when all are resurrected and given to God the Father. Jesus Christ defeated every known rule, tradition, law, and authority. He is King. There is nothing to hinder our love for Him. “Every knee will bow” and “every tongue will confess Jesus Christ is Lord.”

The orthodoxy cannot let the plain meaning of scripture stand. The orthodoxy are quick to agree that “all” have sinned because of Adam, but refute the context of “all shall be made alive.” The orthodoxy needs us to believe the first use of “all” is all, but the second use of “all” is less than the first use. It’s not really all at all.

About Jim Barnes

A man seeking to please the Lord. A man striving to abide in Christ Jesus. A man whose hope is to see just one more come into the fold.
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