Bisbee's Why I Am a Universalist, part six

3. Universalism believes in the trustworthiness of the Bible as containing a Revelation from God. All Christians believe in the Bible; their differences arise from different interpretations of the same word. The Fathers of our Church were mighty in Scripture; they searched the Word of God daily to find the truth, as reverently and prayerfully and with as wise scholarship as others. They recognized the necessity that it be interpreted grammatically, historically, in the light of reason and common sense, and with them the key to the Bible, as to life itself, was the Fatherhood of God to which all things must be reconciled. So Universalism believes that the Bible contains a revelation of the character of God, the duty, interest and final destiny of man, and makes it the rule and guide to its faith and the inspiration to its life. I am a Universalist because I believe in the Bible.

4. Universalism believes in the certainty of just retribution for sin. It has seemed strange to me, the persistence with witch the notion prevails that Universalists do not believe in punishment for sin. Because we denied the needlessness of punishment it has been assumed that we deny all punishment. I am glad of this opportunity to say that Universalism affirms its belief in the certainty of punishment for all sin. “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.” Differing from other systems in proclaiming its certainty, and in the definition of its nature and duration, it holds that the law of God can not be violated and the violator escape the consequences; there is no process by which consequences can be wiped out or transferred to another, and, the nature of righteous punishment being reformatory, to take from a person the punishment he deserved and needed would be an injury rather than a blessing.

Universalism holds that the Bible reveals the nature of punishment to be remedial, as is shown in Heb. 12:9, 10. “We have had fathers of our flesh, which corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of Spirit, and live? For they verily, for a few days, chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers in his holiness.” And our whole nature and practice demand that punishment shall be, as the Bible reveals it, reformatory. And if reformatory in its nature can it be endless? Must it not cease when the reformation is accomplished? And can we in reason think that Almighty God will institute a punishment that will not be effective? If He punishes for a good purpose, will He not, being both willing and able, accomplish that purpose? And so it is held in Universalism that every sin shall be punished, and that punishment shall continue here and hereafter, as long as it is necessary to accomplish the reformation of the sinner. Universalism recognizes punishment as one of the factors in God’s purpose to save, send into human life as a part of the working power of His purpose, and it shall not return unto Him void, but shall accomplish the purpose for which it is sent.

I am a Universalist because I believe in the certainty of just and adequate punishment for sin; that for every sin you commit you must answer to your God. And He will not let you go until you see the futility and foolishness of your sin and return in repentance to Him.

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