“Never gonna give you up, Never gonna let you down, Never gonna run around and desert you. Never gonna make you cry, Never gonna say goodbye, Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you”. Yes, those are the words to one the 80’s most pervasively annoying songs, Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley (admit it, you’ve been “Rickrolled” at least once). Annoying as it is, it’s also hard not to like; you just can’t be angry while you listen to it. And, the Lent Demotivator? That just made it better. About the same time I saw that, I saw this picture:
Aside from the theological error of referring to God as a person, this is very nice sentiment and one that I agree with wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, it seems the majority of Christendom doesn’t. Oh, they say they believe God never gives up on us, then turn around and tell you if you don’t say the right prayer, believe the right things and follow the right doctrine, God will send you to Hell to burn for all eternity. If you ask me, that’s pretty much the epitome of giving up on someone. Worse yet, if you have the temerity to suggest that things might possibly be different, you’re branded a heretic (or a universalist, same thing). But, if you believe in a truly loving and benevolent God, one that never gives up on us, then universalism only makes sense. Listen to what Bart Campolo says here:
I showed you this video because of one particular bit:
“All He (God) can do is keep loving people and try to win them and woo them into loving each other. And, the idea is that the Kingdom of God happens when everybody surrenders their will freely and begins to do the will of God, not because he’s making them but because they embrace it. And, the only question you have to ask yourself is do you think that, given an infinite amount of time and infinite amount of love that eventually it wins everybody over?”
You can sift through the Bible and find scriptures that both support and condemn the idea of universal reconciliation; God knows it’s been done enough times. But, even though I’m on the outs with Methodist Church these days, it’s where I cut my theological teeth and when I have questions about these kinds of issues, I turn to certain things I learned there. One of those is the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, a term coined to describe how John Wesley dealt with the same kind of issues. When he was in a quandary, Wesley considered four things:
- Scripture _ What does the Bible say on the matter?
- Tradition _ What has been the church’s historical position?
- Reason _ What does rational thinking and sensible interpretation tell us about the subject?
- Experience _ What have I, personally, found to be true about things?
Those four sources tell me that the answer to the question is yes, it does. That’s the kind of God that will never give up on you.