Having just listed The Surprising God blog among the top five I'd prefer to avoid, I was sent back there today to check out the following remarkable statement by Ted Johnston.
...the idea of universal reconciliation, which is a key aspect of WCG's Christ-centered, Trinitarian Theology.
OK, I'm surprised.
It's not that the chief honchos in the Tkach group - Mike Feazell take a bow - haven't dropped enough hints, but when did universal reconciliation become more than a favored speculation?
And while we're at it, what is WCG's position now on the form of Universal Reconciliation preached by the late Ernest Martin back in the 1970s? You can check out Ernie's views on this subject here.
Universal Reconciliation is a teaching that goes a very long way back in Christian history, at least as far as Origen. Eventually (and I'm paraphrasing here) all sentient life - human and angelic - will be received back into God's loving embrace - maybe even Satan and his minions. Wikipedia has a useful discussion of the issue.
It's enough to send traditional, humorless, bile-driven Calvinists into a frenzy, though a few obscurantist fringe thinkers of that ilk (like Barth) seemed to have taken it seriously.
The Armstrong-era WCG also toyed with the idea.
Don't get me wrong... I quite like the idea of universal reconciliation. If you're going to proclaim a gospel of grace, and don't want to transform God into a double-predestination monster, then it makes a good deal of sense. Any aggravation it causes fundamentalists is an added bonus!
But, when did it gravitate to the heart of WCG dogma: "a key aspect of WCG's Christ-centered, Trinitarian Theology"?
Or has Ted got it all wrong?
What might Joe Tkach's buddies in the NAE make of this? After all, as the Wiki article states: Evangelicals and related Christian denominations have published extensively against universalism in recent decades, defending the doctrine of perpetual Hell.