# Conclusion Of Lies Paul Young Believes about God




Paul Young concludes his book, Lies We Believe about God, by making two more attempts to convert the reader to universal reconciliation (UR). First, he provides a list, a catena, of about thirty-four biblical texts that he thinks support UR. This is not the first time Young has provided such a list. In his paper of 2004, he listed a multitude of such texts. How does one respond to such a list? Here are some observations.

Virtually all the texts involve the words all, whole, every, or their equivalents. The point is that Young wants to take such texts universally. The replies to this idea are as follows:

  1. Some instances of the chosen word are limited in the immediate context to a number less than all.
  2. Some instances are limited in a wider context to a lesser number.
  3. Some other texts are limited by the entire teaching of the New Testament where there are statements that say just the opposite, or limit or qualify the statements. A writer of the New Testament cannot be in contradiction to himself, such that he means “all” in one point and “not all” in another.
  4. At least one text is immediately limited, so that all means “those who believe.”

Suffice it to say that I have dealt with virtually all of these texts and more, both in my reply to Young’s 2004 paper, which is available on my website* burningdowntheshackbook.com*, and in my forthcoming book. No one reading Lies should be shaken by Young’s list. For every text that Young uses, there is a legitimate response that agrees with evangelical faith. If this were not the case, Christian history would have succumbed to UR long ago. Instead, it has consistently exposed the inadequacies of UR to a watching, Christian world.

The second way by which Young seeks to convert readers at the end of his book is by citing well-known Christians who seemingly think the way he does – as a champion of UR.

He cites “A Final Word from Dietrich Bonhoeffer.” Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and writer who was put to death by the Nazis on April 9, 1945. Christians have long appreciated Bonhoeffer’s desire to know God deeply. Young cites several paragraphs from Bonhoeffer’s book, Ethics.

In this piece there are statements that hint of UR, but these could be taken as the biblical statements that I dealt with above. My research has concluded that while Bonhoeffer may have had some UR tendencies, no one can conclude that he was a follower of UR. He was certainly not in the camp with Young and all his slander of the Bible. My consultation with a recent biographer, Joel Burnell, who wrote Poetry, Providence, and Patriotism: Polish Messianism in Dialogue with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, agrees with this assessment.

Last of all, Young appeals to other names who have helped him in the writing of his ideas and in support of him. He first expresses gratitude for “early church fathers and mothers” who “enlarged and deepened” his “view of Jesus.” Apparently, we are to infer that these people support his ideas in Lies. Nothing could be further from the truth. On the major issues raised in Lies, virtually all church fathers espoused the same beliefs that evangelical Christianity does today. See the appendix on the church father, Athanasius, for a sparkling example.

Young cites other people who agree with him and who have helped with his ideas. At the end, he thanks C. Baxter Kruger and John MacMurray for their help. See the appendix about Kruger’s evaluation of Young’s orthodoxy.


Some observations regarding Lies We Believe about God and its author, Paul Young:

Despite a few attempts at qualification, Paul Young is not reluctant to write as a true believer in universal reconciliation (UR). Note that he confesses this unequivocally in chapter 13.

The topics of all of these chapters could have given Young the opportunity to help Christians grow. Instead, he subverts the primary beliefs of Christianity. He attacks beliefs that are not merely tangential (secondary) to the Christian faith, but he goes for the jugular in about half of his book (chapters 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 24, 27, and 28). If people follow Young, evangelical faith will be overthrown. Young seems to encourage this.

Young is out to convince others to follow him. He repeatedly uses “lies” not only in the titles of every chapter and in the title of the book, but many times throughout the text (pages 177, 184, 186, 211, 214, and 215, for example). He continues down the same path of UR that he began in his forum paper of 2004 and continued in The Shack, Cross Roads, and Eve. At the least Young is consistent in his devotion to this heresy.

I believe that he is emboldened by the extraordinary sales of his books and the success of the film. He has influenced millions, and he makes note of this in several chapters (see 18, 20, 22, 23, and others). He lauds the success of his novels and movie and he is unconcerned by the negative response that mainline Christians and evangelicals have to his writing.

I believe that Young is motivated by his belief that the structures of the evangelical church are failing, and he is projecting a new form of Christianity, as he states in the interview from Religious News Service (March 3, 2017) and the recent interview with Kruger online at Perichoresis. His beliefs are only slightly related to the Bible. See the appendix below.

It seems that Young is formulating a new “scripture,” a canon within the Canon, the authoritative books of the Bible. He is deceptive in what he writes and what he says in public meetings:

  1. He fails to acknowledge his past cover-ups of what he truly believes – that he is a committed believer in universal reconciliation (118).
  2. He fails to acknowledge that his life was turned around by his conversion to UR, as he claims in his 2004 paper. For thirteen years he has not deviated from what he says in this paper, as slanderous of God and of Christians though it may be.
  3. As revealed in his autobiographical notes, he is still in a position of rebellion against God that began in early childhood, and against his parents and his upbringing. He has not resolved his discord with his father (210).

Young constantly uses a personal experience in order to validate his novel claims to truth, when it seems that the Bible might oppose what he writes (47). There are significant omissions in Young’s practice and writing:

  1. He has little place for the devil and his influence in the world, yet Jesus called him the *prince of this world *(John 16:11) and Paul the Apostle often warned about the devil (Ephesians 6:11-12).
  2. He gives no attention to the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Communion). In so doing, he does not obey our Lord’s command to obey him and remember him.
  3. He attends no church (as far as I know) and thus does not come under any authority of church elders and leaders (Hebrews 13:7, 17). His commitment to UR seems to prevent this.
  4. He has said virtually nothing about the return of Christ and the Second Coming. Does he even believe it? Jesus’s return is the blessed hope of Christians (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Titus 2:13).

# Four Heavy Questions

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