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Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Iconoclast, May 18, 2016.
Found this on facebook today, enjoy-
http://www.baptistbanner.org/Subarchive_1/1094 Molly Marshall The Rest of the Story.htm
Molly Marshall: The Rest of the Story
by David Couric Vol. VII, No. 10, December 1994
Molly Marshall's controversial resignation as associate professor of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary may have left many Southern Baptists wondering: Just what was all the commotion about theologically?
The issue of "universalism," the doctrine that everyone eventually will be saved and go to heaven, often has been the subject of speculation in reports about the incident at the Louisville, KY, seminary. Marshall resigned effective at the end of the fall semester rather than face immediate dismissal proceedings.
A position such as universalism is, of course, in direct violation of Southern Seminary's official doctrinal statement and far outside the mainstream of Southern Baptist and general church history. In fact, universalism gave rise to the Universalist Church of America, which now has become the Unitarian-Universalist Association. Unitarians get their name from a rejection of God in the historic trinitarian sense, or three persons in one nature, in favor of a God in the Unitarian sense, or one in person and nature. Thus, the deity of Christ is denied in Unitarianism.
With any kind of universalism, Southern Baptist missions and evangelism are "down the drain," according to Cal Guy, retired professor of missions at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas. "I call it 'unbotherism,'" says Guy. "It just doesn't bother us at all that people are going to hell." He also calls universalism "trying to be nicer than God." Based on his experience in missions and as a professor for 36 years, the 77year-old Guy points out the end result of the influence of universalism: "You're dead in missions."
But Marshall, who has taught at Southern Seminary the past 10 years, emphatically denies she is a universalist, insisting she has always taught in accord with the seminary's confessional document, called the "Abstract of Principles." The 20 articles of faith were written into the seminary's charter when Southern, the SBC's first seminary, was founded in the middle of the last century.
Marshall seeks refuge in a position that attempts to avoid the extreme of universalism while at the same time rejecting the classical Christian view that no one can ever be saved outside of Christianity, which she sees as the other extreme and labels "exclusivism." The compromise position Marshall affirms, which seems closer to universalism than orthodoxy, is referred to as "inclusivism," the idea that for God to be "fair" there must be a way for those who never hear the name of Christ and the gospel to be saved anyway in the end.
In an Aug. 16, 1994, letter to Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr., Marshall said she affirmed each of the articles in the Abstract of Principles, ranging from the Scriptures to the judgment. Marshall signed the principles "in good conscience" as a tenured professor in 1988, she wrote in the letter.
On Article 9 concerning repentance, Marshall stated, "Unrepentant persons who do not experience the conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit and the concomitant transformation of life are spiritually dead in their sins. They will not share in the eternal life granted to those in Christ. Hence, I clearly refute the notion of universalism.'
Under Article 20 on the judgment, she commented, "The judgment is made on this day concerning how an individual has responded to Jesus Christ. One's positive response to him as Christ and Lord determines one's everlasting status, i.e., to life eternal or punishment. I repudiate the idea that all will be saved (universalism)." Marshall concluded the letter to Mohler with the statement, "I concur with the Abstract of Principles and have been teaching faithfully within its framework."
Although Mohler, based on his own investigation, judged Marshall's theology in general to be outside the parameters of the Abstract of Principles, it is Marshall's dissertation, "No Salvation Outside the Church? A Critical Inquiry," that has been criticized more than once since she began teaching at Southern in 1984, after finishing her doctoral work at Southern in 1983.
In 1986 and again in 1991, then-seminary trustee John Michael of Louisville charged Marshall with universalism. The second time an academic warning was issued to Marshall and another professor, Glenn Hinson, who left a month later to join the faculty of Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, a moderate [liberal, TCP] seminary in Virginia. Also in 1986, the editor of the Indiana Baptist state paper, David Simpson, published an editorial critical of Marshall's dissertation.
The issue of universalism also has been among critics' reactions to an article Marshall wrote in 1993 in SouthwesternSeminary's Journal of Theology and a 1992 address she delivered at Averett College in Virginia.
In her "No Salvation Outside the Church? A Critical Inquiry" dissertation, Marshall includes Christianity in what she means by "church" and answers the title's question to allow that there is indeed salvation outside the Christian religion. [Emphasis added. TCP]
Christ may be the only way of salvation in her system, but knowledge of Christ is not necessarily a prerequisite to salvation. One can be saved by Christ without knowing anything about him. Marshall's inclusivism would allow for the possibility of someone from any world religion being saved by Christ but without that person ever converting to Christianity.
For example, Marshall writes in her dissertation: "Throughout its long history of development, the inclusivist approach has retained the central core of the Christian faith by professing Jesus Christ to be the unique mediator of God's salvific grace to all, and thus constitutive for salvation, without limiting the benefit of his sacrificial life and death to those who explicitly know and believe in it."
Then Marshall remarks, "It would seem fair to suggest that eschatologically those who do not know (Christ) have the inevitable opportunity for clarification of or confrontation with him who has been the unknown object of their faith."
And Marshall goes on to say: "Accordingly, the possessive exclusivism with which some Christians have regarded Christ as the property of the Christian faith is a clinging sin that must go the way of the cross... Christ has bound himself to all of mankind, not just to Christians ..."
One of the most astounding aspects of the dissertation, to the average Southern Baptist at least, is Marshall's acceptance of the probability of a "postmortem encounter with Christ." This means those who have never heard the name of Christ in this life will have a "first chance" to be saved after death. In other words, the unevangelized will be "evangelized" at or before the judgment, Marshall speculates. Apparently some of these, although at the brink of judgment, will refuse even then to believe.
Therefore, not all will be saved, and universalism in its usual sense is avoided. In addition, those who do not hear the gospel and yet reject Christ before death will not get a second chance, according to Marshall.
Marshall bases her view of "the opportunity that remains after death for the unevangelized to encounter Christ" on her interpretation of I Peter 3:19 and 4:6 about Christ proclaiming the gospel to the "spirits in prison" and to the "dead." The difficult passage is also the basis for the famous line between the burial and resurrection in the Apostle's Creed: "... he descended into hell ..." The Abstract of Principles includes an article on "The Mediator" with some similarity to the Apostle's Creed, but the line about the descent into hell does not appear: "He was buried, and rose again the third day," according to Article 7.
On faith, Article 10 in the Abstract of Principles states, "Saving faith is the belief, on God's authority, of whatsoever is revealed in His Word concerning Christ, accepting and resting upon Him alone for justification and eternal life. ..." Taking the original context of the seminary's confessional document into consideration, it is highly unlikely the founders entertained any notion of postmortem evangelism. Such an idea would also undermine Article 13 on the perseverance of the saints this side of the grave: All Christians are "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation."
For the founders of Southern Seminary, it apparently wasn't necessary to find a postmortem way of escape for those who never hear the gospel, because the answer to the question of the unevangelized is in Article 6 on the fall of man. There it says everyone has "a nature corrupt and wholly opposed to God and His law" and that all people "are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors."
Although Marshall claimed to affirm this principle in her letter to Mohler, her dissertation states, "God's seeking grace is expressed universally and thus one does not approach a Muslim or Hindu as one already condemned before God ..."
As Cal Guy puts it, based on his reading of the first three chapters of Romans, people who never hear the gospel are like everyone else: responsible for their sins. They have rejected three things, he says: "the light of nature, conscience and the law" and therefore stand condemned in sin before God – their only hope being faith in Christ alone, which comes from hearing the gospel. In his view, the answer is not to find a way around getting the gospel to the world, or to rationalize the failure to do so, but to be ever more diligent in the task of missions and evangelism.
I would like to believe universalism is true, but I can't. My bible forbids it.
I would like to believe inclusivism is true, but I can't. My bible forbids it.
Many a sincere person becomes sincerely in error when they think their study has lead them to a place where they need to "help God out" as if He needed anything from our hands.
The basic premise of inclusivism is that all religions have some truth in them and can thus lead people closer to God, or even to embrace salvation somehow without Christ. As a missionary, I say that no religion in the world (including sterile models of Christianity with a false Gospel) can lead anyone closer to God. All religions lead their adherents farther from God and into more and more immorality, as Romans 1 makes clear.
I once had an Internet discussion with a guy, supposedly a Christian, who wanted to portray Buddhism as peaceful and good. He thought that Buddhists never started wars. That is a lie from Satan; Buddhism is an evil, loveless religion. Consider: Japan has had wars ever since the 8th century, when Buddhism entered the country (not counting the wars before then instigated by Shintoists). This includes various wars between the Japanese clans during the feudal period. It includes the Shimabara Rebellion in which Buddhists massacred over 30,000 Catholic Japanese. It includes the wars of extermination against the Ainu tribes, indigenous to Japan, culminating in a treacherous "truce" meeting in which the Japanese massacred the Ainu leaders. It includes of course WW2 and the horrendous things the Japanese did in that war such as the Bataan Death March, the Rape of Nanking, the viciousness towards all prisoners of war, the murders of missionaries and many others by the Japanese rulers of the Philippines, etc, etc. ad nauseum.
Buddhism as a peaceful religion? Buddhism drawing people closer to God? Absolutely impossible.
Yes.....exactly right. These world religions no matter how much they are dressed up are a product of the sin darkened mind of sinners alienated from the life of God.
Right thinking believers will.reject apostate liberal thought at every turn
Mrs. Marshall is advocating mysticism. Period. End of story.
Well, was. Al Mohler told her to resign or he would fire her over 20 years ago. She resigned, I think it was in the spring of 1994.
I saw where a bible college in Kansas hired her in 2002....sad.
The only good if any that comes from this is that it unites biblical Christians even those who hold different theological perspectives. There is a visceral rejection of such vile error. No doubt she might indeed be a "nice lady'....but many nice persons who commit nice rebellion against God will perish. God alone is judge but this error is not to be considered as part of orthodox belief.
Really? It sounds like ICON, not God, has judged that all unorthodox folks go to hell.....hell hell hell
What's your judgment on Billy Graham? Is he going to hell?
I believe in the biblical doctrine of hell... which you seem to think has little place in scripture, despite the fact that it was Jesus who warned us about it more than anyone else..
I often repeat that God alone is the judge.
Maybe you favor the ideas of this liberal woman false teacher over against the historic view of the church. She also did not like the idea of it.
Maybe you would have not wanted to shake AL Mohlerso hand at that time....I would however. I would shake it then and now as even yesterday someone I know shook his hand as He graduated with a doctorate at Louisville, KY.
I believe I have heard him urge sinners to flee from the wrath to come,to repent and believe the gospel. Maybe you should listen to him since you do not like my beliefs.
A few decades ago while doing a study of Universalism I became very interested in our Primitive Baptist (PB) brethren and a small Appalachian group of PB's called "no-hellers" because as far as I know they are the only Trinitarian Universalists (as opposed to Unitarian) in existence today.
It's a misnomer because they do believe in hell, howbeit that its a temporary place kind of like the Roman Purgatorio.
Unlike purgatory however its a place of perfecting (not punishing) where Jesus Christ is perfectly revealed to the children of God (all of humanity).
Like Tom, I sincerely would like to agree with them but alas there is the Bible to contend with.
I hold to the finished work of Christ:
1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem; and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she hath received of Jehovah`s hand double for all her sins. Isa 40
36 And as they spake these things, he himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they beheld a spirit.
38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and wherefore do questionings arise in your heart? Lu 24
7 To all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Ro 1
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor 1
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Cor 1
3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, Gal 1
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Eph 1
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Phil 1
2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ that are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. Col 1
1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. ! Thess 1
2 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thess 1
2 unto Timothy, my true child in faith: Grace, mercy, peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 1 Tim 1
2 to Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 2 Tim 1
4 to Titus, my true child after a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour. Titus 1
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Philemon 1
2 Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 2 Pet 1
What, exactly, does all that mean? How does it reply to the OP or to Icon's statement?
What point are you trying to make?
You got ant idea what statement of his I'm addressing?
...and you're butting into a dialog between me and Icon...
No, I haven't "got ant idea" what you are responding to as you did not specify. You just quoted a lot of scripture with no indication why you believe it addresses his post.
There is no such thing as "butting into" something in a public forum. If you don't want people to comment take it to PM. This is an open forum and anyone is free and welcome to comment.
I wasn't addressing his post but the statement/conclusion he drew out of this, And evidently you've got ant idea of the beef I've with him on his obsession/fixation of threatening hell towards the redeemed.
Christ's work is finished. His redeemed are in no way shape fashion or form in danger of hell.
Icon insidiously insinuated this 'nice lady' will perish eternally because of her 'unorthodox' views.