CLARKS SUMMIT, Pa.—During the afternoon business meeting on Tuesday, June 26, messengers to the GARBC Conference unanimously approved a resolution that censures universalism, a theological idea with several variations: some say that after a period of punishment all people will be saved; some say that all people are now saved but do not realize it; still others suggest that God’s radical love will pursue people until all are saved. All three variations have one basic idea in common—teaching that all people will ultimately be saved.
In response, the resolution calls on GARBC churches to actively reject teaching and teachers who promote universalism and related errors. In particular, churches should fine‐tune doctrinal statements, double‐check their teaching curriculum, and encourage critical thinking. Churches should also increase their efforts to promote worldwide missions with fully developed views on the problem of sin, the promise of coming judgment, and the hope offered through faith in Jesus Christ.
Messengers also approved a resolution motivated by a recent trend to place less emphasis on the local church. Some believers have shown an imbalanced focus on personal growth and benefit, being quick to leave the local church rather than bear with one another in humility and gentleness. Others have confused the church and the coming kingdom of God; still others have claimed that God is actually finished with the local church, arguing that the imperfections reflect His abandonment of the concept altogether.
The resolution calls churches to improve their teaching about the local church, promote more effective use of the church covenant, and confront those who “church hop.” All church members should commit to “the manifestation of God’s wisdom by the church, bowing our knees in submission to the Father to Whom be glory in the church by Christ Jesus. Amen.”