As Walter Bouman’s seminary roommate 51 years ago whom I visited only
once since then, I was pleased to see the article detailing his last
days and highlighting his faithful service to the Lord and his faith
journey ("Counting the last days,"
November, page 22 in the print edition). But on a sensitive note, I
must ask: Is it possible that a few sentences from the interview were
misunderstood? On page 24 Walt is quoted as saying: “I’ve come to
accept God’s universal salvation .... Christ will raise us all—and
somehow bend us into shape ....” I, too, believe in “universal
salvation”—that Jesus Christ died for the forgiveness of sins of every
person who ever lived. That is the greatest core doctrine of
Lutheranism ever espoused. But, the big “but”: “The one who believes
and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be
condemned” (Mark 16:16).
Pretty clear words from God. We know the Universalists teach that
everyone will be saved. If that were true, which it isn’t, why would we
Lutherans preach law and gospel? Yet the paragraph on page 24 makes out
my roomie to be a Universalist, which I don’t believe he was. I think
he was referring only to believers.
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