Quaker Universalist Conversations

Phil H. Gulley: “The Meaning of Universalism”

Phil H. Gulley is pastor of Fairfield Friends Meeting in Camby, IN (Western Yearly Meeting of Friends Church). This is an excerpt from his January 2011 Friends Journal article, an edited version of the Elizabeth Watson lecture, sponsored by the Quaker Universalist Fellowship, which he gave at Friends General Conference Gather in Bowling Green, OH, on July 6, 2010.

Pentecost image by Miranda HassettWe need another road, a road with which we are all familiar.

The Bible tells us about it. It happened on the day of Pentacost. The book of Acts say that the devout people from every nation under heaven were gathered. Now that’s biblical code language for every religion under heaven.

They were all gathered in one place, and the separating effects of Babel were still upon them, each one speaking, but no one understanding. What did the Spirit do in that moment? It filled those people to such a degree that whenever anyone spoke, no matter the language, everyone else understood. Everyone else got it. All were amazed and said, “What does this mean?”

We know what it means. It means that we were meant to understand one another. Not just those in our family, in our tribe, in our nation, or in our faith, but everyone. God meant for there to be no barriers to caring for everyone, for us to speak to everyone, for us to listen to everyone, and for us to be with everyone.

Think of that: the first activity of the Spirit of the Church was to make everyone a Universalist.

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