Review by
Boyd C. Purcell, Ph.D.
Author of
Spiritual Terrorism:
Spiritual Abuse from the Womb to the Tomb

Michael Riley and James William co-authored a very good book, Is God Fair? What About Gandhi? These authors did an excellent job of researching and reporting the profoundly-negative effect Augustinian theology of eternal torture in hell fire has had on Christianity in the West (Western Europe and North and South America). Augustine had virtually no influence on Christianity in the East (Russia and Eastern European countries) with the result that the Eastern Orthodox Church has basically retained the concept of purificatory hell as taught by the Lord Jesus Christ, preached by the Apostles, and believed by Christians for over 500 years until being corrupted by the state church of the Roman Empire. Slowly, due to the corrupting influence of control-freak emperors desiring to keep the subjects of the Roman Empire in subjection through fear, the great doctrines of salvation by grace, the security of the believer, and universal salvation were perverted.

Officially, the doctrine of universal salvation was perverted to the doctrine of eternal salvation for the few and eternal damnation for the vast majority of the human race in the year 553 A.D. This was the date that the church's first systematic theologian, who clearly taught universal salvation was condemned: Origen, his writings, and his memory, by the Fifth General Council, at the behest of Emperor Justinian, 299 years after Origen's death!

As engineers by profession, Riley and William, state the case for universal salvation concisely, precisely, and forcefully. These authors insightfully understand and wisely applied Jesus' term for believers who would inflict violence on others who disagree with them, "Sons of Thunder," which describes many Christians today. They cleverly weaved this theme throughout their book. They also have taken very seriously the Apostle Paul's admonition to "study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who does not need be ashamed, rightly handling the world of truth" (II Tim. 2:15). They have evidenced in
Is God Fair? a good working knowledge of the Greek text of the New Testament. For those who want to know what the Bible actually teaches about Christian Universalism, I strongly recommend this exegetical work.

August, 2011