A brief outline of the seven chapters follows:
CHAPTER 1 – GOD’S SECRET PLAN
A plan which the apostle Paul alludes to but few have comprehended – the fact that salvation as we understand it was not originally intended for the Gentile nations in the current epoch but resulted from the failure of the Jews (cf. Rom11), the providential implications of which have been quite eluded. As for God’s plan for His Church, the chapter examines the extraordinary influence of Augustine of Hippo (AD354-430) on the development of Western theology. It shows how his novel interpretation of the Pauline epistles exacerbated by over-reactions to the Pelagian and Manichean heresies resulted in distortions of established doctrine. These infected the Catholic Church of his day and were built upon a thousand years later by the Protestant Reformers. I outline how the latter’s doctrinal position contrasts with that of the 2nd and 3rd century Church, observing that the Ancient Church’s perspectives on law, grace, free will and natural law are much closer to my own. Disruptive as it may be, such deconstruction is necessary to affirm the munificent providence being outlined in this document.
CHAPTER 2 – THE LOST COVENANT
Whilst most Christians will be familiar with the theological significance of Adam and Eve, less will be so with Cain and Abel, the former being the firstborn human and “type” of the reprobate. As the first two humans to be born of woman Cain and Abel were players within an inclusive Universal Covenant (cf. Gen4:7KJV) which again has been eluded. Also adduced in this chapter – the fact that the contagion of sin resulting from the Fall pertains to the procreated intellectual vessel (Paul’s “body of this death”), not the God-given soul as a whole – another longstanding misconception with radical and wondrous providential implications.
CHAPTER 3 – FAITH AND JUSTIFICATION
What the Bible means by “justification” and the fact that numerous doctrinal “tensions” in the Bible are resolved once it is understood that the blessings of the Atonement apply at two levels: forensic and participatory. The chapter outlines how a bi-fold economy of grace and faith was testified to by the earliest (pre-Augustinian) Church fathers. Far from diminishing God’s grace these particular aspects of natural law can be directly linked to Christ’s Passion. They benefit the many, not just the proportionally few destined to be the bride of Christ.
CHAPTER 4 – THE UNIVERSAL RESTORATION
A short chapter examining what little the Bible tells us about the Parousia, when Christ “shall be glorified in His saints and admired by those that believe on that day”. The Christian’s apotheosis according to Paul will not be the repose of the soul in heaven but redemption of the body within a restored universe (Rom8:19-23).
CHAPTER 5 – PROGRESSIVE REVELATION
God’s chosen method of enlightenment for the Church and world. In terms of the Church, the chapter considers how the gospel was disseminated by the apostles and their immediate successors, observing with second century Irenaeus that the churches at that time were remarkably united in their interpretation of the gospel – an interpretation that many Christians today would scarcely recognize.
CHAPTER 6 – CHILDREN OF THE DEVIL
The mystery of evil: spiritual wickedness in high places, and the role and ignominious destiny of human defaulters from the eluded Universal Covenant. These are individuals referred to by Jesus, Paul and John as “children of the devil” – devoid of love, truth or conscience.
CHAPTER 7 – THE THEODICY
Why a God Scripture defines as Love personified permits the continuance of evil and the suffering that results from it; a key to the solution being Christ’s earthly experience (Heb2:10): a prelude to His glorious inheritance – and ours.