“God For All: The Biblical Foundation of Universal Grace” by Arch B. Taylor

From Rick Ufford-Chase: “I visited Arch Taylor last fall, and came away with his latest book in my hands. Bill Coop, longtime activist and PPF member, volunteered to do a careful read and write the review you’ll find below. Arch is in his 90’s and he still writes, and publishes, prolifically. This one is published by Wipf and Stock, and can be purchased here or in e-book form here.”

Spanning 36 chapters Arch cruises the Biblical text from Genesis through Revelation (with Apocryphal texts included) with an understanding that there are certain universal tests we should use as standards by which to interpret the rest of Scripture. His “aha” moment came as he encountered the words like “all” and “the world” and “’every” as he tried to introduce the biblical monotheistic worldview to Japanese students brought up in a polytheistic culture. Arch confesses, “The more I tried to convince them that God is One, the more my own conviction of the Oneness of God grew stronger. My belief that there is only one God is the necessary precondition for believing that God saves all people…God lovingly embraces the whole creation – everything. everyone. God is love. God is for all.”

Arch informs us that , “My pilgrimage of faith,now in the ninth decade of my life has been a steady liberation from presuppositions of my youth…After a lifetime of studying and teaching the Bible in the United States and Japan, I have come to believe that the God revealed in Scripture and supremely in Jesus Christ is the Creator of all and the Savior of all.” He then goes on a tour de force examining the Biblical witness to this ‘God of Universal Grace’ who calls us to co-partner in the gospel of inclusion, justice and peace for all.

Exploring the Scriptures with a focus on God, the God for all, Arch is convinced that God’s plan of salvation embraces every human being and that the human family has continually divided succumbing to the chaos of excessive individual freedom and empire building. From Genesis through Revelation Arch stresses the corrupting influence of power and separation. He also dwells on God’s intent to save everyone and that all people, as human beings, have a place in God’s plan. He states with conviction, “Those of us who agree on these points are liberated and empowered to share the good news everywhere and to work tirelessly to effect the Jesus Way of compassion and peace.”

“The Sovereign Creator takes special care in the creation of humanity, equips us with rich gifts and takes us into a partnership that is still in force.” Arch affirms. Pages 369 – 391 contain a Scripture Index which blows my mind. There is also interwoven throughout references to the force of evolution…the benefit of brain research…learning from Near Death Experiences…the value of meditation…Mediterranean cosmology and anthropology…with concluding chapters on Humanity in God’s Plan.

This book is not to be read from cover to cover. It belongs on your reference table so you can play with its Universal Matrix. The understanding that God is One…God is for All…and God so Loved the World, not just a chosen few. And this One God created us for community, justice and peace. Tole, Lege.

– Review by Bill Coop, PPF National Committee member