Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Universalism in the Blogosphere

The theo-blogosphere is exploding with posts on universalism. In this post, I want to index these debates, and if people hear about other online conversations, please let me know and I will add them to this list. The posts are ordered chronologically, with the oldest first and the most recent last. Blogs are arranged alphabetically. The fact that I post these links on my site does not mean that I endorse any or all of the views expressed by the various individuals, particularly with regard to the online resources. I offer them in the hope that the dialogue will be furthered and our faith may be enriched.

Originally Posted July 21, 2006
Last Updated January 23, 2007

Christ in all the Scriptures/The Theology of G C Berkouwer
:
Chrisendom:Connexions:

Exiled Preacher:

Experimental Theology:

Faith & Theology:

Generous Orthodoxy Think Tank:
God in a Shrinking Universe:
Jason Clark:

Leaving Münster:

The Lost Message:

Nothing New Under the Sun:
On Journeying with those in Exile:
Sean the Baptist:
Sub Ratione Dei:
Toward Jerusalem:
The Truth Will Set You Free:
Online Resources:
Published Books:

13 comments:

Jason Clark said...

Thank you, that is so helpful. Jason.

Chris Tilling said...

I'm going to be interviewing the author of a recent book on universalism on my blog soon, and I'll run a small series on it probably. It should be interesting.

Chris Tilling said...

Great job, btw!

John P. said...

Excellent resource...thanks for putting this together....

David Shedden said...

Thanks for this, and the rest of your blog. I'm going to be at PTS 2006-2007 doing a Th.M. Looks like the standard of student is very high - yikes! Best, Dave Shedden

byron said...

Thanks - I've linked to this useful post.

Keith DeRose said...

Very helpful - but you should have included your own recent posts, too!

Mike Morrell said...

Wonderful! This might help as well.

(Official disclaimer: My del.icio.us bookmarks are for research purposes and should not be considered implicit endorsement, as my other site more clearly does.)

Anonymous said...

I was a hopeful dogmatic universalist, but had difficulties with the absence of any explicit teaching on it in the bible, especially in the passages about the last things (hell, etc). Not to mention the anti-universalist passages (the 'narrow road' to salvation that 'few find', etc). I came across a plausible (and perhaps more biblical) alternative in a modified Amyraldism.

This is a view that Jesus died for all out of love, but love was not the reason God predestined some to believe. God's main goal was to create free human beings, period. Out of love, he died on the cross for their sins. But all rejected the offer of redemption, so having done all he could out of love without violating free will, he elected some for his own purpose. Since he didn't predestine out of love, he was free to override the free will of the elect.

Why does this seem more biblical than universalism? First, it affirms that God loves everyone and died for all. Second, it acknowledges the role of free will in accepting the gift of salvation. Third, it recognises that only the elect will be saved. Fourth, it upholds God's impartiality, because he offered salvation to all, and was no longer bound by an obligation to be impartial after all rejected the offer (e.g. if no one wants my money, I'm free to do whatever I want with it). However, he did elect all kinds of people, so in that sense, was impartial. Fifth, it affirms that hell is the final destination of the unsaved (but the biblical evidence suggests that this is destruction, not eternal torment). Sixth, it concludes that God is ultimately not frustrated, because he succeeded in his main goal, to create free human beings who can choose their own destiny. He also succeeded in reversing the Fall, through the elect who will populate the New Creation.

It may be argued that it doesn't make sense for God to create free human beings when he knew they would all reject him. But if his main goal was the existence of free (rather than obedient) human beings, then it makes sense that he was willing to tolerate the bad choices they made (and paid for those bad choices on the cross). An apt analogy would be the parent who has to tolerate the bad choices his children make, because he wanted to 'create' free human individuals. This modified Amyraldism is just a hypothesis right now, it would be nice if some of you (esp. theologically qualified people) could weigh in on it. Thx.

D.W. Congdon said...

Anonymous,

There are some major problems with the view you have put forward. I don't have time to go into them all, but here are the ones that stand out to me:

(1) This view perpetuates the problem that Barth saw with the entire Protestant tradition, which separated the divine act of election from Jesus Christ. In other words, this position makes election an arbitrary, absolute decree with no perceivable relation to the being of God as revealed in Jesus Christ alone.

(2) God created human beings for obedience, not for libertarian freedom. You will not find modern freedom in the Bible; you will find, instead, statements like that of Paul, who speaks of believers as "slaves of righteousness." Abstract libertarian freedom is basically the "freedom" of sin; and that is no freedom at all. The only true freedom is that found in obedience to God. Not Yes or No, but always Yes.

(3) The very notion that God was at one time or could ever have been "bound to an obligation" is absolutely forbidden. That would be tantamount to saying there is something outside of God to which God is bound. God is wholly free and the Lord over all things. To speak then of God being bound to some other obligation will not do.

(4) Moreover, to apply terms like partiality and impartiality to God is to improperly anthropomorphize God. The notion of impartiality is again like the notion of abstract libertarian freedom; it just doesn't exist -- at least not in the Bible and not for theology.

(5) Perhaps most distressing is in the way this view characterizes the "goal" of God. You simply speak of creation and the election of a few people. This is perhaps the most unbiblical part of your proposal. The telos that I see is one in which both all humanity (Col. 1, 2 Cor. 5) and the entire creation (Rev. 21) is reconciled to God. The purpose of God is not simply to "reverse the Fall" for a few people; it is to bring humanity into a harmonious relation to its Creator. Moreover, if you are really serious about emphasizing the reverse of the Fall, then you have to take Paul seriously in Romans, when he speaks of Christ as the Second Adam. This would keep you from making the mistake of viewing some abstract event of election as the reverse of the Fall. Instead, the person of Jesus is where the Fall is reversed, and thus it is reversed for all people.

More should be said, but I have seminary obligations at the moment. I look forward to hearing how your views progress.

Don said...

Check out and add an excellent new book by Gerry Beauchimin, entitled Hope Beyond Hell. Copies and available for shipping only and the book is online

Eric said...

Greetings!

You may be interested to know that a new ecumenical organization has recently been started to promote Christian Universalism, uniting people and churches from a wide diversity of denominations in the belief that God loves and will save everyone. The Christian Universalist Association includes Evangelicals, Pentecostals/Charismatics, Mainline Protestants, Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Unitarian Universalist Christians, non-denominational Christians and more! Check out our website: www.christianuniversalist.org

Divine blessings,

Eric Stetson
Executive Director,
The Christian Universalist Association
"All God's children, no one left behind."

James Goetz said...

I appreciate your list of links. Please consider my blog and post Orthodoxy and Gregory of Nyssa's Universalism.