A review of The Inescapable Love


#1

Allow me contribute a review of The Inescapable Love I wrote just over a year back, in soundandsilence.wordpress.com/20 … s-talbott/

Tom, I tried to email you, but must have had a bad address. Anyway, it generated quite a bit of discussion, and I now see that this forum has been pretty active along the same lines … so glad to have found it.

Regards
Nic Paton


#2

I look forward to reading it - and welcome.

By the way great to see another muzo here - especially another mandolin player :smiley:


#3

Nice review! Glad you found the forum! :smiley: (Also, welcome, etc. :mrgreen: )


#4

Nic,
I enjoyed your review, and also the good discussion in the comments. I have yet to read the book myself, though I have read Talbott’s articles at his website.

Welcome!
Sonia


#5

Thanks all for the friendly welcome.

If you don’t mind orienting me a little, I’m really interested in the POV expressed on this forum, but more than that I am taken by its outworkings. For me it gives a new meaning to the entire Biblical Story, and its implications for mission and missional thinking are not quantifiable. It’s not a “new / alternative doctrine” but rather a paradigm shift. And moreover, one with historical precident.

What for you guys has been the standout aspect of identifying yourselves as Evangelical Universalists?


#6

Hi Nic,
Exactly!! Nothing has changed–it’s still the same bible, filled with the same words–yet all things are made new. And I have found it necesary to re-evaluate many things, and found that many things I thought I understood, are not as I thought they were.

Changes for me:
Hope–like I never imagined possible
Joy–to match the hope
Love–as my understanding of the extent of God’s love for his people has expanded, mine has also increased
Faith–while I’m sure I would still qualify as one “of little faith,” the faith I now have is exponentially more

So far as evangelism goes, I don’t have much opportunity, as I’m a mom of 6 and just don’t spend much time in situations that allow for it. I have been able to encourage a few people–and the nice thing was that I could do it without feeling a desperate need to convince them to believe in Jesus right now or make some kind of commitment* right now*, for fear that they would suffer endlessly if I failed. I guess you could call it a new found freedom to work alongside the Spirit, on His timetable for the individual, rather than trying to force what the person is not ready for. I can meet a person where he is, confident that God is at work in him for His good purposes.

The message I carry has also subtly changed, being more along the lines of “God is calling all people to repent because He will judge the world”–rather than “God is offering you a ‘Get Out of Hell Free’ card.” :sunglasses: The emphasis is now on reconciliation to a loving God, instead of saving yourself from the wrath of an Angry God. (Though a loving God who loves enough to not let His children get away with their sin. :wink: ) Also there’s no more of that uncomfortably hardhearted and selfish aspect: “Too bad about your loved ones that have already died (they’re in burning torment right now), but it’s not to late for you to save your own soul.” :smiling_imp:

It’s a good question, and I look forward to reading what others have to say on it.
Sonia


#7

I should also add that I don’t go around “identifying myself as an Evangelical Universalist”. I’ve been convinced of universal reconciliation for about 4 yrs, but most people I know are unaware of that. I have a number of friends that would think I was deeply and horribly deceived if they knew. It’s not that I have a problem with people knowing–in fact I would love to be able to discuss it with anyone, but for me “there’s a time to speak, and a time to be silent.” I must be patient until the door opens for me to share my hope–and then, only so much as I feel the Spirit leads. But, I do like to say things that hint–clues another universalist would recongnise. :wink:
Sonia


#8

Same here. Come to think of it, Jesus didn’t seem too anguish to rapid-fire the gospel out to everyone. In fact, there were occasion when He suppress it or told people not to speak of their testimony. I believe that we need to be attentive to the Holy Spirits leading and not our own immediate compulsion to ‘force’ a conversation leading to a gospel presentation. I am able to get out on visitation nights in my church, but unlike before, I really try to read the situation and respond accordingly rather than launch into the spiel. Sometimes it’s just nice to talk to people. Be interested in what they are about. Having a concern for their needs and interests. Get into a comfortable place where the opportunity can arise naturally into it. I don’t have to look at a person as lost, but as a person who will get saved eventually. How liberating is that! When you begin to see a person as a potential child of God, rather than a sinner doomed to hell, you can develop an appreciation for who the person is, saved or not, and that this is God’s creation. There’s none of that ‘us vs them’ mentality. We are all in it together, praise God!

I should add, that it also helps us to tend to ‘real’ tangible needs of the person. Yes, there is salvation, but when we take concern for a person’s immediate needs and try and show them love without expectation of return and help them out, you are going to get a better response when you finally do share the gospel. Jesus did that all the time.


#9

This is why I haven’t opened up yet, neither to folks at church, nor even to my family. As much as I want to voice it, I don’t want it to be counterproductive to the things that are established in my relationships that are otherwise working together in the work of God and in the spiritual growth of church members and members of my family. All introducing UR will do is cause division and disarray, and more than likely I’ll probably be asked to leave, or at the very least, limit my options in serving in the church.


#10

I’m sure none of the churches I’ve attended would ask me to leave; but neither do I want to put them in the position of having to limit my options of serving in the church. So I limit those options myself (and then explain why if anyone asks. :slight_smile: )

Whenever the topic does come up explicitly, of course, I tell people where I stand on it. Otherwise I just do exegesis and pointing out the logical implications of theology, and let people draw their own conclusions from that. Most people seem to enjoy and appreciate it. I like being helpful. :smiley:


#11

Thank you good people for your testimonies. Its helped me to get a handle on the culture of the forum.

I’d like to add my voice and reprint something I wrote in a article on “Lazurus and Inclusion” :

You can see the whole shebang (incl 97 comments) on soundandsilence.wordpress.com/20 … inclusion/

Once again I appreciate your willingness to converse.


#12

Nic,
I thought it was an excellent review. Well written and in my opinion fair. The very themes you hilighted are all the issues we at this community have questioned. Talbott is indeed a good writer. I hope you’ll take a look at the Discussion Forum where Glenn Peoples and Tom Talbott are dialoguing on Annihilationism and Universalism. It’s a great discussion.

Thanks for joining us.

Aug