Collaborative Expose on Universalism Project (Join On In!)


#1

For a good while I’ve been wanting to write a book that is essentially an expose that pulls no punches and ends in being so far-reaching in scope and thorough and convincing in argument that it turns the tide from against Universalism as a fringe belief for freaks into a belief seen as having legitimate support for many in the body. I fully believe such a work could revolutionize the church with lasting impact not only for interrelations within Christendom but external relations with so-called “outsiders”.

Now as a preliminary I want to very briefly outline the structure of the book. It must make sense for faith-related folks and thus a useful structure could be based off of the basic tradition/prophecy/wisdom outline we find sometimes in Scripture. It corresponds to priest/prophet/king, scribe/prophet/sage (as given by Jesus in Matthew 23:34), and past/present/future, all respectively.

I think this is a very smart system laid out for us. Tradition regards Scripture, history and, well, tradition. Prophecy regards both supernatural messages and harsh yet loving rebukes and applications toward present-day behaviors and heart attitudes. Wisdom regards both philosophical/metaphysical reasoning and an impetus for action. The various segments of the body of Christ generally roughly fall into one or more of these categories (RCs and Lutherans into tradition, both Pentecostal and more liberal churches into prophecy, Baptists and Methodists into wisdom, etc. Imperfect categorization but hopefully the point is made).

I didn’t have too much of an outline beyond that. (I WAS thinking of afterlife accounts and sermons or even poetry fitting into the prophecy section, and ancient concepts of time along with Greek word concepts in the history section, though). But it seems that just as it would fit a varied audience it could also fit a varied authorship.

[breaking this post up to make it more reader-friendly]


#2

[pt 2]

There are various reasons I suddenly had an idea this would make a great collaborative project:

  1. First of all, upon coming here I realize that there are vast amounts of knowledge and insight on the subject that (suprisingly pleasantly) I haven’t discovered yet. Many of you are far better experts in areas I lack in. Some of my best strengths are (probably noticeably, hah) in the area of prophecy and wisdom and more lacking on the traditional side which feels like it carries even more weight to me. Greek and Hebrew and Aramaic scholars would be especially helpful here, including Messianic Jews with their unique perspective on Jewish culture.

  2. Not saving best for last, this would be an amazing demonstration of Jesus’ ultra-universalistic prayer in John 17 regarding his followers. If Jesus’ prayer is correct (and I know we all believe Him :wink:) then this will make it all the more convincing both to the world that God sent Him and to everyone (especially those already -truly- of the body) that we are speaking the truth.

  3. Following on from that, having such a wide range of input only gives more convincing reasoning and creates multiple, often inescapable perspectives. (For this reason I was originally wanting to include universalistic authors and even speakers/believers who have existed throughout Christian history, which will definitely still remain included!) It’s for these kinds of reasons that we were and are called a body, after all.

  4. Such a vast array of input creates something that for lack of a better phrase could be called a “bandwagon effect”. In and of itself it is, of course, devious. But it’s more a reaction to the fact that such a stigma already has a strong hold in the faith world (as noted by Aaron calling our sect 1% of Christianity). People would be less inclined to equate changing to this worldview to becoming a condemned fringe lunatic freak. Combined with the above points, it’s more of a remedy.

  5. Just the mere fact that none of us can ever fully encompass the massiveness of these truths on our own but only exponentially progress together (think, one can put a thousand to flight and two, ten thousand).

  6. It’ll be great fun and productive and especially edifying, even if the book never sees a publisher.

So, what say ye? :mrgreen: Don’t think too much of a time factor, we have an eternity, (teehee) unlike some others with more limited constraints, (hohoho). Any speed would be better than the speed I’ve been going at, which has literally been zero to nothing. (I did churn out some rather embarrassing material for it awhile back though, heh :blush:)

Also, is this the best forum for this thread? I want to maximize its exposure to the whole board. As many as desire to and have original input are invited!

But most of all, may our exalted Lord and Master have his way with our world! Amen and amen!


#3

Furthermore, much of the work has already been done, what with the many postings we’ve made, Gregory MacD and Talbott and other authors such as George MacDonald and fathers such as Origen, along with anyone else we can get in contact with (WiseFire might be very helpful here).

Essentially this could be like a collection of essays coherently tied together. For that we might even want a team of editors.


#4

And as an even further addendum, we could even use plenty of material by authors who didn’t necessarily mean to lend credence toward the universalistic worldview (whether we know their stance or not) but unintentionally and maybe even ironically ended up doing so anyway. This could create even more scope, depth and a kind of “that their words may be used against them” ironic twist. :smiley:

I think most believers would be convinced with even a tenth of the material we have just on this site alone.


#5

Collaborative efforts like this are reeaeeeeeeaaaaalllllly hard to pull off. Basically, there needs to be a chief editor who already has a solid idea for what he (or she) wants done in the project, and then assigns those portions to team members (while overseeing results for incorporation–and while deciding on whether/how to incorporate suggestions for material from members.)

I’m far too busy on projects already to take that position; but I wouldn’t mind contributing to it under a chief editor. :slight_smile:


#6

Oh, I’ll definitely be the chief editor, as I know exactly what I want out of this project. And if it falls apart, I could just collect the material I’ve gleaned from everyone and use it for the book anyway while writing the rest myself. :mrgreen:

I have high hopes for this. We need to get this message out to the world! :smiling_imp:

EDIT: Orrrrr… I could just collect material people have already written here and use it with their permission, after a little tweaking. That might work just as well.


#7

Not a bad idea! :slight_smile:


#8

To be fair, why not present the opposing scriptural interpretations (endless punishment, annihilationism and universalism) side by side and let the reader decide where the truth lies. There could be a compendium demonstrating the explanatory power of each interpretation for each verse. Blank spots and ad hominem appeals would be noted!
It could be that a fight breaks out every time one side has no answer! :sunglasses:


#9

That would considerably tone down the strength of the Prophecy section, though. Obviously opposing arguments are going to have to be included, though.