Hope all is well with you.
I agree that perhaps this question might seem rather minor, but it’s bothering me – and has for a while.
Have been rummaging through your site a bit (and wow; you’ve written about lots of things there!!) and found this, from 10-13-2011 titled Universalism, Grace and the Bondage of the Will.
It’s good stuff. And shows so nicely how, yet again, Universalism manages to make sense of the aspects of Arminianism/Calvinism that don’t make sense. For me at least… Being raised Arminian for the most part, as are most of those I interact with, it seems that eternal lostness largely boils down to “free will” in their minds.
So it is then that Salvation becomes, for the Arminian, a matter of choice and choosing. As a Universalist however, I see this as a chink in the armor/point of attack in the matter. For choosing and choice surely must be “works” it seems to me. No, they say, choice is not “a work”. Romans 9:16 they are sure I’ve taken “out of context” and leave that text alone.
Then comes this however – and here’s how you put it in this brief essay:
And I agree, this is a very compelling point. However, (and this is where I drift away from the point you were making) I’d like to make an observation and ask a related question.
If the obvious answer is that I can’t be praised for my choice (and I think it is obvious) then it should logically be equally obvious that neither should I be blamed for my choice.
But that then becomes very awkward doesn’t it? I’ve become (having heard it from the dawn of my time) indoctrinated that it IS “my fault”, that I AM to “blame” and that I AM responsible! So confusion (and having it both ways) on this point becomes almost inevitable doesn’t it?
Therefore, with this as set up, I’d like to ask you what your ideas are on the notion of “blame”. Does this word/concept even belong in the conversation any more in light of our shared belief in Universalism? Can we equate blame with condemnation? – something the bible says explicitly God does not do? Is “blame talk” simply a vestige of our fallen ways of thinking? – God preferring talk of healing and solving and forgiving and recreating and redeeming and so on.