I’m just curious as to what everyone thinks about this apparent resurgence in Universalism, particularly as it and things like it are beginning to show up in the books of major Christian authors. Do you think it’s likely to help or harm the Christian universalist position?
The reason I ask is that what I’m beginning to hear from what I call "the guardians of theological confusion…er…conservatism ", is “Here we go again, a bunch of popular Christian authors are starting to be deceived and resurrecting the old heresies once more, etc., etc.”
Do we think that this is yet another rise of universalism doomed to fall back into the shadows of mainstream evangelical christianity, or do we think that this is the beginning of what will be the rising tide that eventually overwhelms the world (including the church) with the truth that Jesus is actually the savior of the world; that he will actually “git-er-done”?
No clue. I know what I wish would happen, but I really don’t expect that until the eschaton.
On the other hand, I have a suspicion that if, in effect, Calvs and Arms (Protestant or otherwise) teamed up together to proclaim God’s persistent salvation of all sinners from sin, Satan would think he’s about to lose the game on Earth and kick off the Tribulation to try to stop it.
I hope not. I think the theological climate is ripe to move on from the Dark Age’s view of Hell. Lewis has done a lot of good ground work, in giving people a different view of what Hell could look like. EU is the next step.
Unfortunately it can take generations to change deeply embedded theology, however, at least unlike the Reformation, this time we won’t get burned at the stake for having a different point of view (which in-and-of itself shows that there is an opportunity now). Also the Internet is a blessing in that it enables the lay person to hear other points of view from around the world, we no longer are restricted to just the teaching of the local church. i.e. one person can influence millions around the work, something not possible even 20 years ago. It’s similar to the advent of the printing press that allowed lay people to read the bible for themselves.
As an optimistic post-millennialist, I believe that overall things are slowly improving e.g. thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, isn’t just wishful thinking, but something that we are praying into reality. Like the rock in Daniel that grows to be a mountain that cover all the earth, the exponential curve has to start some day, so why not today I get the impression from Robin that he thinks we are at a point of change.
No offence to Unitarians but the Universalist Church of America seemed to fizzle after they combined with the Unitarian Association. This time around, I’m hoping the focus on Evangelical/Trinitarian Universalism will fare better…
I can’t speak for Jason, however, I would expect that from Satan’s (& possibly the fallen world’s) perspective, Satan is initiating it (whereas in reality, it’s all part of God’s plan).
I think the biggest difference now, compared to times-gone-by, is the internet. There are certain issues and topics which are taboo in ‘normal church’ but the internet is an explosion in exchanges and understanding, comparable to when the bible was first broadcast in the lingua franca.
The Gene is out of the bottle. (Or the Spirit is moving)
If the ironic statement of many T.V/media evangelists be true - “All kinds of doctrines are popping up/all kinds of people are spreading around the idea that everybody will eventually get into Heaven. (followed usually by the; “That’s not true! There is an Eternal Hell!” statement)” then it would seem that Universal Reconciliation is not only on the rise, but being more widely expected than we are officially let on, or allowed to know…I again mention the irony, that not only does such a statement encourage us that the Spirit is spreading the Truth - but that more and more people are accepting it. And even more ironic! Is that for as much as the number of people and preachers accepting Universal Reconiciliation is downplayed, at the same time they by such admittance leak out that very same amount of progress that they seek to downplay! Atleast they seem to downplay it, at any rate. Or else hide it under the usually false idea that people no longer believe in “absolute truth”, when in reality it is not that they don’t believe in absolute truth (as they actually do), they just don’t believe in the absolute infallibility of preachers or seminaries, or absolute infallibility in their interpretations.
I think it’s interesting that when the truth begins to rise, lots of false versions of it tend to arise at the same time in order to make it easy to downplay the real truth that is being expressed. It’s easier to believe the status quo than to wade through all the versions of UR and decide if one of them is correct.
Mixture of falsehood with truth (to slow the progress of understanding of truth) is the oldest trick in the book and the Adversary uses it well.
Fortunately, we have a promise that (eventually) we will know the truth, and it will set us free…
Yeah, This is another strange reason I am starting to find UR convincing. Parallel-I was a 9/11 truther. The mainstream media would give some of the more outlandish theories some play, such as those that are about the “illuminati”, and those that hinge on “controlled demolition” of the towers, while ignoring those that have intellectually respectable backstories about oil, defense contractors, financial motives, and other such plausible motivations. Who would have the motive(s) for an “inside job” I understood to be more important than whether or not there was a controlled demolition. Well, now that I have outed myself as one of those crazies for the purposes of illustration, let me say that I find it odd that Rob Bell’s book is generating mainstream buzz, while Macdonald/Parry’s did not. Bell’s lack of clarity on UR and possible lack of orthodoxy on non-afterlife matters serve to discredit universalism, while the same might not happen if MacD’s book was more widely read and generating buzz. Hopefully, some people will see it on Amazon’s “recommended” page while looking at Bell’s book.