I was reading a blog by DW Congdon (prominent theo-blogger) where he gives a recap of a presentation given by Bruce McCormack at the 2007 Karl Barth Conference. McCormack is a professor a Princeton Theological Seminary. The title of the paper is: “That He May Have Mercy Upon All: Karl Barth and the Problem of Universalism”. Interested to hear the board’s take on this.
Here’s a recap of Congdon’s take on the presentation. Here’s the link, BTW.
fireandrose.blogspot.com/2007/06 … recap.html
His thesis had a few different levels: first, the Bible is much more universalistic than past Christians have been willing to acknowledge; second, the tension within Scripture is a divinely ordained tension that must be maintained in church dogma (thus churches go too far if they present limited atonement or universalism—the only real options—as dogma); and third, theologians who seek to explicate the doctrines of the faith in a more logical way should be allowed to smooth out some of these edges in a direction that favors universalism. He spent the most time arguing for the first part of his thesis. In the second part, he explained that the tension is divinely ordained because we are sinful humans. If the Bible definitely told us that all would be saved, we would fall into complacency; and if the Bible definitely told us that only some would be saved, we would fall into despair. Instead, the biblical witness presents an eschatological vision that has a clear universal horizon but refuses to determine the end of the story for us in advance of Christ’s return. For now, we must live within the biblical tension while allowing universalism to be a real theological option that actually makes better sense of Scripture than the alternatives.