Jamie wasn’t condemning and judgmental, and that’s a relief.
First, I don’t think evangelical universalists are as unmotivated by the ‘text’ of Scripture as Jamie thinks. You can hardly get that from reading Robin’s EU. It really wrestles with the text and WANTS to be grounded in the text.
Second, Jamie assumes part of what’s being debated. He asks, “Are these hopes and imaginings sufficiently warranted to overturn the received, orthodox doctrines concerning final judgment and eternal damnation? Are these sufficient to overturn the narrative thrust of Scripture and the clearer reading of biblical passages that suggest otherwise?”
But is ECT really the true THRUST of the Scripture and is it really the CLEARER READING? Isn’t that what’s at stake in the debate?
Third, Jamie asks if the hope that UR is true is “sufficient for me to set aside centuries of the church’s theological reflection on these matters?”
I don’t think so at all. Just include those Orthodox fathers and saints whose reflection through the years establishes the minority opinion of UR.
And he asks, “Is my chronological snobbery warranted? Just how do I think my hopes and imaginings are somehow more faithful and merciful and just than the generations upon generations of my forebears in the Christian faith? (I’ll confess to being a kind of theological Burkean: it’s very hard for me to imagine that I am smarter or better than Augustine or John Calvin or Jonathan Edwards. I’m not generally given to whiggish theology.)”
Wow, three determinists! Ouch. Which do I choose? I either think I’m smarter than Augustine and Edwards or smarter than Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Maximus. I’m a snob either way? True, if you JUST count heads, the ECTers have it. But Jamie either doesn’t know universalists have some very smart and uncondemned support in the Fathers and beloved Saints (recognized as such by the SAME tradition Jamie doesn’t want to snub) or he think minor traditions are no traditions at all.