Don’t forget Arthur Custance. In his Sovereignty of God he devotes an entire chapter to the possibility of universal restoration and although he does not actually take a dogmatic stance for it i would classify him as a hopeful universalist.
in PART V: THE FUTURE OF THE NON-ELECT
he writes the following…
It seems to me that the fate of the unsaved is not clearly revealed in Scripture, and has been greatly confused by centuries of imaginative thinking in a way that is probably detrimental to our understanding and may be a gross misrepresentation of the mind of God. For reasons which will be considered briefly later, the art of the Middle Ages became increasingly grotesque whenever its subject matter was the fate of the wicked. We find it difficult to escape from this cultural heritage.
So the problem of the future of the non-elect and how this is to be reconciled with the justice of God persists. And it seems proper in any book which deals with the Sovereignty of God’s Grace to make at least some attempt to sort these matters out a little bit even at the grave risk of being entirely misunderstood.
When I first became a Christian nearly forty-five years ago, I was enormously helped by a dear saint of God whose concern for my spiritual growth made her a veritable "mother in the Lord" to my soul. She had, at that time, found her thinking greatly stimulated by the writings of Andrew Jukes. Among his works which she had acquired was one by the title The Restitution of All Things. This volume presented a form of Universalism which attracted her and she asked me to read it and share my reactions with her. This I did. I found it stirred my thinking and aroused my interest in the possible fate of the unsaved for the first time. I had known the Lord for only about eighteen months, so it was perhaps not surprising that I had not previously given the matter much thought.
I visited a number of secondhand bookstores, and soon found other works which pursued equally unorthodox lines of thought on the subject. One of these was Farrar's Eternal Hope. This I did not feel happy about, though the level of my Christian thinking was admittedly far from informed
or sophisticated. However, I then searched for and found a copy of Mercy and Judgment by the same author, a volume which still left me unsatisfied because of some of the author’s presuppositions regarding the inspiration of Scripture which I felt were inadequate.
Shortly after this, I picked up a copy of Hanson’s Universalism in the First Five Hundred Years of the Christian Church, but in my poorly informed state of development I had a feeling I should view his data with caution, since I had no way of checking whether the extensive quotations he had extracted from the early Church Fathers were accurate and not out of context. But I did begin to feel that there were some valid arguments for questioning the deeply entrenched doctrine of everlasting punishment.
I soon added other works to a growing collection of volumes on the subject, some of them for and some against, one of which struck me with particular force because of the gentleness and spiritual tone that pervaded the author’s arguments against everlasting punishment. This was Samuel Cox’s Salvator Mundi. I have now some fourteen works on the subject and, thanks to the same dear child of God, I have also a complete set of the works of the Early Church Fathers in the Scribner thirty-eight volume edition under the titles Ante-Nicene, Nicene, and Post-Nicene Fathers. All these have been much studied, and I must admit that my personal views have swung back and forth somewhat over the years, resting today in the not altogether satisfactory position of being undecided in the matter.
There are, however, certain things about which I am fully persuaded. First, that the Lord is sovereign, gracious, and altogether just. He cannot allow sin to go unpunished. There is no salvation outside of Christ, nor any chance of escaping the penalty of our sins once we pass out of this life. The issue is not whether there is to be punishment, but whether punishment is to be endless. Outside of Christ there is no forgiveness in the hereafter (Matthew 12:32), but if punishment is to fit a temporal offense, the question is whether it needs to be interminable.
Secondly, when we come to glory and our understanding is enlarged beyond measure in the presence of the Lord, we shall undoubtedly say with exultation, "He has done all things well!"
Thirdly, our sense of time will be different, and we may well have a new understanding of what eternity really means.
Fourthly, we shall probably see very clearly the true significance of many facets of biblical truth which are beyond our comprehension at the present. We shall gain a new spiritual perspective which may well provide an entirely new understanding of many passages of Scripture which we take for granted we already understand well enough.
And lastly, I am tending towards the view that a firm answer may not yet be possible, because God does not intend us to know in this life what we do not need to know. We know only that those who are not yet saved are already under condemnation (John 3:18). For those who are saved, judgment is already past (Romans 8:1). Those who are already condemned are not condemned because God willed their unbelief, but because He decided to allow them to have their own way. As C. S. Lewis put it so effectively in The Great Divorce: *
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, "Thy will be done." All that are in hell choose the latter. Without that self-choice there could be no hell. No soul that seriously and consciously desires joy will ever miss it.
It is not difficult to see that a strong conviction that the lost are not lost forever might be harmful for those to whom the Lord has committed the preaching of the Gospel, unless there is at the same time some compensating reinforcement of their view of the terrors of being lost. Though we are not willing to admit it, all too many of us who know the Lord are comparatively unmoved by any conscious awareness of the fate of the unsaved. We are not sufficiently concerned to seek to pluck them out of the fire even though we pay lip service to a belief in everlasting punishment. There is little doubt that assurance of the ultimate safety of our unsaved loved ones would make us even more careless than we are already. It seems to me improbable that the precise nature of the future of the unsaved will be revealed to us on this side of the grave, since such a revelation could not serve a purpose sufficiently good to compensate for the evil that might be done. It might seem that we would be in a better position to vindicate the justice of God before those who challenge it, but experience shows that the people who challenge the justice of God are not really seeking answers but only seeking confirmation of their rejection of Him.
The following study must accordingly be accepted in the spirit in which it is presented, with a full awareness of the bias I have which, though far from fixed, nevertheless tends towards a somewhat more hopeful view than is current today in some segments of the evangelical community.
What follows is some very strong arguments in favor of universal restoration.
The entire text can be found here custance.org/Library/SOG/Part_V/Intro_Chapter18.html