The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Michael McClymond on Universalism

Dear All (and Dr. Talbott particularly)–

The Inescapable Love of God has been out since 1999, so not surprisingly I am not the first online commentator who has noticed and commented on Talbott’s idea that some people pay for their own sins through suffering–apart from being forgiven.

With a simple Google search I found two bloggers who previously commented on the same passage that I commented on–the first with an unfavorable spin on this passage, and the other with a favorable interpretation. FYI, here are the links: … gment.html … elove.html

From the posting of a few days ago, it seems that you, Dr. Talbott, now reject the idea that you presented in 1999. (I recall that you used the word “absurd.”)

Is this so? We are all entitled to have a change of mind. Augustine wrote a book of Retractiones


Hi Dr Mike,

Thank you for your [second to] last response. I’ve read various things that question if Gregory of Nyssa was a universalist. I recall that there is no challenge to Gregory’s belief about postmortem conversions and his belief that everybody could eventually be saved. This implies that the debate about Gregory involves whether he was a hopeful universalist or a definite universalist. Or do you suggest that his hopeful universalism is in question?

I quoted rather more extensively from the end of that chapter of Inescapable for context, here at the parallel thread collecting their discussions.

The short pithy version is that Dr. Mike has selectively chosen (though perhaps inadvertently) not to quote immediate portions of Dr. T, the context of which would instantly demolish his interpretations. Extended context doesn’t help Dr. M’s critique either, but leaving off an immediate clause which indicates exactly the opposite of Dr. Mike’s critiques, can’t help but look… convenient.

Dear All–

In light of some of certain recent publications on Nyssa, I’m really not sure what to think about Nyssa. Perhaps a hopeful universalist? Maybe. Is that your take Jim (Goetz)? Is there something I should read toward that end? Please let me know. Your proposal would, perhaps, fit with Baghos’s reading of Nyssa.

In Ramelli I see a kind of “Nyssa-fication” of Origen taking place. It doesn’t seem that she admits differences between them. And so her Origen looks a lot like that guy of the 4th century. But Origen is not Nyssa, and Nyssa is not Origen.

Ramellis’ views on Nyssa and on Maximus are not those of most other patristic scholars. The disparity in interpreting Maximus is especially clear. Polycarp Sherwood documented Maximus’s anti-Origenism in a volume published in the 1950s. Hans Urs von Balthasar (a hopeful universalist) agreed with Sherwood’s work to the effect that Maximus is anti-Origenist. See Balthasar’s Cosmic LIturgy, where Balhasar affirms that Maximus was opposed to Origen. And then Nick Constas–whose translation of Maximus’s Ambigua just appeared–agrees with Sherwood and Balthasar.

One could argue that Origen was NEVER understood by anyone–Nyssa, Maximus, Jerome, Augustine, the Fifth Ecumenical Council. But that seems implausible. One wonders why a scholar of the twenty-first century would claim to understand Origen properly if no one previously did so.

See also my earlier post in which one Patriarch of Constantinople (Scholarius) calls Origen the “fount of foul doctrines” and seems to regard Origen’s denial of the eternity of hell as worse than the Arian heresy.

I have looked into nineteenth- and twentieth-century Greek Orthodox theologians (little read–since they wrote in modern Greek) and they sound a lot like Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, or Calvin on an eternal two-fold destiny. Origen gets rehabilitated in the mid-1900s, primarily by French Jesuits. It simply isn’t the case that “the East” accepted and embraced universalism as part of its tradition through the centuries. This particular myth is younger than many of the people reading this blog.

If you all read nothing else that I posted earlier, consider the list of about seventy or so non-universalists that Brian Daley describes and documents. In Ramelli you get a highly selective database, and even that has been played with.

Jason Pratt–??? Talbott said some people are never forgiven. Right? They pay the price themselves. Right? I didn’t make that up. How else can one interpret this? I guess one could say that God = love = purifying love = hell = suffering. In that case one could then say that being plunged into the fire is a form of “salvation by grace.” But Talbott in this passage (pp. 105-6) speaks of two ways of coming into relationship with God–one of which involves suffering and the other of which does not. So there is a split vision here–according to Talbott’s own language about the “alternate strategy.”

One way out of the “split vision” or “split outcome” would be to see all sufferings–whether of this life or of the life beyond–as having a purifying effect. I call this the “karma-ization” strategy. (Some early American Universalists taught this rather explicitly.) But Talbott seeks to be more evangelical than this. As I read him, he does not want to make suffering the Savior but keep Christ the Savior. Salvation must be possible without suffering for one’s sins, because Christ suffered for our sins. (A bona fide substitutionary suffering.) Yet, as Talbott presents it, not everyone is saved in this seemingly “evangelical” way.


Hi Jason –

Just a note to say that the all round level the playfield hectoring from me is just a cultural thing – we do it in England to get a result :laughing:  Thanks everyone for taking it in good part. It’s just my little way of saying ‘Yoo hoo everyone this is good; this is important!!!’ :smiley: And thanks to all for responding and not begin too offended.

Jason – I have enormous respect for you and for your scholarship and count you a friend. You are very right that I’ve waffled on at this thread and then every now and then have focussed well:-D On this thread and other I’ve been covering the history if Universalism from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century rather than just the nineteenth century. Just me being defensive now for a second here :smiley: I will say that I’ve rarely started a thread and usually responded to other’s questions – so I’ve been pretty well mannered here :smiley:.

After I’ve finished my break ) I’ve been off for a week proper and intend to have another off too– I’ll think about drawing stuff together on return . I think I may just be able to get away for home once a month now long enough to spend a day at the British Library. All that I need to do is have a look at some vital primary sources for clarity –passages from Origen’s homilies on Scripture and from Erasmus; Paraphrases on the new Testament and his Annotations on the Textus Receptus. Then I think I’ll feel confident that I know enough to write some stuff up in essay form – and will actually be writing good enough sense. My old boos was Professor Bob Owens is an expert on John Bunyan and the Authorised Version of the Bible – I’m in contact with him still fleetingly and will have a chat with him too if I can (well he’s the best I’ve got to hand here)

Hi Mike -

‘Karmatisation’ ? – Karma is a doctrine found in Eastern Religions that believe in Reincarnation (Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism , Taoism and in sects of Esoteric Shia Islam such as the Druze and the Ismailis). It is locked into the idea that birth and death are part of the endless wheel of becoming and suffering (samsara) from which we seek to escape (moksha). Also – certainly in traditional Hinduism – it is part and parcel of the ideology that upholds the caste system. So I’m not sure that this is a good term to use for reaping what you sow. Yes a small minority of Universalists have believed in Reincarnation – the Nestorian Church of the East, and a few individuals inspired by Lurianic Kabbala for example. The Ancient Church of the Far East’ may well have believed in karma in this way and in Christ as liberator from samsara. But in Lurianic Kabbala – that inspired Lady Anne Conway and Van Helmont for example -reincarnation (gilgul), is placed in a life affirming context as opposed to a world denying noel. Each time a person is reincarnated this is for their perfecting through their hallowing of the world and service to their neighbours– and it is in the last incarnation that their body is so infused with Spirit that they can return to communion with God – body, soul and spirit.

You know Dr. Ramelli is actually corresponding with you over in the other thread, right?

Wrong. I quoted what he wrote extensively; he never says some people are NEVER forgiven. He says some people are not let off from being punished, and so are not (not “never”) forgiven in that very limited sense, but the goal of the punishment is forgiveness, and the result of the punishment is only forgiveness. When you neglected to quote the second half of his sentence, you left that out (not even counting the context of the rest of that section you were quoting from).

Wrong, he never says they pay the price themselves. He explicitly says Jesus paid the price and that some people will go the long way to accepting that Jesus paid the price for them.

But yes, you’re making this up. I’m sorry but there’s no other way to say it. I’ll accept if you say you don’t realize you’re making it up, but it will still remain wildly convenient that the points of his sentence you neglect to quote would count strongly against your interpretation.

You could start by including all the relevant data and not some brief parts which look like they fit your theory taken in isolation. Otherwise it’s a moot question, because he demonstrably didn’t say what you’re charging him with, and said much the opposite on significant points.

That’s a lot closer at least to what he actually wrote, where twice for example he talks about the problem of sinners being in conflict with the Holy Spirit Who as the 3rd Person of God still always has an attitude of forgiveness and seeks the salvation of the sinner from sin; also salvation from punishment where applicable, but Who is willing to punish sinners so far as necessary in purifying love to lead them to accept the forgiveness and sacrifice of Christ for their sake. (And by the same token, to lead them to cooperatively sacrifice themselves with Christ in following Christ.)

Again, you’re leaving off the point of connection. The “alternate strategy” still leads to the only way of coming into relationship with God, accepting the voluntary sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This is expressly the point you neglected to quote. You’re the one foisting a split vision into what he wrote, which is nothing in principle other than an extended version of “Saul, Saul, how hard it is for you to kick against the goads” (though he doesn’t cite that parallel.)

to deal with what he actually wrote. That’s really the only way “out of” the split outcome you’re talking about.

I’m sure he would/will say the same thing, only in a nicer way. :slight_smile:

Incidentally for anyone who hasn’t read the extensive quoting yet, or gone to the actual book recently – “split vision” or “split outcome” isn’t a quote from Dr. T, though Dr. M may not have meant to imply that and was only using double quote marks to emphasize concepts he thinks he’s talking about from Dr. T but isn’t. I will strenuously emphasize again that Dr. T says THERE IS ONLY ONE OUTCOME! And that one place Dr. T says this is where Dr. M stopped short of quoting him.

Really, this isn’t even a question of agreeing or disagreeing with Dr. Talbott; you aren’t even talking about what he was actually saying yet, except in such a radically truncated and piecemeal fashion that you’re filling in the gaping holes with something completely different than what he was saying.

Not what Dr. T does. Nor does he even slightly have to do this. Nor is it a corollary to what he does.

Even PSA proponents of the crudest (and quite non-trinitarian) sort still think the saving Christ (or at least one of the other Persons of God if not Christ(!)) punishes with the rod some of whom He intends to save. The suffering Savior still goads Saul into accepting the suffering Savior.

So if what you’re complaining about is that not all people are saved by the suffering Savior without first some suffering themselves inflicted by the suffering Savior (their own suffering not being what saves them), then you need to take that up with Paul and Luke and some other canonical authors, and like 99% of Christendom through all Christian history. Because that’s all Dr. T is saying.

He differs with the 99% on the scope and persistence of Christ’s action (with the 1st and 3rd Persons) to save sinners from sin, and thus on how far God will go on that where applicable.

(Though actually in more recent years Dr. Talbott has I think moved to being more optimistic about how effective God’s healing will be in bringing people, including by resurrection, to a point of repenting of their sins and accepting Christ’s salvation without being impenitent and so without needing post-mortem punishment. That isn’t a shift of the principles from back in this book, though, only a difference in expecting how God will put those principles into action. I’m less optimistic about that and we’ve had some discussion on it.)

Hi Mike, I still suppose that Gregory was a definite universalist, but if I am wrong, then he was a hopeful universalist. Chapters 13-15 of my 2012 Conditional Futurism: New Perspective of End-Time Prophecy [in part] look at Gregory’s and Augustine’s and the Fifth Ecumenical Council’s view of possible postmortem conversions and the conversion of evil spirits including Satan. Ironically, Emperor Justinian’s introduction to the Council honored Gregory and Augustine among a handful of other church fathers while condemning Origen. The irony involved Gregory’s clear support of postmortem conversions and the eventual conversion of evil spirits. All in all, I did not go into the recent criticism of Gregory’s universalism because my book never addressed definite universalism, which I plan to address in future works. The criticism looked weak to me and only challenges if Gregory was a definite universalist and never challenges if he believed in postmortem conversions and eventual conversion of evil spirits. If you like, I will let you know when I put together an analysis of Gregory’s universalism.

I agree that Gregory has major differences compared to his predecessor Origen. Gregory believed in a finite beginning of creatures and an everlasting progress of creatures instead of Origen’s view that everything will restore to original perfect, which sounds off to me. I also appreciate Gregory’s support of the Trinity. Since I have only one life to live, I study only summaries and small portions of Origen while I focus more on Gregory.

AN obscure note on Karma and the ancient Church of the Far East. Regarding my post above - I’d like to nuance my obscure point. The Jesus Sutras of this Church - that was eventually persecuted out of existence - cerintaly take on board the metaphysics of the people they are meant for, but they are no rooted in pessimism about the goodness of the world that we find in many schools of ascetic Hinduism and in the Hinayana school of Buddhism in which samara - the wheel of birth and death - is often seen as an unmitigated disaster from which we should seek to escape. Rather the process of salvation/liberation is seen in terms of Mahayana Buddhism. This rejects the monastic asceticism of earlier schools - and has as it’s hero figure the Bodhisattva (which I’ve posted about elsewhere here0. Also samsara - the wheel of becoming - is seen as the place where loves work is done through transforming compassion as the lotus flowers out of the sludge and silt at the bottom of a pond. A bloke named Martin Palmer wrote a very good book on the Jesus Sutras :slight_smile:

And Origen did not believe/teach the transmigration of souls - that’s is for certain and can be demonstrated from his commentates on Scripture.

Another obscure and scholarly note here for Mike and others with nothing better to read –

In an earlier post you mentioned the influence of the Florentine Neo Platonic Academy’s appropriation of the ‘Corpus Hermeticum’ upon Christian Universalism. As I have shown a long way up thread the key Hermetic text – the Poimander – while being more positive about the universe than classical Gnosticism was certainly not Universalist. Also the Florentine Neo-Platonists are not on record as advocating for the doctrine of apocatastasis. Their ‘universalism; was more akin to UUC doctrine today – they believed in a Prisci Thelogi in which Orpheus, Zoroaster, Hermes Trismegistus, , Jewish Kabbala, Proclus and Plotinus and the Bible were saying the same thing – but they were aristocratic and elitist in their ‘universalism’. Also they misinterpreted Origen with Neo-Platonic glasses when in fact Origen was a Christian Platonist – like the other Greek early Church Fathers -not a Neo Platonists (he argued passionately against the Neo-Platonists Celsus – especially no the grounds that Celsus was a snob).

I’m not sure that Hermes Trismegitus had much influence on Boheme actually – his thought world is inspired by the Theologia Germanica, Pseudo Dionysus, the Discarded Image of the Medieval World Picture, and Lutheran Pietism primarily (perhaps with some influences from Christian Cabbala ( Jewish Kabbala, Christian Cabbala and Occultist Qabbala are the different spellings/meanings of the term I gather). Certainly the Prisic Theologia had an influence on some more marginal thinkers that we cannot identify as universalists in Origneist terms – for example the mysticism of High grade Masonry of a Martinez de Pasqually and his ‘Elect Cohens’ has all of the aristocratic hallmarks of Florentine Neo-Platonic inspiration and of course the magical angel summoning rites (which Louis Claude de St Martin rejected when he became a Boehemnist and also resigned from High Grade Masonry). Obviously this elitism persisted in deeply trivial, shady occultist, quasi fascist figures like Julius Evlova and Aleister Crowley in the twentieth century who sought to become as God (and declared that the weak should go to the wall).

Last year I read a book by James D. Heiser ‘The Prisci Theologi and the Hermetic Reformation in the Fifteenth Century’. He is an ultra conservative American Lutheran Bishop ( but no friend to Calvinists because he has also edited and published an early Lutheran fulminating and polemical tract against the Calvinists). Heiser does not mention Christian universalist in this book per se – but he is keen to see the Hermetic Prisci Theologi as the fountain head of all modern ills – post modernism, relativism, lack of belief in hell etc. His key and much used secondary source for this attack is D.P. Walker’s classic ‘Spiritual and Demonic Magic from Ficino to Campanella’ (but he does nor reference D.P. Walker’s other classic ‘The Decline of Hell’).

D.P. Walker was a good friend of one of my favourite scholars, Professor M.A. Screech. I’ve just spent a delightful hour reading Screech’s book Ecstasy and Praise of Folly’. It turns out that he and Walker had many productive scholarly discussions about how Erasmus rejected the Florentine Neo-Platonist for the Platonism of Origen and Athanasius (and I’m still happy to enumerate the reason why I think Erasmus both inclined to universalism and was the level in the dough for of the non sectarian and orthodox tradition in the modern world. Also I’m close to tracking down the Universalist tradition about the salvations for Judas – I think it probably does come from Origen’s commentary on the Gospel Matthew (from hints in Screech). Now if there is one man I’d love to speak to it is M.A. Screech – he’s very old but still alive and kicking and in England. Hmmmmmm

Yours dull as dishwater


Dear Dr Mike – putting aside all Erasmian irony here – why don’t you pull your lecture and three seminars off of Youtube? You are a kind, decent man and a fine scholar with an ecumenical vision. Whatever shape your book eventually takes the stuff on Youtube at the moment is so full of errors and half truths and it is rousing others to hate Christian Universalists with holy hatred. THE Lecture is delivered in a very decisive and polemical manner – it’s not a tentative opener to wider discussion. You must know that in the hands of people less kind and less open minded than you it could lead to American non sectarian universalists – loyal members of Churches which also contain ECT believers, Annihilationist and Wider Hopers probably –being treated as scapegoats.

If you pulled them off you’d have my respect and the respect of all here. You’d get the respect of your pupils and colleagues too – for admitting to begin wrong and grasping the nettle rather than opting for a slow car crash option. We’ve all made mistakes in our lives – I know I’ve made some big ones.

You don’t have to become a universalist, but your book - if it is to be a platform for scholarly dialogue – which I understand Robin Parry has hopes about – will need to be far more measured and far more factual – making proper distinctions between what is impossible. What is possible, what is probable, and what is certain in terms of historical reconstruction and of what most mainstream universalists actually believe today.
I think you’d be much respected if you did this.

In Christ our Hen


I’ve been super-busy at ‘work’ work the past few days, which has reduced my free time for posting research and analysis during the day (I’m a manager who doesn’t get vacations so I have permission from the owner :wink: ), and hasn’t left me much energy after work for doing anything other than crashing into a nap – and then all my materials are at the office not at the house so continuing at night isn’t much of an option.

However, I’m working on summarizing Dr. Ramelli’s main entry on Maximos the Confessor – not transcribing because even I would get tired of typing out 20 small-font pages, and it would surely be illegal anyway! But hopefully detailed enough that readers can compare what she’s saying with what Dr. M and his sources are saying. Including what Dr. M is saying about her, since he’s charging her with irresponsible interpretation from minimally selective data at best.

{cough cough pot kettle marijuana hack} :unamused: :wink:

Hopefully I can get that up later today, though I’ll probably consolidate it over in the Dr. M vs. Dr. R thread and then link over to that from here.

Okay, I have now posted up a very extensive summary of Dr. Ramelli’s analyses on Maximus the Confessor from her main section on him (she talks about him elsewhere, too):

I realize it’s messy topically, and I hope to write a summary of the summary later pulling the points together better, but I was following her order of presentation. This should provide a good snapshot of material to work from in comparing her to other scholars in evaluating Maximus.

Meanwhile, Dr. Talbott replies to Dr. McClymond again over in the collected thread for that topic:

So. Let’s talk about Balthasar for a minute. Here’s a handy recap of what Dr. McClymond said upthread:

He says a few other things, too, afterward, for example how Balthasar was wrong about Maximus being an Origenist and how Balthasar was right about Maximus being anti-Origenist. (As Dr. R notes Balthasar is correct about Maximus picking up the actual teaching of Origen, including on universal salvation, and running with it albeit in a covert fashion convenient with his socio-political situation; while also observing in detail that Maximus attacks the Origenists of his day and the day of Justinian – on points that Origen himself would have strenuously disagreed with them about.)

Be that as it may; my concern this morning is on Dr. M’s claims about Balthasar’s trinitarianism being radically defective, nothing more than bi-nitarian, ignoring the work of the Holy Spirit.

Now, God knows I am far from the world’s greatest expert on the work of Hans Urs Von Balthasar (on the work of Lewis, maybe. :wink: Balthasar, no.) But even as a rank amateur, and not even counting all the other places Dr. M has confidently critiqued someone and been demonstrably proven wrong, that sounded suspicious to me. I’ve read enough Balt references at secondhand to know he put at least as much stress on the Holy Spirit as the New Testament does; he even wrote over 500 pages of his systematic theology on the Holy Spirit, and wrote enough essays on the Spirit for them to be collected into an even larger supplementary tome. So the idea that he is just completely ignoring the work of the Holy Spirit is just as completely wrong as it stands.

But okay, maybe Dr. M is correct to report that Balthasar completely ignores the Holy Spirit in his little book on Christology and the importance of the Incarnation as the central fact of history. It would hardly be the first time a devotedly trinitarian theologian wrote a monograph on one part of the Trinity without mentioning another part because topically he focused on something else.

Still, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to send out for a copy of A Theology of History and look for myself. At worst I’d have another interesting book on the shelf.

Dr. M is talking about chapter 3, “Christ the Norm of History”. Anyone following along with tracking Dr. M’s claims may now proceed to have a heart attack from not-surprise to learn that Balthasar opens up this chapter with a discourse on the importance of the Holy Spirit in Christ’s actions during the 40 days, and Pentacost, and after Pentacost until today.

But, does Balthasar perhaps stop talking about the Holy Spirit in the particular section of this chapter concerning the 40 Days? – even though he already established the context in the preceding section, so that any reader with at least a junior high school reading competency might remember he emphasized the Spirit’s role in what Christ was doing during that time?

To the surprise of absolutely no one anywhere with the slightest grasp of Balthasar’s theology, he does indeed mention the importance of the work of the Holy Spirit during the 40 Days. Granted, this may be the section in the chapter Balthasar mentions the Spirit least often, but he does mention Him with key importance.

Is Dr. McClymond at least correct on what would be the entirely trivial claim that Balthasar never even mentions Pentacost?

Nope, smack in the middle of the section talking about the 40 Days, page 90 in the standard Ignatius edition, Balthasar writes that the 40 Days anticipated the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentacost, and mentions Pentacost a couple more times while taking a moment to account for the sequence of Christ breathing the Holy Spirit on the disciples in GosJohn up through the descent of the Spirit in Acts.

After talking about the 40 Days for a while, including the Spirit’s important role in it, Balthasar spends a few pages (following out the scheme he sets up in the first section of the chapter about “The Role of the Holy Spirit”) talking about sacraments and their importance in the life of the church and the importance of the Holy Spirit in relation to the sacraments. Maybe Dr. McClymond skipped over this section because he rejects any idea of the sacraments; but then Balthasar goes on to talk about “The Mission of the Christian and the Church’s Tradition”, which one might have expected even a radically anti-Catholic Protestant to think was somewhat relevant to discuss, and once again Balthasar talks about the importance of the Holy Spirit in this regard, too.

It may be true that Balthasar doesn’t specifically talk about the precise moment of Pentacost per se, the descent of the spirit upon the disciples in the upper room – I don’t recall seeing that in the chapter – but he does talk about Pentacost and the importance of Pentacost in principle. In effect he says Pentacost, the baptism of the holy spirit, is still going on in the life of the Church. He even uses the word “Pentacost” a few times in case he has any readers so dull as to think he wasn’t talking about Pentacost if he happened not to use the term (although why any readers that dull would be reading Balthasar of all people, I can only leave to the imagination of God.) I think he might even use the term “Pentacost” most often in this chapter in the very section where Dr. McCly was complaining about him never even referring to Pentacost!

And while it is true that Balthasar happens not to mention the Holy Spirit in this chapter as often as he talks about the Son – just like almost every theologian ever in Christian history when talking about both Christ and the Holy Spirit in any given work (including the canonical authors, not-incidentally) – it is also true that he mentions the Spirit a lot, with highly important roles in each section of the chapter.

Think of this: Dr. Mike apparently thinks he has the right to flatly ignore what Balthasar says about the Holy Spirit, not only across his whole body of work, and not only throughout the book Dr. Mike is referencing, but across the breadth of the very chapter of that book Dr. Mike cites for critiquing Balthasar along this line. And then Dr. Mike thinks he has the right, after doing this, to accuse Von Balthasar of ignoring the work of the Holy Spirit and being practically bi-nitarian in his theology, and even “never more than bi-nitaria[n]”.

Please, Dr. McClymond. Please think about what you are doing. You are setting up to slander numerous people, for less than no good reason, and most of your audience won’t be in a position to know how radically wrong you are (much less how so very often you’re radically wrong) – they’ll believe you because non-experts are supposed to trust experts. No misrepresentation can serve God, but such gross misrepresentation… you wouldn’t want someone to treat you the way you’re treating Balthasar and Dr. Talbott (and Dr. Ramelli for that matter), would you?!?



Thanks, Jason, for the brief on von Balthasar.

I’m in the process of moving, and I completely forgot about Dr. McClymond’s claims about von Balthasar’s supposed binitarianism. Somehow I had missed that his major complaint was that von Balthasar has supposedly not given due diligence to the Spirit in Theology of History (which, despite my reading a hefty chunk of vB, is one of the many books of his I haven’t gotten around to). As you correctly note, to complain that von Balthasar doesn’t pay enough attention to the Spirit by invoking one solitary book while failing to acknowledge any references to the Spirit in his actual systematic theology is odd, to say the least.

Your avatar continues to make me chuckle, Dale–I mean “Arlenite”. :wink:

I’m no theologian or philosopher, but I do hope Dr Mike is honest with himself in what he says in the book. Jason’s last paragraph is work repeating…

I wanted to put this out there again for Dr. Mike. I second Jason here—think about what you’re saying and search your conscience. If what you write is honest and based on conclusions you’ve come to in a thorough, honest and open-minded investigation of the evidence, then great! :smiley: But make sure it is ,indeed, “thorough and open-minded” Otherwise—perhaps purgatory awaits? :wink: Yes, that was uncalled for and unnecessary, I admit. Couldn’t help myself, though…. :laughing:

That would be odd enough. To miss the many numerous references to the importance of the work of the Holy Spirit in that book, and in that chapter, and even in that section of the chapter (not even counting the claim that Balt doesn’t even mention Pentacost, in the section of that chapter where he appears to explicitly mention Pentacost most often)…?

That’s… that is so waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay beyond weird. I can’t even imagine what source Dr. Mike might have been working from secondarily which would have made those claims, by which he was inadvertently misled – though I guess someone somewhere must be capable of making those claims while pretending to know what they’re talking about. :open_mouth:

I know it’s harsh to say “pretending to know what they’re talking about”, but… man. What am I supposed to say instead?

Imagine if Dr. McClymond had written some large books on the topic of the Holy Spirit, and often spoke of the importance of the work of the Holy Spirit (which for all I know is entirely true), including often in a small book focusing more on the historical importance of the Incarnation, including in a chapter where Dr. Mike starts with affirming the importance of the Holy Spirit in the post-resurrection ministry of Jesus, starting during the 40 Days and continuing into the present day, with special mention of the importance of Pentacost in one of the sections of those chapters.

Now imagine I came along and confidently reported to people that Dr. McClymond ignored the Holy Spirit so much in favor of Christology (after basically accusing Dr. Mike of being practically Gnostic in Christology and then being caught on that) that he has never been more than practically binitarian, verging naturally into unitarianism (somehow from bi-nitarianism per se which is a very different theology from any unitarianism even without reference to the Holy Spirit as a distinct 3rd Person), and then cited that book and that chapter as an example of Dr. Mike’s flagrant disregard for the work of the Holy Spirit, adding by the way that in that section of the chapter where Dr. McClymond actually mentions Pentacost the most he never even mentions Pentacost.

Is that how you would want me to treat you and your work, Dr. McClymond?

Because that’s literally how you’re treating Von Balthasar!

I would really like to hear what [tag]Dr Mike[/tag] has to say about all this? Perhaps he’s busy writing/revising?

He might just be busy doing ‘work’ work. :slight_smile: I doubt he thinks much about us during the week compared to all the other things he’s doing; doctorates are usually busy teaching, preaching, etc.