Universalists need more than moral scruples, wishful thinking, and pious sentiment to refute (1)-(3) below.
(1) Universalism undermines the urgency of the Gospel by implying that we can wait and see if there really is a biblically-styled life after death and then respond appropriately.
(2) Christianity enjoyed its original phenomenal growth primarily for 2 reasons: (a) it offered a loving community to the socially marginalized. (b) It made its adherents feel uniquely blessed by the eternal life that they–and not their unbelieving fellow citizens–would receive after death.
(3) On his deathbed, Comedian W. C. Fields was thumbing through his Bible. A friend asked him: “What are you doing? You’re not a religious man?” Fields replied dead-pan: “Looking for loopholes! Looking for loopholes!” Well, all such loopholes are ruled out by all the exclusivistic biblical texts, especially those that pair “eternal life” with “eternal death.” Or are they?
How would you respond to (1)-(3) above?
My own response begins with Elihu’s declaration in Job 34;12: The Almighty will not pervert justice." It seems inconceivable to me that misguided humans can do anything in their brief sojourn on Earth to merit eternal conscious torment. In my view the greatest barrier to the effective evangelism of thinking people is the portrayal of an unlovable unjust God in evangelistic preaching. So I reject (1)-(3) on the basis of a blizzard of contrary texts from Jesus, Paul, 1 Peter, and the Book of Revelation. I will post my rationales in the appropriate section.