Roger Olson, Ev. Arminian, Asks "How heretical is UR?"


On his blog at , Roger Olson is having a discussion about Universalism and assuming that its wrong (which he assumes), how serious is it as a heresy?

Lots of comments- interesting stuff. The last several of his blog posts have dealt with it. Any thoughts…?

Here’s a sample:

For some context- I have heard from his previous blogs that Olson is some type of inclusivist, and via the Homebrewed Christianity Podcast interview with him that he is beginning to be interested in Open Theism.

On the heresy of universalism

Don’t ECT proponents claim that all will be coerced to bow the knee in Philippians 2?


I, for one, believe BOTH of the following:

  1. All normal, healthy people have libertarian free will.
  2. All normal, healthy people will be reconciled to God through their own choice.

How can both of these be true? It’s the time factor. No one can hold out forever.

We can compare this with tossing a die. Suppose the 6 represents reconciliation with God, and the other five numbers represent something apart from this reconciliation. Theoretically, it is possible to toss the die forever without turning up a 6. But practically, a 6 will turn up approximately once every six tosses. I know it’s not a great analogy, because dice do not have free will. However the point is that some things which are theoretically possible are practically imposssible.

As Tom Talbott points out, it is irrational to go one suffering pain forever, if there is a way to be delivered from it.


I think people are blind.

Once they see, they will understand His love and love Him back.


That’s the way I see it also. I was blind but now I see. People are now blind and dead in thier sin, they cannot see unless God first place a ray of light in their dark minds. God is now collecting the firstfruit, then the final harvest.


No, that wasn’t me. He sounds far more intelligent than I am. :laughing:


I like his def. of neo-fundamentalism… you just find them everywhere :laughing:

Roger said “(Sidebar regarding neo-fundamentalism: A neo-fundamentalism is someone who will take what I have written here and claim I have affirmed universalism or at least given aid and comfort to heretics. A neo-fundamentalist, like a straightforward fundamentalist, is a person who cannot distinguish between non-absolute condemnation of error and error itself. Count on it. Some probably Southern Baptist heresy-hunting neo-fundamentalist will pick up on this blog post and spread it around as “proof” that Roger Olson harbors sympathies with universalism. That is, however, evidence of either a weak mind or ill will.)”

That last sentence is precious. :wink:


Great stuff! BTW I have now posted a comment on Roger’s latest post. It is currently being moderated, but should appear soon with my full name.


Thanks for this .andrew

There is so much to like about his attitude!

Lets not forget he’s far more worried (if that’s the right word) about the condemnation he’ll receive from his own “side” than he ever could be from criticism from ours.
And of course what I especially love is that … We’re talking about it!!
One needs to ask why it is even on this guys radar screen!!! --> because now it’s relevant! It’s pertinent!!
Maybe thanks to Rob Bell for this…??.. Bless Rob wherever he is!

Sure it’s a bit condescending (you are heretics; but your heresy is not too severe… GEE thanks dude!!!) but let’s not US be the ones with thin skin right??!!!

Get to know a Universalist and you’ll know the most embracing, warm, and optimistic Christian you’ve ever known! (Hope we can make that true!)



We - myself, Gene, and my dad, were talking about this at dinner. Roger is convinced that God couldn’t save people except by force and he wouldn’t do that. Gene said he’d be a good debate then with Talbott who believes God can voluntarily draw all men. Wouldn’t that be something if Talbott could convince him!


I have added some comments to that thread myself now. Good discussions up to the point I got there anyway! :laughing:


Just what is it in our hardened hearts that forces us to believe that God could not accomplish his end goal without coercion, anyway? :unamused:

So close, and yet so far away…

I agree though with Drew, that we do put too much emphasis on libertarian free will.

How “heretical” is UR? Far, far less than Arm. or Calv. theology! :mrgreen: