Here is the 3-minute video clip and transcript of Robin Parry’s response to the question of whether Christians should call themselves “Universalists”? What do you think? How do you describe yourself?
I think the word ‘Universalist’ is ambiguous in most people’s minds, and that using it can be problematic unless one has a chance to explain what it means.
I agree with Parry that most evangelicals recognize that “universalism” means that God will reconcile all, and that this stark clarity can get their attention, even as it is problematic because it challenges their central paradigm that our divine destiny is about a final separation where most will be toast.
Indeed, on its own, it’s probably too broad to use without further explanation.
My impression is that the first thing that comes to most people is pluralism, “So you’re saying that everyone just gets saved regardless of what they believe or do?” Certainly gets attention and at least it’s an exchange regarding everyone’s fate but still hard to encourage people past that misunderstanding.
That’s a good point.
I don’t mean to suggest we should NOT call ourselves Universalists, of course, but it does seem to me we are usually misunderstood when we even claim to be a Christian! - unless we’re in a group that has the same background etc. If we are in a group of Christians and then drop the fact that we are Universalists, we can be sure of a lively dialogue!
So - what would your answer be to someone who does say “Oh, you mean anyone can do anything and it will all be okay in the end?”
Lively indeed! Hopefully, a dialogue too I try to gauge where someone is at. eg if someone says they’re an atheist I usually say something along the lines of, “I believe following Jesus is the most worthwhile way to live—he valued life, love, truth, beauty, goodness, mercy, integrity, honesty, and justice and so we should try to too.” If they already believe that, I may go on to say, something like, “When we ignore those things, we end up in a mess like the prodigal son.”
I’ve talked with oodles of non-believers and never come across that kind of remark… IF I had a dollar for every self-professed believer saying the same, well different story; I’d be a millionaire
There’s a very simple solution, which I use. I tell people I’m a Christian universalist.
Now that you mention it, I’d say that the majority of the people saying it to me are those who identify as believers, which deeply disturbs me.
Yes, true. OTOH when you ask many non-believers what they mean by ‘Christian’, you get lots of crazy stuff. And I would think the unbeliever would welcome a Universalist god - as THEY understand it.
Yes, I find most people open to a concept of a God who faithfully loves all people.