The Evangelical Universalist Forum

"Universalism is the new Christian orthodoxy"

“Universalism is the new Christian orthodoxy”

“…Is it safe to say that the post-Vatican II Church is functionally Universalist? Might that play a role? This would apply to most Mainline Prots as well. Yes, also far too many Orthodox parishes.”

“…I’d estimate that 95 – 98% of all the Catholics – including pastoral leaders – that I’ve ever worked with are functional universalists. Meaning that concerns regarding the personal salvation of anyone never cross their mind or affect their pastoral decisions and priorities.”

“…“Universalism” in this context means that all paths to God are equally valid, and that everyone will eventually be saved. It is a basic assumption of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”

“People who work in ministry, and who study religion professionally, are probably not going to be shocked by universalism’s prevalence in American religion today. People who live in bubbles of relative religious orthodoxy will be. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam relates a telling anecdote in his book “American Grace.” Research shows that the vast majority of American Christians agree with the view that anybody who is a good person may go to heaven (the implication being that belief in Jesus Christ is not necessary for salvation — a point of view completely at odds with the Gospel and with Christian tradition).” … nt-page-1/

Just a comment here. I think the “official” position, of the Roman Catholic Church is “hopeful universalism”. In other words, it’s OK to pray and hope, that everyone is saved. I do think that Roman Catholicism opens more doors, by officially embracing inclusivism (which is also the main doctrine, of most mainline Protestant churches. And the majority opinion, of the Eastern Orthodox).

I do recall a Roman Catholic poster here, who wanted to also embrace universalism (in the past year or so). The priest told him, what I am sharing here, regarding the R.C. official position.

Personally, I take many theological elements, from Roman Catholic, Franciscan clergy member and theologian Richard Rohr at Center for Action and Contemplation. I share elements of theology with him, as well as the Eastern Orthodox (and a bit of Joel Osteen, thrown in) - under the banner of “Anglicanism”.

Having said that, I do feel universalism is becoming a more acceptable theological position.

And ECT is not acceptable - in my book. Think of Zombies. If we were plagued by them, then we would want to either:

Exile them
Destroy them
Make them all human again

Now for some Holy Fool tidbits, from today’s Sunil Bali blog at

That also is my understanding re the “official” view of the RCC. Maybe the “rank & file” haven’t received the memo yet. Or it got lost in the mail. OTOH maybe there are some “free thinkers” there.

From “Good Goats: Healing Our Image of God”, p.66 via the Paulist Press, 1994:

“The Church, which invokes its infallibility in the canonization of the saints, has never done so with regard to the damned. We cannot know with certainty if even one human soul does in fact go to hell” (quoting Karl Rahner).

One remark from the comment section of the OP link stated this has always been the RCC position. Evidently the memo didn’t reach a number of the Early Church Father universalists either. Snail mail wasn’t so reliable in Oregon’s time.

The Evangelical (not RCC) Universalist would disagree, I think, with the thought that 'all paths to God are equally valid"?

Actually, a good indicator is what comes up,on page 1 of Google. Look at keywords “does the Roman Catholic Church teach universalism?” Let’s survey a few:

Catholics United for the Faith: Does the church teach universal salvation at
Catholic Answers: Do Catholics teach some kind of universalism? at
Charisma News: Is Pope Francis Endorsing Universalism? at
The Protestant site Pathoes: Roman Catholic universalism
Christianity stack exange: Does the Catholic Church oppose universalism? at

A while back, some pretty woman tried to write me - via email. She claimed to be a US nurse, serving in Nigeria. She tried to convince me - after a week - that Unicef (a big UN agency), didn’t cover her medical benefits. Well, her story doesn’t hold water. Since Unicef is one of the best funded agencies - with excellent medical benefits. And if her story was true (i.e. the agency is messed up), Even her photo was a fake, as a Google image search concluded. I can find her fake story contradicted verified on:

A Google search, with the right keywords
Social media sharing.

In . Those Who Have Never Heard: A Survey of the Major Positions, it says this:

Tell me. I deliverately didn’t read these articles and/or forum discussions, from page 1 - of a Google search. Which - if any - states that the Roman Catholic church teaches universalism (and not inclusivism)?

I assume when the RC authors wrote “Good Goats” they were hopeful of all being saved throughout Jesus Christ, not Buddha or Hare Krishna. … iversalism

“Evangelicals and Pentecostals are newcomers to this conversation. Robin Parry, sometimes under the penname of Gregory MacDonald, has brought out a number of volumes dedicated to “evangelical universalism,” which includes several varieties but all of which agree that ultimately God will save all through the work of Christ.18 Parry argues that neither orthodoxy nor evangelicalism need preclude universalism; in other words, an evangelical and orthodox Christian can embrace universalism without a sense of theological incoherence. Yet in what is perhaps his most interesting volume, Parry edits a variety of essays on universalists who are theologically unorthodox (Schleiermacher, Robinson, and Hick, for example) or un-evangelical (Julian of Norwich, Barth, Balthasar, and Moltmann).19 Thomas Talbott is an evangelical philosopher whose work on universalism has attracted wide attention.20 In 2012 megachurch pastor Rob Bell’s book Love Wins, which implicitly recommends a hopeful universalism (like Balthasar’s: we can hope without knowing for sure), sparked a perfect storm of controversy both within and without the evangelical world.21 Time magazine featured the book on one of its covers. If evangelicals had not known that some of its theologians and pastors had been challenging traditional eschatology, this new book made them suddenly aware.” … l-be-saved

I wonder how many preachers today in various denominations seldom if ever speak a word about endless hell. It’s like it doesn’t even exist, even when it’s part of the official denomination doctrine that they haven’t yet had the time or inclination to erase.

That’s a good question - I actually asked my pastor = who is my brother in law and an intelligent man - why, when Hell is mentioned, he does not follow up on what that concept ENTAILS - really think about it and share it explicitly with the congregation.
He’d never really thought about it.

That’s a good question - I actually asked my pastor = who is my brother in law and an intelligent man - why, when Hell is mentioned, he does not follow up on what that concept ENTAILS - really think about it and share it explicitly with the congregation.
He’d never really thought about it.

I don’t think humans have the capacity to contemplate the meaning of endless hell.

MavPhil’s discussion of…Zombies! … -life.html

The zombies salute you, Dave :exclamation: :smiley:

Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week, thank you so much…

The Eastern Orthodox view according to:

"As I said, Orhtodoxy finds the idea that has developed (by changing several interpretations) of a God who vengefully burns people in hell forever as punishment for offending Him to be completely repugnant. But historically the Church has understood God and eternity differently…

"And since you are now in Controversial, I do want to add …

"As I said, our Church views God as good and loving. His intent and desire is to save everyone. He gets no pleasure at seeing anyone suffer.

"We cannot teach universalism, because that was not given to us by the Apostles, nor by Christ. However, along with God, we hope and pray for the salvation of each person.

"We don’t delve into what we have not been given, nor teach what we do not know. But we do know, as I said, that God doesn’t take pleasure in anyone’s suffering, loves each person, and wants each one reconciled to Him. Souls are eternal, though. Man was not created to die. Had there been no fall, man would have lived, neither body nor soul dying. But God Himself is the Source of Life. In shutting himself away from God through sin, man brought death to himself. It was always God’s will to restore, which is why Christ defeated death and made the resurrection of the body possible. ALL will be resurrected in the end, even those who hate God.

"God loves each of us, and He is so pure, Holy, so other … that if we are in His Presence, feeling His love, yet in our sins and rejecting Him, we will experience that Presence and love as torment. Imagine a teenager that is really mad at their parents having to stand there and be hugged and kissed by the parents. The rebellion of the teen will experience that as torture. But hatred of God is a deeper rebellion (the teen doesn’t really hate his parents) … and God’s Presence is much more profound than a simple human embrace. God won’t force anyone’s will, but He STILL loves, because He IS love. So … anyone who hates Him will be tormented (and likely by regret too). He will suffer … our God is a consuming fire - so awesome is His very Presence. But it will be a suffering if his own making.

"Now the speculative part. We can HOPE, and we do, that it is possible that with knowing the Truth, humans who hate God might let go of what sets them against God, at some point. It would be consistent with God’s character for this to happen. He doesn’t punish to exact pain, but everything He does is ultimately for restoration. We don’t say that it is impossible for Him to restore those souls … if not all, perhaps many it most … from their torment. We desire, we pray, we love with God, and we hope that all men will eventually be drawn to Him. Or almost all. We don’t know. We cannot proclaim this. We must not assure anyone of the chance of delayed reconciliation. But we always hope in the case if each person. And we certainly don’t say “God can’t”. We do know He desires it.

"And I could have posted that in Traditional Theology, since it IS an accepted understanding of many of the Saints from the early days. But for the sake of not stirring things up, and since I thought you’d rather be here, I waited until it was moved. But this is a teaching (the possibility) from far back. Annihilationism isn’t, but I can understand why it resounds with many. It really is NOT in God’s nature to torment forever with no purpose in mind. You are right about that. :slight_smile: And in the end, it’s more important to get an understanding of God’s character right, than it is to know exactly how He will accomplish what He hasn’t told us.

“God be with you.” … 750/page-2

“Orthodoxy’s entire dogmatic deposit resides in the canons of the seven ecumenical councils—everything else in Orthodox tradition, be it ever so venerable, beautiful, or spiritually nourishing, can possess at most the authority of accepted custom, licit conjecture, or fruitful practice—and the consensus of the most conscientious and historically literate Orthodox theologians and scholars over the past several decades (Evdokimov, Bulgakov, Clément, Turincev, Ware, Alfeyev, to name a few) is that universalism as such, as a permissible theologoumenon or plausible hope, has never been condemned by the Church. Doctrine is silent on the matter. So live and let live.”

“But there are those who find this an intolerable state of affairs, sometimes because of an earnest if misguided devotion to what they believe Scripture or tradition demands, sometimes because the idea of the eternal torment of the derelict appeals to some unpleasantly obvious emotional pathologies on their parts.” … int-origen

"Top Lutheran bishop: If hell exists, ‘I think it’s empty’ " … h-podcast/

Why not just drop the word “Orthodoxy” and say it like it is:

“Our group of churches has chosen to believe that the entire dogmatic deposit resides in the canons of the seven ecumenical councils”?

Creeds, statements of faith, ‘minimum beliefs that we have decided make you one of us = true Christians = orthodox’ - almost all of them have a particular hobby horse that accomplishes just about nothing, other than dividing one group from another, each saying “We believe that…” followed by some thing that is usually not even clear in Scripture - and end up in some sub-sect of Christianity, fighting with others, over things that are not at all even “plainly” taught in scripture. Drives me nuts.

That is one (of the many) reasons I’m drawn to Channing and GMac. They aim for the heart of the matter and keep that focus; the heart of the matter being our moral core, where God expects us to grow, deepen, enlarge, love - the things that a focus on minutae of the Bible diverts our attention from. Being ‘justified by faith’ (which is ambiguous as a concept) does not change our character - and our character is what is important. As Christians, we believe the Holy Spirit is our Helper in our striving but make no mistake - when it comes to fighting greed, selfishness, idolatry, anger etc., in ourselves, the Holy Spirit will bring things about that expose us, to ourselves at least and probably others, that are painful. That’s the way it is, I think - we are thankful to God for what Christ has done, and we also need to see where the growth takes place.
Having been on the receiving end of this for many years - and for many more no doubt - it’s painful, but in the end is promised to be the peace that is the fruit of righteousness.

What GMac and Channing do is: Provide The Way of ‘SEEING’ and understanding what the meaning is of the many things Providence brings into our life. Those things are brought to improve us, to enlarge our trust, to make us more trustworthy, and above all to teach us to love.

I will now dismount from my high horse.

:wink: You’re de man

This discussion (and recent commentary by Dave), reminds me of a song: :laughing:


I couldn’t agree more, Dave, that it is our character that is the important thing. And yes, δικαιοω (to justify) is ambiguous. If the meaning “to make righteous” then to be made righteous through faith has a significant meaning. For it is through faith that we are able to appropriate the enabling grace of God that was made available through Christ’s magnificent sacrifice of Himself. That enabling grace is described in the letter to Titus 2:11-14

However, many understand the meaning of δικαιοω as “to be counted righteous” whether or not there is any change in our character. They think it’s all about God counting us righteous. They say when He looks at us He no longer sees our sin but Christ’s righteousness, and for that reason we’ll go to heaven instead of hell. For them salvation is not being delivered from actual sin, but being delivered from hell. In my opinion, this is a false “gospel” which is very prevalent in our world.