Monday, January 05, 2009


While I'm sure the heresy of universalism is not on the rise, my exposure to those believing it is higher these days than I would have ever thought. It seems to come from, although not limited to, those in the emerging conversation. Now before you jump on me, no, I do not think all emerging types are universalists. On the other hand, just as my cessationist friends would be accurate in saying charismatics tend toward being duped by bad Bible teaching when compared to their evangelical counterparts (at least back in the 70's-80's), I would say that emergents are more prone to being duped by universalism. And again, just be clear, I by no means think all emergents are universalists or Biblically ignorant, etc.. It's more of a leaning/susceptability sort of thing.

With that said, Mike Wittmer pointed me to this interesting article by NT Wright, Towards a Biblical View of Universalism.

I love how Wright paraphrases the basic thought process of the christian universalist.

There are two Biblical ways of looking at salvation. One says that only Christian believers will be saved; the other says that all men will be saved. Since the latter is more loving, it must be true, because God is love.

And then his conclusion;

Biblical 'universalism', therefore, consists in this, that in Christ God has revealed the one way of salvation for all men alike, irrespective of race, sex, colour or status. This biblical 'universalism' (unlike the other sort) gives the strongest motives for evangelism, namely, the love of God and of men. (This itself is evidence that we are thinking biblically here.) this view specifically excludes the other sort of 'universalism', because scripture and experience alike tell us that many do miss the one way of salvation which God has provided. This is a sad fact, and the present writer in no ways enjoys recording it, any more than Paul in Romans 9-11 looked with pleasure on his kinsmen's fate. Yet it cannot be ignored if we wish either to remain true to scripture or really to love our fellow men. If the house is on fire, the most loving thing to do is to raise the alarm.

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