christian universalism

Christian Universalism

By: Brad Rogers

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Christian Universalism has been on the rise in both Roman Catholic and Protestant circles for the last Century and a half.  There are many today who now hold that this is what the Bible teaches.  Universalism is a doctrine that asserts that all men will eventually be reconciled to God.[1] It certainly has its appeal.  The idea that God would punish people for their sins in an eternal Hell is, at minimum, difficult for any person with any semblance of empathy; and, at worst, utterly repulsive and unthinkable for a God that is gracious, kind and loving. Many believe that the doctrines like sin, judgment, and Hell are keeping many out of the church today. In the linked article, you will find an interview with Michael McClymond who published a 1,300-page book on the history and interpretation of Christian Universalism complete with over 2,500 sources.   In this interview, Dr. McClymond discusses the history of those churches who embrace universalism as well as the main biblical arguments against Christian Universalism.  When asked about his motivation for investing so much of his scholarly life to this topic, he asks what could matter more than the scope of final salvation.  He then adds

“…if there is truth in the New Testament contrast between ‘momentary, light affliction’ and the ‘eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison’ (2 Cor. 4:17), then should not all Christian believers be deeply concerned with getting it right regarding these final outcomes”? 

I will warn you that this interview is somewhat thick and heavy reading but given the landscape of our culture today, I think it is well worth your investment (at least the interview is far, far less than 1,300 pages). As a Christ follower, I want to be one who speaks of the hope of Christ, and the last thing I want to offer is false hope.  The themes of this interview are important for anyone who wants to explore the topic of the afterlife.  As an interesting aside, he also discusses the term “metaphysical rebel” that he discovered reading French atheist Albert Camus and applies it in a way that I (Brad) find most fascinating. I commend this interview to you for your thoughtful consideration.

 Read the article here.

[1] Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd Edition, page 1232.