Most references to St. Patrick’s Day in our time are allusions to drunkenness – whether mild cases or otherwise. Thus, it’s altogether sobering to hear of the real St. Patrick and the nature of his life which you will find here.
Here’s an excerpt:
Patrick–whose adult life falls in the fifth century–was actually British, not Irish. He was born into a Christian family with priests and deacons for relatives, but by his own admission, he was not a good Christian growing up. As a teenager he was carried by Irish raiders into slavery in Ireland. His faith deepened during this six year ordeal. Upon escaping Ireland he went back home to Britain. While with his family he received a dream in which God called him to go back to Ireland to convert the Irish pagans to Christianity.
Thanks to Kevin DeYoung of the DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed blog of the Gospel Coalition website.
Robin Parry, who writes the Theological Scribbles blog has posted today How to Discuss Rob Bell Without Killing Each Other. In it he offers rules of engagement to both sides of the debate.
Robin wrote the book The Evangelical Universalist under the pen name of Gregory MacDonald.
Randal Rauser is Associate Professor of Historical Theology at Taylor Seminary in Edmonton. He’s an evangelical Christian who holds to the traditional heaven-or-hell scenario. However, I think his views are quite interesting, and you might feel similarly. His blog is called The Tentative Apologist. A recent post of his was titled Universalism isn’t a four-letter word. [Ed. note April 4, 2014: I had originally had this title hyper-linked the the Christian Post page where this post was located. However, they seem to be no longer maintaining this page so I removed the link. Alas, the comments that were there seem to be gone with the page. Sorry.]
Because his blog is published by The Christian Post, you can also find this post here (the comments will be different, of course – which is why I’m providing this link in addition to the other one). In a response to a comment, Randal points out that church father Gregory of Nyssa (335-394), among other famous theologians, taught universalism.
Here are some follow-up posts he wrote on universalism (all the links are to his own blog, The Tentative Apologist):
Does universalism have a chance in hell of being true?
Hopeful Universalism and the Lottery Illustration
How exclusive should Christianity be?
Revelation 5:9 and Inclusive Salvation
Crystal S. Lewis writes the blog Diary of a Christian Universagnosticostal. In my most recent post here, I made reference to her series of posts on “Hell.”
Crystal has also written a post titled Should Universalism Be a Dirty Word? to which I commend you. [Ed. note April 4, 2014: I can no longer find this page on her site, which is why the link is lined through as broken.] She later posted Websites & Blogs About Christian Unitarian Universalism which obviously offers resources on the subject.
I hasten to add that I am not affiliated with Crystal or any of the organizations she lists on her posts. Nor are you likely to find me supporting everything she or any of them teach – or vice versa. Nevertheless, I thought you might find some of these resources helpful, particularly as they show universalism to be not nearly as uncommon a view among Christians as you might suppose.
Thanks to Richard Beck of Experimental Theology, I learned of David W. Congdon and his blog The Fire and the Rose (an allusion to T.S. Eliot).
David has written a series of posts on universalism indexed at Why I Am a Universalist. He also maintains a resource page of the posts of others titled Universalism in the Blogosphere.
Whereas Richard Beck writes primarily from a pyschological perspective and Keith DeRose writes from a philosophical perspective, David Congdon writes from a theological perspective.
Through Richard Beck of Experimental Theology, I learned of Professor Keith DeRose. Dr. DeRose teaches philosophy at Yale. While teaching an adult Sunday School class on the subject of universalism, DeRose found more material than he could cram into the one hour he was allotted. With that material he created the single web page Universalism and the Bible. Though it’s just one page, you will find in it plenty of logic, significant scriptures, and abundant resources for further study.
A few days ago I wrote about a post by Professor Richard Beck on his Experimental Theology blog in which he wrote that he was atttracted to universalism more because it provided an answer to evil (or pain or suffering) in this life than because it was a better answer to hell in the afterlife.
I have subsequently learned that Professor Beck has written much more extensively on universalism and is thoroughly committed to this point of view. In fact, he has written a series of posts, summarized in Why I Am a Universalist, in which he gives multiple arguments for the position. These arguments include biblical, logical, moral, ethical, theological, philosophical, and pragmatic rationales.
Professor Beck wrote this series in 2006. Then, in 2009, he wrote Universalism: A Summary Defense (which pulls together his arguments into one post).