Steve Hays, writing for the blog Triablogue, has posted Does Everybody Get His Wings? This is his rebuttal to my post Everyone Is Going to Heaven.
If you are familiar with the traditional heaven-or-hell scenario for human afterlife, you will recognize that this is the position that Steve holds. Thus, he makes all the standard objections you’ve heard to everyone going to heaven. In so doing, Steve relies largely on theological reference books to support his case. By contrast, I’ve tried to write in such a way that a common-sense person can read the Bible and make up his or her own mind about the subject.
Steve apparently has ignored The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven, which is the book-length treatment which substantiates my post. Thus, Steve has only addressed the overview of the biblical case and not the case itself. Since I deal in the book with all the objections he makes, I see no reason to go into them again here. Steve’s rebuttal might have been stronger had he 1) dealt with the book itself and not just the overview, 2) had he not invoked academic texts unavailable to most readers, or 3) offered more logical and fewer technical objections. Nonetheless, I commend him for at least addressing the overview post.
When you read Steve’s post it’s apparent that he’s well-educated and a good writer. However, the logic he offers on the subject of hell is the standard, “Look, you should just trust the traditional view because you don’t have enough theological education to question the experts.” Never forget, however, that hearing the word of God and doing it – not theological studies – leads to the greatest knowledge and understanding of God.
Steve Douglas of Undeception has written this post warning of false conclusions many people quickly draw when the word universalism is mentioned.
Joel Watts of Unsettled Christianity offers this post to demonstrate that Rob Bell’s resistance to eternal torment in hell after this life is not without historical precedent.
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).
Professor Richard Beck of Abilene Christian University is a research psychologist. He writes the blog Experimental Theology.
In his recent post, Universalism and the Open Wound of Life, he offers a logical rational for everyone going to heaven. I was impressed with it. I was glad he wrote it and glad to see the many comments he received, as well as his interaction with some of those commenting.
Of course, there is also a biblical rationale for universalism which you can find in my book The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.
For this and other reasons, I urge us all: Repent, and Follow Jesus Christ Our Lord!