Sometimes we need to sound like universalists

In an interesting post this morning, Scot McKnight argues that sometimes we need to sound like universalists because that how the Bible sounds at times.

I will put it this way: there are passages that sound univeralistic, that sound like somehow God will reconcile all things in the End, and that if we don’t occasionally sound universalistic we are not being as biblical as God — and as Jesus and Paul. Yes, these passages are not the only ones to consider, but — let this be said — neither are they cushioned or cautioned or cornered off by Jesus and Paul so they don’t give the wrong impression. What the Bible is talking about here is that God’s grace will win. God will make all things right. I’m not a universalist but I want this language to be the way I talk about these topics.

I think this is a very helpful way of framing the discussion. The Bible does press the language of God’s grace and sovereignty at times in such a way that it sounds like universalism is the only possible conclusion.

My only concern is that we not sound this theme without also allowing the rest of the biblical picture to come out.  So, I appreciated McKnight’s balanced conclusion at the end of his post:

To talk about wrath apart from this depiction of the grace-consuming God is to put forward a view of God that is not only unbiblical but potentially monstrous. And, to put forward a view of God that is absent of final judgment, yes of wrath, yes of eternal judgment, is to offer a caricature of the Bible’s God.

Along the way, he also offered a stern and timely rebuke for those who seem to delight primarily in being right (on both sides of this discussion), losing sight of the true immensity of this difficult subject.

It’s a good post that is worth checking out.

About Marc Cortez

Theology Prof and Dean at Western Seminary, husband, father, & blogger, who loves theology, church history, ministry, pop culture, books, and life in general.

Posted on March 7, 2011, in Eschatology, Salvation and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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