Universalism Isn't PC

Today, another reflection on David Bentley Hart's That All Shall Be Saved.

Universalism is often dinged for being sentimentally squishy, liberal, and PC. What could be more politically correct, theologically speaking, than espousing the view that everyone will eventually be saved?

To be sure, there are squishy, PC visions of universalism, the belief that we're all on different religious paths journeying up the same mountain.

But there's also a very non-PC vision of universalism, and Hart's That All Shall Be Saved is an example. Call this a confessional universalism. In this vision, Jesus Christ really is the Lord of History. Jesus is the Door, and the only door, through which the sheep can enter the sheepfold. There is a universalism the declares that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that, in the words of Acts 4.12, "salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." Salvation, then, depends upon this confession.

Such claims about Jesus aren't very PC. Yes, all people will be saved, but it's not very PC to believe that all people--Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, pagans, and on and on--will one day confess Jesus as their Lord. Universal salvation is a lovely, inclusive idea, but this exclusive and particular confession about Jesus will always chaff.

To be sure, there a thousand different theological ways to smooth out this confessional offense. My point, though, in raising this issue is simply to challenge the notion that universalism is just a squishy liberal capitulation to our PC culture, where I'm okay and you're okay. Because there is a universalism that retains its shock and scandal in the exclusive claims it makes about the crucified Nazarene.

It might seem that universalism is a warm fuzzy hug, but confessional claims about Jesus will cause offense.

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