A Non-Universalist Story

Daniel Kirk's essay is now up over at Two Friars and a Fool.

Again, on Tuesday I gave a universalist take on "the best ending" to the Christian story.

Dr. Kirk's essay on the same topic is entitled "A Non-Universalist Story."

Next week our responses to each other's essays will appear.

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9 thoughts on “A Non-Universalist Story”

  1. I have an issue with the "faith only" theology. It means that the good Lutheran "believers" were saved, but the non-believing Jews that they murdered by the millions are not.
    I think what we do in this life has to have some impact on what happens in the next. I do not believe that my occasional lapses in charity are seen the same way by God as Hitler's mass murders, or that both of us are will  saved by Jesus just because we believe.
    (I could say the same thing about the KKK who carried the cross as they lynched African-Americans who were also believers.)
    I tell myself that God's ideal justice is higher, better, and more correct than mine, but trying to understand this is why I struggle to believe in God at all.
    I think my sense of iustice is more true than the belief that  everyone will be saved if they just believe even if they do terrible things to their fellow humans.  And, I struggle with the belief that those who do not believe, but live honorable lives will be lost.  Christ believing Hitler in heaven, ethical charitable Hindu in Hell does not seem right either.

    So, clearly I am no theologian.
    And there is no consistency in my views.

  2. This perspective, too, was articulated very persuasively by Dr. Kirk.  The format of this discussion -- taking turns, then interacting together -- has been so civilized!  Very refreshing and edifying; thank you.

    The supporting arguments for both positions are very compelling.  I can't with complete certainty say which is more correct.  As an aside, has anyone here seen the last HP film yet?  Frederica Mathewes-Green put up a solid review at the Patheos site.  The fate of HP and Voldemort alike seemed to hinge on free will/choice, in the end, reflecting J.K. Rowling's theological perspective...  She, apparently, is no universalist!

  3. Dr. Beck I enjoyed your essay very much, though I find myself more in line with Dr. Kirk.

    Would you clarify something for me? It appears that what you are suggesting is that there will in fact be a judgement at the end of this world, but that will not be the final chapter of the story. That after a time of judgement for those who merit it, they will then be reconciled and included in the Kingdom. Am I understanding this correctly? It is a possibility that had never occurred to me.

    If this has been discussed before, I apologize. I've only been reading (and enjoying) this blog for a few months.

  4. Hi Joe,
    Yes, that's what I think is going to happen. I read every passage about hell in the NT pretty much as a traditionalist does. With one tweak. I don't think hell is the final chapter in a person's biography with God. I believe in a Epilogue.

  5. Thank you. As I said, I'd not thought of that possibility. I'm going to have to chew on that for a bit.

  6. At the end of the day, while human opinions vary, God will sort it out. Til then we can work and pray together "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." On that, unity!

  7. I think it is ironic that one of Kirk's arguments against universalism is based on the inconsistent application of free will by universalists.  Does he realize that he's debating someone who has a very dim view of free will and justifies univeralism on more Calvinist(?) grounds?

    I do like that he finishes by talking about surprise.  It is a consistent theme for Jesus that there will be surprises in the end and the number of different interpretations of Scriptures and scriptural principles relating to this issue suggest that we may all be surprised at what actually happens.

    Joe (posting now as candeux because, surprise surprise, I couldn't register as "Joe" on DISQUS)

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