I’ve been listening to some episodes of the Unbelievable podcast from Premier Christian Radio.
I really like the show. It’s all about getting a discussion going – often between a Christian and a non-Christian – on a particular aspect of belief. The host, Justin Brierley, is a calm and even-handed moderator, and the guests usually behave themselves with courtesy and thoughtfulness.
I appreciated the discussion of ‘The Evangelical Universalist’ between Robin Parry and Laurence M. Blanchard. …
Chris Tilling expresses an understandable longing that universalism might, after all, be an option for Christian belief.
I used to think that exclusivist was the only option, and anything else, compromise. Now exclusivist makes little sense to me, not because of this or that verse of scripture alone, but because of life, the smile of a baby, the groan of an old man, the death of a precious Hindi old lady who’s served her family all her life, and other bigger issues such as what the death of Christ and his resurrection says of God’s character, why he would create only to send most to hell, why the sending of Christ would seem to damn more to hell than save for eternal life, why God is love if most experience anything but love and forgiveness, why God won’t forgive most as we are commanded to in the scriptures, why God would be so interested in the contents of our minds (our doctrinal beliefs) as central to salvation etc.…
Universalism has become the new orthodoxy for many Christian thinkers and groups.
Yet Scripture teaches the reality, certainty, and justice of hell as a state of eternal punishment for the wicked.
What of those who lack a living faith in Jesus as saviour from the punishment of hell? What about those who never had an opportunity to hear or to respond to the gospel? Here’s a summary of J.I. Packer’s discussion:-