Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sheep for us, goats for you

It’s always amusing to see people whose self-image is diametrically at odds with their actual conduct. In the wake of the controversy over Rob Bell, a number of universalists have been defending Bell, as well as defending universalism.

And that’s understandable–if you’re a universalist. But what’s richly ironic is how they go about defending universalism. They defend the proposition that God loves everyone so much that God will save everyone by assuming a belligerent us v. them mentality.

They cast themselves in the role of the white hats, while they cast the Calvinists in the role of the black hats. They treat Christians who adhere to everlasting punishment as the enemy.

In effect, universalists are the sheep, while Justin Taylor, Kevin DeYoung et al. are the goats.

But shouldn’t they make a bit more effort to personally model their generous, inclusive theology? If God is all-loving and all-forgiving, why are universalists so divisive and bellicose in dealing with Christians who oppose universalism?

They act as if they believe in hell for those who believe in hell. That God ought to smite those who oppose universalism.

Shouldn’t a universalist cut back on the fire-n-brimstone rhetoric? 


  1. Identity religionism.

    Every religion is true except for those religions that don't believe that every religion is true.

  2. "Shouldn’t a universalist cut back on the fire-n-brimstone rhetoric?"

    You would think they would, wouldn't you?

  3. I saw the video of yesterday's event. It seems that Bell's presup is that God loves everyone so much that He gives them a choice. Given also that people are obviously ignorant of many things, apparently including what Bell feels the need to write about, how do poorly-informed decisions benefit anyone?

    And if Calvinists don't get to go to heaven because we are apparently mean-spirited, then how can that be on account of a loving God according to Bell's presup?

    Word Verification: herisi

  4. "Shouldn’t a universalist cut back on the fire-n-brimstone rhetoric?"

    Not necessarily. Remember, many universalists do believe in the reality of hell as a place of dreadful punishment, even if it doesn't last forever. The belief that God will save everyone in the end does not preclude very unpleasant experiences (to say the least) for those who resist God.

    Also, universalists affirm the biblical language of judgment. They have no trouble with God smiting the wicked in his anger. And they also see no inconsistency in getting angry at those who, in their opinion, pervert the gospel of love into one of eternal hellfire for a substantial portion of humanity.

    It sounds as if you're not really aiming at universalism so much as sentimentalism, if that's a distinct theological position. The idea that God's attitude towards humans and the rest of creation is one of continual approval and fondness.

  5. I wish you would critique my biblical case for everyone going to heaven (http://wp.me/PNthc-i6).

    It is easy to refute sentimental arguments for universalism. I am eager to see how you handle a thoroughly scriptural argument that exalts Jesus Christ as the only way that this salvation exists.