At the very beginning of my Master of Theology program I had a class with Dr. Todd Miles on “The Gospel, Salvation, and Other Religions” wherein we discussed the status of religious others (Muslims, Buddhist, Sikhs, et cetera) as they relate to the proclamation of the Gospel and the exclusivity of Christ as the way to God. I mentioned a few days ago that my oral defense is coming which means I need to refresh my thinking on subjects like this one (see “In preparation for the oral defense.”)! I didn’t intend to give it multiple posts, but after receiving a preview of the questions I will be asked I thought I should give the subject more attention.
Of course, I’ve pondered the matters discussed in this class over the last couple years, but I admit that I don’t feel comfortable articulating a few of the positions presented, mostly because I have not talked to people who hold those positions. It is one thing to study a position from a detractor, but something altogether different to hear from an adherent.
So, this post is providing a open forum for Christians who hold to a universalist soteriology. Of course, you don’t have to be a universalist to comment as long as you add something constructive to the conversation.
I want to know a few things:
- Are you a universalist because you think the work of Christ saves all people or because you think there are so many ways to come to God that everyone will be “saved”?
- Who are your influences? Barth? Origen? Someone else?
- Who has articulated the universalist position in such a way that you think they best capture the concept?
- As a Christian, what biblical materials lead you to affirm universalism or do you find Scripture lacking in this area leading you to other philosophical/theological reasons?
Thank you for taking a moment to tell me more about your position on this matter!