Trinitarian Universalism

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The highest heaven from Gustave Doré's illustrations to the Divine Comedy.

Trinitarian Universalism is a variant of belief in universal salvation, the belief that every person will be saved, that also held the Christian belief in Trinitarianism (as opposed to, or contrasted with, liberal Unitarianism which is more usually associated with Unitarian Universalism). It was particularly associated with an ex-Methodist New England minister, John Murray, and after his death in 1815 the only clergy known to be preaching Trinitarian Universalism were Paul Dean of Boston and Edward Mitchell in New York.[1][2][3]

History[edit]

Traditionally, the doctrine of Universalism was traced by Universalist historians[4] back to the teachings of Origen of Alexandria (c.185–284), an influential early Church Father and writer. Origen believed in apocatastasis, the ultimate restoration and reconciliation of creation with God, which was interpreted by Universalists historians to mean the salvation and reconciliation with God of all souls which had ever existed, including Satan and his demons. However more recent research has shown that this analysis of Origen's views is uncertain.[5] Origen also believed in the pre-existence of souls and that glorified Man may have to go through cycles of sin and redemption before reaching perfection. The teachings of Origen were declared anathema at the Ecumenical Council of 553, centuries after his death, though Gregory of Nyssa, another figure to whom Universalist historians attributed Universalist belief, was commended as an Orthodox defender of the faith by the same Council. Universalist historians have also identified Johannes Scotus Eriugena (815–877)[citation needed], and Amalric of Bena (c. 1200).[citation needed] as Universalists. Much of this research was incorporated by French priest Pierre Batiffol into an article on Apocatastasis later translated for the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia.[6]

During the Protestant Reformation, all doctrines and practices of the Catholic (Universal) Church were re-examined and numerous sects formed, although none revived the belief (originally attributed to Origen) in universal reconciliation. In 1525, Hans Denck (1425–1527) was accused of being a Universalist,[7] but this is now considered unlikely.[8]

Jane Leade (1623–1704), a mystic who claimed to have seen heaven and hell, started a Universalist congregation, the Philadelphians, which dissipated after her death. She was a Behmenist rather than orthodox Trinitarian.

John Murray (1741–1815) was forced to leave the Methodist Church because of his Universalism. In 1770, he came to New England and is credited with being the Father of Universalism in North America. Although Murray was a Trinitarian (as was his mentor, James Relly), his successor, Hosea Ballou (1771–1852) was a strong Unitarian who opposed Trinitarianism, Calvinism, and legalism. During his tenure, Universalism became linked with liberal theology as well as Unitarianism.[9]

Modern Trinitarian Universalists include Robin Parry[10] an evangelical writer, who under the pseudonym of "Gregory MacDonald" released a book The Evangelical Universalist, (2006)[11] and Thomas Talbott author of The Inescapable Love of God (1999).[12]

Philosophy[edit]

Thomas Talbott offers three propositions which are biblically based, but which he asserts to be mutually exclusive:

  1. God is omnipotent and exercises sovereign control over all aspects of human life and history.
  2. God is omni-benevolent, is ontologically Love, and desires the salvation of all people.
  3. Some (many) persons will experience everlasting, conscious torment in a place of (either literal or metaphorical) fire.[13]

Traditional theology clarifies omnipotence or omni-benevolence to resolve the contradiction. Calvinism resolves it by positing a doctrine of limited atonement, which claims that God's love is restricted. Only a select number of people are elected to be saved, which includes redemption and purification. This demonstrates a special love, and most people (the 'eternally reprobate' or non-elect) are given only common grace and tolerance. This bifurcation of grace intends to retain a doctrine of God's omnibenevolence and a doctrine of hell. In comparison, Arminianism resolves the contradiction by rejecting divine omnipotence with respect to human will. This is commonly referred to as synergism. It posits that human beings have an inviolable free will, which allows the choice of accepting or rejecting God's grace. Universalists disagree with the third claim, and argue that all people receive salvation.[14]

Since traditional interpretations of multiple biblical verses seem to be about people experiencing everlasting conscious torment in hell, many Christians hold that Universalists must either refute or reinterpret these verses. There are many verses of scripture supporting universal salvation with which supporters of eternal damnation must contend, including (but not limited to): Matthew 18:14, Luke 3:6, John 3:17, John 12:32, John 12:47, John 15:16, Romans 8:38-9, 1 Timothy 2:3–4, and 1 Timothy 4:9–10.

Core Trinitarian doctrine[edit]

Main article: Trinitarianism
Michelangelo: Detail of Sistine Chapel. God reaching out to Adam
  • God is Trinity
God is One Being and Three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who indwell each other in a perichoretic communion of love.[15]
  • God is Love
God is ontologically love (1 John 4:8), and everything that he is and does reflect his being love. His holiness is an aspect of His love and can be thought of as one thing: Holylovingkindness.
  • Reconciliation is through Christ Jesus
Jesus Christ is the incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity and he is both fully God and fully man. Because he created everything and everything inheres in him, all of creation was crucified and resurrected with him. (John 1:3–4), (Col. 1:15–20) Because divinity and humanity meets in him, mankind are now participants in the perichoresis or the divine dance of love within the Trinity.[16]
  • Universal atonement of sins
Jesus Christ's death on the cross paid the price for the sins of the world (Rom. 5:15–19) and all men are reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:19). No human being is alienated from God as he is their only source of life (John 1:3–4) and in him they live and move and have their being. (Acts 17:28) [17]
Because all sins have been paid for, all sins are forgiven. Divine forgiveness precedes human response and this forgiveness is both love and judgment because to say, "I forgive you" is to say "I love you" and "You have sinned against me". Man can respond by agreeing with the judgment (repentance) and receive both the love and forgiveness or he can deny the judgment and refuse God's love and forgiveness.[18]

Universalist doctrine[edit]

Main article: Universalism
Rembrandt's The Return of the Prodigal Son
  • Salvation is an objective reality and a subjective reality
A personal response of faith is required before the objective saving act of God is made subjectively real in the individual's life. The response is transformative and changes with knowledge and experience. What has been accomplished for all mankind must be accomplished in each person's life which requires the individual's cooperation with the Holy Spirit. God is love and man is loved but he must be in relationship with him to know that love. It is the difference between being and knowing.
  • Hell, as described in the Bible, exists
It is partially here as the Kingdom of Darkness that all men are born into.
It will be fully present for those who persist in rejecting God's gift of salvation. However, God's grace and gift of faith reaches everyone while they are dead in their sins (Eph. 2:1, Col. 2:13) and there is no biblical text that says his mercy and gift of salvation will end when one dies physically.[19] Jesus Christ is proclaimed to be the Lord of the dead and the living (Rom. 14:9).
  • Hell is not retribution but rehabilitation
The suffering in hell is the anguish of a soul persisting in rebellion against God, or the shame of a soul when it realizes how much it has sinned against a holy God as well as profound regret for what might have been.[20]
  • The Good News is about the Kingdom of God
The mission is not just to save people from hell but to bring them out of the Kingdom of Darkness and into the Kingdom of Light. All moral law can be summed up by the two Great Commandments: Love God and Love Others (Rom. 13:8–10) and these two commands are not distinct and exclusive. To love God is to love others and to love others is to love God.
  • The Kingdom of God is here and yet not fully here
Trinitarian Universalists live in that dialetic tension and in the hope of the future Kingdom. (1 Cor. 13:12)
  • Wrath and judgment is another face of Love
God's love is passionate and people can grieve him (Eph. 4:30) by thwarting his love and good intentions toward them. If man hurts himself or others, he will experience that divine love as wrath. Judgment accompanies wrath and judgment is salvific. It is a fire that purifies and refines, not one that destroys. (Mal. 3:2) If man is not judged and if he does not feel God's wrath, he will not be aware that he has sinned. Judgment and wrath encourages a man to stop what he is doing and repent (turn around). Then he will know forgiveness and feel God's love turn from wrath to warmth.[21]
  • True justice is restoration and reconciliation
Justice is not fully met by punishing wrongdoers. True justice is
  • restoration of what was stolen or destroyed
  • repentance and reformation of the sinner
  • reconciliation between the sinner and God and the person(s) sinned against
  • The final word God speaks to Mankind is always reconciliation and redemption
Sodom is portrayed as a very wicked place that was judged by God and destroyed by burning sulfur (Gen. 19:1–29). Jude writes that they "suffered the punishment of eternal fire" (Jude 1:7). But Jesus knew what circumstances would have brought the people of Sodom to repentance and acknowledgement of God (Matt. 11:23). The last word God speaks over Sodom is restoration in an eschatological prophecy by Ezekiel (Ezk. 16:53–55).

Bible passages cited to support Universalism[edit]

Universalism and heresy[edit]

Heresy is "adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma".[22] Because dogma varies among denominations, what is considered heresy by one denomination or congregation may be accepted as doctrine or opinion by another. In a socially free world, free moral agents may identify with whichever perspectives and positions, persons and communities, and traditions (or subtraditions) they find most intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually palatable. However, the results of their exercise of this operational freedom may be understood or interpreted differently by different persons.

There are three (3) generally accepted understandings of hell:

  1. A literal place of fire where the damned suffer eternal conscious torment.
  2. A metaphorical hell where the suffering is real but is not literally fire and brimstone. The pain may be physical, emotional or spiritual.
  3. Conditional, where souls are punished until retributive justice is met or accomplished, after which these punished souls are annihilated [23]

There is also the doctrine of purgatory, distinct from hell, where imperfect souls are cleansed and made ready for heaven. It may be a place of rehabilitation, correction, or retribution.

Universalists believe that every person will be saved, where more orthodox Roman Catholics believe that only those who died in God's grace will find purgation for their venial sins in Purgatory.[24]

The Argument

There are four (4) major theories about human salvation in Christendom:

  1. Exclusivism: Salvation is exclusively found in Christianity. Anyone who is not a Christian will go to hell.
  2. Inclusivism: Some adherents of other religions may find salvation, but it is still only Jesus Christ who can (and may or will) save them.
  3. Pluralism: One's own religion is not the sole and exclusive source of truth; salvation, in principle, may be found in any religion, although salvation is not necessarily found in one's search of any (other) religion(s).
  4. Universalism: All persons (and peoples?) will be saved.[25]

Christian denominations and churches will generally profess one of the above to be true and the others as error; however, they are not all mutually exclusive. For example, some who hold to #4 "Universalism" also hold to #1 "Exclusivism." For these, anyone who is not a Christian will go to hell, but ultimately everyone will become a Christian and therefore be saved. Others may be #2 "Inclusivists" and #3 "Pluralists." For those who might hold to these, because God may use the tools of any particular religion or culture to reveal his grace in Christ (Inclusivism), other religions therefore, potentially exhibiting the effects of this work, may in fact hold valuable insights to truth for theology (Pluralism), consequently calling the members of a particular congregation/denomination/religion to be open to that possibility.

Objections[edit]

Hell needed as a deterrent[edit]

Hosea Ballou

This anecdote by Rev. Elizabeth Strong, a Unitarian Universalist, sums up the issue:

Hosea Ballou was riding the circuit in the New Hampshire hills with a Baptist minister one day, arguing theology as they traveled. At one point, the Baptist looked over and said, "Brother Ballou, if I were a Universalist and feared not the fires of hell, I could hit you over the head, steal your horse and saddle, and ride away, and I'd still go to heaven."
Ballou looked over at him and said, "If you were a Universalist, the idea would never occur to you." [26]

Bible teaches eternity of hell[edit]

The following are problematic verses for Trinitarian Universalists and which they usually seek to qualify in some way.

The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats
Matthew 25:14–30
Jesus is teaching a principle of Kingdom living: small acts of kindness have eternal value. This is not a teaching about what merits salvation and what merits damnation and it is definitely not a teaching about the eternity of hell. Also, the Greek word 'aion' can be interpreted as "a long time" as well as "eternal". Finally, this passage may not be dealing with personal eschatology at all, but rather with the judgement of Christ on nations based on how they treat his children. On this view, the passage teaches that nations that abuse Christians will be subject to enduring chastisement while those who protect Christians will enjoy enduring life.
Pauline writings
2 Thessalonians 1:9
The phrase "everlasting destruction" could be translated as "destruction of the coming age" which makes it a reference to eschatological judgment. The phrase "and shut out" should be translated as "that comes from". Therefore the verse should be read as: "They will be punished with destruction of the coming age that comes from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power." The imagery is that of the holiness of God burning away forever the sinful nature of unrepentant man.[27]
Eschaton in Revelation
Revelation 14:11
In view of the overwhelming evidence for Universalism in the Bible, especially in the writings of Paul, this description is hyperbole. Revelation images are metaphorical and no one knows what they really mean.
Revelation 19:3
This refers to the whore of Babylon which is a metaphor for corrupt political systems and/or economic policies. It is not a reference to the eternal suffering of people.
In Revelation, the kings of the earth are depicted as in league with the Whore of Babylon, which is probably symbolic of corrupt political and/or socioeconomic systems, and they are drunk on the maddening wine of her adulteries.[28] They weep and mourn when she is finally thrown into the Lake of Fire.[29] Then they gather on the plains of Megiddo with the Beast to fight the "King of kings and Lord of lords" and the armies of heaven in the final battle, Armageddon. They are defeated and the Beast and his False Prophet are thrown into the Lake of Fire. Those who followed them are slain with "the sword that came out of the mouth" of the Word of God which is probably symbolic of the Gospel or Truth.[30] But in the last scene in New Jerusalem, where the gates are ever open, where the leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations, the kings of the earth are expected to enter, bringing their splendor with them.[31]

Calvinist objections[edit]

Romans 9, according to Calvinism, teaches that some people are natural objects of God's wrath, created and prepared for the purpose of being destroyed. Judas was predestined to be the Son of Perdition, the one prophesied to betray Jesus. It is written that "It would be better for him if he had not been born" (despite the fact that, without Judas' betrayal there would have been no crucifixion, no resurrection and therefore no salvation). God foreknew all those he would save and that some people are destined for eternal damnation. Also, according to Calvinism, justice requires that sins against an infinite, holy God merit eternal punishment, especially for those who reject his gift of salvation. God is love and also holy. Thirdly, Calvinists would contend that nowhere in the bible does it even hint at the possibility of post-mortem salvation. After death comes judgment.

Trinitarian Universalists might answer that, if all are created totally lost in sin, it would therefore not be logical or (more importantly) just for God, the epitome of justice himself, to hold them accountable for their actions or liable for their state of being without providing them a way to find redemption, and this could be said even of a being that is not all-merciful and all-loving, as God is. Romans 9 deals with God's hidden will to choose some to salvation in this life (the elect) and pass others, called reprobates, by in this life. That is not the final word God speaks to those individuals he passes by. Jesus said, as he was dying on the cross, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." He also promised "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw (or, literally, "drag" in the Greek) all men unto me." Surely these global statements cover all of humanity.

F.W. Farrar offers this possible interpretation to Jesus' remarks regarding Judas. When Jesus said, "it would be better for him if he had not been born," the "him" was referring to the Son of Man (Jesus) and the "he" to Judas. Thus he meant that it would have been better for the Son of Man if Judas had not been born. Another view is that although everyone else is to be saved, perhaps Judas will be punished and then annihilated. At any rate the passage does not disprove universalism and certainly does not prove eternal torment.

Pointing to God's eternality is not a satisfactory explanation as to why a temporal sin logically entails unending punishment, though it may be for that reason eternally grave. God's attributes can never conflict with one another, lest God be an imperfect being who is subject to internal strife. God's mercy can never violate his justice, as if God's Love pushes him in one direction whereas his holiness pushes him in another. Universalism brings all his attributes into harmony by pointing out the way in which they describe the one single will of God. The early twentieth century theologian Paul Tillich described this relationship between God's justice and mercy as "creative justice" and as "the strange work of love" in Love, Power, and Justice. Creative justice refers to justice under the principle of agape, or unambiguous and unconditional love. Because it drives towards the reunion of the separated (eros) unconditionally (agape), it makes amends with s/he whom is separated by severing from their personal center that which entrenches the separation (i.e. "the strange work"). This ultimately entails being faced with the Law, or the unconditionality of the moral imperative, and recognizing the need for reconciliation and forgiveness. This "destructive" work of love is always for the sake of building up love's object as and into a subject. Gestalt therapy and psychotherapy are modern examples of love doing this strange work: the process is painful and entails major reform, but health and well-being are its intention. Martin Luther said "the love of God creates its own object."

From the point of view of Trinitarian Universalism the following questions could be asked of more "orthodox" believers: If there is no hint of post-mortem salvation in the Bible, then why does Paul refer to people being baptized for the dead? Why did Jesus preach to those in hell? Why did the majority of church fathers, including Augustine and Luther, believe in the possibility of post-mortem salvation?

Arminian objections[edit]

Arminianism holds that God will not abrogate humanity's free will because love must be chosen, not forced, and that some people will chose alienation from God over consummation, and so God has "graciously" provided a place for them to exist. C.S. Lewis speculated, through literary allegory, that hell is locked from within but few will leave because over a lifetime and through the coming ages, they will become more and more at home in hell.[32]

A Trinitarian Universalist believer might counter that for God to allow his misguided and confused children to suffer eternal separation from him is the very opposite of grace, runs counter to his loving and sovereign nature, and would compare unfavorably to the attitude and behavior of even average human parents toward their children. The Bible seems to teach that those who believe do so because God caused them to believe, not by any freedom of choice of their own (Ephesians 2:8–10), and they might cite the following in support their answer:

"He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved." Ephesians 1:4–6

"For He says to Moses, 'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.' So then it {does} not {depend} on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy." Romans 9:15–16 (See also: John 15:16, Philippians 1:29, Ephesians 1:11)

Also, the Bible in several places refers to freedom being only for those freed through Christ, and that those who are not in Christ are in darkness under the dominion of Satan (Acts 26:18), and are slaves to sin (John 8:34). Therefore, it would make no sense to maintain that someone can have the "freedom" to "reject God"—it is only by sin that people reject God. Those in sin are slaves to sin and Satan, and therefore it is only God who can, by his grace, release them from that bondage and make them able to believe:

"The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses {and escape} from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will."

Furthermore, the idea that God wills us to have real love, and that therefore the love cannot be forced upon us, is not to say that, therefore, the only other alternative is absolute and total freedom, even freedom to condemn ourselves. A good parent would certainly allow their son or daughter to develop into their own genuine person, making free choices. That doesn't mean, however, that the parent's earnest desire for authenticity in their child's life, based on the child making real, honest, personal choices, would therefore lead them to not intervene if the child were about to jump in front of a moving train, or take a fatal dose of sleeping pills. To say that God either gives us absolute and total freedom to accept or reject him, or else we are mindless robots or marionettes is a false dichotomy. It also conveniently ignores the blatant fact that almost nothing in our life is under our control, from when and where we are born, to our economic status, to what sorts of beliefs we are taught and raised with—all of which have a bearing on our decision to accept or reject Him. No matter how much we would like to pretend otherwise, the decision to have faith in Christ is not as much "free will" as it is the enormously personal culmination of all the circumstances of our lives, and therefore enormously influenced by the myriad external, uncontrollable factors that have shaped our hearts and minds.

Mortalist objections[edit]

Mortalists object that, in their view, the Bible does not teach torment of souls, either in Hades, nor at the Last Day in Gehenna.

Hope of universal salvation[edit]

Apart from the dogmatic belief that a sentence of endless torment in hell is incompatible with God's moral character there are notable theologians who believe that God wants everyone to be saved and that it is possible for God to save everyone but, at the same time, they will not limit God's sovereign right to choose not to save everyone.

While Thomas Talbott, "Gregory MacDonald" (the penname for Robin Parry) and Eric Reitan regard everlasting punishment as impossible,[11][13][33] Reformed, neo-orthodox theologian Karl Barth and Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar believed that the eventual salvation of all was merely a possibility.[34]

Quotes[edit]

"Hell exists as a final possibility, but several of the Fathers have none the less believed that in the end all will be reconciled to God. It is heretical to say that all must be saved, for this is to deny free will; but it is legitimate to hope that all may be saved. Until the Last Day comes, we must not despair of anyone’s salvation, but must long and pray for the reconciliation of all without exception. No one must be excluded from our loving intercession. ‘What is a merciful heart?’ asked Isaac the Syrian. ‘It is a heart that burns with love for the whole of creation, for men, for the birds, for the beasts, for the demons, for all creatures.’Gregory of Nyssa said that Christians may legitimately hope even for the redemption of the Devil."[35]

Non-Trinitarians:

  • William Barclay, author of the Daily Study Bible, a set of commentaries on the New Testament wrote:
"I am a convinced universalist. I believe that in the end all men will be gathered into the love of God."[36]
"I think we in evangelical Christianity have ignored the Sovereignty of God and limited the scope and sweep of His great Love toward all. Scripture says, "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:20)— He died once for all. (Romans 6:10 and 1 Peter 3:18) And contrary to popular opinion, our belief systems and religious presuppositions do not invalidate or reverse the effectiveness or efficiency of the finished work of Calvary. (Romans 3:3).[37]

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Universalist quarterly and general review: Volume 5 – Page 393 1848 "At that time, it was supposed that the only Trinitarians, in our ministry, were Mr. Dean of Boston, and Mr. Mitchell of New York ; the latter of whom, though a highly respected preacher of Universalism, was never in formal fellowship as his attachments to Mr. Murray's peculiarities were so strong as to prevent him uniting with the denomination."
  2. ^ Russell E. Miller The larger hope: the first century of the Universalist Church in America, 1770–1870 Unitarian Universalist Association, 1979
  3. ^ Jabez Thomas Sunderland, Brooke Herford, Frederick B. Mott The Unitarian: a monthly magazine of liberal Christianity: Volume 6 1891 "Trinitarian Universalism has been displaced by Unitarian Universalism. Belief in vicarious atonement has given way to the moral-influence idea of Christ's work. Calvinistic and Arminian Universalism have given way to that eclecticism."
  4. ^ such as Allen Eddy, History of the Unitarians and the Universalists in the United States; H Ballou, Ancient History of Universalism; Bell, The Life and Times of Dr. George DeBenneville, 1703 – 1793; Eddy, R Universalism in America, a History; Miller, The Larger Hope; Pachull, Mysticism and Early South German – Austrian Anabaptist Movement, 1525 – 1531; Skinner Hell's Ramparts Fell: The Life of John Murray; Skinner, A Religion for Greatness and The Social Implications of Universalism; Whittmore, The Modern History of Universalism; George Huntston Williams, American Universalism. Universal Salvation?: The Current Debate. editors: Robin A. Parry & Christopher H. Partridge. 2003. ISBN 0-8028-2764-0. 'Universalism in the History of Christianity'. by Morwena Ludlow. Chapt. 10
  5. ^ McGuckin, John Anthony The Westminster Handbook to Origen Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 978-0-664-22472-1
  6. ^ CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Apocatastasis
  7. ^ Reformers in the wings: from Geiler von Kaysersberg to Theodore Beza By David Curtis Steinmetz p151
  8. ^ [1] Ludlow, Morwella "Why Was Hans Denck Thought To Be a Universalist?" The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 2004
  9. ^ http://www.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/hoseaballou.html Biography of Hosea Ballou from UUA, retrieved Dec. 23, 2006
  10. ^ Robin Parry's Blog
  11. ^ a b MacDonald, Gregory (a pseudonym). The Evangelical Universalist. 2006. ISBN 1-59752-365-8
  12. ^ Parkland, Fla: Universal Publishers. ISBN 1-58112-831-2. http://books.google.com/?id=mJ4dsmuY81IC&dq=%22Thomas+Talbott%22+date:1950-2008+RELIGION.
  13. ^ a b Talbott, Thomas. The Inescapable Love of God.1999. ISBN 1-58112-831-2.
  14. ^ Talbott's views are most completely delineated in his book The Inescapable Love of God. A book entitled Universal Salvation?: The Current Debate has recently come to print, in which multiple authors from various fields (Theology, Philosophy, Church History, etc.) build arguments to either support or deny his Universalist tenets. See also: *http://www.thomastalbott.com/
  15. ^ Torrance, T. F. The Trinitarian Faith. 1995 ISBN 0-567-29219-3
  16. ^ Kruger, C. Baxter. The Great Dance: The Christian Vision Revisited.
  17. ^ Kruger, C. Baxter. Jesus and the Undoing of Adam. ISBN 0-9645465-5-8
  18. ^ Torrance, James B. Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace. ISBN 0-8308-1895-2
  19. ^ The Harrowing of hell
  20. ^ MacDonald, Gregory. The Evangelical Universalist. 2006. ISBN 1-59752-365-8. Chapt 1.
  21. ^ McLaren, Brian. A Generous Orthodoxy. 2004. ISBN 0-310-25747-6. pp. 93–97
  22. ^ Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary
  23. ^ Four Views on Hell. William Crockett, editor. ISBN 0-310-21268-5
  24. ^ New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia. Purgatory
  25. ^ Vlach, Michael J., PhD. What Are Pluralism, Inclusivism, and Exclusivism? Theologicalstudies.org. retrieved Dec. 12, 2006
  26. ^ "Of sand bars and circuit riders". Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. 1993. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  27. ^ Bonda, Jan. The One Purpose of God: An Answer to the Doctrine of Eternal Punishment. 1993. ISBN 0-8028-4186-4. pp 211–212
  28. ^ Revelation 20:2
  29. ^ Revelation 18:9
  30. ^ Revelation 20:11–21
  31. ^ Revelation 21–22
  32. ^ Lewis, C.S. The Great Divorce. 1973. ISBN 0-06-065295-0
  33. ^ Universal Salvation? The Current Debate. editors: Robin A. Parry & Christopher H. Partridge. 2003. 'Human Freedom and the Impossibility of Eternal Damnation', by Eric Reitan. Chapt. 7. ISBN 0-8028-2764-0
  34. ^ von Balthasar, Hans Urs. Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved? With a Short Discourse on Hell. 1988. ISBN 0-89870-207-0
  35. ^ Ware, Kallistos (1993). Orthodox Church. ISBN 0-14-014656-3. 
  36. ^ William Barclay: A Spiritual Autobiography, pg 65–67, William B Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, 1977.
  37. ^ "About God's Inclusive Love". Retrieved 2008-03-21. 

External links[edit]