Theology of World Missions - Lesson 10
Dr David Hilborn, Head of Theology Evangelical Alliance in the UK, discusses the theological framework of universalism, its historical development and the impact that it has on missions.
2. Theological framework of universalism
A. Pluralistic universalism
B. Inclusivistic universalism
C. Hopeful universalism
D. Key biblical texts used in support of universalism
3. Historical development of the position of universalism
4. Impact on missions of universalism
5. Question and answer
6. Contemporary debate
7. Books recommended by Dr. Hilborn
Dr. Kuzmic provides a framework for the class based on 6 specific statements about a theology of missions. Our theology determines our worldview. We must live as citizens of two kingdoms. We need a theologically grounded missiology and a missiological focused theology.
Dr. Kuzmic talks about how God saved him and about his cultural background in Eastern Europe.
Developing your spirituality and practicing prayer are important elements in achieving a well-balanced theology. The Creator of heaven and earth is Lord of the nations. God promised to bless the whole world through Abraham. Throughout history, different people have applied that promise as a right of privilege for themselves rather than a call to service to others. God calls people, then sends them.
The book of Psalms is one of the greatest missionary books in the world. Isaiah's description of Messianic fulfillment at the end of history is a reminder of the role of Messianic people within history, similar to the "already but not yet" of the "kingdom of God" in the New Testament. Quiz questions are included at the end to clarify what Dr. Kuzmic thinks are the important points and because he includes some commentary on central issues of missions.
Professor Doug Birdsall first discusses the work of the Church in Asia. He then talks about 3 aspects of missions work: 1. Forming partnerships, 2. Sending churches, 3. Funding. One of the fastest growing groups of the Church in China is composed of urban intellectuals. In India, Mongolia, Nepal and Cambodia, in addition to China, there are great opportunities as well as challenges.
Doug Birdsall continues by describing how to establish cross-cultural partnerships. Some of the most important considerations are determining what the needs are, selecting national leaders wisely, and planning for the national leaders to take complete control at some point.
80-2000 project The scope of the Great Commission includes both the nation of Israel and the whole world. Matthew chapters 9 and 10 describe people as lost (sheep without a shepherd) and valuable (the harvest is plentiful). Jesus saw and had compassion. The heart of missions is seeing people the way Jesus sees them and loving them the way Jesus loves them.
Discussion of the meaning and application of this key passage of Scripture.
Joanne Harding about the AIDs crisis in Africa. It is a tragedy and a major challenge for world missions. A panel of experienced missionaries discusses the calling to be a missionary and practical ways to prepare to be a missionary.
Dr David Hilborn, Head of Theology Evangelical Alliance in the UK, discusses the theological framework of universalism, its historical development and the impact that it has on missions.
The political and religious climate in Yugoslavia creates unique challenges for people who are preaching the gospel there.
Dr. Timothy Tennent points out that the spread of vibrant Christianity in areas of the world besides the west, and the clash of Christianity with major world religions outline the framework for the focus of world missions.
Dr. Timothy Tennent shows how Christianity compares to other world religions by citing case studies of discussions with individuals of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Evangelicals must engage more seriously and more profoundly in the thought world of other religions.
What does Christ have to do with culture and what does the Church have to do with the world? Isolationists separate themselves and cannot have a significant impact on the world around them. Secularists identify with the world by compromising core beliefs to match the culture and don't have an impact because they are no different from the people around them. The Church often evangelizes from a distance instead of entering into the lives of people.
People will often respond more positively to the Gospel if you first find common ground in practical areas and use culture as a bridge for the Gospel into the world. The Gospel has to be forwarded to a new address for every generation.
Chuck Davis from Africa Inland Mission describes mission work in Africa and his personal experiences in Congo, Chad and other African countries.
The Gospel is a message that addresses sin in the lives of individuals and transforms society in areas like justice and charity.
World missions is a fundamental theme throughout the Bible. The book "Christ and Culture" proposes four models to explain the relationship between the Church and the world. Some people emphasize scriptures that focus on evangelism and others emphasize scriptures that teach the importance of meeting peoples' physical needs.
Note: The David Bosch Grid and Hans Kung Paradigm chart may be posted in the future but are not available at this time.
The Lausanne Conference on World Evangelism provided a forum for Christian leaders from different countries and denominations to establish some common goals and principles for communicating the Gospel and caring for people all over the world.
Note: The David Bosch Grid and Hans Kung Paradigm chart may be posted in the future but is not available at this time.
Dr. Kuzmič provides a framework for a theology of world missions based on a biblical worldview. We must live as citizens of two kingdoms. Our missiology needs to be theologically grounded, and our theology, missiologically focused. The documents that were written by delegates at the Lausanne Conference on World Missions have had a significant influence in defining and encouraging the practical application of a biblical view of world missions.
Theology of World Missions
Dr. Peter Kuzmič
Welcome in our educational, global, multi-directional mythological journey. We have a special treat tonight. Because we have one of the leading younger evangelical thinkers from Great Britain with us. Dr. David Hilborn is the head theologian for the British Evangelical Alliance, which is the best organized, most active and certainly certainly theologically most active and productive theological Commission of a national alliance, this one with a global influence. Dr. Hilborn has written and edited numerous works. We have about half a dozen or maybe more volumes here. He will probably say more about that on a number of controversial and pertinent subjects that the Church of Jesus Christ is facing as we enter the 21st century. He is also a member of the evangelical Catholic Dialog on the evangelical side. He has been the spokesman for evangelical theology and identical causes and is a recognizable voice in the British media spokesmen in media like BBC. And it is a special treat because we have him on the campus only for one day. He has addressed the faculty forum today. He spoke yesterday at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia and is teaching tomorrow at the Institute of Christian Studies in Toronto and then going on to Wheaton. One wonderful providential coincidence is that he's ten years old or young son Matthew, who sings in the boys choir in the famous St Paul's Cathedral in London, that the choir is singing in the States. And last Sunday, this proud father was there when his ten year old Matthew and other boys of that and similar age sang in the National Cathedral in Washington. Dr. Hilburn did a number of things that I will not go on now, but let me just say that he did his doctorate under Professor Anthony de Shelton. Many of you who are in the senior stages of the MDA program recognize that name of that great hermeneutical and biblical thinker.
All right. We will then at the end have our presentation from Bosnia. We will move from reflection, theological, theological reflection by Dr. Hilborn on the topic of universalism, a very important topic for theological reflection. He has also edited a book on the nature of Halal, which you may have seen. Christianity Today had several pages on the book on their work, and which was a hit in the British media. So it will be universalism. I should say that we may change the format a little bit. Let's play it creatively here. Go for about 15 minutes, take a short break, and then come back. Dr. Hilburn will be open for questions, for discussion. I know that in this large auditorium that doesn't work well. And then we will move into application and practical side, as we have with us tonight. How many of you attend the First Congregational hearing down in Hamilton? So some of you may have heard Reverend Kamal or Christina last Sunday morning and not a yeah, let's congregational. This is a famous church here in the area. And so when Pastor Dory turns his pulpit Sunday morning over to other preachers, they must be significant. This one is because Carmelo Christina is a church planter and a pioneer in war torn Bosnia, where, as you know, the majority are Muslims. He has been elected two years ago. Is Odyssey three years ago to be the president of the Evangelical Association of Churches for Bosnia and Herzegovina is involved in a very creative combination of relief, humanitarian work, as well as making the saving message of Jesus known evangelizing and church planting in the city of Mostar. Mostar comes from most, and mostly that means bridge. That's where the famous bridge was destroyed. You will remember Peter Jennings reporting from that place for ABC.
And that bridge has just been rebuilt and open the most famous bridge in the world. So some of you thought it was San Francisco? No, it's not. It's Mostar. Yeah. And by the way, I should read his wife. Yvonne, can you just stand so the glass meets you ahead of the time? Yvonne and Carmela. Sonia from Bosnia and Herzegovina. And as I said in this multi-directional journey that always plate finds the convergence at the center of mythological reflection and activity. We do have a special treat tonight. So, David, is there anything else I need to say? I don't think so. I think. I think you've said enough. Have I? All right. Let me turn up more later. Well, and later you will hear one of the finest British theological minds. And I would like you to observe the theological precision. I would like you to observe the economy of the words, the use of language. Ralph Healey, a German theologian who is the head of the Bengal house in Tübingen, said recently at that conference outside Oxford when the evangelical theologians from around the world met, he said, I always like to hear David Miliband reflect theologically because he's so precise and so clear. And I do love his Oxford English. I must make a humble confession and acknowledge that he speaks better English than I do. But then he might speak better English than you do, too, so. All right. Let's begin with a word of prayer. Almighty God, creator and sustainer of the universe. We thank you again that you are not just some kind of a cosmic engineer. Impersonal force. You have entered our human history in your son. The missionary par excellence. You have become human while remaining divine. We thank you for what happened on the cross.
We thank you for the third day for the truth and the power of the resurrection. And we pray that you will help us tonight to understand the uniqueness of your mission, Lord Jesus and your person, your purpose for humanity and for the world, and for the time in which you have suddenly placed us. I thank you for Dr. Hilburn and for our friends from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I pray that you will make our minds alert, our hearts receptive to understand your will for humanity, and to be willing to be engaged to see the realization of your purpose in our personal lives and in history. All of this for the glory of your name, Lord Jesus, for it is in your name. And with the help of the Holy Spirit that we humbly pray. Amen. Amen. I've never seen such a small microphone that I can see that we may have technology here for spying. You could really hide this one. Well, Peter, after that introduction, I can only disappoint you, I'm afraid. Glowing is not the word, but I'm very grateful for it. And indeed, for the hospitality that you personally have shown. I have a little anecdote here. Oh, yeah, we have. We are teaching at Gordon Cornwall now, along with the biblical and systematic theology, the narrative and the anecdotal theology. Oh, yes, SPURGEON said. Don't apologize at the beginning. Oh, I know, I know. It's only weaknesses. They will discover them anyhow. I know that. But you don't. You certainly don't need to. But you've talked about my quintessential Englishness, and one of the traits of the English is to be understated and fairly self-deprecating. Let me just explain to you some of the context of tonight's session and also give you a bit of an overview of how we're going to cope with this vexed question of universalism or universal salvation.
First, some context. In the year 1988, some of you will be aware that a book was published in Britain and America called Essentials in the UK and Evangelical Essentials Here, which was a dialog between John Stott, who is one of the great statesmen of modern evangelicalism, the Rector emeritus of All Souls. Langham Place the drafter or chief drafter of the low slung covenants of 1974 and much else besides, and this dialog was engaged in with David Earl Edwards, a self-professed. Liberal Anglican from England. Also in the course of a number of chapters dealing with various issues of contention within the church, Stott turned his attention to the matter of the last things death, judgment, heaven and hell, and in dealing with that showed for the first time in public some sympathy, in fact some considerable sympathy for a view known as annihilation ism. The view that rather than being consciously and eternally punished and how the unredeemed would in fact eventually meet destruction annihilation rather than going on forever tortured and being aware of its. He said that this was more in tune with his conception of God's character as revealed in the rest of the Bible, and that he couldn't understand how anyone could adhere to the classical majority evangelical position, that the unredeemed would be eternally consciously punished and hell without, as he put it, cracking under the strain. While you will be aware, perhaps, that that debate and Scott's own stated position opened the floodgates for a slew of other publications dealing with this question of what happens when people die, particularly the fate of the unredeemed. And subsequently, figures like Nigel Wright and John Wenham and numerous others came out, as it were, as annihilation lists in print. Well, that in itself precipitated something of a problem for the Evangelical Alliance, which is a broad ranging constituency within the UK, representing about 40,000 individual members, 800 Christian organizations, and some 3000 congregations of different denominational backgrounds.
And my job as a theological head at the Evangelical Alliance, running a commission of about 20 people, is to deal with matters of concern within the evangelical world and beyond it in wider society. And so we set to work on a report which eventually came out in the year 2000 called The Nature of How. And here it is. I've got some copies if anybody is interested in purchasing them. You can get them afterwards. Now, that was specifically focused on the question of the fate of the unredeemed, whether the unredeemed will eventually meet destruction after being judged by God in the end time, or whether they will be eternally consciously punished. But in dealing with that particular debate, it was necessary also to look at other positions which deal with this question in a different way, and particularly positions which deal with it in a more liberal or more radical sense. And therefore, in this report there is a section devoted to the whole question of universalism, universal salvation. And what I want to say tonight is based somewhat on that section, but also in a more recent paper that I've written with my colleague at the Evangelical Alliance, Dr. Don Horrocks, about the ways in which universalism has impinged on the evangelical community. You may see universalism and evangelicalism, if you know anything about those two topics, as mutually exclusive as a contradiction in terms. But I want to show that, in fact, in evangelical history, there are some narratives which show how certain people who would call themselves evangelicals have come to embrace universalism. And having looked at universalism and defined it and looked at some of the biblical texts that are adduced in favor of it, I then want to look at that history and bring things back up to date towards the end so that learning the lessons from the past, we look at some of the key questions which relate to this matter today.
And some of those evangelicals on what might be regarded as the left wing of evangelicalism or the radical wing today who are embracing positions which come quite close to universalism. What lessons from the past inform this contemporary debate? And also how can we deal with that debate in terms most specifically of the missionary mandate of Christ and the missionary imperative that the church holds in trust from Jesus Christ? So I want to start with some fairly straightforward theology and biblical exegesis, move into some church history and then come to mass theology since this is a class in missions. On this question of universalism. Does that sound like a sensible and coherent kind of framework? Are you okay with that? I've also got some acetates, which in fact I've done this afternoon when Peter and I were dialoging about the kind of class that this is. I thought it might be helpful if you had some bullet points and an even more basic schema to follow so the acetates would be up on the HP, and that will help you follow through. What I'm saying, if there are some typographical errors, it's because my fingers are not as accurate as my secretaries back in Britain. And I usually rely on her for this kind of thing. So please forgive the typographical errors. It doesn't mean I can't spell. It just means that my fingers are a little bit hamfisted. Now, in simple terms, in the most basic terms, what do you mean by universalism? Well, universalism is expressed very straightforwardly, the doctrine which holds that in the end, all human beings will be saved, will be translated to heaven all eternity with God, an eternity of joy with God. Where does it emerge from? Well, the earliest apologetics for universalism in the early church emerged from the Greek church fathers, particularly from Clement of Alexandria, his pupil origin, and also from Gregory of Nyssa.
All of them began with a single premise. And that premise was that since God was merciful, a God of love and a God of redemption, when he punishes sinners as he must, that punishment is finally medicinal or curative rather than endlessly punitive. This is a God of mercy who desires, in the end that all will be saved rather than eternally punished. Thought this particular group of Greek church fathers. So Clement, for example, saw vengeance as finally on becoming of God, since to wreak revenge was, as he put it, to return evil for evil, whereas God chastises for the benefit of the chastised. In Origin's view in Origin is the the really the key source and the most pervasive source for this doctrine. God acts in dealing with sin is as a physician, a doctor, if you like, and the fury of his anger is profitable for the purging of souls. In the same way Gregory insisted that it's not punishment chiefly and principally that the deity is judge effect sin us with. But he operates only to get the goods separated from the evil and to attract it into the communion of blessedness. So you see in these conceptions of God's eternal plan that everything converges upon the consummation of all things, and indeed that doctrine of the consummation of all things, the restitution of all things, or a pocket dispossess or a pocket that's a pocket attached to this. If I can pronounce it two different ways that I've heard it pronounced, the restitution of all things is perhaps the key idea which lies behind universalism in the early church. Well, how was Universalism dealt with? It was generally regarded as not in keeping with the revelation of God in Scripture, which talks of punishment in passages like Matthew 25, apparently as endless.
And indeed it was fiercely condemned by Augustine of Hippo. And finally Anathema changed at the second Council of Constantinople in 553 A.D., along with the teaching of Origin himself. Then we see it virtually disappearing from Western theology during the Middle Ages, being provoked, promoted perhaps by just a few mystics on the fringes of the church and its theology. However, as we all see when it comes to the historical developments of this doctrine through into some aspects of evangelicalism, it was revived at the Reformation, particularly by a few radical reformers, Anabaptists in particular. And I want you to hang on to that in a sense, as the roots of the problem that evangelicalism has faced, particularly in regard to universalism ever since. But let's just fast forward for a moment and get a take on how universalism is propounded today. Just to get a sense of context before we look back in detail. Essentially, Universalism now takes several different forms. For our purposes, I think we can reduce it down to three main types. The first of these can be called pluralistic universalism. And this has been exemplified in modern times, particularly by the work of Ernst Crouch and also by John Hick. Now pluralistic universalism conceives that salvation is the process that can take place entirely outside Christ. That God allows the thriving of certain other world religions and philosophical systems because they are good for bringing people into an eternity with him. The second form of universalism might be regarded as somewhat more Christo centric and could be described as inclusive esthetic universalism. This is represented variously in the work of Paul Telecom, John Macquarie, Vernon White and Jürgen Maltman. Who deserves an umlaut on the Juergen? In the slide that arguably to some would suggest that this inclusive Vista Universalism is taught by Carl Bart.
But as we'll see, that's somewhat problematic as a proposal. Inclusive cystic universalism. Morris accepts the uniqueness of God's revelation in Christ. But instead of demanding that people should have overt, explicit, expressed faith in him as the sole means of their redemption. It implies that non-Christians might be redeemed unknowingly or anonymously by his grace. And this is a position also on the Catholic side associated, you may be aware, with Carl Rahner. And the third type of universalism which pervades today, could be described as hopeful universalism. This is not dogmatic about the proposal that all people will be safe no matter what atheists and indeed in origin schema. Even Satan himself, just as the angels, the evil angels in this cosmic restitution for origin were brought back into communion with God. He conceived that even the devil himself would be saved. Now, this third type of hopeful universalism isn't dogmatic or totalizing in that sense, but it does have a maximal optimism about who might be saved. It hopes on the basis of God's love and mercy, that in fact everyone will populate heaven who has ever lived. But it doesn't want to assert that as a sure thing. You get the point. This position has been articulated by the Anglican liberal theologian John Robinson and also by Jan Bonder, a Dutch reformed scholar. Colbert has also been put in this category, but I'm going to suggest that he's probably better seen as a one off, sui generis and not easily pigeonholed in any one of these categories. Again just so that we oriental selves to this issue before looking in detail at its roots and shoots within evangelicalism. It might be worth going over some of the key texts that have been advanced by Universalists in support of this doctrine.
These texts, of course, are highly disputed. And it's not my purpose here to give you an exegetical lecture in great depth. But I think it's worth noting the disputed areas of biblical revelation here. So one of the texts that features again and again in discussions of Universalism is Romans 518. Consequently, justice the result of one man's trespass. Adams was condemnation for all, so also the result of one act of righteousness. Christ death on the cross was justification. That brings life for all. And inevitably Universalists would see the use of all there and the parallel between Adam and his fall and Christ and his redemption in a literal sense, that the all really does mean every individual who has ever lived. Evangelicals, and most particularly and most prominently, perhaps in the current debate, Thom writes notes that the use of all in that interpretation flies in the face of other texts in Romans, like Romans two, six, two, 16 and 14, 11 or 12, where all simply cannot mean every individual who has ever lived. But rather expresses the desire of God that all might be saved. But conditional upon faith in Jesus Christ. Or on another interpretation that the all refers to all groups or types of people, people from all nations, all levels of society or ethnic and language groups. The same dispute centers around Romans 1132. For God has bound all over to disobedience so that he might have mercy on them all. Another text that you sometimes see adduced in favor of universalism is Philippians 210. The vision of the end times in which at the name of Jesus, every knee is bowing. I think that's more easily dealt with in the sense that this is a picture of. People coming in the general resurrection to the throne of Christ bowing because they recognize his sovereignty and His Lordship.
But it seems to be prior to judgment, as indeed all of us must recognize that Christ is Lord. Whether we are eventually going to be admitted to heaven or consigned to hell. So perhaps that's slightly more shaky in the debate, but it's often brought up. Then there's one Corinthians 1528 when Christ has put everything under his feet and the Son himself will be made subject to him. We put everything under him so that God may be all in all. This was a very important text for those Greek fathers that I've mentioned. God consummating history, bringing to bear his glory through the whole of the universe so that there is not one corner of the universe subject to hatred and judgment and punishment. That's how they understood this text, and that's how many of these contemporary Universalists understand it today. But the evangelical response has been that God being all in all, does not necessarily exclude the possibility of gods reserving a segment of that redeemed Cosmos to continue his holy plan for the heavens and the Earth. The view would be that hell is an outworking of God's justice, which we see all around us in this life beyond the grave. Why should the exercise of punishment, which we see as quite good in regard to certain crimes and also spiritually in terms of sin? Why should that cease at death or indeed at the last judgment? The justice of God is a fundamental intrinsic part of his character. Why should it not continue? And that would be the evangelical response. God being all in all, can include God being sovereign over how. In eternity. And finally in efficiency, won 9 to 10 and he made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times when have reached their fulfillment to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
The same debate, in a sense, centers on these texts, on this text in particular its how God can be sovereign, how Christ can be sovereign in eternity over those who are writhing in suffering, unconscious of their suffering and being consigned to hell. Is that a contradiction of God's character, as John Stop, for example, was suggesting? Or is it consistent with the holiness of a Holy God for whom judgment is absolutely of the essence of his divinity? Well, these are the issues which are at stake in the contemporary debates. I want to move on now more specifically to look at how evangelical theologians and church leaders have been impacted by this debate and how they have responded to this debate. I want to look most specifically at how universalism has from time to time had an effect on the evangelical constituency and also most specifically to look at today and how there are evangelicals on what Millard Erikson calls the left wing, who are, one might say, flirting with semi universalism and in some cases perhaps with full blown universalism. In our report, The Nature of Hell. When we were dealing with Universalism, we tried to summarize the classic evangelical take on this doctrine, both in history and today. And when I say classic evangelical, I mean classic evangelical. In the tradition of that second Council of Constantinople, which anathema to the doctrine, and also taking a cue from Lutheran Calvin, who you may have seen on the first slide, both of whom rejected this doctrine, Luther largely on the basis that it contravenes the doctrine of justification by faith. It made faith in Christ virtually irrelevant in an eternal sense for one's destiny and Calvin, on the basis that it did an injustice to God's double decree, an election whereby from eternity, he will consign some for a life of faith in Christ and an eternity with God in Heaven and others to hell.
So evangelicals have taken their cue from those magisterial reformation objections and from the patristic anathema to rising of universalism. And they've basically said three things about universalism, both in their history and we still say it today. The Evangelical Alliance UK being no exception. And in the nature of hell, this is what we say about universalism and why it cannot be accepted within our constituency by our theological commission, by me as theological head of the Evangelical Alliance, or by anybody who with integrity would want to claim that they are an evangelical. First, the first objection to universalism from an evangelical perspective is that it trivializes the radical sinfulness of humanity. It plays down also the penalties due for that radical sinfulness, whether it's in the Calvinist understanding of total depravity or some other conception of our fallen states. Evangelicalism has been pretty consistent that we are helpless without God's grace, working in us through faith to redeem us from the eternal consequences of the sin of Adam and its mark upon us. It trivializes human sin. Second, the second objection to universalism. That it compromises morality by denying that good or evil choices make any ultimate difference. Make any difference in eternity. So Martin Luther, John Calvin are on a level in the most maximal version of universalism with Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin or Pol Pot. That it becomes ethically compromised in that sense. And the third major objection that has been advanced by evangelicals down the years. And the one that probably is most directly relevant to our context here as a missions class is this that universalism undermines the church's missionary imperative. By implying that evangelism and conversion are incidental rather than central to salvation. They may in fact give people an abundance of life, increase their joy as they become Christians, make them existentially better disposed towards their daily existence.
But in the end, it is not crucial to where they're going to end up. Now, as I say, these objections to universalism, which we set out in this book, the nature of Hell, are hardly new and hardly surprising. An historical survey of this doctrine Universalism, published in 1979, Richard Bolcom associated it with less conservative theologians, and he barely mentioned anyone who could be classed as evangelical. Likewise, while charting the growth of more radical theologies of salvation among evangelicals today, Daniel Strange has recently concluded that even those evangelicals who are very optimistic about the numbers of people who will eventually be saved still don't believe in universalism. For, he says, and this is important. It is not a matter of degree to move from the belief that the majority of humankind will be saved to a belief that all will be saved. But a matter of kind. It's not a matter of degree. To move from the belief that the majority of humanity will be saved to a belief that all will be saved, but a matter of kind. You can have a very optimistic view of the numbers that will eventually make it to heaven. You can have an inclusive this that kind of so Terry ology a doctrine of salvation which sees some beyond the reach of evangelism coming eventually to share their life everlastingly with God's. But the minute you shade off over into universalism, you're into different territory. It's a different ballgame. We can argue about the population of Haven proportions of those who are saved to those who are lost. But you begin to say that all will be savior in different territory. Dan Strange goes on to add on that basis that he knows and this is an extensive survey of the subject published just last year, that he knows of no published evangelical who holds to the doctrine of South of Universalism or universal salvation.
Now, you might think that that is cut and dried and I can walk away and we can talk about something else, because there you are. That's the issue. But it's not as simple as that. I think you probably guessed it wasn't as simple as that, but it's not as simple as that. Let me reassure you. Because I think Dan Strange, his assessment begs the question. At first glance, it might seem a rather abstract, hypothetical question. But I want to show it's one that is likely to become ever more acute within evangelicalism over the next few years. And the question is this. You might want to write it down because it's not on the acetate. All the any conditions under which an evangelical who did embrace universalism could still be classed as an evangelical. And if so, if so, what might those conditions be? Let me say it again. Are there any conditions, any at all under which an evangelical who did embrace universalism could still be classed as an evangelical? And if so, what exactly might those conditions be? Now, this is an avowedly evangelical seminary with an avowedly evangelical constitution and basis of faith. So I hope I can assume something about your knowledge of what evangelicalism is. Without that, be a fair assumption. Okay. I'm not going to spell out what I understand by evangelicalism, but you get my drift. It's Daniel Strange's comment that no published evangelical that he knows of as espoused universalism. That begs this vital question. It's one thing to say de facto there aren't any evangelical Universalists, but in principle, could that be? And this is an important question because I think that both from evangelical history. I would say that there are actually some published authors who would, at least for themselves, claim to be evangelicals who have embraced universalism, even though they found it quite tough to remain within the constituency.
And today, I would say that there are evangelicals who are coming very close to this doctrine, and we need to be informed about where things are going. One of the test cases for this big question that I have asked is the work of a philosophical theologian based at Willamette in Oregon, near Salem in Oregon, called Thomas Tolbert. Now, Tolbert is an interesting figure because he comes from a conservative Baptist background. And over the last ten years or so, he has published in a number of journals articles espousing a dogmatic form of universalism. But he has done so in debates with avowedly evangelical scholars. Tolbert argues for a universalist position on what might broadly be referred to as Reformed grounds or Calvinist grounds. Rather than Calvin himself, who argued for this double decree that I mentioned. Tolbert interprets Scripture to suggest that God's eternal decree in regard to salvation is that all eventually will experience what he calls Love's final victory. Tolbert echoes familiar reform, thinking when he states that while our choices in respect of the gospel most assuredly can affect our chances for happiness in the present and the near term future, they can't alter our final destiny. Can't alter. He is a universalist stick fundamentalist, if you want to use that term very loosely. He does, however, depart from his formed understanding when he suggests that this final destiny is the same for all. A glorious inheritance of union with God and a reconciliation with others, as I've said. His main treatise on this topic is called The Inescapable Love of God. And there he says this When the Hound of Heaven has finally closed off every alternative to union with God, we shall then each of us finally embrace the destiny that is ours.
Now, Tolbert is unusual in seeking to remain connected with the evangelical constituency whilst being so dogmatic about universalism. I don't think he particularly minds too much whether people label him evangelical or not. He claims to want simply to be true to scripture, and the labeling process is neither here nor there for him. But I do think that his work on this issue prompts reflection, not only on current evangelical thinking about universalism, but on the historical context of such thinking. It prompts consideration of whether there are precedents within our own evangelical tradition, both the more specific universalist arguments that Torbett accuses or for universalist stick doctrine in general. Before I look at that historical evolution, I want to just put in a warning here. It's a warning sounded by Jerry Root in his article on this matter for the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology and Gerry Roots sets that be concerned, be aware that there are about as many varieties of universalism as there are people writing about it. I've already mentioned three contemporary models, but there are many variations and I can't possibly hope to cover them all now. But I will try to cover some and you'll be amazed at how much diversity there is alighting on this final understanding that all in the end will be saved. Or may likely be saved. Now, I've already mentioned that the magisterial reformist Lutheran Calvin followed Augustine and the second Council of Constantinople in condemning universalism, and that's largely the evangelical tradition. I followed their argumentation on one side or the other. But I've also hinted that we need to remember that the Reformation had a radical wing. Largely led by the Anabaptists, and it's within the Anabaptist tradition that we see the reawakening of universalist stick understanding in the 16th century.
Particularly the South German Anabaptist hunts Dank not only opposed pedo baptism, even before he formally joined the Anabaptist movement, Denk was imprisoned in 1525 for promoting Origins doctrine that at the Last judgment, even Satan will be spared. There is some debate among scholars about whether, in fact, that was what Denk taught. But we can be pretty sure that he had a very optimistic view of the population of heaven, and certainly that God's salvific will was to save all, whether in fact, in the end that was the practical outcome. But nonetheless, his opponents felt strongly enough about his teaching to imprison him. Dank didn't finally penetrate in a decisive way. Those Mennonite and Hutterite movements, which would develop as the main streams of anabaptists subsequently. But his notion of this universal intent of God and possibly universal the fact of salvation. Was one that resurfaced in the mystical writings of the German Lutheran Yako Burma in the late 16th and early 17th century. Bonus work attacked the reformed doctrines of election and reprobate probation as being incompatible with Scripture portrayal of a God who was engaged in universal restoration and renewal. Now Burma, it would be hard to describe as an evangelical. But he did influence others who found themselves more squarely within traditions that might be described that way. So we know, for example, that Peter Stary, an independent minister, what we now call a Congregationalist who served as Oliver Cromwell chaplain in the 17th century. We do know that Peter Sterry sought to co-opt Burma's concepts into a detailed scheme of universal redemption. And we know, too, that one of his proteges, Jeremiah White, did the same. Like Thomas Tuchel. But today, both Sterry and whites were driven by an abiding conviction that the God whose supreme attributes his love wouldn't finally withhold his love from any of his creatures.
He made them with a purpose. He made them to love them. He made them for eternity. This was the argument that was put forward. Burma therefore had an influence on what might loosely be described as English evangelical nonconformity. But he also. Had a very important influence on Pietersen's. In case you need reminding, PA system emerged in the mid-17th century in Germany as a reaction against the increased scholasticism of the Lutheran Church and the religious entanglements of the 30 Years War. And that context of conflict and violence helps to some extent to explain why some pie artists were inclined to explore the universalist visions of Burma, even if they, in the end typically declined to infer universal salvation from Burma's work. They saw around them immense bloodshed and judgments, if you like, from one group of people against another, and could not see that as compatible with God and were driven to conceive a more optimistic understanding of salvation. You see there how the pastoral imperative drives these thinkers, just as indeed it seems to have driven John Stott. As recently as 1988. Anyone who holds to eternal conscious punishment must crack under the strain. He implied it was similar for the ironically minded pieties, the peace loving pieties of the 17th century. People like Philip Yaakov, Spinner, August Hermann Frank and Nicholas Fons, innocent of all drew on Burma's work and under the influence of these protests, one of England's greatest spiritual writers, William Law, in one sense at least, was moved to embrace Burma's work. William Law, in turn, would go on to influence John Wesley, and Wesley would study not only law, but in turn Burma's work in some depth. Now, admittedly, Wesley, who himself was very much influenced by piety ism, wasn't convinced by Burma's understanding.
But he did nonetheless strongly promote the work of another Lutheran church, the PI artist, who at least discreetly did embrace Burma style universalism. And that man was Johannes Albrecht Bengal, who produced a groundbreaking exegetical study, the Norman Novy Testament, which was much consulted and admired by John Wesley and which many people have seen as the fountainhead of the modern historical critical movement. Bengal was reticent to publish his views, but Helmut Telecare suggests that this conviction stemmed not from some uncertainty about whether Universalism was true, but simply from the notion that it might not be a doctrine for which everybody was ready if it came into the hands of the wrong person, says Taylor. The person who would construe legalistic lay it would have a devastating effect. This effect would be much the same as that of untimely preaching of predestination and properly understood. This, too, could be taken fatalistic lay and in a mission's context. That remark of Tilak or upon the implications of universalism in some of Bengal's exegesis and in Bengal's private correspondence. But implication is very important because it raises the vital question of whether it's ever right to make a disjunction between one's doctrinal convictions and one's evangelistic practice. Put it another way Can what is theologically right ever be Mr. logically wrong? It's a question which merits very serious consideration, and we could pursue it afterwards in the discussion time later in the class. I think it goes to the very heart of this question. Let me just restate it. Can what is theologically believed in one's heart of heart ever be logically wrong to practice? Now, this same tension between private universalism and public orthodoxy was a big feature of the moderate German party's grouping. Founded in 1878 by Alexander Mack, known as the New Baptists or the Brethren.
Not to be confused with the Brethren movement founded by John Nelson Darby a century or so later, this is the Church of the Brethren, so-called, as I understand it, today in North America, and particularly as this group settled in colonial America from the early 18th century onwards, they began to hold quite consistently to a version of universal restoration, universal salvation. However, again, fascinatingly, as Donald Dunbar notes in his study of this group, it was never officially preached lest detract from the Brethren missionary emphasis on conversion, personal salvation and social activism insofar as it was disseminated at all, it seems to have been promoted by leaders belonging to a more overtly radical strain of piety, and people like Johann William Petersen and Christoph Hockman von Hocknull and George. To benefit and to benefit is a fascinating figure because the stereotype that often mainstream evangelicals put forward against universalism is that it detracts from our missionary motivation, our drive to evangelize, to save people from how to rescue them, from eternal condemnation. And therefore, the the model that's put forward often is the world universalist. They don't evangelize. They've got no reason to have they. But the event to benefit was an avowed missionary. He went to all kinds of groups. He was tireless in his missionary field, not least zeal, not least among the Native American community, and on his terms, it was necessary to take this universalist gospel out. Because, as he put it, my happiness will be incomplete while one creature remains miserable. So try and infer from that. What is his motivation, George, to benefit one of the leading Universalists of his day, the 18th century? It's not eschatological. It's not salvific in terms of eternity. It's existential, pastoral, practical. It's life in all its fullness.
Not life everlasting. And you see again how this is traced through. I'm going to move on because it's important to get to the contemporary debate. But I want to talk for a while about an incident that occurred within the Evangelical Alliance in Britain shortly after its foundation in 1846. The alliance was just about the first group that brought together evangelicals from the Church of England. They established Church of England in Britain and the nonconformist churches just about the first in 1846. And one of its first honorary secretaries was a man called T.R. Burks that distinguished himself, actually as a vigorous opponent of Darwinian ism. As it developed in the 1860s and beyond. And Buck's, as I say, it was one of the most notable early honorary secretaries of the Evangelical Alliance. And around 1870, much to the alliance's surprise. Burke's published a book called The Victory of Divine Goodness. And there he suggested that while in the end there was a separation between Harlan Heaven and people could not be translated from one to the other. Nonetheless, those who suffer in hell would be able to benefit from the light of heaven and their fate would be ameliorated as time went on. So there was a gradual softening of the punishment as God brought everything to its consummation. So it wasn't quite universalism, but it was close. And he found himself formally censured for publishing that book by my organization, the Evangelical Alliance of Great Britain. In the 19th century. There were other figures on the evangelical scene who either embraced universalism or came close to it. And in citing TR books, I want to underline that there were variations on this theme, but were nonetheless deemed to be so close to universalism as to be dangerous and unacceptable.
But this was one. Another was the doctrine propounded by Thomas Erskine of Lynn Lapham, a Scottish theologian much honored in his own day, much revered by the rising German critical movement too, but still self avowedly an evangelical. Erskine's understanding was that God made us all to be teachable and to be educated for eternity. And therefore saw that God's pedagogical purpose must continue beyond the grave. And amidst much other writing on this subject, he propounded one of the first versions of what's come to be known as second chance salvation or postmortem salvation. The notion that those particularly who do not have the opportunity to hear the gospel in this life will nonetheless get another opportunity to do so after they have died. It's not all lost. The classic Hebrews nine text that evangelicals often quote, We are destined to die once some face judgment was for us kin, not referring to people's eternal destiny, but rather simply to a judgment which would lead to further education. Okay, you haven't done very well, son or daughter. So here's another opportunity to learn more about the Gospel. The Angels and the Saints will preach to you and you can come eventually to faith in Christ and you'll be received eternally into glory with God. It's very significant that rsk and as a professing evangelical, propounded this doctrine. Because today, again, on the left wing of evangelicalism, since about the 1960s, there have been a growing group, there has been a growing group of theologians who have either endorsed or seriously entertained this concept of a second chance or postmortem evangelism. The group now includes at least George Beasley, Murray, Charles Cranfield, Donald Blush, Clark Pinnock, Gabriel Thakrar and Nigel Wright. And like Millard Erickson, I suspect that group will indeed increase.
At least in one important respect. However, a similar. Conundrum arises in regard to this second chance doctrine, this postmortem repentance that we have seen apply to George D'ARBANVILLE in particular and universalism in general, and that is the issue of missional motivation. Listen, for example, to Niger. Right. One of the advocates of postmortem redemption who, as things stand, disavows universalism. So he hosts the postmortem evangelism, postmortem repentance, a second chance, but wouldn't go the whole hog into universalism. He addresses the charge that evangelicals have often leveled, that if you believe in this kind of semi universalist understanding, then you don't have a motive for mission. This is what he says. The motives of omission are greater and richer than the idea that we must rescue people from how we engage in mission. Because the Christian gospel is true, it enables human beings to find liberation and fulfill their destiny, because through it people receive the spirit of the Messianic age and come themselves to participate in his mission of redemption. And because through the gospel, people learn how to give glory to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This seems to be enough motivation, he says, to be going on with. It's a challenging statement. But do we buy into it? This is an important question. It's a question which relates very much the situation that evangelicals find themselves in today. Unless we bring things up to date. It's worth saying that the picture complicates when we get to the 20th century. I think what I'm going to do is just because I've been speaking for about 50 minutes and we've got 3 hours. Yeah, okay. Let's just. Move here. I'm going to break for a moment because there's a lot of material that I've put before you.
And as we seek to address the practical theological issues that arise from this whole historical survey that I've given. I think it might be wise just to give you an opportunity to come back and ask some questions of clarification before we move on. We've got 3 hours, and I know the last hour we're going to be looking at the practical Miss theological issues. But in the time I have left, I think I want to bring you more into the discussion. So if anybody got anything, they would like to ask about what I've said so far. Yeah. Yes. Could I say something about could I say something about the repercussions arising from Vatican two? I'm not an expert on this particular issue, although I've been involved in a Roman Catholic evangelical dialog that's been on the matter of the church, the doctrine of the church. But in so far as Vatican two does begin at least to open the door to this notion of inclusiveness that I've mentioned in respect of Carl Reiner and indeed of Hans Kung, for example. I think that one can see that worked out in the pope's more liberal embracing of the peace movement and environmental ethics and so forth, a desire to bring people of other faiths in supply within what he perceives to be a scheme of God's restitution of all things, not just of people, but of that of the cosmos, of the creation. And we see that in Pope John Paul, 2 seconds, as I say, more radical instincts where it comes to members of other faiths. But there's a paradox, of course, at the heart of this, because still ecclesial logically, Rome would want to say that it is the purest expression of the church that is instituted by Christ in the New Testament that other churches may subsist in this this conception of the church that they have, but that they provide the model.
And so there is this immense paradox at the heart of Roman Catholic understanding between the specificity of salvation, which comes most expressly and most fully through the Roman instantiation of the church. Over against this wider hope that Pope John Paul second seems to be tagging along with. And that's quite a significant development, I think, and I don't know quite how it's going to proceed after he dies, but it's a good point. And in so far as his papacy has shaped so much of the way the world views Christianity as a whole and indeed the way that we perceive ourselves in global terms, I think it can't be ignored. Feel like. Yeah. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. When in the book, the nature of how we do trawl through the, the other text that would be supportive apparently of a classical evangelical position, as you've said. Matthew 25. The separation of the sheep and the goats everlastingly, apparently. Revelation 14 and Revelation 20, where a terminology is used, which is maximizing the notion of eternity forever and ever, or from age until age until age. And I guess a lot turns on the conception of the Greek word Irenaeus in this respect, those who would see. The fate of the unredeemed, not as one of eternal conscious punishment have to make this turn, which in comparative literature and in parallel scriptural texts, seems very often to mean forever and ever and ever. They have to make it mean something else until the end of the age, and construe the age as being one that ends with the last day and so on and so forth. So as we say in the report, the burden of proof falls on those who want to make eternity, as it's inscribed in those texts mean something other than forever and ever and a day.
And there are those Steven Travis would be an example who would gladly do that. But energetically, it's very contentious. In the report, we say that semantically the statistics really aren't with those who argue that way either, whether if they are an isolationist, of course, for a universalist, the notion of punishment in terms of eternity is not acceptable, but punishment could still be there in the schema. And indeed there may well be in some universalist understandings, quite a protracted period of punishment before the unredeemed are translated to heaven. In fact, I want to say something about that in respect of a very notable and honored evangelical theologian in just a moment, if I may. So I've skimmed across the surface of history. There's a lot more to say. And if you want to read about it, the article on which what I'm saying is based will be published very soon in a book edited by Chris Partridge and Robin Parry by Paternoster Press called Universal Salvation. The current debate, and this is a book of essays by evangelical scholars who don't accept universalism critiquing Tom Talbot's work on various grounds. My essay, written jointly with Don Horrocks, is a historical theological survey of how this doctrine has impinged on the evangelical world. As I've already said, both through the radical reformers, some of them anyway, through some fringe revivalists in the 18th century and some evangelical thinkers in the 19th century. What about the last hundred years or so? Probably the most important conduit of universalist influence on evangelicals in this period is someone who's never really fully aligned with evangelicalism, nor finally committed to Tom Talbot's style of dogmatic universalism. And that is Carl Bart. Now, evangelicals, as you probably know, continue to debate the nature and extent of Bart's universalist sympathies and whether, in that sense, his thinking on hell and salvation is compatible with an evangelical perspective.
The debate's very complex, but it centers on an apparent tension in Bart's reworking of the reformed doctrine of election. I mentioned Calvin's understanding of the double decree election to have an election to hell earlier on. Bart reinterprets that and recognizes the dualistic and potentially arbitrary strains of that view of election. People apparently have no say in the matter. There are seems to be a non explicable side to this understanding of how God predestined people to one fate or the other. And so recognizing that problem. Bart takes up the poor lying concept of our being in Christ and he works out from that a social theory ology in which the Son Jesus himself is elected on our behalf as the universal elected man, the archetype of humanity, the new Adam. Jesus election, says Bart is at once both an election to damnation as he dies for the whole of humanity on the cross, and also an election to eternal life as his death makes atonement for the sin of the cosmos and as he's raised to glory. So by concentrating divine damnation on the cross. In that way, Bart argues that what appears to be God's condemnation is in fact an act of rejecting love and being divine. He says that acts of rejecting love focused on his son is so pervasive and in fact, that there's no hiding from it. Everybody is implicated in the redemption that it achieves. Eventually, as the rejection is turned around and Christ is raised on the third day. Now, that may sound to you like universalism, but it has to be understood in terms of an objective change which still calls for noetic uptake. That means an uptake which is cognitive or based on our fiduciary, our faith response.
What's very unclear or so complex that it's appeared unclear to many evangelicals since BART propounded, it is the extent to which he understands that faith response to be decisive in effecting rather than just disclosing of divine salvation for any particular person. Given the cosmic reach of our election in Christ. Bart mostly very reluctant to envisage the possibility that anyone might either reject it or be rejected from it. But at certain points he does appear to allow for such rejection on the grounds that God's all encompassing love must be a love that liberates people to isolate themselves from His reach if they insist on doing that. So if they persistently and willfully to the end of their life insist on rejecting God, then maybe, just maybe, as Bart puts it, there will arise the impossible possibility that God will reject some BART, something called a dialectical or a paradox. Theologian. And I think you can probably understand why in this regard. Now, what's significant for us as evangelicals is that, as Roger Olson notes, Bach has particularly influenced self-identified progressive evangelicals today who reject fundamentalism and liberal theology and who found in that Swiss theologian a way through what they perceive the two modes of thought to represent either fundamentalism on the one hand or liberal theology on the other. Neo evangelicals, evangelicals want to stare through those twin poles have found in BART very often a model for doing so. Prominent among the first wave of those progressive evangelicals was Bernard Rahm. And also later Donald Blush. Now, Ron was a conservative Baptist, but he spent a sabbatical year under BART at Basel in 1957 to 8, and thereafter he sought to assimilate Bart's insights into a very consciously evangelical framework. So while upholding the reality of hell and also preaching hell from time to time, Ryan took from BART nonetheless, a shift from the traditional emphasis placed on damnation by evangelicals.
Now, this is what he said. It's worth reading for a moment. Every sensitive evangelical he writes is a universalist at heart. He agrees with Peter when he wrote that the Lord is not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance in two. Peter 392 Peter three nine if you want to write that down. And perhaps that passage of scripture, which represents the sovereignty of God the strongest. ROMANS nine through 11. God's attitude towards Pharaoh is that he endured him with much patience. The idea that God is as much glorified by the damnation of the lost as by the salvation of the saints as held by some Calvinists, says Ram is hard to reconcile with. Ezekiel 1823. Ezekiel 1823. Have I not any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live. No person on the face of the earth writes Ram wants everybody in heaven more than an evangelical. Only an evangelical really knows in depth the meaning of sin, the wrath of God, the reconciliation of the cross, the victory of resurrection, the tragedy of judgment and the glory of the New Jerusalem. Every person who fails of this final Beatitude can only be of pain to him, unquote. That's a pillar of the late 20th century evangelical establishment. Bernard Rahm speaking. And it's striking that the motivation for mission there remains very strong. But it appears seriously to envisage missions having a universally or near universally positive effect. Rome's implication that hell awaits. Only those few who persistently reject God's call is reflected and intensified in the work of Donald Blush, currently working on his dogmatic, systematic theology. Lush schools and reformed and Lutheran pieties, and by a father who ministered in the German evangelical churches.
Braman in Indiana. Was later profoundly shaped by Bart's thinking while studying at Chicago Theological Seminary in the 1950s, and he's since projected Bart's understanding of optimism beyond the grave and to postmortem evangelization. I mentioned him as one of those who proposed that. And even and this is absolutely fascinating plus goes even so far as to suggest a possible form of restitution ism echoing some aspects of those early Greek fathers with whom we started. This is what he writes. And this is from luscious Essential Essentials of Evangelical Theology, Volume two, published in 1979. We don't want to put fences around God's grace and we don't preclude the possibility that some in hell might finally be translated to heaven. This is going even further than that Evangelical Alliance secretary T.R. Burks, who would leave them in hell but have them cured of much of their pain and punishment as God brings things to a conclusion with a new heaven on earth. Let's just prepare to go one step further. He says the gates of the holy city are being depicted as open day and night in Isaiah 6011 and in Revelation 2125, I saw a 6011, Revelation 2125. And this means that open access to the throne of grace is possible continuously. The gates of hell are locked, but they are locked from within. Hell is not outside the compass of God's mercy, nor the spheres of his kingdom. And in this sense, we call it the last refuge of the sinner. Edward Pews. He voices our own sentiments. We know absolutely nothing of the proportion of the safe to the lost or who will be lost. But this we do know that none will be lost, who do not obstinately to the end and in the end refuse God.
As another American theologian from the evangelical reform community who's taken this into a very deep examination of kind of semi or quasi universalism for evangelicals. His name is Neil Punt, and his studies began with the 1980 volume Unconditional Good News continued through a book called What's Good About the Good News in 1988. And then on to So also in Christ, which was just published last year. Now, part advance is something that he calls biblical universalism, and he contends that all persons are elect in Christ except those whom the Bible explicitly confirms will be eternally lost. And he means by that those who consistently repudiate or maintain an indifference to God's revelation of himself in gospel presentation, in evangelism, in creation, or in the witness of conscience. Punch says this for those who have finally lost. The Bible reveals no other cause than their own willful, persistent unbelief and sin. For those who are saved, it's God alone who graciously sovereignly elects and saves them. So if a punt election to salvation remains unconditional and by grace alone, as in classical Calvinism. But eternal condemnation. And here's the rub. Eternal condemnation is recast upon sin as wicked works. It's conditional upon sinners willfully committing wicked works and persistently doing so until the day they die. In other words, human beings concern their salvation. But some small number of human beings do earn their damnation. Now punt dismisses as on scripture the concept that anyone is destined to hell just because of their solidarity with Adam and the original sin which accrues from that solidarity instead of that. He argues that people who fail to inherit the kingdom. Of those who do so on the basis of, quote, actual willful and persistent sin. And he takes as his model for that one Corinthians six.
Where the sins done in the body. Apparently consciously committed sins rather than original sin. All the things which exclude us from the Kingdom of God, as Paul puts it. And you see how this is all turned around again. An evangelical who doesn't have a dogmatic universalism like Tom Torbett, but who nonetheless is coming very close to it. Now, there are various other evangelical scholars who have gone to that text I mentioned earlier, Romans 9 to 11 and have tried to construe on that basis that Paul's intention is that finally everyone will be saved on the basis that he seems to suggest that all Israel will be saved. And if Jews who refuse the gospel, if they are translated to heaven. Thence in the coming of the kingdom. God will draw, he says, all dead and alive back to himself. That Natalie and Ponder and his magnum opus, The One Purpose of God. Bond, a Dutch reformed scholar following in the footsteps of Carl Barnes. Natalie to New Testament scholars who have written for, for example, the words Biblical Commentary series. Andrew Lincoln and Richard Bell have suggested something similar about this and other New Testament passages. The passages that I mentioned at the beginning. Richard Bell, for example, suggests that two Corinthians 519 speaks of God being in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. Philippians 211 says Every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord and infers that there is a very literal reading of universal salvation that can be made from there. In conclusion, let me say this. We've seen that Daniel Strange in this study that I've mentioned that is coming out very soon, to which I've contributed an essay. We've seen that Daniel Strain shows modern evangelicals adopting a range of positions on the fate of the UN, evangelized from restrictive ism through universal opportunity and inclusive ism to postmortem evangelism.
But that he reports that Universalism has not had a recognized place within evangelicalism spans. In that assessment. Dan Strange undoubtedly reflects a broad consensus. That's a consensus underlined by Greg Boyd and Paul Eddy in their recent study Across the spectrum Issues in Evangelical Theology. Boyd and Eddie also list evangelical proponents of views stretching from restrictive ism to post salvation. But they implicitly bracket universalism off. They bracket it off with pluralism, a pluralism which sees all religions needing to God and which they see rejected universally by evangelical Christians, to quote them from their book. Now, I've already mentioned that our alliance report the nature of how clearly repudiates universalism. Here. We did suggest that some of those evangelical theologians should embrace the wider hope and postmortem models I've discussed might possibly move in time further towards universalism, a full blown universalist understanding. But we didn't welcome that prospect. It was viewed with a similar concern, biases that expressed by Millard Erickson a few years ago when he suggested that the more radical evangelical terminologies of plot Pinnock and Johnson to San Gabriel Sacra, all of whom would be in the similar camp to those I've mentioned. BURNETT Rant on a blush. Neil Punt. Yan Bondo. Richard Bell. Andrew Link. That they might themselves move on an ever more universalist stick track towards the sort of position that Tom Torbett advocates. But in their defense, it has to be said that none of them have done that yet. In fact, Clark Pinnick is very adamant in arguing that because he believes that mission and evangelism will continue beyond the grave, people must still choose Christ. Of course, Pennock has moved to a very strong Armenian ultra Armenian position, placing the emphasis on human beings choice and extends that beyond the grave.
So he conceives the possibility that someone even seeing the glorified Christ in front of them, even seeing face to face, might still say no. At least it's a possibility. One has to ask how realistic that possibility is. I mean, who's going to say no? But Pinnick thinks it's important to hang on to that. Dan Strange also says he knows of no published evangelical who has expressed views on this matter. But I've also mentioned that Bengal, for example, didn't publish anything advocating universalism, but has subsequently been found to have held it privately as indeed have a number of other evangelicals. In the course of preparing this lecture and writing the article that is coming out soon. I spoke to quite a number of evangelicals who privately told me that they certainly hold to postmortem evangelism, but have not published on it annihilation ism, but have not published on it and would not dare to because their institution would perhaps fire them. There are others whose views on this matter are ambiguous. Petty Forsyth, who is increasingly being claimed by evangelicals, who was active at the back end of the 19th century, early 20th, who seems at one place in the vast canon of his work to flirt with universalism but may or may not have done so in the end in the justification of Godse. His book, published originally in 1916, There is a hint of his own sympathy for universalism. And finally coming back to this case study, this test case that I mentioned of Tom Tolbert. What about him? I noted at the outset that he was convinced of an absolutist form of universalism. And that he doesn't mind much actually, in his writings, whether he's termed a true evangelical or not. But his clear regard for scripture and he does have a clear regard for scripture, his concern for personal salvation and the fact that he's debated that position substantially with evangelical scholars like John Piper and William Lay, Craig, and those who have contributed to this volume, Universal Salvation.
The current debate suggests that the question of whether that position has antecedents of any sort among those who have operated as evangelicals self-consciously is a question which is valid and useful for us to address now. In seeking to answer threats. We've seen that while Universalism is both diverse and quite hard to discern in full blown form among any evangelicals, some in the past and in the present evangelical community have clearly been informed and influenced by its. So insofar as Tom Tolbert can any sense be counted as a member of that evangelical community, he stands out not because he's the first to have embraced universalist thinking, but because he's done so in such an unconditional, unqualified and explicit a way. What's more, and this is really where we come down to the last part of our session tonight and where I leave you and. Ask somebody else to take it up. What's more, it seems very likely. I think that the issues which Tom Tolbert has raised are set to move higher up the evangelical agenda, not merely in his own chosen field of philosophical theology or in dogmatic but also in missy ology. Indeed, I would suggest that it's in mis theology that these issues may well come most practically and most urgently into view. What are the proper motives for mission? And would there could there ever be an evangelical doctrine of mission or salvation which would see a motive, a set of motives, excluding the rescuing of people from hell, either on the basis that they will have a second chance after death, or indeed that God being all in all and desiring to save all, really does mean that He will save all Evangelical alliance. I say I hope not. For all the reasons I've expressed, but I've shown you that there are signs that that may well happen and we need to be aware of it.
So thanks for listening and it's been good to be with you. It's a long session, but it's 3 hours and I told I had to. So we're going to break now and move into the practical question. Make a comment here, if I may. Yeah. Still this microphone from you. This has been a very helpful, instructive panoramic overview and analytically helpful from an evangelical perspective for consideration of universalism. The reason I have asked Dr. Kilburn to try dystopic is, as you have noticed in your careful study of your principal textbook, David Bosch doesn't treat universalism at all. He has only two pages on universalism in Paul, only two pages You have done 48 148 49 Interesting. His conclusion Paul refrains from any unequivocal assertion of universal salvation. The thrust towards such a notion is balanced by an emphasis on responsibility and obedience. For those who have heard the Gospel, God's gift of salvation. Pardon? God's gift of righteousness is inseparable from God's claim on people. The salvation offered by God is thus not universally in the sense that it makes human response inconsequential. Paul Fuzes qualifiers onto his statements about salvation suggests to those who believe those who are in Christ, those called, etc.. There is no talk of surrendering the missionary mandate beyond that brief explication on Paul in treatment of particularism and universalism. Blush does not address the issue of universalism at all, and as I have told you in the first session when we met, I don't want the class to repeat or my lectures to repeat or what we read in our materials. That would not be good stewardship of your time. This is a gradual course, so water and based on a careful examination of our textbooks and based on the diagnostic test I gave you at the beginning, I thought it necessary to bring in some regional studies where I detected certain.
Forgive me if I generalize. Some of you may have expertise, but certainly there's a general weakness in terms of knowledge of the African and Asian realities. That's in terms of regional studies and in terms of theological studies of physiology. We notice that universalism is not treated by Bosch, and we have adequately compensated for that tonight, thanks to Dr. Hilborn. And then there is another one that is not treated, is treated, but not sufficiently, and that is the missionary, the mission of the church in encounter with other world religions. There is a brief section in Bosch on the mission witness to the living fates of the world to brief the realities of the Islamic world, in the world, Buddhist world, etc., are of such magnitude and such challenge. That we will have to somewhere make up for the deficiency of our reading material in this area. And I am trying to persuade my colleague Timothy Tennant, who has recently published a book on that, to come in and share for a couple of hours again in a kind of a panoramic and analytic, not details. You can take classes with him on Islam and Hinduism or whatever is being offered somewhere in our program. We will take a break. Let us say that we'll be generous and take 13 minutes or 12 minutes break. I will give you instructions then on the other assignments and so on. Later in our closing session. But I would want if you're not too tired, David, what do you announce some of the topics. Just take a 60 seconds here. That is this is what the Fox News does around the world in 80 seconds. And take the break. That's we are taking this a few minutes, a longer break so that you can purchase books here.
Some of the best British evangelical thinking on topics. Books that are not available or at least not generally available. You will certainly not find them in our bookstore on the American market, although than the standard Baker will be bringing some of them out. Our good guest Professor, may even be generous in prices since he controls the theological budget of the British Evangelical Alliance. So, David, would you announce the books and then we'll take a break and please come up. The books will be out here. The prices will be stated. Make sure you don't miss this opportunity. Okay. Thank you very much indeed, Peter. I'll be very brief. And the Theological commission of published books on a whole range of issues. The ones I've brought here tonight cover these topics. In 1998, we published a report on homosexuality. Very contentious issue, not only in the States, of course, but also in Great Britain. So this is quite a brief but well regarded study on that matter. The BBC Evening News. Yes, you have the public presentation of the topic. We did a press conference in Westminster which attracted a lot of comments. That's one thing perhaps that we're quite pleased with, is that the broadsheet press, the serious press in the in the UK tends to cover our reports now quite fully, particularly when they're of public concern. Another one that the press covered extensively was this report that I've mentioned, the nature of Hal, and then latterly we've done a report on evangelical relations with Eastern orthodoxy and that was a specialized group, very pleased with that particular study. And then you will deal with this topic far more than we do in the UK. But we have done a report on prosperity teaching, which looks exegetical and theologically in great depth at this.
It's not a hatchet job, it is a serious work of theological examination and I would strongly commend that. And I can say that because I didn't edit this one. I read it most of them. But this is a colleague of mine, Andrew Paramount. He's done an excellent job on that. Now, also in the States you have a whole plethora of books because I've read them about how to reach Generation X, how to reach baby boomers, how to reach millennial generation folk. Are you familiar with that kind of literature? Ten points to increasing your church in three years by 400% and that kind of thing. Well, this is again, a serious scholarly examination of what this generation actually mean. I mean, we borrow these terms off the peg from demographers and sociologists, but what does it mean biblically and theologically? Does it look in at all to what we're being told about church growth and youth, church and youth congregation? So this is a really serious examination of that literature on that subject. So five titles here. There are a couple of others that I'm going to lodge in the library here that you can also look one, a report on the Toronto Blessing and the history of the Evangelical Alliance, which goes into much greater depth about T.r Burke's and that strange view he had about those consigned to hell. There are some texts on the web. You may be interested to know that at the moment there are some documents relating to the current Anglican crisis and to Rowan Williams sexual ethics. And I've written a paper which will be published in Britain in a journal called or very soon on that topic, but an earlier version of that's on our website, so you might want to pick that up.
There are some papers about a recent consultation we held on the whole vexed question of Israel the end times, the modern state replacement theology, Christian Zionism and so on, which may be of interest over here if you want to get the most recent stuff. I often produce statements that are on the new section news or new rather than theology. After a while they get put into theology. So don't just talking theology look in new stuff new. I think it's cool. Okay, I've had my time. So. Yes. Very seldom does a professor get a clap so that they express my gratitude of the class for your evangelical convictions and theological clarity and reform mind. What we didn't say is that David is at the same time an Anglican priest and as an evangelical theologian. That puts him into a unique position at this time of crisis and onset in the Anglican Communion. Pray for us and any of you that want the statement that came out of the Anglican Conference, the Conservative Anglicans meeting in Dallas. John, who is an Anglican studying here, he's in another class with me. Read that where you have these documents available. Just look for American Anglican Council.