In my post Biblical Exclusivism and the Destiny of the Unevangelized, I briefly discussed Pluralism and Inclusivism. For today's post, I would just like to mention another view that you must be aware (and beware) of.
This view is Universalism:
" A belief which affirms that in the fullness of time all souls will be released from the penalties of sin and restored to God."
(-David Eller in Elwell's Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 1st edition)
This post is prompted by the continuous success of The Shack, a book written by William Paul Young (from hereon, WPY). It's present and strong in every bestsellers list: Amazon, USA Today, New York Times, ECPA-- name it
One controversial portion of that book (among many others) is when WPY's version of Jesus said:
"Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don't vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions."
WPY's Jesus says further:
"I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, my Beloved."
One man who claims to have known WPY for over a dozen years has recently written Burning Down The Shack in response to bestseller. His name is James De Young (from hereon, JDY), professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon for over 30 years.
As a long time friend of WPY, JDY informs the readers that way back in April, 2004, WPY presented a 103-page paper defending a form of universalism. JDY defines this version of universalism this way:
"Christian universalism (also known as universal reconciliation) asserts that love is the supreme attribute of God that trumps all others. His love reaches beyond the grave to save all those who refuse Christ throughout their lifetimes. Even fallen angels, and the Devil himself, will one day repent, be delivered from hell and enter heaven. There cannot be left in the universe any being whom the love of God does not conquer; hence the words, universal reconciliation. This view of future destinies claims many texts that seem to assert that the reconciliation Jesus accomplished on the cross extends to all creatures (Rom. 5:18; 2 Cor. 5:16-20; Col. 1:19-20), that all universally will confess him as Lord (Phil. 2:6-11), and that God's desire that all be saved (1 Tim. 2:4) will be accomplished. Nothing can thwart God's will and love."
JDY demonstrates that universalism is embedded within The Shack by comparing it to the creeds of universalism. You can read his list here.
More Reviews of The Shack from Respected Christian Personalities:
Tim Challies- A Reader's Review of the Shack (pdf)
Albert Mohler- The Shack — The Missing Art of Evangelical Discernment
Albert Mohler- A Look at "The Shack" (mp3)
Norman Geisler and Bill Roach- The Shack: Helpful or Heretical?
Charles Colson- Stay Out of 'The Shack'