Help defining Universalism (here anyway)

Well, thank you to all those on Facebook who welcomed the move of web domain so warmly. I hope you enjoy what you see; now, on to the content.

What is Universalism? I make a point of taking about my work in terms of Universalist Christianity, not just because non-Christian versions of Universalism emerged a few generations ago, but because as a theological term it has multiple meaning, both inside and outside of the institutional Universalist Church. Further, the term “universalist” can have secular, even commercial uses.

So when I talk about Universalist Christianity, I mean that belief system that proclaims, at a minimum, the eventual, joyous reunion of all human beings with God, and that this action takes place though the interaction of God and Jesus Christ.

Is that all I believe? No, of course not, but I take the traditional Universalist big-tent approach to heart: past this, particular views are tolerable and understandable. (Will there be punishment after death? More than human beings? What did Jesus do?) But without this much, there’s not an adequate basis of union. (That, and not a free-for-all is the right way to read the Universalist liberty clause, but that’s a discussion for another time.)

A lack of clarity has made it possible to make contradictory statements about what Universalism is — including definitions from those who are no friend. So for the purpose of this blog, Universalism is not

  1. multi-religious pluralism
  2. the product of human accomplishment, singly or as a group
  3. the destruction of the wicked
  4. the divine, but fruitless, offer of salvation to all persons or all nations
  5. other teachings that often travel with Universalists, including Unitarianism

Others are free to believe those, but that’s not what I’m doing here. And there’s plenty of room in the prior description, and the adopted professions of faith, for broad and varied discussion.

3 Replies to “Help defining Universalism (here anyway)”

  1. Scott, I realize I should have subscribed to your blog a long time ago, for I am deeply interested in contemporary applications of Universalism. Is there something I need to do on e-mail or Facebook to make sure I keep getting these pearls?

  2. You are the second person to ask about subscription today. It’s not a model I associate with blogs, but since others obviously do, I’ll see what can be done.

  3. So glad you’re doing this. I’ve been following you since the beginning of BITB. I think wherever and however you lend your talents and answer your calling, people will listen

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