Monday, June 24, 2013

The Colossian Christ-hymn

I've been reading Robin Parry/Gregory MacDonald's The Evangelical Universalist, and one of the things he does is use the Christ-hymn of Colossians to begin a theological framework within which he can relate all of the strands of the problem. And I'm also the Sittler Archives' para, so I'm reminded of Joseph Sittler's "Called to Unity" speech and its use of this passage for ecumenical purposes. There's a lot of possibility bound up in Colossians 1:15-20, and I do Greek, so I'm going to see what I can find down this rabbit hole. Come along!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

FOCUS on Universalism

When one talks about the scope of salvation, merely saying "universalism" isn't good enough. One gets complaints. "Universalism" has all these flaws, "universalism" is a heresy, "universalism" is generic and non-Christian, &c. All of which depends very much on what one means by "universalism."

I'd like to shift the focus. And, informally, that's also the acronym I'm using for what I'm after: FOCUS. A Functionally Orthodox Christian Universalism of Salvation. I think that puts a fine enough point on the concept. A while back, I put out feelers for what might be the criteria for such a thing, and I've got at least a fairly thick introductory list.

So, to start with, the criteria I have so far:
  1. Judgment: must uphold God's absolute and equitable judgment upon human life in terms of deeds as an article of faith
  2. Ethics: must deal with moral motivation and human action convincingly while denying involvement in the determination of eschatological fate
  3. Damnation: must account for the historic assertions of damnation in our sources
  4. Particularity: must maintain the particularity of the means of God's salvation (i.e. Christ)
  5. Necessity: must not imply that God is somehow constrained to save
  6. Faith: must uphold some relevance for human faith/trust in God
  7. S.D.G. (yes, I don't actually have a seventh criterion, but it's a nice number, isn't it?)
I've shuffled this list and shuffled it, and it goes together several different ways, but I can find no absolutely satisfying subdivision of these. I think, therefore, that the set up there is a reasonably tight grouping on target.