Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A small rant

Here is my small rant for the day: So far the only hostile criticisms I have received for the book are from people who have not read it. I simply don't understand that. I would never have the audacity to criticize a book (in public anyway :-)) for its questionable content when I had simply guessed at what I imagined the content was.
Of course, I am not in the least surprised but it is rather frustrating because in almost every case these people guess wrong. I am accused of holding heresy x, y, or z when in actual fact I affirm neither x, nor y, nor z. I cry, 'Not guilty, M'lord!' but, of course, these people are not interested in what I actually say but in what they think I say. After all, it is easier to refute the straw Gregory.
So I am looking forward (and I have been waiting for getting on two years so far) for someone to read the book and THEN tell me why I am so dangerous. It will happen but I just say, 'Bring on the day!'
On the other hand, I am encouraged that the feedback I have had from those who have actually read the book is very positive. It seems that I may not actually be a heretic after all. That's nice!

11 comments:

Kevin Corcoran said...

GM,

Good luck with the blog, brother. I hope you realize what you've gotten yourself into by "going public".

Gregory MacDonald said...

Thanks - and I probably don't. I simply responded to a suggestion from my UK publisher without thinking (when I think I never act, being a cautious kind of guy)

thegreatswalmi said...

im eagerly awaiting a copy of your book and look forward to interacting with you after reading it. God bless,
mike swalm

Kevin Beck said...

Imagine that...people are ignorantly angry when someone they don't even know holds a different view that they do.

I'm looking forward to reading your book. Glad you're saying what's on your mind and in your heart without fear. When we see that God really does love us all we can live with deep integrity, without fear, and without criticism.

Blessings,
Kevin

James F. McGrath said...

I'd be delighted to read and review your book on my blog, if you'd like to have a review copy sent to me. Otherwise, I will certainly get around to reading it and will not comment on it until I have done so, whether sooner or later! :)

Gene said...

I am Gene Archer. I believe that "universalism" in the inclusive sense is the logic of scripture. Just Romans 5 alone, lays out this logic. As Dr. Baxter Kruger once said, "Jesus is not at footnote to Adam". With all the different views out there I believe that the commitment of God to humanity and creation in the incarnation has already been accomplished. In Jesus Christ God refuses to let anyone be ultimately lost. Ultimately chaos and rebellion cannot and will not win. Jesus IS lord. Eventually all will come to realize this. According to John 6, the will of the Father for Jesus is that none shall suffer ultimate exclusion. All that has to be done now is that everyone will eventually come to realize that this is so.

Gregory MacDonald said...

Great Swalmi and Kevin, Thanks - do let me know what you think of the book once you have read it.

James, I am afraid that I have no spare copies but I am sure of you contacted one of my publishers (the nearest to you) they would send you a copy.

Gene. Amen. Baxter Kruger himself seems keen to stress that he is not a universalist. Probably because his rhetoric sometimes gets close and he gets accused of it so he has to clarify. But I suspect that his theology might lead in universalist directions even if he does not follow the trail that far. Same with Barth. Same, so a friend tells me, with P.T. Forsyth. It seems that the theology of a few key guys leads in universalist directions but they just cannot bring themselves to cross the line.

staggeringforth said...

Thanks for starting a blog. I had a question after reading your book but I didn't know how to reach you. My question is this: does the Evangelical universalism you advocate require a basically Arminian orientation? That is, it seems that hell for you is the means by which God finally convinces people to respond in faith. The reason I ask is that I am part of a denomination that believes in predestination, which would seem to work well with universalism, but perhaps not with the same sort of universalism you advocate. Please tell me if I'm not making myself clear. Thanks.

Gregory MacDonald said...

Dear Staggeringforth

I am not an Arminian. My mind is not yet made up but my instincts are in the direction of a strong view of providence. But in the book I left that issue totally open so that both Calvinists and Arminians might find it attractive. In chapter 1 I argue that Calvinism works better with universalism than without it (in some respects anyway). Granted there are not many Reformed universalists but perhaps you could start a club!
One of the weak areas of the book that I need to sort it the issue of election. One day I might fill in that gap.

staggeringforth said...

Thanks for your response. The concern underlying my question was that if God elects everyone to be saved, then why isn't everyone saved in this life? What should there be a hell at all? But, as you said in the book, everyone has their problem texts and unanswered questions. (That has been a helpful realization for me - thank you.)

Gregory MacDonald said...

Staggeringforth

That is why I need to ponder election further. I do not believe that all people are amongst the elect but that is because my currant position is that Christ is elect and that our election is through union with Christ (Eph 1). We are elect 'in Christ' - i.e., we participate in HIS election. So the elect is another way of referring to those who are united to Christ by the Spirit. On this view I am elect but before I was a Christian I was not elect. I am chosen in Christ but I was not chosen to be in Christ (if you see the difference).
Now this is not the normal Calvinist view of election (to say the least) but I am not a Calvinist so I can live with that. You might have to do some more thinking. In fact, I know that I need to do some more thinking because I have not adequately tested my current thinking on this matter against Scripture. So I am not dotgmatic about my approach.

Pax

GM