"Your autobiographical sketch in TEU stops at your 'conversion' to universalism. How have you changed since believing in universalism? How has your relationship with God changed (especially since before your shift you found yourself unable to worship God)? How has it affected your daily life?"
Here are a few reflections off the top of my head.
It has impacted my understanding of God and thus also my prayer life and worship life. The vision of God and his purposes that I now hold is inspiring and makes me want to worship. The final paragraph of the book sums it up for me:
In conclusion, let me ask you to hold in your mind traditional Christian visions of the future, in which many, perhaps the majority of humanity, are excluded from salvation forever. Alongside that hold the universalist vision, in which God achieves his loving purpose of redeeming the whole creation. Which vision has the strongest view of divine love? Which story has the most powerful narrative of God’s victory over evil? Which picture lifts the atoning efficacy of the cross of Christ to the greatest heights? Which perspective best emphasizes the triumph of grace over sin? Which view most inspires worship and love of God bringing him honor and glory? Which has the most satisfactory understanding of divine wrath? Which narrative inspires hope in the human spirit? To my mind the answer to all these questions is clear, and that is why I am a Christian universalist.
This God is amazing! Exciting! Awesome! I have a stronger sense of his love, his soverignty, his purity, his integrity, his fidelity, his power to save, his grace, and his mercy than I had before. And I do not have doxological crises on the Hell issue now (though, being honest, I still have them for other reasons periodically, e.g., why God commanded the slaughter of the Canaanites).
It has increased my joy for the future. I find that when situations look bleak I can draw hope that history is the the hands of this omnibenevolent, omnipotent God with these good and cosmic purposes. I have a much stronger sense of the final victory of God and this takes the edge of the sometimes tragic events in life.
Oddly, the reality and importance of Hell impresses itself upon me more now than it did before I was a universalist. Perhaps because ECT was so very terrible I tried not to think about it and tended to sideline it in my theology (and my experience of lots of Christians is that they do the same). But I am now freed up to accept Hell and I feel that the church needs to recover the place of divine judgement in our theology and praxis. Ironic, huh?
I have found it to be pastorally helpful. Recently someone close to my family died after a painful and protracted illness. He was a wonderful man but not a believer and I was asked by his family to speak at his funeral. Before becoming a universalist I confess that if I was honest I would have thought his chances of being saved were very slim indeed. Just possibly he found faith in his final moments. Just possibly God might let him through (because judgement is in God's hands and not ours). But let's be honest, he had not accepted the gospel and that is that. He's missed his chance. That kind of message is little consolation to a grieving family. But my universalism allowed me to hold out solid hope of resurrection and salvation for him without in any way compromising the imperative of embracing the gospel message.
It has not impacted my evangelism in the sense that I do not present universalism to people when I explain the gospel. I do not have any formula for how I present the gospel (like the 4 spiritual laws) but I still address the sin issue and, when the situation is right, I speak of Hell and judgement. I do not tell people that Hell is not the end (though, if it was appropriate in a specific situation I would do so). Like Jesus and the prophets I would want the utter seriousness of the coming judgement to impact people and I would urge them to avoid it. The number of those saved in the end (i.e., all) is not part of the gospel message itself and some people might use it as an excuse not to take the warnings seriously. I am open to mentioning it but only in the right circumstances. So if you heard me explaining the gospel you may well not realize that I was a universalist.