"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Friday, November 19, 2010

May We Hope for All Men to Be Saved?

The question of "soteriological exclusivism" has haunted Christianity from the beginning. Is the covenant with Israel exclusive to Jews, open to Gentiles, or in fact supplanted by a "new" covenant in Christ? From at least Origen onwards--and most notoriously in the case of his theory of ἀποκατάστᾰσις--Christians have been sharply divided in trying to answer the question of whether it is possible to think that ultimately all may be saved. What is the relationship between the universal nature of Christ's redeeming sacrifice, and his particular "scandalous" incarnation as a first-century Jew? As we saw only few weeks ago in the course of the Roman synod of bishops on the Middle East, the question of the place of the Jews in the economy of salvation still occurs. Can one differentiate between hoping that all may be saved, on the one hand, and recognizing, on the other, that salvation is not automatic, and that those whose lives give little to no sign of repentance, who reject communion with God and His Church, severely--perhaps fatally--imperil precisely that hope of everlasting life?

These questions are given fresh examination in a new publication from Cascade books:

Gregory MacDonald, All Shall Be Well: Explorations in Universal Salvation and Christian Theology from Origen to Moltmann (2010), xii+439pp.

This is a very "ecumenical" collection, with several articles on Eastern Christian figures. The complete list is as follows:
  • Origen (Tom Greggs)
  • Gregory of Nyssa (Steve Harmon)
  • Julian of Norwich (Robert Sweetman)
  • The Cambridge Platonists (Louise Hickman)
  • James Relly (Wayne K. Clymer)
  • Elhanan Winchester (Robin Parry)
  • Friedrich Schleiermacher (Murray Rae)
  • Thomas Erskine (Don Horrocks)
  • George MacDonald (Thomas Talbott)
  • P. T. Forsyth (Jason Goroncy)
  • Sergius Bulgakov (Paul Gavrilyuk)
  • Karl Barth (Oliver Crisp)
  • Jaques Ellul (Andrew Goddard)
  • J. A. T. Robinson (Trevor Hart)
  • Hans Urs von Balthasar (Edward T. Oakes, SJ)
  • John Hick (Lindsay Hall)
  • Jürgen Moltmann (Nik Ansell)
Look for this to be reviewed here and in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies next year.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment

    Anonymous comments are never approved. Use your real name and say something intelligent.

    Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...