I apologize for being slow to the dance, but I just ran across this Themelios article by McDermott, and completed reading all the comments there, and all the comments in this thread. I just wanted to share my impressions. I am relatively new to universalism (maybe 2 years, barely seem to be getting my feet wet!) and am very persuaded by much of what I have read, especially from folks here at TEU. I have been reading much regarding the subject of "evangelical universalism." McDermott's short article was nothing different than what I have encountered as I have been studying and am in the middle of doing a very comprehensive book review of Hell Under Fire. The very same "tired" assumptions about biblical texts, the very same "tired" explanations (or lack thereof) of biblical doctrine concerning salvation, hell, the end times, eternity, etc. The near total ignoring of EU's biblical and philosophical arguments is nothing short of stunning. I have yet to read of any "notable" author in the traditional Christian camp that will acknowledge that the likes of Parry, Talbott, Pratt, and the ancients from Jesus day through the last century, even have one rational thought regarding Christianity, especially Christianity looked at from an EU perspective by these and other fine Christians. I guess it is the assumptions that traditional Christianity is right and everyone else is wrong and does not deserve a hearing from the traditionalists that gets under my skin.
I guess what set my teeth on edge were the comments made by someone by the name of Maurice Smith. His arrogance, smugness, lack of true humility (so-called humble words encased in sarcasm, or with the feel of pure sarcasm are not humility, and this is what I perceived), made me want to quit reading the comments. At one point he even comments that that current comment will be his last, and then he goes on and on commenting to so many additional comments. It left me thinking that not only is he arrogant and lacks humility but he is a liar to boot! The comments I read in response to M. Smith by Talbott, Parry (comments to McDermott and I think M. Smith, but I could be wrong), Pratt, Alex Smith, et al., were for the most part pretty darn gracious compared to his own comments. I agree with Talbott that McDermott should not have attempted to summarize such an important and divisive topic as EU. I admit that I am not much for mincing words and have a lower tolerance for people who merely want to win an argument rather than winning a brother. I would much rather deal plainly with people and say what I mean, and mean what I say, rather than trying to find infinite ways to sugar coat what I believe (often I am then misunderstood about what I really mean/feel/believe). I also admit that I have been in the process of understanding and practicing more irenic discussions with those who oppose my uni beliefs. It has been a long time since I engaged in any discussions that turned rancorous. So, I tip my hat to all of you who commented with love and respect for those who were, in my opinion, vociferously seeking to slam your beliefs as heretical and elevate themselves as the seemingly "sole keepers of truth."
I know I have much to learn when dealing with others who disagree with me. I feel such pity for those who are missing out on such a beautiful and biblical belief as evangelical universalism.I am grateful that I have found a group of believers, brothers and sisters alike, that I can interact with that will be a shining example of how to interact with the likes of McDermott, M. Smith, and the others. I hope that as I continue to follow your writings here, that I will learn by your example and exhibit more the deep love that you all show to those who frequent this board. I would appreciate any help you all could offer to aid my journey to understand/deal with this type of opposition that came out concerning the TGC article and its comments. I will finish this excessively long (longer than I expected!) comment by saying, I am not upset, though my words may seem that way. I am concerned and shocked that tradition runs rough shod over truth far to often and I feel impotent to deal with it! The upside is my prayer life is better because of it! Well, thanks for listening and thanks in advance for any help you can /may throw my way! Blessings to you all!