In the Jesus Creed review, Lee Wyatt wrote:
What do you get if you mix in a bowl the egg whites of John Owen’s doctrine of election with the yolk of Karl Barth’s doctrine of the same, add some biblical reflection on the “image of God” from contemporary Old and New Testament theologians (particularly N.T. Wright), and sprinkle with a bit of “perichoretic personhood” from Stan Grenz and Miroslav Volf? A thesis and three guiding principles leading to a fresh and stimulating restatement of the biblical doctrine of election by Suzanne McDonald, assistant professor of systematic and historical theology at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI.
McDonald’s thesis is that we need to speak of a “two-fold ontology” of election in which the calling of the elect community is to “represent God to others and others to God” (xvi). She refines this thesis with the corollary that part of the church’s calling in representing others to God is “to hold the alienated and apparently rejected ‘other’ before God and so within the sphere of God’s promised covenant blessings” (xvi). The Holy Spirit, as the one who communicates and completes God’s work in election and history, is the central focus of this study.
Does this entail universalism (that all will finally be saved)? McDonald retains the subjunctive mood here. All we can say, she claims, is “that blessing may come even to the apparently rejected” (193). We cannot, however, “maintain that election in Christ is a universal given of theological anthropology” (193). She admits her view inclines toward universal salvation
and sides with Barth in claiming that the central mystery of election is not why some are saved at all (traditional reformed view) but whether there can be any that are ultimately excluded!