1. An excellent series; thank you for the time and thought you’ve put into this. I especially like your closing remark that Christians should not live as if they must constantly Avoid Whatever is Popular in Culture, but instead live according to Christ. Well said.

  2. P. F. Pugh says:

    Shucks, it’s always nice to be quoted.

    I remember hearing a theology professor of mine say that if you are studying theology and haven’t had to wrestle with the questions of inclusivism and universalism, you will, because of the universal language used in the Bible to describe the effects of Christ’s sacrifice. Certainly if one reads the church fathers on the subject, there is a clear wrestling with this question. If we are to be faithful and Biblical theologians (which is what all Christians of sound mind should strive for) then we must wrestle with these questions and not judge those who disagree with us too harshly. We’re just as fallible as they, and if we’re right about anything, it’s by the grace of God, not because we’re smarter or more spiritual.

    And frankly, Lewis himself admitted that he was only an amateur when it came to theology, and that if one had to choose between him and a classic author of Christian thought, one should go with the latter. I don’t think that there was anyone who disapproved of the cult of Lewis more than Lewis himself (one of the reasons why I admire him, actually). Lewis is not (like Calvin, Luther, Barth, or Athanasius) speaking with authority, and should not be taken as doing so.


  3. John Weaver says:

    I frankly don’t see what’s wrong with universalism period. I wrote a whole evangelical universalist sci-fi novel on the Macdonaldian model and I know I can’t get it published because it’s too liberal for the evangelicals and too conservative for the mainstream.

    Still love your blog though guys.


    • Appreciate your support and readership, John! At the same time, it’s just impossible to make universalism square with (Lewis’s rationale) here, Scripture, the Church’s teaching through the ages, and plain reason. I don’t mind explaining more here about why I (and orthodox Christians) believe this way, but it sounds like you’ve already made up your mind on the issue. My guess is that’s a result of a different, salvage-style way of reading Scripture, taking a piece of it (such as “God is love”) away from the whole, and forming an internally consistent belief System whose tenets match each other, but not the Word.

  4. Steve says:

    This comment is not a reflexion on C.S. Lewis but the topic in general. There are numerous thoughts on the subject of universalism but the one that is most dangerous is what they call “Christian Universalism” (the epitome of an oxy-moron). There are those that believe exactly what the chart shows in fig 2.3 but yet believe in universalism.

    There are two main thoughts.
    1. Jesus died for the sins of all mankind. No matter what you believe or how you live you will have eternal life with God when it’s over here. You’ve been forgiven, you just don’t know it. (read Paul Young “The Shack” for a good example)
    2. Jesus is your Lord and Savior. You truly believe your salvation is found in Christ but you only believe it to be true for you and not others. The Gospel is not for everyone so others can find a different path to the same God, as in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormonism or one of the thousands of other “paths”.

    Are these people really saved by faith in Christ? I say no. The Jesus of the Bible is the ONLY way to be forgiven and the only way to eternal life. Those aren’t my words, they’re His. The circle chart above is good but it doesn’t come close to explaining enough. Is Lewis a universalist? I’ll have to ask him some day.

    • Steve — for that question, you might also consider Lewis’s words about Hell and its reality, and finality, in The Problem of Pain and also quoted in part 1. Also, I would sadly venture to say that someone who believes in universalism consciously and intentionally, without recognizing that it is through Christ alone and a conscious act of willful repentance and faith (thanks to the Spirit’s work), may not be headed for Heaven. Thus he will be unavailable to ask — only to be asked about.

      • Steve says:

        I wasn’t saying that Lewis is a universalist. The joke was “I’ll have to ask him”. If I was able to ask him then obviously he isn’t a universalist.

        However there are universalists that believe in Hell but it’s only for what they consider to be the worst of the worst… murderes, child molesters and such. The rest of the average sinners get a “get out of jail free card”.

      • Steve: And that illustrates why I should not offer responses to comments first thing in the morning, pre-coffee, and pre-re-reading to ensure I didn’t moronically miss a joke. 😉

  5. Steve says:

    LOL. I do the same thing. I also post comments while at at work, then get inturupted (how dare they) and completely loose my train of thought. I end up sounding like an idiot with no point to what I have to say.

  6. Eric Novak says:

    Hello Stephen,
    Just wondering where you got the “what Christian’s believe” target. I’m writing an article with the same concept and can’t find the original source.

    -Eric Novak

  7. Galadriel says:

    Very interesting chart, quite helpful

  8. Teddy says:

    I don’t deny that those whole-heartedly labeling Lewis as a Universalist are misunderstanding, but I also have to think there’s a level non-understanding of Universalism on your part. Theologically, it’s quite a bit wider and more conservatively centered than its literal definition might portray it as.

    • Teddy, the broad definition I went with is “Any belief that says all people eventually, somehow, are saved.” What’s your definition, then?

      Also, I know many beliefs that are “conservatively centered” or seem that way — Mormonism, for example — but still aren’t based in Scripture. That’s my question about a belief, instead of “does it sound conservative enough?”. Moreover, my insistence on Biblical foundation isn’t out of some sense of obligation, but out of love for the God Who loves me.

What do you think?