The latest issue of Horizons in Biblical Theology is dedicated to the topic of universalism. The issue include this article:
The Trouble with the Inclusive Jesus
Author: Bockmuehl, Markus
Bockmuehl raises a good point, social inclusiveness is the only absolute modern value, and biblical interpreters are quick to try to make Jesus the all-inclusive hero who championed his message of inclusiveness against all forms of exclusivism. The problem is, as Bockmuehl rightly puts it:
However one parses the exegetical particulars, Jesus of Nazareth is (as Richard Hays puts it), not only the friend of sinners but also the nemesis of the wicked. Another way of putting this is to say that Jesus of Nazareth includes a remarkably wide diversity of the marginalized, yet he also marginalizes an uncomfortably diverse range of the religiously or socioeconomically included. That necessarily complicates any discussion of Jesus’ “universalism” or “inclusiveness”: Jesus, like Paul, appears to envisage the saved as well as the unsaved or the not-yet-saved … Our problem, then, is that the apparent smoothness and attractiveness of the “inclusive Jesus” hypothesis are acquired at a very high moral price. As we have seen, the structure of the argument typically follows the familiar liberal departicularizing of a Jesus who takes his stance over against the Judaism of his time: Jews were narrow, ethnic, culturally conservative; Jesus by contrast was universal, inclusive, and welcoming without exception. (p. 14, 17).