3. Missional Concerns Over the Soteriological/Eschatological Disjoint
Many people in the church see salvation as a binary, you are either saved or lost. Christians then fetishize this status, obsessing over who, at Judgment Day, will be saved or lost. This causes the Christian community to become otherworldly in its focus, ignoring the cosmic (e.g., social, political, ecological) and developmental (i.e., sanctification) aspects of salvation. This becomes a missional problem in the church, where people just look to “get saved,” eschatologically speaking. But it is hard to fault people for this fetish if they are seeing thing correctly, that there will be a non-reversible binary judgement at the end of all things. In short, as much as missional church leaders want to instill the notion that salvation is this-worldly as well as other-worldly they will fail, for clear psychological reasons, unless they undermine the classic doctrine of hell. Leave the classical teaching of hell intact (overtly or by trying to ignore it) and you’ll compromise your missional effort. Like it or not, hell and mission are intimately related. Worries over hell (which can’t be helped if you leave the doctrine intact) will import otherworldliness into the mission of the church.
While I surely have leanings in this direction, universalism is not a theological topic on which I have spent much time reflecting. I do surely agree with Richard when he writes,
I reject Calvinism because I find the doctrine of election to be loathsome. I don’t find God worthy of worship, praise or service if he created people with the intention of torturing most of them forever. True, such actions would demonstrate his sovereignty and “justice” but it is hard to see those actions as loving and praise-worthy. Also, I don’t see how Calvinism allows for a dynamic and interactive relationship between God and humanity. We end up being mere puppets and playthings.
So I think I’ll spend some time thinking and writing about these ideas in 2010.