Dear Pastor ___,
i read the attached article about Barclay. thanks for sending it along. it only confirms my respect for him. and he cites eminent church fathers in support of his universalism. or do you consider Orgien and Gregory of Nyssa also to be "heretics"!
as for universalism, do you disagree also with CS Lewis who writes: although Jesus is the only way to Heaven, this does not necessarily imply that Jesus cannot save those who don't acknowledge Him through no fault of their own!
I found another interesting C.S. Lewis quote in a book by Richard Purtill, C. S. Lewis' Case for the Christian Faith, p. 83 [cited from Letters of C.S. Lewis, p.247]
I think that every prayer that is made even to a false God or to the very imperfectly conceived true God is accepted by the true God, and that Christ saves many who do not think they know Him. For He is (dimly) present in the good side of the inferior teachers whom they follow. In the parable of the sheep and goats (Matt. 25:3 and following) those who are saved do not seem to know they have served Christ. But of course our anxiety about unbelievers is most perfectly employed when it leads not to speculation but to earnest prayer for them and the attempt to be in our own lives such good advertisements for Christianity as will make it attractive.
the old testament saints mentioned in Hebrews 11 never acknowledged Jesus. some even behaved in ways that might be considered wicked. yet somehow they made it to Heaven.
The Catholic Catechism teaches explicitly that all men may access Heaven if their ignorance of Christ arose from no fault of their own:
Universal Salvation seems very close to the official doctrine as stated in the Catholic Catechism (see particularly numbers 839-848):
Excerpts from Above Two Links:
1. While some Christian denominations take a narrow and limited view of the salvation of non-members, the Catholic Church recognizes the possibility of salvation for non-Catholics, and even non-Christians. The Catholic Church recognizes that God works in many ways through many diverse channels, including in ways that might surprise us. For example, God used the pagan, Persian king Cyrus to free the Jews from captivity, allowing them to return back to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. In Isaiah 54, the prophet records the Lord's message about Cyrus:
2. "Outside the Church there is no salvation"
846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:
Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336
847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:
Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337
848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."338
In the end, this approach ends up knocking out just about everyone, including fellow Christians (the RCC for venerating saints, the Orthodox for considering Constantine a Saint and coequal to the Apostles, etc etc ad nauseum).
I like GK Chesterton's response to a request of an English newspaper to write a series of articles on "What is Wrong with the Universe". Chesterton wrote back one word: "Me".