“Evangelical Universalist” a worthy ready

Evangelical Universalist is a 2006 theological work by Gregory McDonald, the pen name (revealed much later as Robin Parry) I’m embarrassed to say that I bought it very late and it has languished on my bookshelf for more than a year. I decided I would even mention I’d started reading it until I had finished, which I have on Friday. (This was also the name of my first website, drawn from the name of a nineteenth-century newspaper, but I’m no evangelical by the usual understanding.)

I won’t comment much on it because it has been much discussed, save a couple of notes. If I don’t tap this out in one sitting, it’ll never get done.

  1. Unitarian Universalists shouldn’t expect to hear anything of their story in the book, even Christian Universalists within the tradition. Apart from a passing reference to lapses into nontrinitarianism, our phenomenon is wholly ignored. This doesn’t bother me: he has another agenda, and we’ve been poor stewards of the tradition, particularly respecting biblical interpretation and drawing out theological argument.
  2. On the other hand, many of his arguments would have been familiar to universalists past, and they used them. This work is, however, an easier compend and add new detail.
  3. Among these details is drawing parallels between Eden and the New Jerusalem in the arch of God’s salvivic activity.
  4. Also, he offers some solutions to the free will-divine will and intention tension that pushed most Universalist past into tacit Calvinism. (I’m not sure it’s much of solution. Then, I’m prone towards Calvinism.)
  5. Lastly, he argues for a hermenutical method that escapes proof-texting that’s quite welcome.
Recommended. Do get a copy. Especially if you’re studying for the ministry.
Categorized as Universalism

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. I read the book a few years ago – I agree it’s good. But then, as you say it’s very much an evangelical book (it’s not just UUism it omits – which i’m pretty ignorant of as well but also a lot of modern theology.) I say omits because Parry does know what he’s talking about in this regard.

    I posted a post on UUist universalism a while back, I’d be interested to hear your criticism (as I say, I make no claim of expertise): http://wp.me/pTiEZ-Dg.

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