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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Among these details is drawing parallels between Eden and the New Jerusalem in the arch of God’s salvivic activity.
- 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.)
- Lastly, he argues for a hermenutical method that escapes proof-texting that’s quite welcome.