In David Hart,That ALL Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation (2019), the author enters the discussion of the conflict between the ideas of universal salvation or exclusive (restricted minority) salvation. The author approaches this issue from a broad Christian scripture perspective, flavored with an Eastern Orthodox tradition.
The author argues that the New Testament argues for the promise of final salvation of all persons and all living and all nonliving things. He wonders why there is so little scriptural attention to the conditions of post-death salvation. He then addresses the numerous scriptural fragments and images supporting universal salvation and contrasts those with the scriptural fragments and images supporting restricted (exclusive) salvation for the few.
The author argues that there are conflicting scriptural statements on last things and that Christians have been dissuaded by piety, doctrine, and prudence from deciding between these contrasting views of salvation. Of the apparently most explicit statements on post-death conditions, the universalist statements are, in the author’s view, more numerous.
This scriptural basis for universal salvation offered by the author is outlined here:
- Romans 5:18-19
- 1 Corinthians 15:22
- 2 Corinthians 5:24
- Romans 11:32
- 1 Timothy 2:3-6
- Titus 2:11
- 2 Corinthians 5:19
- Ephesians 1:9-10
- Colossians 1:27-28
- John 12:32
- Hebrews 2:9
- John 17:2
- John 4:42
- John 12:47
- 1 John 4:14
- 2 Peter 3:9
- Matthew 18:14
- Philippians 2:9-11
- Colossians 1:19-20
- 1 John 2:2
- John 3:17
- Luke 16:16
- 1 Timothy 4:10
The scriptural basis for exclusionary (restricted minority) salvation and the separate locations and conditions of heaven and hell is outlined here:
- Matthew 25:46
- Matthew 5:36
- Matthew 18:34
- Luke 12:47-48
- Luke 12: 59
- 1 Corinthians 3:11-15
The author resolves this dilemma of conflicting statements by suggesting that there is a final, time-limited judgment dividing humans into good and bad categories, beyond which there is a final reconciliation in salvation for all. (1 Corinthians 15: 23-24, 28)
The author does not address the meaning and content of salvation itself. If all are saved, what are the post-death conditions for all? Of what does salvation consist? What is the content of the proposed time-limited hell, beyond a vague state of torment? There is no attention paid to the alternative post-death reality of obliteration, both physical and spiritual.
The book provides an index and some bibliographical notes, but no footnotes or endnotes, somewhat strange for careful academic work. The chapter headings do not help the reader, but the argument is clear and forthright. The paragraphs are very long and can submerse the reader. The style is conversational.
In the final chapter, the author explicitly embraces universal salvation.
This book is a thorough and safe guide for human reflections, particularly for those in the final chapter of their lives.
Quakers: There is no reference to Quakers in this book.
In Quaker discernment experience, Quakers use tradition (including scripture), personal experience, and reason. The author addresses a substantial part of the Christian tradition and reason, but is short of personal experience testimonies. The author does not systematically address the implications of science.
- Does the salvation of the Christian tradition matter to Quakers?
- To what extent do Quakers rely on scriptural statements for understanding last things and beyond death?
- Do Quakers read the scriptures regarding salvation differently?
- David Hart, That ALL Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation (2019)