|Graphic from http://www.themediares.com|
I've felt so alone in my recent quest; these thoughts in my heart that the good news is good because it is through the cross that God will bring everyone to Himself. These ideas that hell does not necessarily mean torment for all of eternity; it may be time limited if the sufferer chooses to repent and come to God. I've been blessed in this belief journey because my husband John has been searching out these same topics. We've been able to bounce ideas off each other and share references. I've struggled however, that these thoughts put me outside of the Christian church as I've experienced it these first 55 years of my life.
I came across the word theologoumena while reading from the book "All Shall Be Well" Explorations in Universal Salvation and Christian Theology, from Origen to Moltmann by Gregory MacDonald.
To my great delight I read these statements by MacDonald today:
"Universalism, I suggest, occupies a middle ground between dogma and heresy. It is neither a teaching that all orthodox believers are expected to adhere to (in the way that the Trinity, or the union of deity and humanity in the one person of Christ are), nor one that they must avoid at all costs. Perhaps the most appropriate category to employ is that of theologoumena. Theologoumena are pious opinions that are consistent with Christian dogmas. They are neither required or forbidden. To see universalism in the category of theologoumena means that one can not preach universalism as "the Christian view" or "the faith of the church", but it also means that one may believe in it and that one may develop a universalist version of Christian theology".
"When I say that universalism is theologoumena I mean simply that it is an issue about which Christians can legitimately disagree within the boundaries of orthodoxy".