Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved?
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Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved?

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  95 ratings  ·  12 reviews
The Church's teaching on Hell has been generally neglected by theologians, with the notable exception of Fr. von Balthasar. However, what he has said has stirred controversy both in Europe and in the United States. Here he responds in a clear and concise way, grounding his reflections clearly in Scripture. Revelation gives us neither the assurance that all will be saved, n...more
Paperback, 255 pages
Published November 1st 1988 by Ignatius Press
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The premise of this book is fairly simple and plain and yet as with all things Balthasar it remains incredibly dense. Here are two quotes that capture a sense of what is being purported.

"... love hopes all things (1 Cor 13:7). It cannot do otherwise than to hope for the reconciliation of all men in Christ. Such unlimited hope is, from the Christian standpoint, not only permitted but commanded" (213).

"I would like to request that one be permitted to hope that God's redemptive work for his creatio...more
Hans Urs Von Balthasar narrowly avoids outright heresy by offering his book as mere speculation and possibility rather than an assertion.

He is flatly contradicted not only by the witness of scripture but by the regula fidei (rule of faith); throughout all of historic Christian orthodoxy it has been agreed that hell is everlasting.

So, based on this fact, we may not have a reasonable hope that all men may be saved.

If this was the case, the implications for the meaning and purpose of the cross, th...more
Hell - is it full, empty or half-empty (pessimism exists in hell, so we won't say half-full)? No one knows, and there is evidence on either side that suggests God will save all, and that many will perish. Have hope, that all will be saved!

-God cannot be both merciful and just. Unless there is a healing punishment issued from sheer mercy
-other fathers that were pro universalism include: clement of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa, didymus the blind, Jerome, Gregory nazianzen, maximus the confessor
Rob Springer
I had high hopes for this when I started it, because it was exactly this controversy that got Rob Bell in such hot water. But instead of examining the scriptures and their original Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew meanings like Bell, Balthasar part of his spent his time responding to critics of papers he had written on hell and part of his time examining the writings of church fathers. The later was useful, the former was not except to see how, like Bell, he had stirred the hornet's nest. Balthasar's c...more
It strikes me as no coincidence that Pope Emeritus Benedict's emergence as the dominant force in Catholic theology coincided so closely with the failing health and death of Balthasar. This work is a brilliant defense of the possibility of universal reconciliation.
I have to rave about the physical book. Ignatius Press turns out expensive, but incredibly well-made paperbacks. Their editions are printed on quality paper with excellent bindings.

One of those books I will not read in the presence of food and drink.
Roland Clark
An intriguing argument with some promise but lacking in serious exegesis. See my full review here: http://andthewordsbecamebooks.wordpre...
A nice survey on the various opinions held by theologians throughout history as to the number of the elect/reprobate. Not too long of a read, but those of you pressed for time can get the gist of the argument by reading the much shorter "The Population of Hell" by Avery Dulles, SJ
A. M.
This is a very well written, insightful, and thought-provoking essay, but it contains several deep-rooted errors. Those who are new to or have less knowledge of the Catholic faith should be cautious about reading it.
Nicholas Ahern
Enjoyable, though it doesn't really dive into exegesis. The church history aspect is helpful.
Apr 23, 2013 Rebecca marked it as to-read
Recommended by Lainie
Powerful and poignant.
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Hans Urs von Balthasar was a Swiss theologian and priest who was nominated to be a cardinal of the Catholic Church. He is considered one of the most important theologians of the 20th century.

Born in Lucerne, Switzerland on 12 August 1905, he attended Stella Matutina (Jesuit school) in Feldkirch, Austria. He studied in Vienna, Berlin and Zurich, gaining a doctorate in German literature. He joined t...more
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