Fr John Behr on the Sunday of the Last Judgment

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10 Responses to Fr John Behr on the Sunday of the Last Judgment

  1. Interesting that he says “eternal fire” here. I wonder if he just interprets the fire to be God himself as Origen does (“Our God is a consuming fire”), so there would be no conflict with his universalism, or whether he’s just not going to throw in a different translation because a sermon isn’t a place to do that.

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    • He also says that the fire was NOT prepared for us but for the devil, and strongly emphasizes the NOT. Hmm…maybe I’m imagining it but this sounds a lot like one of Origen or Nazianzen’s “honorable silences” thrown in the middle of the sermon without explaining what the heck they mean by it.

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    • arthurja says:

      His universalism?
      Isn’t Fr Behr merely a “hopeful” universalist (like yourself, unless I’m mistaken)?

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      • His comment on the back on Hart’s book sounds more like he believes universal salvation is a promise of scripture. This wouldn’t be “hopeful,” at least in the way Ware uses it. It seems he switched his position (as a result of a close reading of Origen and confirmed through Hart’s book?) at some point from what it was when he did his Closer to Truth interview, where he DID sound more like a hopeful universalist. I am very curious what he meant by “eternal” here. Is he reading it like Bulgakov? Was he just sticking with the translation given for the reading in the lectionary?

        Sorry to distract from his sermon as a whole, which was quite inspiring. But I want to know! For all we know, he may not have thought about what word to use at all. I’d email him and ask, but the question seems a little annoying.

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    • rephinia says:

      Just anecdotally, most Eastern Christians seem to think of hell as the intensity of God’s love experienced by someone who is resistant to it. That seems to be the standard eastern view of hell.

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      • arthurja says:

        Most? Possibly. I don’t really know. However, *many* do, yeah…
        I’m not sure there is any “standard” eastern view on Hell, though.
        Perhaps Fr Kimel or Mr. Chenoweth could enlighten us on that matter.

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        • It’s probably the standard view that most priests repeat back to their parishioners these days. It seems like St. Isaac’s universalism running around with its head chopped off. Ambrose Andreano said something to that effect in his interview on Origen on AFR.

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  2. Tom says:

    I enjoyed his opening comments about being enslaved to coffee, which I heard as I stood in my pajamas pouring my fist cup of coffee.

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  3. John H says:

    Father John’s reference to eternal fire is perfectly consistent with universalism if he, like Sergius Bulgakov, believes that the line between the sheep and goats passes through the heart of every person. Then the fire becomes a purification that ultimately allows the image of God within each person to be restored to its pristine purity.

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