I read Bishop Will Willimon’s book Who Will Be Saved? recently and am going to blog it a little. I’ll start off with a couple of brief thoughts here about the book as a whole and my impressions after a couple of weeks to mull over it.
First, I appreciate that Willimon presses our focus on the One doing the saving more than those who are being saved. Our salvation is more about the Triune God than about us. We respond to grace, but the emphasis is properly on the One who extends that grace.
Second, I appreciate Willimon’s wrestling with God’s radical freedom and sovereignty in his soteriology. Because God is completely free and sovereign, he may damn some to eternal punishment. Because God is completely free and sovereign, he may save everyone somehow for eternal life. Scripture narrates for us a God who is capable of getting what he wants. And because God “was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through jim to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood shed on the cross” (Col 1:19-20 TNIV), we know a God who is plenty capable of accomplishing what he wants. Whither universalism? Willimon seems interested in avoiding a hard stand because it seems to him arrogant to claim to know perfectly the will of God in either direction. He seems to claim a sort of agnosticism on this question while holding out biblically-inspired hope in the hugeness of God’s salvation.
If you subscribe to Willimon’s podcast on iTunes, his 4 talks in the month of December (as do many of them lately) hit on the stuff he’s talking about in the book . I highly recommend all 4 of them.