The old question of Barth’s universalism: An examination with reference to Tom Greggs and T. F. Torrance

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Mark Koonz


In the course of reflecting on Tom Gregg’s recent claim that Barth ‘did not reject universalism [...] only problematic elements associated with it’, Mark Koonz raises the fascinating question of Barth’s doctrinal position on universalism. That is, the question as to whether limited atonement or universalism are two separate, mutually exclusive alternatives. This paper argues that Barth’s understanding is a good deal more complex than Greggs allows for. Limited atonement and universalism are related, not by way of paradox or as contraries, but through the absolute freedom of the grace of the living God in Jesus Christ. The paper also draws on T. F. Torrance to illuminate further the way in which these doctrines might be harmonised coherently.

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