Humor aside, the relevance of this article is one could believe in something the orthodox regard as "heresy," indeed something that makes one theologically "liberal" or more "liberal" than the "orthodox" position, while not being a political "liberal" (in a modern day left wing sense). Because Kinsolving is anything but.
I have often used the term "universalism" – in which I believe – and which is in the title of one of our nation's denominations. Universalism was advocated by second-century Christian theologian Origen, as well as the most brilliant of all the archbishops of Canterbury, William Temple.
In 1958, when I was rector of an Episcopal parish in Pasco, Wash., I preached a sermon titled, "The Damnable Doctrine of Damnation."
I said, among other things, that the New Testament contains far more references to God's forgiveness of all sinners than to his alleged preference for the hellfire and damnation – which, if true, His Son, Jesus, telling us to forgive 70 times seven, damnation would be heavenly hypocrisy.
My sermon was reported in one of the local daily newspapers, the Columbia Basin News. On the day following, the News, in another front-page story, headlined: "RECTORS CLASH OVER HELL," it was reported that Rev. Charles May of St. Paul's Church, Kennewick, just across the river, had denounced me.
"'There is no hell,' claims Kinsolving.
"'The hell there isn't!' retorts May."
There were reports that other clergy would demand that I be tried for heresy – all of which was reported in an article in Time magazine.
But no such trial ever took place.