William Barclay was perhaps the best known commentator on the Bible of his generation. People still read Barclay’s commentary. What some may not know is that Barclay was a solid evangelical who affirmed the basic doctrines of Christianity (including belief in hell as a place of punishment for those who rejected God’s offer of salvation).
Until, that is, his daughter was killed in a boating accident. She had never confessed Christ and so far as anyone, including her father, knew, was lost. It was then and there that Barclay turned to universalism.
William Barclay, staunch evangelical, turned Universalist because he had to – he couldn’t endure the thought of his daughter’s lostness and its consequences.
It’s understandable, of course. And the very reason that all those who know better than to spout the heresy of universalism do so. That is, people become Universalists because they need to, not because it’s true. All who become Universalists do so because they fear the consequences of their loved one’s rejection of salvation.
In other words, you show me a universalist, and I’ll show you someone who hasn’t bothered to share the Gospel with someone they should have and that someone has died. And then the person left behind becomes someone who wishes universalism were so because they didn’t care enough to share the truth with others. Universalism is wishful thinking. Nothing more.