Ray Anderson and The Gospel according to Judas

Was chatting to an old friend tonight about Ray Anderson‘s work on Judas (my favourite saint). I indicated that Anderson’s popular-level book The Gospel According to Judas: Is There a Limit to God’s Forgiveness?, and his later book Judas and Jesus: Amazing Grace for the Wounded Soul, remain two of the most profound treatments on Judas that I have encountered. There’s also Anderson’s very powerful sermon on Judas (given, I understand, at Fuller Theological Seminary in 1998), a copy of which seems to only be available these days to iTunes users. I can’t remember where I got this copy from but I hope that I haven’t broken some ridiculous copyright law uploading it here. It begins proper 4.45 minutes into the video. The sound is not great. The theology is.

For the benefit of my dear readers, I’ve also uploaded a copy of Anderson’s chapter ‘Will Judas Be in Heaven?’ (which was freely available some years ago from Anderson’s own webpage) from his book Dancing with Wolves While Feeding the Sheep: The Musings of a Maverick Theologian (Wipf & Stock, 2001).


  1. This seems to be a bit different from Rob Bell’s Universalism. I follow and agree with Anderson’s line of argument but am instinctively drawn to Bell’s brash statement God Wins.
    Anyone else with thoughts on this?


  2. Just listened Jason. Wonderful! Something I always suspected. It was incredibly moving to watch Jesus hug Judas after he betrayed him with the kiss in the garden. Judas struggled against it and then relaxed. It was beautiful but short lived. The soldiers took Jesus away, Judas threw the money back at Caiaphas, repented and his mind went into darkness before he hung himself. The finale song ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ is sung by Judas from hell. What a surprise awaits him at Jesus’ resurrection! You’re right, it would make for a very interesting addition to the rock musical!


  3. A powerful presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, well thought-out. But I can’t say I accept with no reservation what Anderson takes to be firm. Somethings he put forth in the video demand careful considerations.
    At least, I can say he presented a gospel which is far from superficial.


  4. Hi, Jason, thanks for asking me what I specifically can’t accept. I think my problem with his presentation is how theology and imagination should collaborate in general and how the historical figure (Judas Iscariot) can be used as a representative case in particular.

    I’m sure we are “a bit like Judas” but we are not Judas Iscariot. We who have listened and responded to the gospel will be judged on the basis of this gospel at the Last Day but Judas Iscariot?
    I think there is difference between the historical figure Judas Iscariot and people who are like Judas in many ways and this distinction is important for how we think about the Last Day judgment.
    What the gospel clearly announces like in Acts 17 where Paul takes to be Jesus’ right to judge (the living and the dead} based on his resurrection is clear but it’s not so clear how those who didn’t/don’t have chance to listen to the gospel and respond will be judged.
    Anderson seems to be too confident about Judas Iscariot to be judged on the basis of Jesus’ atoning death when his confidence should be more modest because of the reason I just said.
    There’s a solution like 1 Pet. 3:19 but this is a bit obscure/isolated text to generalize because it specifically refers to the people in the time of Noah.

    So, as a gospel sermon, it’s very imaginative and powerful stuff to state how great the salvation in Christ is by exploring the depth of human sin and guilt by using the historical figure of Judas Iscariot but I’m less confident than Anderson about how definitely and actually Judas Iscariot WILL be judged at the Last Day. It’s in the hands of God, I think,

    Did I clarify my point well? My English fails me where I need to flesh out or nuance more. Sorry about that.


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