Oliver Crisp argues that Karl Barth is incoherent on the question of universal salvation. Making use of a modal distinction between contingent and necessary universalism, Crisp claims that Barth's theology leads to the view that all people must be saved, yet Barth denies this conclusion. Most defences of Barth reject the view that his theology logically requires the salvation of all people; they try to defend him by appealing, as Barth himself seems to do at times, to divine freedom. This article argues that, even though his theology does lead necessarily to the conclusion of universal salvation, it is still coherent for him to deny universalism on his own methodological grounds, since the necessity and the denial operate at different levels. Barth has other commitments in his theology than mere logical consistency. To support this claim, I argue that the necessity which belongs to God's reconciling work in Christ coincides with a double contingency: (a) the ‘objective’ contingency of Christ's particular history and (b) the ‘subjective’ contingency with which this reconciliation confronts particular human beings and calls them to participate in the apostolic mission of Jesus. In each case, necessity coincides paradoxically with a kind of contingency, such that, within Barth's theology, we can speak of what Kevin Hector calls ‘contingent necessity’ or what Eberhard Jüngel calls ‘eschatological necessity’. Most debates over universalism focus on the objective side. There the question is whether the necessity of Christ's universally effective work compromises divine freedom. But Barth's concern on this point is whether the necessity is ‘transcendent’ or ‘immanent’, that is, whether it is determined by God or the creature, and since God can indeed will the salvation of all, this poses no problem in principle for affirming universal salvation. Barth's central concern has to do with the issue of ‘subjective’ necessity. Barth denies that theology is ever a matter of describing what is objectively or generally the case regarding God and the world. On the contrary, he situates theology within the existential determination and subjective participation of the one called to bear witness to Jesus Christ. For this reason, he rejects all worldviews, including universalism. The rejection of universalism is the affirmation of apostolicity.