The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Blog: "why calvinism is more heretical than universalism"

I didn’t realize my Arminian philosopher friend Kyle had weighed in on the Rob-Bell-universalist-heretic-reformed business. Although he’s a HARDCORE Arminian ECTer (albeit with inclusivist tendencies), he makes some good points, especially that “Hell is not an necessary part of the Christian story”–contrary to neo-Reformed thinkers. (Of course, his hatred for Calvinist theology probably automatically puts him in the corner of whoever draws the Calvinists’ ire!) … -than.html

So anyway, this is one of the best posts on universalism by an ECTer that I’ve seen. He’s a pretty clear thinker, and the post itself is only a few paragraphs long.

Personally, I may or may not comment on his post (if I were still a Calvinist, I probably would! But I never liked defending an eternal hell, even when I thought it a logical necessity as a Calvinist)–it’d be easier if he and I were in the same town and could grab a beer and discuss… :sunglasses: oh well…

"]Calvinism in its essence logically entails the teaching that God is not perfectly good and loving because Calvinism involves the belief that God has unilaterally elected some for eternal misery with no chance of their choosing otherwise. I noted that while most Calvinists would surely resist the notion that God is not perfectly good and loving (either by unjustifiably appealing to mystery or by disputing my arguments), it follows logically and inescapably from Calvinist premises. And since God’s nature of perfect goodness and love is utterly essential to the Christian worldview, this renders Calvinism implicitly heretical. Interesting. He sure doesn’t like Calvinism, but I think calling it implicitly heretical, probably won’t help the discussion, even though many Calvinists are happy to call us that :unamused:

Although I do think that Calvinism is internally inconsistent :confused: i.e. as far as I can tell, saying God hates most people undermines/reduces the love He has for the few. If I tortured 9/10 of my children in the basement forever, it would be natural to question just how much I loved the remaining one.

And we really don’t deny either one. We believe, many of us, that we decisively choose and that God respects our freedom to the end. We just think God is sovereign enough to work with both! Is there hope for people like him when they realize that they can have their cake and eat it too?

You don’t have to convince me that the Calvinist God gets God’s perfect goodness and love all messed up. But, don’t many in the penal substitution camp also get this very messed up by believing God can’t really love, forgive, unless he takes out His wrath on his Son? :open_mouth:

I must agree. Neal, Kyle seems like a person with whom a real discussion would be possible. Too bad you guys aren’t closer!

Good find NealF!

“I would argue, no. I say this because Hell is not an necessary part of the Christian story…”

Hmmmmm…it’s not?! then why is it there and what is the great commission for? In fact most of the street preachers I see out there are reformers whereas non reform churches thinks its enticing goats by giving away ipods and cars, riding horses and jumping motorcycles in church, preaching sermons series on transformers and pants on the ground.

PREDESTINATION is a hard thing for many Christians to stomach in fact when I learned of it, it stunned me at first because I grew up in an arminian family with my father who was a pentecostal pastor but when I was taught rightly on what it really was about and how it plays into the glory of God and for our good. I thought it was absolutely beautiful and terrifying all at the same time. Calvinism is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but it is the best system in interpreting scripture.

This blog is a little too emotional and not well thought out with little understanding of calvinism (as there are different degrees of Calvinism) and universalism with a low view of the importance of scriptural relevance in how scripture should lead how we feel and not the other way around. Anyway that’s my take on it.

God doesn’t do good things, God is not good because He does good things. What God does is good. It’s good because God does it.
If God only allowed ONE person in heaven and sent the rest of us to an eternal hell, He would still be good and and He would still be love.

That is the Calvinistic approach to scripture.

That sounds nice, but I’m not really seeing that in Scripture. Instead, I see things like

Psalm 145:9: “The Lord is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.”
13: "The Lord is faithful in all his words
and kind in all his works.
14: "The Lord upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
15: “The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and kind in all his works.”

We only know God is good because of the good things he does for us. God is good (and does good things) because that’s just who he is.

It could be said; “what is good for the goose is good for the gander”.

God told us to test for good fruit to see if it is a good tree. Is God exempt from this? If so, why?

Actually it is demonstrated in the bible in the book of Job and it is demonstrated in the world today as millions of Christians are being persecuted-no food, no shelter, threats and acts of murder and rape. In our fallen finite state we can’t know what good is other than our own selfish (sinful) desire for what we believe to be good so then it is logical to conclude that whatever God does is good because He says, He is good and we are wicked and can’t know what good is.

(Jeremiah 17:9)
"The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

It is God’s sovereignty

I would say, yes as the standard we use to examine ourselves is His nature and attributes. God cannot sin to say otherwise would be deemed (dare I say it) God is holy because He is is and not because He meets His own requirements on being holy. God is the standard. If I dedicate myself on meeting His standards then would I not be like God and If I succeed which is impossible or even fall just a little short then how great would God really be?

This is what is referred to as “double predestination” and is accepted by hyper Calvinism. I myself am not a hyper Calvinist and most Calvinists I meet and chat with are not either nor do I see “double predestination” in scripture. I hold to the belief of predestination which is God picked His elect before the creation. There is nothing further other than that in scripture.

Which of the many God-candidates will you choose to worship? Which Holy Book will you trust? Once you’ve chosen your God and your Book, which hermeneutic will you follow? Which sect or denomination will you join? Within that sect, which people will you cultivate as friends? Which one will you ask to be your spouse? Tonight, what will you eat for dinner? And why do you wear red socks?

In every case, we choose the things we judge to be good.

Fred: Whatever Moloch wants or does is good, by definition. Obey the great god Moloch! Repent and obey. Burn your baby today.

Bob: Burning babies is evil. Your spotty-faced god is a monster.

Fred: Blasphemer! You are evil yourself and your judgments are corrupt. That is why you cannot hear the truth of my words. Repent of you sins and believe in Moloch. Sacrifice your baby like you’re told!

Bob: How’d you like a swift smack in the chops?

In your theology, we have one of two ultimate destinies: eternal heaven or eternal hell. If God chooses to save the elect, he also chooses to not save the non-elect. There is no room to wriggle.

I agree Allan. If he is going to accept one side of Calvin, he has to accept both, and yes, the scriptures are there if you want to read them that way:

13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”[e]

14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”[h] 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—**prepared for destruction? **

For the record, I think that the Calvinistic interpretation of the Bible is a travesty and I believe it greatly dishonors God.

I have actually had students who lived through something like this. Two of the kids were locked in the bathroom while the rest lived “normal” lives. The two in the bathroom were starved and tortured; looking literally like concentration camp victims.(chosen for hell) The others lived “normal” lives, were well fed and clothed and went to our school.(chosen and blessed?) They were as mentally messed up as the ones in the bathroom. When the grandparent and parents were caught doing this they went to prison pretty much for the rest of their lives.

This is about as clear a picture you can get of how messed up Calvanistic predestination is.


Poor kids.

And some people seem to think God is like this… Doesn’t Paul say, “God shows no favoritism”?

Uhhh…but there actually is “wiggle room” It’s called scripture. I said there is nothing in scripture where God predestines those to be eternally condemned. If I saw it then I would teach that as well but I don’t see it therefore to preach it would be the flesh leading the spirit as I would be placing my fallen logic ahead of God’s perfect logic.

That is badly fallen human logic.

Not even close. More like this

If I am a loving and caring person and I go into a crowd of 100 people and decide to give 10 people out of that 100 $500.00 each. Am I not still loving and caring? Did the people who received deserve the money? and was I unfair to the ones who didn’t get the money?

If we as fallen sinners deserve nothing from God then how is God unloving for saving the 10 out 100? In fact wouldn’t God be loving for saving ANY? So explain to me from scripture how God would be unloving for not saving any?

Did you notice a difference in our analogies? Your focal point was yourself (people) where as my focal point was God and this is where universalism goes off the rails

Come now Allan, “favoritism”? who says anything about favoritism? All through the bible we see the doctrine of election. God calls Israel, “mine elect” Why was Noah chosen to be saved from the flood? was Noah righteous on his own? How about Abraham? What of Lot, Moses…notice a pattern? and I am yet to get out of Genesis. How about His disciples or Paul Himself who were elected.

God doesn’t choose out of favoritism but He chooses for His own glory.

Thank you for acknowledging that.

That is your flesh leading your thought process. Scripture says that God predestined those to be saved before the creation but says absolutely nothing on predestining those to be eternally condemned. I only can teach what I see in scripture and I cannot teach what I don’t see in scripture. I cannot as you put it, “has to accept both” as there is nothing to accept than what scripture gives.

Does it make sense what I said? NOPE because one should logically conclude that if you accept one then you must accept the other BUT we are not dealing with fallen human logic, we are dealing with God’s perfect logic (The triune Godhead) Who is not like us but Whose ways and thoughts are much higher than ours and in a sense alien to us. I can only teach what I see in scripture and I will leave the assuming and filling in the blanks for someone else.

Oxy, shall I reply to you in your own style? I started to, but I don’t think I will, even in jest. I could say to you, “I hear your flesh talking! You can’t stomach the idea that God picked some to be lost, so you ignore the scriptures that say He does…and so on…” :mrgreen:

I’d guess a double-predestinarian might point you to a passages like these:

Rom 9 – So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

Rom 11 – What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; just as it is written, “GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY.”