The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Constructing a document against Universalism

I am about halfway through reading “Raising Hell”, and I highly recommend it for everyone here, even if some of the information isn’t new to us. It’s an excellent presentation of Universal Reconciliation.

Looks good; just purchased it for my Kindle!

The following video can be found on the author’s website (

Here it is on YouTube: … r_embedded


I guess one thing’s for certain, Universalism doesn’t necessarily make you a better person.

Feedback and comments.

Alex, is providing some feedback, I know him, he’s a loving guy. However, if you want to make the affirmative case for Universalism in respect to particular answers I’ve given, your welcome to here on this thread: post-apocalyptictheology.blogspo … alism.html (Anonymous comments with a pseudonym is OK and FYI comment moderation kicks in after seven days, but I’ll keep approving comments after that if all goes well.)


Thanks for the constructive comment. Well, I did have “Evangelical Universalists” in mind because you could still be a Christian and a “Evangelical Universalist” as I understand the term.


At Alex’s prompting, I’ve added “forever” to the first point.

In my own experience, Universalism has made me a better person in many ways, but no doctrine instantly transforms one into a perfectly mature person. :sunglasses: Finding oneself becoming “ensmugged” over something is notification of repentance needed!

Thanks for allowing our comments on your blog, Luke. I’ll have some time later to see what others have already said and try not to duplicate feedback. The punishing thing was a big one. Most of us here firmly believe in the punishing of sin; just not the hopeless punishing of sin!


I’m very thankful Luke has persisted in dialoguing with me for over a year now, however, I’m also very disappointed, not only as he is one of my closest and longest friends (& cousin), but because someone** in stopping him seeing the things I’ve explained to him.

** (I honestly don’t know what. I hope it’s just the HS hardening him, like Israel, in order to bring others in??)

That’s correct, the Holy Spirit does. However, personally I’ve found it to be a great encouragement to avoid sin & try to grow in the fruits of the Spirit.

As Luke kindly posted it on my FB wall, I encourage people to post there to make the discussion “Top News” :mrgreen:

Rom 9:23 begins with “What if”, it’s rhetorical not a statement. Even if you don’t accept this, even Hell for a short period would fulfill this. i.e. it would give something to compare God’s mercy to.

Given God’s love & grace is consistent, and we know He has at least some of both for everyone now, we should expect Him to continue to love & show grace to those in Hell.

The reason God doesn’t annihilate isn’t just because He needs a target for His wrath, it’s because He loves His children! Even fallen fathers usually don’t want to annihilate their children so we should expect more of God not less.

Exactly only “salvation” not ECT/P.

God punishing someone forever is horrible as:
]sin is horrible and ECT/P allows sin to continue forever./]

]even an fallen earthly father wouldn’t punish their child forever, so it’s horrible to attribute this to our perfect heavenly Father./]

I think you might have accidentally referenced the wrong verse there with Phil 2:6?

I agree with what you’ve written about the “Nature of Hell”, however unfortunately they don’t address why I find it horrible :frowning:

I’ve tried to show you evidence why it’s more restorative. You don’t have to accept it outweighs the counter-evidence but saying “there’s no evidence” is a bit harsh don’t you think? And saying I’m just “presupposing” also hurts. Why not give some counter-evidence instead?

Evidence for judgement being ultimately restorative more than retributive:

]All the promises in the Bible of eventual universal restoration. e.g. Phil 2:10-11, Col 1:20 & dozens more: A very long list of UR verses/]

]The character of God, both His universal Fatherhood and His eternal intertrinitarian love./]

]Philosophically ECT/P has major problems, which is why I’m guessing there’s growing support from this area (Philosophy lecturers at Yale, Willamette, Oklahoma, Brown, etc. & “America’s leading orthodox Protestant philosopher of God.” Alvin Plantinga)/]

]Theologically ECT/P contradicts God’s holy perfection. i.e. the universe ends up eternally being less holy than sans Creation./]

‎*]Pattern of OT punishment being followed by restoration. Ultimate example in Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection./*]

You’ve improved it already, those two opening statements were very awkward, thanks.

This what I wrote on facebook: … sorry I didn’t mean to be hurtful but I’m saying there’s no evidence for it being more restorative then retributive. Judgement is a big theme throughout Scripture, it’s difficult to summarise. But if I had to pick a summative verse for retributive nature of judgement: “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you.” (2 Thess 1:6-7)

That’s a long list of verses, but not necessarily of verses showing judgement as more restorative than retributive. What swayed me to understanding judgment as primarily retributive is Hamilton’s God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgement.

6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

No, I think it’s a good place to describe the nature of Adam’s original Sin.

Like I told you on Google+, it’s primarily theodicy that keeps me from Universalism. But I’d prefer to keep discussing that privately there than here, I feel like sometimes a bit of mob mentality takes over here, like it does where any one idea is dominate one of the posters.

It’s rather unwieldy – having this conversation in bits everywhere – here, facebook, your blog. LOL Anyway, I posted the following at your blog:

Sorry about that, Luke! I’ve been the odd one out on other forums, and I know it does get hard (even impossible) to keep up with everyone talking at you at once!



As I said before, if one is able to describe his adversary’s beliefs in terms that the adversary himself finds to be accurate and representative of his thought, then any counter arguments carry far more credibility and weight than they otherwise might… That goes for your side as well as for my side…
Yet it’s not really so easy is it…

I was, at one time, completely against what I now see as the truth of Universal Reconciliation. In time, all I’d have needed to remain content with my former understanding was for someone to offer me a coherent explanation for two things:

  1. in what way is annihilation (ECT for others) compatible with “Love” – (I love you therefore I’ll obliterate or torture you…)
  2. how is it possible to assert complete Victory for God, in Christ, while some (many?) remain tortured and/or annihilated?

Words, to have any meaning at all, cannot just mean anything at all. Define “Love” as something which not only allows, but condones ECT simply means Love cannot mean what it’s bearers want it to mean. Same with Victory; say You “won” God, yet leave behind those legion souls You came and died for, and Your victory is hollow indeed.
If “Love” and “Victory” can mean ECT, then they really mean nothing at all.

God is not some sort of cosmic word spinner. If any kind of behavior can be said to be “love” merely because it is done by God, then “love” rather loses it’s meaning. “Love” becomes non-falsifiable.

I am therefore, now a Universalist…

The Gospel is far far more than God just giving we sinners “a chance” at salvation…


I think you’ll really like it, Aaron. Probably about the only thing you’ll find significant disagreement with , is that she believes scripture is clear that there is a judgment age post mortem, post resurrection (although she does not believe there is a hell in any traditional sense). It actually makes a lot of sense the way she presents it.

Overall, it’s excellent.
I’d say the title should be: “Everything you need to know about Christian Universalism (or insert your favorite title for what we believe) and why it’s true beyond the shadow of any reasonable doubt.”

Two good points Bob, Alex has raised both of them before. I probably should’ve include them and may do so in a later draft.

Luke I commend you for taking the steps of trying to understand Biblical universalism. Your rigorous studying and questioning is something to be imitated. You want the facts and I am thrilled that there are those who actually are trying to argue against universalism (not because I don’t want it to be true, its one of the most beautiful truths). I simply want a good argument that does not leave me unimpressed, I want to know if this belief is true (for I am always after the truth). And if you become a Universalist along the way, then Christ bless you, but I still look forward to seeing what God does in all of us.

Luke, you may notice that i said i wasn’t happy that i was feeling a trifle smug :stuck_out_tongue: it’s unfortunately a natural reaction when something that is supposed to make you question your faith actually ends up being such a weak argument that it affirms it.
sorry, but i’m being honest here! i don’t mean it to be offensive (as i’m sure you didn’t, but ended up being!), but my reaction was one of shock. i was expecting some good arguments, but nothing made sense. this is why i abandoned ECT in the first place. it doesn’t work! it misses the whole point of the old testament promising salvation and an end to punishment…how could the new testament promise a better covenant if it delivered anything less? how could God be love and not love His creation? how could God be powerful and be impotent to save?

i’ve been studying this for 30 years, and this is the first time my relationship with God has made any sense when compared with the Bible. i’m sure this is the case for many others at this forum as well. your article manages to sweep all that out as rubbish without even giving it the dignity it deserves. so i felt smug that it was such an inadequate broom…well, i’m sorry! :slight_smile:

Thanks for the first part of your comment, emotions often run high on internet forums.

I’m not bothered that you didn’t find it convincing, over the past year I’ve only heard a handful of strong arguments from Universalists for Universalism and had some fears about what universalism does to theodicy, justification and church tradition confirmed.

give it a few more years. i’ve seen nothing but positive fruit coming from this, and i’ve seen how Scripture really does lead down this path of faith (which is all it is) when you strip away the stuff that the church added to it.

what’s the point of constructing a document against universalism if you aren’t bothered how convincing it is? and shouldn’t it be concerning if it has the opposite affect?

No offence to anyone is intended, but this about sums up my opinion of the Evangelical Universalist Forum:

i am sorry if i’ve caused you offense, though hopefully you can understand my reaction to some degree.
i’m not perfect, and so my reaction was that of an imperfect person!

i love xkcd (when i understand it!) and that is hilarious, but to be fair i’ve been on forums with more open warfare!

if i was to speak with more grace (one day God will teach me it, He hasn’t given up yet), i’d say thanks for at least speaking to us. i am a recent convert to this way of thought, as i said, and to me it makes more sense. i am not omniscient, however, and i know i am still wrong about most things. but God teaches us and we progress.
it’s not necessary that everyone believe the same way i do…i don’t think God wants us to be “right”, i think He wants us to be loving. and i think i failed there in that respect, so i do apologise. even if by some fluke i am “right”, i don’t have the right to act in any way less than loving.

it’s cool you’re engaging with us, and it’s cool you’re putting thought and research into your own beliefs as well as ours. hopefully we can continue to learn from each other. i still have much to learn! :slight_smile:
also, thanks for the amendments you’ve made based on some of the suggestions here.

I’ve just finished going through every point in Luke’s article against Universalism and for what it’s worth, I’ve posted replies in viewforum.php?f=66

What I’m confused by is why what it does to theodicy, justification and church tradition makes any difference. What serves as those things are just constructions of man, and they must pass away in the face of truth. Do we ignore truth on the basis of what it does to our institutions? (Well… practically speaking, we do, but to our detriment!)

Doctor: Excuse me, but there is a cure for cancer!

Medical Institution/ gullible public: But what will that do to our multimillion dollar cancer clinics, race for the cure fundraisers, etc., etc.

Doctor: Your point is…?

A few arguments for Universalism I did not find here, and ones that, IMHO are major include:

  1. Argument from the problem of evil. John Frame admits that there is no cogent theodicy (justification of God) that one can muster from the ECT camp. It is according to him, the biggest problem in theology and the only answer he offers is the “greater good” argument, which is invalid if ECT is true. (how could ECT be the greater good for the lost?) Frame admits it cannot but then simply moves on without addressing this glaring hole in his thought. Only Universalism offers a theodicy which actually works because we can insist that all things actually do happen for a greater good for everyone.

  2. Argument a-fortiori from the love of sinful human fathers to the love of the eternal father. (Mat 7:11) “So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who keep on asking him”

From this we can reason that if God is MORE loving than man, he would not act LESS loving. And consigning his children to an eternity of torment when he can prevent it (Calvinism) or simply chose not to create those whom he fore-knows would chose wrongly (arminianism) would certainly NOT exemplify a more loving spirit but the hard-hearted spirit of a far less loving father that the worst of sinful men.

Finally - Matt 25 - does anyone understand this parable? Not many!