The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Does Julie think Jesus is God? How will Evangelicals react?

When a concerned person pointed out the post on the other forum I was surprised & worried. I like Julie & I like her book, I don’t want to persecute her, but at the same time I’m worried that it looks like she doesn’t think Christ is the God, which means I’m being idolatrous in worshiping Him :open_mouth: I really want her to expand on this, which is why I started this thread & talking to her on FB.

Not at all, I didn’t say everything outside of those two is false.

Isn’t it Sola Scripture not Solo Scripture? i.e. don’t we still need to at least consider how others in the Church before us have interrupted the Scriptures?

I posted this here to engage, not censor or condemn.

Of course I think it being Biblical, or not, is way more important.

Both, I see no difference :stuck_out_tongue:

I agree, and tried to say as much in my opening post.

I’m not afraid to challenge my beliefs :mrgreen:

I would feel that would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater…


I’m not offended :slight_smile:

AISI the only thing divine in our known universe takes place within the human consciousness. Our wanting to attribute divinity to an all special individual out there somewhere springs from our darkened imagination. We wish for an external physical God who looks and feels like us but who at the same time is completely foreign to us AND came into the world by a completely different means. Weird.

No, you didn’t read that right and I’m not sure why I got caught up in your rant. All I said, and as Alex later stated, is if she maintains a non-trinitarian view she loses credibility with the evangelical community – not with the Bible, nor with the Church and not with the Christ. If we hope to share UR with the evangelical community, then unpopular positions (such as non-trinitarianism) will make this more difficult – whether it’s true or not was largely irrelevant to my original post. I nor Alex said that she loses her salvation, her “Christianity”, her intellectual honesty, her Berean-mindedness or anything else. I actually expressed my hope that God would bless her in her Berean-mindedness. I even stated that I was largely agnostic on trinitarianism. And I also stated that I barely consider myself an evangelical these days and would avoid the term anyway. Sheesh… :unamused:

We are all generally here because we have questioned a position held to be “orthodox” and indisputable in almost every church. Most of us have rejected that view because we place the scriptures – not Augustine, nor Emperor Justinian, nor Calvin, nor Edwards, but the scriptures – as our most authoritative revelation. And many of us have copped flack for it too. Whether everyone does this consistently in every sphere of Christian thought is another matter – I most probably don’t. But we’re human and we try and practice this conviction (collectively more than most churches I know, I might add). I think our diversity actually bears testimony of this conviction.

I’m not offended at all though. I’m just wondering whether my posts were really that confusing?

:laughing: This typo is beautifully ironic!

Thanks for your follow-up posts, Alex. But I know you weren’t condemning non-evangelicals. And I can appreciate that this view is concerning to most, particularly to evangelicals who tend to be traditional (…to be fair, non-trinitarianism is historically a heresy).

i first learned to truly question ECT with a modicum of Biblical argument from the Christadelphians. annihilationism was a significant step on the path to me coming to believe in the Total Victory of Christ.
they also believed in a Unitarian approach (albeit not at all a Pluralistic approach), and had some good Scriptures and logic to back it up. i was not convinced of this as i was of their view on ECT being false, but i had to respect their point of view.
they believed that Jesus is the Son of God, but not that He was God Almighty, as some on here have distinguished.

i suppose my main concern here is that knowing how rabid evangelicals in America especially can be, questioning ECT will get you kicked out of churches and branded a heretic…i’d hate to see how far they go condemning those who don’t tow the line of Christ’s total divinity. now, i believe personally in Christ’s divinity, but i have to admit that i could very well be wrong. that God isn’t smashing me for idolatry i take to mean that He is tolerant too…that i don’t have to be 100% right on any one topic for Him to love me. i also believe strongly that i should test and wrestle with any doctrine handed to me by man, and even by God. that way i may possibly find the truth as it relates to me.

Julie is doing this, and while i may not (yet) be convinced, i think that took guts. welcome to the board, Julie…i hope you stick around…most of the people here aren’t keen to burn heretics, most of us being heretics to some degree or other anyway, if you ask the evangelical/reformed Christians anyway! debates might be fierce once in a blue moon, but this is a very civil place with people who seem keen to demonstrate the love of Christ in the midst of debating.


Allow me to add that Alex created this thread with the general agreement of the admins (myself included), partly as a way of distinguishing between content. While the board creators and main leadership agree with her (more or less) on some things, we don’t on others that we consider just as (or even more) important.

Gene (Auggy) and James created this forum because they believe orthodox trinitarian theism (within minor variants) to be both true and important, as well as universal salvation from sin (in somewhat more variation of options). While the main topic of the forum is UR, promoting its discussion pro and con (especially pro :wink: ) from within ortho trin has from the beginning been a strong secondary intention of the site creators. This was why the original guest authors were invited (myself included), and why this has been a requirement for the administrators among the leadership (although not always required of the board moderators). Since the inception of the site, we have provided room for non-trinitarians to make their case, and have even made provision for guest authors regardless of their stance on ortho-trin. We have also recommended books whose authors are not ortho-trin.

However: we have a responsibility to point out such information when we learn about it, because we do consider the various versions of non-trinitarianism to be wrong (as such, not completely so of course, as that would eventually be self-refuting), and we believe we have an obligation to our readers to distinguish such things so that our readers can also make informed decisions about who they will and will not listen to.

I think I can safely say all of us in leadership are very glad to see Julie here, and we hope she will contribute actively to the discussion of UR; and I also hope she will take the opportunity to dialogue with us on the Trinity pro and con. (If not read the umpteen hundred pages of analysis, scriptural and metaphysical, that I’ve posted on the topic. :mrgreen: )

I appreciate reading all your thoughts. I don’t have a lot of time for engaging the rest of this week but I will say one important thing to keep in mind is that when I wrote the comment (posted at the very top) to Westernlions, it is a very short paragraph on a very big topic. Perhaps that was a little irresponsible, I don’t know. It is easy to make 100 assumptions based on a couple paragraphs, but perhaps it is also good because it has opened a needed discussion.

Until you are able to hear my viewpoint and how I arrived at such, I will just say that for me in my understanding of the plan of ages, Jesus still has a crucial role as the ONLY Savior and the King of the ages. However, I now also believe that He is the prototype of what we are all becoming, which is why we are being conformed to His image and “made in his likeness.” He is the firstborn of many brothers. This is plainly stated in several places in Scriptures. I will also say that part of the misunderstanding for me was when I didn’t have a Hebrew perspective on things like the father/son relationship in the Eastern culture.

I would be happy to share my thoughts and studies with you all but not until my classes are finished mid December as I’m a full time student and I work.

I will say that I am a little surprised at the suggestion here by some folks that it is necessary or desirable to fit in with or be accepted by evangelical Christianity. As soon as you need approval from any group, I fear that you could lose your pure and simple devotion to the truth journey. If we are to continue to grow in our understanding, we will have to leave behind conformity and approval at all costs. This is demonstrated for us throughout Scriptures. It is more of a lonely journey. Ask Joseph, Moses, David, the prophets, Jesus, Paul, and the disciples. They will all tell you it was lonely and that they faced rejection time and again by their own people.

“rline,” thanks for all your encouraging words. When I saw your first post this morning, you voiced many of the things I thought as I read last night.

Alex, thanks for trying to include me. Your message is nowhere to be found in my inbox. :confused: I do appreciate your willingness to ask. What is WEIRD for me is that my tackling this subject had no external catalyst–nobody challenged me on the Trinity or even presented contrary evidence. I simply just felt (strongly) like I was supposed to dig in and research it. And as I mentioned earlier, I didn’t particularly want to look into it–I was already overwhelmed by everything else–but I felt that God kept putting it in front of me. One thing I might challenge here for those of you interested in incorporating “orthodoxy,” especially from the ancient Eastern Church, is that the Trinity wasn’t orthodox until like the 4th century. I will have to pull up all my old studies. In the mean time, there are books. I read, “When Jesus Became God.” I researched the author’s claims against other available information, especially because he is a Jewish historian, and it all checked out.

Perhaps we can set up a discussion where I share with you why I came to the conclusions I did, sometime in December? I hate to put it off while there is interest, but I just don’t have the time to engage right now.

Good thoughts, Julie; I agree. The truth is not always convenient. And it’s difficult enough being “just” a Christian Universalist or “just” a Biblical Unitarian/non-Trinitarian, but when you’re both, it’s basically a double whammy for people, and the situation can get pretty hairy sometimes!

Anyway, welcome to the forum, and I’m looking forward to your future contributions. :slight_smile:


True, but they all spoke strongly from within the established traditions, too. (And in Jesus’ case as the One Who established the traditions of God, not of man, and has authority to continue to do so. :wink: )

Our concern with being accepted by evangelical Christianity, aside from the important fact that we think they’re generally correct regarding the Trinity, is that when people disagree on an important position (A), they will be naturally unwilling to spend time and energy granting a hearing on whether position (B) ought to be different, too.

So most of us are concerned that you’re leaving out or denying part of the truth, which although that doesn’t hamper salvation from sin (in a gnostic fashion) still impacts accurate worship and representation of God (ortho-doxy); but we’re also concerned because, whether you’re right or wrong, this will naturally hamper people’s ability (except for those who are uncommonly self-disciplined) to grant you a fair hearing on things we (more or less) agree with you about.

It isn’t about toeing the line for sake of conformity. Practically no universalist among us is interested in doing that, or we wouldn’t be universalists today. :slight_smile:

I’m sympathetic with the reality that for most evangelicals questioning other additional traditional paradigms makes it all the harder to have them examine ECT. But as the moderators know, I’ve had lengthy interaction on their page about these issues and the Bible versus creedal language. Thus they won’t be surprised that I at least need to indicate a lot of sympathy with rline and Julie’s responses to the irony of some reactions among those of us who in seeking truth have already left the reservation of those convinced of all the dominant paradigms in Christendom’s tradition. I’ve been there and felt that!

A brief response to revDrew’s comment on Bauckham’s interpretation. I presented to the moderators this summer reflections on my class with Larry Hurtado at Regent, Vancouver, on the Christologies found among the earliest Christians. What was obvious to me is that Bauckham is not the only voice. The 3 leading British evangelicals who specialize in this clearly enjoy extensive dialogue, with significant variations in how they characterize the N.T. data. Alongside Hurtado and Bauckham, James D. G. Dunn’s “Did the 1st Christians Worship Jesus?” takes the most skeptical view of language found in traditional formulations. Now, I’ll just repeat that I didn’t find his book & interpretation a pushover, but quite persuasive. All see a “high Christology” quite early, but differ on how much it justifies or requires maintaining the tradition’s language.

For me, and perhaps for Jason (happy birthday by the way!) as well, our (or my position at least) is about maintaining consistency as much as we are humanly capable.

The maintaining of consistency does necessitate change in our positions from time to time, for example; maintaining the consistency between the counsel of scripture, and the revealed nature of God as loving and saving, as love and salvation, etc; required our joyful shift from Damnationalism to Universalism, or at least for me it was joyful.

Yet, in it being about maintaining consistency; it is a consistency regarding our deepest, studied, and experienced convictions (and beliefs) concerning the nature of the divine. It is not a matter of maintaining consistency regarding church traditions or human traditions that are ineffectual to the faith. Certain doctrinal positions have been found wanting (or even outright ugly as in the case of Damnationalism) and unsuitable, ineffectual, dis-edifying to our faith, and so they are dismissed or discussed or fought. Other doctrinal positions are found edifying and so they are received, utilised, and defended.

Toeing the party line is not on the agenda, maintaining faithful consistency and continuing that perfecting process of consistency is a theological lifestyle worth the effort.

Hi Rline,

Jesus said we are to love God with all our hearts. If God is good, these are the sanest, most winsome words ever uttered by the mouth of man. However, if God is bad, this command is absurd. We can fear Moloch, serve him, flatter him, die for him, but we cannot love him. It’s impossible to love that which is unlovely, and since we are the ones doing the loving, we first must be the judge of God. “Choose this day whom you will serve, but for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

In my judgment, a God who rests in heavenly bliss while his suffering servant dies on a cross is not worthy of my love. A good God would want the best for us. He would give himself for us and to us. He would not merely send a servant, not even a son. He himself would come. When human kings send others to suffer while they themselves sit in ease, when they demand much but do little, we are filled with contempt. Even more should we loathe such a God.

I’m Christian because I judge the God I see in Christ to be worthy of my love. Again, I believe the Bible inasmuch as it reveals this good God. If by some ill-chance the Unitarians are correct and the Biblical God did not come to suffer with us and save us, then I would leave the Biblical God behind, set off in the dark once more and seek the God worth loving.

Because I think the Bible reveals a God worth loving, I have a high view of everything else it says.

I don’t believe God is good because the Bible says so. I believe the Bible because it reveals the good God.

*“The one use of the Bible is to make us look at Jesus, that through him we might know his Father and our Father, his God and our God. Till we thus know Him, let us hold the Bible dear as the moon of our darkness, by which we travel towards the east; not dear as the sun whence her light cometh, and towards which we haste, that, walking in the sun himself, we may no more need the mirror that reflected his absent brightness.”

-George MacDonald*

I have a rule of thumb concerning the Bible.

*“The Spirit inspires, not the text.”


Jason has expressed it very succinctly especially in this last statement ! , sorry Julie if I in any way offended you , I’ll put away my pitchfork :laughing: [please enjoy the light-hearted intent of this comment] :wink:

That would be great Julie, and I completely understand there are other pressures on your time (typing this during a break at work :slight_smile: ).

I would think that if anyone believes that Jesus is not God and we worship Him, are we not being called heretics as well? For we would be idol worshippers!

you beat me to the post . I was going to suggest this type approach even if Julie hadn’t responded :smiley:

making one final statement, may I say that questioning anthers beliefs is distinct from condemning them :wink: point taken :question:

AllanS, thanks very much for expanding on your thoughts. as usual, your expansions clarify things. Not that I necessarily agree with them, but it helps me understand your reasoning.

Jason, thanks for explaining the thought processes behind the leaning toward trinitarianism of this forum. I wasn’t aware of that.

corpselight, thanks for voicing

what I also feel.

Julie, thanks for saying in two sentences

what I was saying in many more…

Brother “We all are brothers”,

Sorry for raising your blood pressure to higher-than-desirable levels…

And finally…

Thankyou God that one day we will know you as you are and we will rejoice in your salvation of all your creation, even me.

i think another difficulty for some is that their Universalism and their Trinitarianism work hand in glove, and possibly one flows from the other?

i think i’m happy to be agnostic on this because i realise it wasn’t orthodox at the beginning, and i’ve heard decent arguments against, and my Universalism comes from the meta-narrative of the Bible, so doesn’t depend on it.

i might be mis-stating this, though. i know Jason has argued that Trinitarianism leads to Universalism (and i can see that) but it may not be that Universalism always thus depends on Trinitarianism. obviously Aaron has no problem with this :slight_smile: