The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Evangelical Universalists Survey: What denomination are you?

Evangelical Universalists Survey: What denomination are you in?

  • Baptist
  • Methodist
  • Lutheran
  • Reformed
  • Pentecostal
  • Anglican
  • Presbyterian
  • Wesleyan
  • Brethren
  • Other. I’ll post it below.

0 voters

Luke was interested to know what denominations the Evangelical Universalists here, are in (no offense intended to anyone else who isn’t a Evangelical Universalist)?

I realise there are way more than 9 evangelical denominations, but I’ve tried to work out the common/largest ones from: … of_members … ominations … ations.htm

Short version – I’m currently part of a conservative, nondenominational, Protestant church. I have always considered myself simply a Christian and have never felt a denominational loyalty.

Long version – Growing up my parents sent me to a Presbyterian (PCA) school for grades 1-6, and we occasionally attended the church. Grades 7-12 I went to a Baptist school, and became a member of the Presbyterian church. In college and early married years–about 6 years–I was a member of John MacArthur’s church which is practically a denomination of it’s own. Then we moved several times and attended 3 different nondenominational churches. Moved again and attended a Reformed Baptist church for about a year–during which time I came to believe in Universal Reconciliation (that had nothing to do with the church we were attending). Then switched to our current church, where we’ve been for about 6 years, I think.


My life is not near as exciting as Sonia’s. I’ve been at the same American Baptist church for 35 of my 37 years. I consider myself more non-denominational, without a strong attachment to the Baptists. I wonder Sonia if you were at John McArthur’s church when Gene (Auggy) attended the Masters back in 1995? He attributes his experience there, at that church, to jumpstarting his thinking on some of the issues that led him to being so receptive to UR. I met him shortly after, when he stopped attending the Masters, at my church. (Incidently, he was working at Baker’s Square when a man from my church invited him to visit. So happy about that!) I can remember being in biblestudies with him and him asking very difficult questions about how free will/God’s sovereignty coincided. They were always met with much resistance and he was treated as if he were a troublemaker to want to focus on such unanswerable questions. Even I thought so. :laughing: He was a bug in my ear and we were ripe for Talbott when my dad came across his book and started sharing his reading with us.


I was there from late 1990 to March 1997–so yes! But I doubt we ever met–there’s so many people there! We did know a bunch of seminary guys, so maybe we knew some of the same folks.

So you married a trouble maker, and now you’re one too! :mrgreen:

Seems like there’s advantages to being in the same church so long–but must hurt all the more to experience the rejection you’ve had!


The church that I was a member of until recently was an independent charismatic church that seemed to be interdenominational but some of the members were not open to me believing that Jesus is the savior of all humanity in reality not just title (though of course I was open to continuing full fellowship with them though they do not believe Jesus is the savior of all humanity).

I started out in a Southern Baptist church in the 70’s, when they the SBC was far less liberal and when they were still fairly evangelical (They had invitations at the end of each service for anyone wishing to be saved, which I did at the age of 12. But I recently went to another SB church that did not have an invitation for reasons unknown, and that was on an Easter Sunday!). But my ensuing teen years were one of half rebellion, whereby though I still attended church, I was also out partying with by HS buddies. By the time I joined the Navy, I dropped out of church altogether and for practical purposes became agnostic (partly through another friends introduction to Mark Twain’s “Letters From Earth”, a long story, and partly because I was still in my partying mode). I eventually ‘came to myself’ (c.f. The Prodigal Son) through a series of unpleasant events and a sense of wasted living, and experienced the Love of God in my life. And I since I was searching for answers and a relationship with God, I came to find a church through an Apostolic friend, whom I first got to know because he had a sign posted in his shop that said, “Jesus is the Answer”. So I attended an Apostolic church that believed that one must not only confess Christ as Savior, but you had to be baptised in full submersion (it took two tries for me as one of my big toes stuck out the first time), and Baptized in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Anyone who didnt have these credentials were not considered saved, so I really had concern with my family members as while they confessed Christ as Savior, they didn’t meet these requirements. I felt they needed saving again, and in my enthusiasm I ended up embarrassing my naive self.

Not long after that, I abandoned the Apostolic church in favor of a Charimatic Baptist church, if you can believe such one actually exits.

When I got married in 1992, we joined an independent, fundamental Baptist church, first in San Diego, then in Maryland where we currently reside.

Hey Alex:

This topic of denominations and Universalism (UR) has the potential to be really enlightening and interesting!

For myself, I am a Seventh-day Adventist which, historically emerged from Methodist roots which, as I’ve understood it emerged (generally anyway) from a Wesleyan tradition. And aside from my son Ryan, now 19, I don’t believe I know another SDA Universalist! (though I do know some who might tiptoe around the edges a bit and take a sniff now and then… You know; to show how “open-minded” they are! :smiley: :laughing: :laughing: )

I am really of two minds about all these denominations. Straight away it seems incongruous that the One God should need so many explanations (didn’t each denomination come about because of the perceived inadequacies of their previously accepted explanations??) yet on the other hand denominations really can provide all the various minds being drawn to God (can’t we say with assurance that ALL are being drawn to and by God??) a place to feel they “belong”.

To the modern (Liberal) mind there is this apparent urge to reject labels and categories and distinctions. Which is all great I suppose but usually takes the form of them wanting ME to give up MY distinctives while they retain their own (which they have, but deny they have…) – which is all very warm feeling (or maybe not) until one realizes they also love to say they embrace “diversity”. So which is it anyway then?? If there are not distinctions, then what does it mean to be “diverse”?? It’s all kinda crazy I guess.

Well, the Christian version of this might be (some may find this a bit of a stretch… hmmm) the unity in diversity found in . . . . yes, denominations!!! I know of practically no one who considers themselves to belong to the “other fold” of which Jesus speaks in John 10:16 (except for the Jeh. Witness I guess; I’ve had them at my doorstep telling me THEY are, and only they, the “other” fold…) – meaning it’s always the other guys denomination (or religion??) which gets to be the “other”!!

Jesus seemed to be sharing a vision of His where “they” (I guess we are included in that group right??) ALL become ONE flock with ONE Shepherd! Mostly, is my observation, we imagine that to mean that the other guy wises up and comes to see things OUR way!!

Does this dream of Jesus’ (or maybe should we read this as some kind of promise??) envision all these denominations? I really don’t have a clue here folks. What I DO think is key is to recognize that Jesus came for all, actively draws all, has the temerity to accept and embrace those not part of “polite society”, and calls the entirety of those who call on His name as His “bride”.

Whoa!! This must mean (as UR has hugely helped me see!) that yes, while I thrill to the personal revelation of the Christ to me in my situation (ie SDA) I also should be alert to His activity in your situation. Which may look (or probably will look) rather different from mine.

Anyway, I love the fact that UR has tempered my disdain for various expressions of faith and belief that I had previously found really awful and even offensive. (for a quick example, penal substitution models of the Atonement…) If God speaks to you via that mode UR allows me the freedom to rejoice that He’s active and He’s speaking.

And denominations are but one manifestation of the many and varied ways in which God speaks.
Or something like that…


I am of no denomination. I am a member of the only Church there is, the one Christ established.

“Is Christ divided?” While some say, “I am of Luther” or “I am of Calvin” are you not carnal? [modern apostle-Paul question]

All denominational churches have membership roles. You can join them the way you join a secular club. I see them as religious clubs rather than expressions of THE CHURCH. Expressions of THE CHURCH recognize those whom God has added to THE CHURCH. It is not necessary for them to join a local assembly. They are already members. They can meet together with other disciples and have the same privileges as any other member of THE CHURCH which Christ founded.

So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:46,47 NKJV

This is, of course, the only satisfactory and logical answer it seems to me. Should one force me to chose between my Christ and my denomination, I will chose Christ.

But to chose to worship Christ from within the “bounds” of a particular family of believers… that’s ok isn’t it? Christ asks us to hear and to follow. This does not necessarily exclude denominations does it?


Well, in I Corinthians, Paul called the sectarian spirit “carnal”. He wrote, “Is Christ divided?”

I suppose at one level, one could say it’s at least as okay to belong to a Christian club as to the 4H club, or Kiwanis.
But because of denominational distinctives, such membership tends (in a big way) to divide disciples of Christ, whereas our Lord prayed that his disciples might be ONE in the same way as He and His heavenly Father are ONE. That’s a pretty tall order! I don’t think the type of unity Jesus and His Father have, would exist if each of Them belonged to different denominations.

I consider myself post-denominational, so none of the options fit.

Denominations exist (as Paidion and others have noted) due to doctrinal disagreements.

Otherwise they would exist for purposes of emphasizing particular truths or actions, helping serve the whole Church by their witness in doing so. Which I try in fairness to see them as doing now (rather like the many various groups within Roman Catholicism).

I do want to point out, however, that denominations serve a practical purpose in doctrinal disagreements, too. I agree with Paidion’s observation via St. Paul, and obviously we ought not to have doctrinal disagreements; but once there are serious unreconciled disagreements, denominations provide a home for people who believe like-mindedly to one another.

I don’t think this can be avoided by saying, “I of course am a member of THE CHURCH, not of some denomination; those other people are factionalists.” Baptist Conventions and Roman Catholics both say that, among other… denominations. :wink: (The more conservative “Church of Christ” denomination comes to mind as an example of this, too, even more extreme about it than the RCC or the EOx.)

I may not have a formal denomination, but the existence of (currently) unreconciled disagreements puts myself and the other guy(s) in what amounts to different denominations–even if I’m the only one in mine!

I think it’s better not to distinguish between ‘denominations’ and being in the Church. I don’t have any problem recognizing people who by no stretch of the imagination could be construed as ‘my denomination’ as also nevertheless being in the Church. St. Paul’s specific problem, after all, was that people were putting following Peter, Apollos or himself, on the same optional par as following Christ! And even in cases like the Pope (or many of the older ones anyway), or in his own way John Calvin, I am aware of exactly NO ONE who claims that they are supposed to be followed on par as Christ. At most they only claim someone can only be following Christ by following along with themselves: that still puts Christ first.

Meanwhile, I grew up Southern Baptist, and still currently attend SB churches. I don’t consider myself SB anymore however (and I mean that in fairness to the SBs–even though they would swear up and down that my beliefs aren’t supposed to matter for being in the convention. But we all know as a matter of routine practical practice: beliefs do matter for whether one is in the SBC or not.) Consequently I am not an official member of the churches I attend anymore.

For classification purposes? Uh… western orthodox Baptist universalist??? :laughing:

I go to a Vineyard USA church. I agree with all of their doctrinal statement except the one paragraph about the final judgment with eternal conscious torment, and my pastor understands my view. He’s okay with my doctrine as long as I don’t get militant/divisive about it. And I work with the end-of-service prayer ministry team.

I’m from a Plymouth Brethren background. But now for the past six years have been having simple house church in our home.

My heart today would be very much inline with what brother Paidion has expressed.

Well I started Plymouth Brethren and last attended a United Reformed Church - however, given my current position I don’t know to what extent I was ever really doing anything more that just attending them :smiley:

While our site deals mostly with the academic and intellectual and exegetical aspects of UR – which is all really great and useful and inspiring – it seems there is this tiny outpost of ideas relating to what it’s actually like to live the truth of UR. It’s way down in the “Practices” section and is titled “Christian Living”. Just in case anyone wants to visit there. Of course the practical aspects of actually living what we believe (UR) tends to leak out all over the place. Like here, in this discussion of denominations.

And while I love the academics of the UR defense, the reality of UR that makes it all matter for me, and worth living, are these very pointed and vulnerable confessions of what it’s like on the front line of real life; my life and your life.

So a discussion like this one resonates and touches me like few others here can.

I absolutely love what Paidion brings to this discussion and have little quarrel with his thoughts. And for all the brilliance that Jason Pratt has lent us on this site I can’t help but love these words of his:

– “Consequently I am not an official member of the churches I attend anymore.
For classification purposes? Uh… western orthodox Baptist universalist???” –

But I would bet anyone here that should one have the pleasure and privilege of worshipping with Jason (never met the man; but believe I know a bit about him from our friendship here…) they would be blessed to be worshipping the true God with him. Just a feeling I get.

In defense of denominations then:
–they offer one a place to worship… and a context too…
–they offer a particular historical perspective and emphasis…
–they are a community of believers into which one might have been born and raised… caution is needed when rejecting such…

Were Paul to have meant that all expressions of faith and worship must look alike, why would he have said this in Romans 14:5? “… let each be convinced in his own mind…” The simple fact is that while God is One, we, at this point anyway, struggle to achieve that ideal. So we try our best and become convicted of what we believe is right. And that’s how we proceed.

Now for me anyway, and I hear Buddy saying this as well, I really don’t care much to argue the vagaries of one particular denomination over the other. IF you see the truth of a saving and eternally persistent God who will not stop until ALL are saved, and that causes you to live a life of joy and compassion and embrace of ALL of God’s children (not just the ones who “conform” and behave…) might that not mean we have (in a sense?) our own little version of a “church” right here??

This topic and dynamic really fascinates me because I already have a denominational family and yet I don’t agree with all it’s stated convictions. At the same time, I ALSO have an overlapping family of belief – and that’s all of YOU here! That is about the coolest thing I can imagine actually: when I worship in my congregation each week, each of YOU here on this site is metaphorically “with” me! Because I KNOW you to be people of great and deep faith in the same God I worship! Shoot – I may never even MEET you: and yet we are bound together by… something. What is that something??

My God: my arms are so wide open that when I go to worship each week (side by side with folks who formulate things unlike I do) I even celebrate the kinship I feel with certain of my Atheist friends (say, like JeffA) who stir to a truth which also stirs ME!

Yes, I may BE in a certain denomination, and feel some loyalty to her, but it is merely a place and vehicle wherein I experience the larger picture and embrace of God together with others who adore Him. Their vision and perfection is not in my view at all: it is God who holds my rapt attention and devotion…

I would still love to know, Paidion, whom you believe to be the “other flock” Jesus spoke of…


Buddy, it must be a compliment to God when we are able to forgive, evidence that he is at work in our life. Thanks for sharing your story! I like how you give glory to God and not yourself.

Well said, Total Victory! I feel the same! I’m amazed at how much encouragement there is on this site, from knowing all of you! It would be too neat if we could all meet, but that’s probably impossible. I’ll have to settle, for now, with the forum.

I consider this forum a form of “church”–an assembly of believers. It may not be “a church”, but the fellowship is real to me and very valued!

Awesome. Mine too. Simple house church is the type that I prefer, but as of now I find that difficult. Actually, there’s a website where I can look for one…