The Evangelical Universalist Forum

In All Likelihood George MacDonald Went to Hell

So Michael, you state the Calvin had many people put to death. How many did George MacDonald kill?

Have you ever personally read any of MacDonald’s works? If you should ever choose to do so, you might become aware of the almost flawless character of this righteous man. If anyone has ever been saved from sin and from hell, it is George MacDonald.

To give you a taste, I invite you to read my condensation of Chapter 1 of MacDonald’s “Salvation from Sin.”

[size=130]A Condensation of “Salvation from Sin”
Which is Chapter 1 of The Hope of the Gospel
by George MacDonald

The wrong, the evil that is in a man; he must be set free from it. I do not mean set free from the sins he has done: that will follow; I mean the sins he is doing, or is capable of doing; the sins in his being which spoil his nature, the wrongness in him, the evil he consents to; the sin he is, which makes him do the sin he does.

He will want only to be rid of his suffering; but that he cannot have, unless he is delivered from its essential root, a thing infinitely worse than any suffering it can produce. If he will not have that deliverance, he must keep his suffering. Through chastisement he will take at last the only way that leads to liberty. There can be no deliverance but to come out of his evil dream into the glory of God.

The Lord never came to deliver men from the consequences of their sins while those sins remained. That would be to throw the medicine out the window while the man still lies sick! That would be to come directly against the very laws of existence! Yet men, loving their sins, and feeling nothing of their dread hatefulness, have (consistently with their low condition) constantly taken this word concerning the Lord to mean that he came to save them from the punishment of their sins. This idea (this miserable fancy rather) has terribly corrupted the preaching of the gospel. The message of the good news has not been truly delivered.

He came to work along with our punishment. He came to side with it, and set us free from our sins. No man is safe from hell until he is free from his sins.

Not for any or all of his sins that are past shall a man be condemned; not for the worst of them does he need to fear remaining unforgiven. The sin in which he dwells, the sin of which he will not come out. That sin is the sole ruin of a man. His present live sins, those sins pervading his thoughts and ruling his conduct; the sins he keeps doing, and will not give up; the sins he is called to abandon, but to which he clings instead, the same sins which are the cause of his misery, though he may not know it — these are the sins for which he is even now condemned.

It is the indwelling badness, ready to produce bad actions, from which we need to be delivered. If a man will not strive against this badness, he is left to commit evil and reap the consequences. To be saved from these consequences, would be no deliverance; it would be an immediate, ever deepening damnation. It is the evil in our being (no essential part of it, thank God!) from which He came to deliver us — not the things we have done, but the possibility of doing such things anymore. As this possibility departs, and we confess to those we have wronged, the power over us of our evil deeds will depart also, and so shall we be saved from them. The bad that lives in us, our evil judgments, our unjust desires, our hate and pride and envy and greed and self-satisfaction ---- these are the souls of our sins, our live sins, more terrible than the bodies of our sins, that is, the deeds we do, because they not only produce these loathsome characteristics, but they make us just as loathsome. Our wrong deeds are our dead works; our evil thoughts are our live sins. These sins, the essential opposites of faith and love, these sins that dwell in us and work in us, are the sins from which Jesus came to deliver us. When we turn against them and refuse to obey them, they rise in fierce insistence, but at the same time begin to die. We are then on the Lord’s side, and He begins to deliver us from them.

From such, as from all other sins, Jesus was born to deliver us; not only, or even primarily, from the punishment of any of them. When all are gone, the holy punishment will have departed also. He came to make us good, and therein blessed children.

Evil is not human; it is the defect and opposite of human; but the suffering that follows it is human, belonging of necessity to the human that has sinned. While evil is the cause of sin, suffering is FOR the sinner, that he may be delivered from his sin.

A man may recognize the evil in him only as pain. He may know little and care nothing about his sins. Yet the Lord is sorry for his pain. He cries aloud, “Come to me all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” He opens His arms to all weary enough to come to Him in the hope of rest.

I certainly do not disregard understanding. The New Testament is full of urgings to understand. Our whole life must be a growth in understanding. But I cry out about the misunderstanding that comes of man’s endeavour to understand while not obeying. Upon obedience our energy must be spent; understanding will follow. The Lord cannot save a man from his sins while he still holds to his sins.

If a man wants to be delivered from the evil in him, he must himself begin to cast it out, himself begin to disobey it, and work righteousness, and the man should look for and expect the help of his Father in this endeavour. Alone he could labour to all eternity and not succeed. He who has not made himself, cannot set himself right without Him who made him. But his maker is in him, and is his strength.

The sum of the matter is this: —The Son has come from the Father to set the children free from their sins. The children must hear and obey Him, that He may send forth judgment unto victory.

1 Like

Thank you Paidion. I will meditate on and ponder this.

Sorry Paidion but this doesn’t excuse MacDonald’s intense loathing and verbal abuse of Calvinists. The enlightened Buddhists teach that this kind of hatred lands you into hell. They don’t believe God does it but they do believe in karma. And while it’s not forever it does last trillions of years. You can see this here:

Let me quote from my book “Everything Buddhism Book”

From my book Buddhism for Dummies

This is why the Bible tells us that "Vengeance belongs to God and to love our enemy. We don’t mock and verbally abuse Calvinists like George MacDonald did. He had an intense loathing towards Calvinism and Calvinists.

If you’re Christianity teaches you to loath people and verbally abuse them like George MacDonald did then you have the wrong Christ. This is why the Bible tells us that "Vengeance belongs to God and to love our enemy. We don’t mock and verbally abuse Calvinists.

Where are you getting this information? I have read dozens of MacDonald’s novels as well as his writings about the teachings of Christ, and I have yet to see any verbal abuse of Calvinists. He saw some of the teachings of the Church of Scotland as false, of course, and that church’s theology is Calvinistic. But writing against a false system is a much different matter from abusing its proponents.

I have a book entitled “3000 Quotations from the Writings of George MacDonald.” These quotes are organized under headings, The heading “Calvinism” doesn’t even exist. And neither does “The Church of Scotland.” However, there is a heading called, “Church.” I will reproduce the quotes on that topic. Let me know if you detect any “intense loathing” or “verbal abuse.”

  1. The Church is a part of God’s world.(Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood. 5)
  2. What idea could a man have of religion who knew nothing of it except from what goes on in churches? (Donal Grant.11)
  3. Individual life is the life of the church (The Miracles of our Lord. 42)
  4. Every man has a cure of his own; every woman has a cure of her own—all one and the same in principle, each individual in the application of the principle.This was the foundation of the true church. And yet members of that church will try to separate upon individual and unavoidable differences!(The Miracles of our Lord. 99)
  5. It is the half-Christian clergy of every denomination that are the main cause of the so-called failure of the church of Christ.
    (Paul Faber, Surgeon)
  6. The great heresy of the church of the present day is unbelief in this Spirit. The mass of the church does not believe that the Spirit has a revelation for every man individually—a revelation as different from the revelation of the Bible as the food in the moment of passing into living brain and nerve differs from the bread and meat. (Unspoken Sermons I.54)
  7. It is the one terrible heresy of the church, that it has always been presenting something else than obedience as faith in Christ.
    (Unspoken Sermons II.243)
  8. How many are there not who seem capable of anything for the sake of the church or Christianity, except the one thing its Lord cares about—that they should do what he tells them! He would deliver them from themselves into the liberty of the sons of God, make them his brothers;they leave him to vaunt their church. His commandments are not grievous; they invent commandments for him, and lay them, burdens grievous to be borne upon the necks of the brethren. God would have us sharers in his bliss—in the very truth of existence; they worship from afar, and will not draw nigh. (Unspoken Sermons III.188)
  9. Church of chapel is not the place for divine service. It is a place of prayer, a place to feed on good things, a place to learn of God, as what place is not? It is a place to look in the eyes of your neighbor, and love God along with him. But the world in which you move, the place of your living and loving and labor, not the church you go to on your holiday, is the place of divine service. Serve your neighbor, and you serve him.
    (Unspoken Sermons III.228)
  10. “See how, even in the services of the church, as they call them, they will accumulate gorgeousness and cost. Had I my way … I would never have any vessel used in the Eucharist but wooden platters and wooden cups.”
    “But are we not to serve him with our best?” said my wife.
    “Yes, with our very hearts and souls, with our absolute being. But all external things should be in harmony with the spirit if his revelation. And if God chose that his Son should visit the earth in homely fashion likewise should be everything that enforces and commemorates that revelation. All church form should be on the other side from show and expense. Let the money go to build decent houses for God’s poor, not to give them his holy bread and wine out of silver and gold and precious stones—stealing from the significance of the content by the meretricious grandeur of the container. I would send all the church-plate to fight the devil with his own weapons in our overcrowded cities, and in our villages where the husbandmen are housed like swine, by giving them room to be clean, and decent air from heaven to breathe. When the people find the clergy thus in earnest, they will follow them fast enough, and the money will come in like salt and oil on the sacrifice.” (The Seaboard Parish.51-52)
1 Like

Chesterton and MacDonald (and Lewis?)

I said I was going to fudge a little. Here is another fudging on this question. I am going to include here G.K. Chesterton and George MacDonald. Now, I know Chesterton is a Roman Catholic. George MacDonald just hated Calvinism, because he grew up in it. So did Chesterton. Chesterton mocked Calvinism. George MacDonald mocked Calvinism. So, they qualify as non-Calvinists at least. And I mention them because of the impact that they have had on me. I almost included C.S. Lewis, but Doug Wilson made such a strong, compelling case for the Reformed thinking of Lewis at our conference a couple of years ago that I will leave Lewis out, because Lewis is massively influential to me — and he is not your run-of-the-mill Calvinist.*** But Chesterton and MacDonald were verbally abusive of Calvinists***, and I have found this one thing when I read them both: their aliveness to the wonders and the paradoxes and the surprises and the oddities of the world in which we live. G.K. Chesterton and George MacDonald were alive to the wonders of the world in which we live.

MacDonald wasn’t even orthodox on his view of the cross. He just falls short of Arminianism. But when I read those two men’s sense of wonder in the real world in which we live, I am brought more alive to the Bible, more alive to the wonders in which I live. I feel like a healthier human being. In fact, I wrote about this on the blog. It is back there somewhere a couple of years ago, I think, called “The Sovereign God of Elfland: Why Chesterton’s Anti-Calvinism Doesn’t Put Me Off." So, if somebody wants to see more of what I mean by the influence of Chesterton and MacDonald they could look there. ~~ John Piper

So, just to be clear, you don’t care that your initial position was (still in the thread title) that MacDonald in all likelihood went to hell for denying the wrath and vengeance of God, when he demonstrably did not deny but rather affirmed the wrath and vengeance of God. And you’re thinking just fine and clear about this and not trolling, with this quote being your immediate reply to the obvious demonstration that MacD affirmed and did not deny God’s wrath and vengeance, about which topic you’re now going to totally drop in order to complain about MacD complaining about (what he regarded as) false doctrine. A false doctrine that he was actually, and repeatedly, willing to give his Calv opponents credit on in several ways, according to MacD himself (if not according to Piper).

You can continue quoting John Piper whose feelings were posthumously hurt by MacD (and who quotes him briefly out of context), but the rest of us will read and quote MacD in context to get our understanding of MacD.

+1. I wondered where he was actually getting this from. I should have noticed the reference to Buddhist hell earlier toward the end of one of his posts.

Be sure to include John Piper in trillions of years of hell for “mocking and verbally abusing” Rob Bell, Michael. Also for “mocking and verbally abusing” George MacDonald. You might as well be consistent about it.

Oh, and since you’re declaring that you know George MacDonald has suffered and will suffer in hell for a very long time, and you approve of that result, be sure to include yourself in the trillions of years of hell for “mocking and verbally abusing” MacD.

And Jesus Christ for “mocking and verbally abusing” St. Peter and the other apostles occasionally – trillions of years of hell for him, too, on your account, unless you’re going to deny that the apostles were God’s children.

Come to think of it, trillions of years of hell for God Most High, too, for “mocking and verbally abusing” God’s children (Israel) in the OT. After all, the Buddhists (or some of them) would regard any “wrath and vengeance” as amounting only to “mocking and verbally abusing”. Leaving vengeance to God doesn’t get God off the hook for doing that, too, in principle.

The Calvs at least would claim that it’s fine to mock and abuse people who aren’t God’s children (like Jesus did to the apostles… opps!) And that leads to the hidden point behind Piper’s complaint, and what he thinks lets himself off the hook for anything similar he might say: he decided (if sadly) that MacDonald wasn’t ever really one of God’s children after all (and so on Calv soteriology never had any possibility of ever going to be one of God’s children) because MacDonald heavily criticized a point of Calv soteriology! No true child of God would ever do that to true children of God (according to many Calvs).


I don’t deny that God mocks people. It says so when He judges. But this is something He does. It says "Vengeance is Mine I will repay. Rather love your enemy. God has rights and prerogatives that His creatures don’t. He alone is God. If you hold a grudge you doubt the judge. I haven’t mocked anybody and verbally abused anybody. And if John Piper has he will suffer. Unless he has repented and stopped doing it. We are to love our enemies was to teaching of Christ. Your attempts to justify verbal abuse will not work with me. Abuse of any kind is wrong. Especially verbal. Moreover, John Piper isn’t enlightened. According to Jonathan Edwards in the “Religious Affections” the marks of a Christian is a lamblike and dovelike spirit.

John Piper’s zeal and boldness is the kind Jonathan Edwards warns us about as coming from satan. John Piper’s machoism is nothing but ego.

Moreover when we don’t love our enemies we disobey and therefore sin against God. Seeing that this is against God it’s serious and deserves serious vengeance. But Vengeance belongs to God. Your own hatred and disobedience comes back on you.

Let’s examine Jonathan Edwards’ lamblike and dovelike spirit. Here are his words:


Jonathan Edwards was gently and compassionately with a tender heart warning the unbeliever of the dreadful fate he faced without Christ. He uses metaphor to describe hell and lovingly pleaded with the sinner to repent:

So, just to be clear, you regard Edwards as “enlightened”, even though he wrote things like “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God”, but not John Piper, and not MacDonald even though he rejected Edwards’ vivid descriptions of hell as theologically false, for which rejection the unenlightened Piper’s Satanic boldness decided MacDonald was mocking and verbally abusing Calvinists.

And for this rejection, you know MacDonald (unless he repented of his abuse in rejecting Calvinism and its attitudes, reflected in your opinion of Piper as Satanic and unlightened) will be suffering hell for trillions of years. Which is an insult to MacDonald more dire than anything MacDonald ever said about Calvinists, which you regard as abusive, but which you don’t regard as abusive when you say worse than he did.

I don’t know that I would agree that verbal abuse is especially more wrong than other kinds of abuse, but I definitely agree that abuse is wrong. I was not defending abuse, I was ironically pointing out that what you’re calling abuse isn’t abuse. (I don’t actually think Piper was abusing MacDonald or Bell either. Or that Edwards was abusing anyone verbally, for that matter. I kind of doubt MacDonald thought Edwards was abusing anyone either – but he did reject as false some of the doctrines Edwards was pushing. He also acts as though he and other people had been oppressed emotionally and spiritually by the doctrines of the Calvinists.)

You have yet to provide examples of MacD’s supposed verbal “abuse” of Calvinists, just Piper’s hurt feelings about what he regarded as abuse from someone whose writing he really appreciated but who rejected some (by no means all) of Edwards’ ideas about God – this rejection being regarded by Piper as abusive to true children of God (i.e. abusive to Calvinists) like himself.

Also, I see you’re still avoiding the original charge for why MacDonald has supposedly gone to hell for trillions of years. This leaves me with the impression that what really matters to you is that MacDonald should have gone to hell for trillions of years for some reason and the precise reason doesn’t matter much to you: if one reason gets shot down decisively you’ll find another reason somewhere, even if the reason is self-refuting.

What’s worse, unlike some of the newer people here I know from years of past experience that you’ve read MacDonald with some extensiveness. You ought to know better.

And yet despite the demonstrable fact that, unlike Edwards, MacDonald regarded his targets of critique and warning as fellow Christians whose beliefs he opposed on certain points but whose living faith in trusting and obeying Christ he gladly praised (whereas on Edwards’ theology the unbelievers he was warning who would go into the hatred of God’s unremitting hell, were never Christian and by God’s choice could never have been and could never be Christian, and the sweet remonstration was aimed at those whom God had chosen to save from their sins who would never even possibly have to worry about dealing with the unsaving wrath so described) – you have less than no interest in giving MacDonald’s attitude toward fellow Christians the same charity you’re willing to give to Edwards in his vivid punitive and critical statements.

Yes Piper was influenced by MacDonald and Chesterton and loved them dearly. According to Piper they mocked and verbally abused people. This is why Piper isn’t enlightened. He acts the same way his beloved mentors did.

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.~~Psalm 1:1-6

Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth. ~~ Isaiah 28:22

God does the mocking on Judgment Day. For Vengeance belongs to Him

I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when terror strikes you,

when terror strikes you like a storm
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.

Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently but will not find me

Proverbs 1:26-28

In this video even Tim Keller (who has read MacDonald) claims it’s unlikely MacDonald was enlightened. They even talk about how C.S. Lewis brutally bullied people in debates. As you know George MacDonald influenced him. Piper tries to justify this by calling Americans “touchy feely” people. John Piper never denies George MacDonald’s authenticity. You can see how much Piper is influenced by MacDonald in his own behavior on youtube videos if MacDonald acted the way Piper says. Piper tries to justify his behavior by appealing to the behavior of Lewis and MacDonald.

No the Bible says when you mock God’s children God mocks you. We are to love our enemies.

Seeing that MacDonald hated Calvinism and loathed the God of Edwards I don’t think Piper is misreading him. Granted Piper hasn’t reached enlightenment. But this is in part due to his intense love for MacDonald. I don’t know why anybody would love and praise someone so much when they mock and verbally abuse people. Moreover, George MacDonald calls the wrathful God of Penal Substitution Moloch. This is pure delusion.

The Bible say ages unto ages. In Biblical terms this is a very long time. I was being charitable. It’s more like trillions upon trillions. But hey MacDonald could have found peace before he died.

I have two devotionals with quotes by MacDonald. I don’t see what’s so great about him as someone who studies the Carmelite mystics like St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. The holy St. Teresa of Avila had a vision of hell and it’s just as painful as Edwards portrayal. If not worse. She was very holy and enlightened and loving and gentle to all.

If you think a lamblike and dovelike spirit that loves it’s enemies stinks you are not a Christian or enlightened.

The God of Edwards? Are you suggesting that Edwards worshipped a different God from that of other people? Well… from his description of Him, maybe he did.

What George MacDonald loathed was not God but the false description of God that Edwards provided. Here is what GMD actually wrote in his own words:

—George MacDonald (1824-1905 ) Unspoken Sermons III, “Justice” final paragraph

I understand GMD’s loathing. The following description that Edwards gives of the delights of the saints in observing the suffering of the damned, makes me sick. It is the absolute opposite of the teachings of the Anointed One of God:

“The Eternity of Hell Torments” (Sermon), April 1739 & Discourses on Various Important Subjects.


Edwards believed that the saints will rejoice over the torments of the damned only in the sense that they will be rejoicing at the glory of God’s justice not the evil and suffering in and of itself. They are not sadistic or bloodthirsty.

Why Saints in Glory Will Rejoice to See the Torments of the Damned

By Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758)

[Sermon: The end of the Wicked contemplated by the Righteous.]

NEGATIVELY: it will not be because the saints in heaven are the subjects of any ill disposition; but, on the contrary, this rejoicing of theirs will be the fruit of an amiable and excellent disposition: it will be the fruit of a perfect holiness and conformity to Christ, the holy Lamb of God. The devil delights in the misery of men from cruelty, and from envy and revenge, and because he delights in misery, for its own sake, from a malicious disposition.
But it will be from exceedingly different principles, and for quite other reasons, that the just damnation of the wicked will be an occasion of rejoicing to the saints in glory. It will not be because they delight in seeing the misery of others absolutely considered. The damned suffering divine vengeance will be no occasion of joy to the saints merely as it is the misery of others, or because it is pleasant to them to behold the misery of others merely for its own sake… It will be an occasion of their rejoicing, as the glory of God will appear in it.

I think what’s missing here, is the thief on the cross story. Where the thief was forgiven all his sins and promised to spent that day in paradise - with Christ. Whether one believes in once saved - always saved. Or salvation is a life long process, which is found in RC and EO theology. Etc. We don’t know a person’s heart. Or what transpired with a person, while they are on their death bed.

The other problem is the Buddhist hell. There are many schools of Buddhism. Just as their are many different Christian churches. Even in Tibetan Buddhism, there are at least four different schools. Not every one, will have the same conception of hell…if they have one - that is. But even in some schools of Buddhism, there is the Bodhisattva (see, which is there to help guide and rescue folks.

Sure Randy. I’ve stated a couple of times that MacDonald could have found peace before he died. But given the nature of man and how they get stuck and fixed in their own mindset and heart it seems unlikely. He could have escaped karma or God’s vengeance.

You’re a very hateful person qaz. You never deal with what I say. You do nothing but personal attack. Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord.

If you want to defend verbal abuse and hatred maybe you should leave the forum. I’ve answered your questions and you just bring up my past when I couldn’t make my mind up. I was manic and confused and off of my medicine. If you want to personally attack God’s children go elsewhere.