The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Official Forum 1KWord Thread For Christian Universalism

I was thinking this morning about how (per suggestion from [tag]Catherine[/tag]) a sticky official thread of short cases in favor of Christian universalism could be helpful for visitors (pro or con); but I was also thinking about why I personally don’t like short cases: because we all ought to be familiar with similarly impressive-looking “short cases” that we ourselves know are far too short and oversimple to adequately deal with the evidence and/or principles!

How many of us, after all, back when we were non-universalists, accepted one or another kind of Christian non-universalism (or at least that Christianity could only be validly non-universalistic, whether we believed Christianity to be true or not) based on arguments we now recognize to be far too simple!?

So I don’t want to be unfair and provide similar arguments that Christianity ought to be (one or another type of) universalistic.

But on yet another hand, complexly detailed arguments are proportionately difficult to follow and assess.

Therefore, being an unspeakable genius, I have invented a solution.

Member who are Christian universalists (or at least sympathetic to it) can post their short arguments to this thread. But here are the groundrules.


1.1.) By which I mean, attributing unethical motives, stupidity, other ad homss, to opponents.

1.1.1.) Prophets who think they are excepted from this rule, like Jesus and the apostles, due to having prophetic authority, will have to convince the administration of your prophetic authority credentials first. (I am only being half-humorous about this. Defy this prohibition at your peril.)

1.2.) Pointing out errors in translation, context, conceptual logic, etc., is okay – but only one pure example of that is allowed per entry.

1.2.1.) By a “pure” example I mean a situation where all you do is point out the other side has made a mistake without building a positive argument yourself out of the same material.

1.2.2.) Situations where you mention oppositional error as a secondary feature to positively building your own case from the same material, are fine. But the majority of your interaction with the same evidence or concepts should be devoted to building your case from that material.

2.) At least 700 words. No more than 1000.

2.1.) I’m pretty sure the ad/mods will be lenient about minor breaches of this rule, but you’ll be increasingly likely to be asked for a redraft-edit of your entry the further you breach it.

3.) You are only allowed to incorporate one topic from any previous entry into your entry!

3.1.) The point here is to help avoid the too-simple problem, by requiring contributors to cooperate in building a comprehensive argument without restating the same things over and over again.

3.2.) At the same time, topical overlap may be necessary to unpack concepts or examples. So as an opening leeway, I’m allowing one previous topical overlap. It’s entirely possible I may upgrade this rule later to allow two prior topic incorporations, if restricting to one becomes too evidently difficult for building a new entry.

3.3.) Leeway will be allowed for covering different aspects of a prior topic. So for example, if someone builds an entry around 1 Cor 15, but you see something different worth discussing about that same material for your entry, that’s okay.

3.4.) Leeway will also be allowed if you’re covering the same aspects of a prior topic for a different version of Christian universalism. That way, I can’t just stake out 1 Cor 15 as a purgatorial universalist and prevent an ultra-universalist from using the same material and even basically the same points from the same material toward an ultra-u conclusion. Or if someone takes material for a penal-sub version of Christian universalism, I can still use the same material for a penal-shared version.

3.5.) Similarly, referencing a previously established point in order to build further on it, is fine. If I have seven points to my entry, and you want to springboard off all seven, that’s okay, so long as you’re making new points by doing so.

3.6.) If you think your entry just really really needs to establish more than one topical point already established in a prior entry, pmail me or another ad/mod, and make your case for why, before posting it; and mention in the argument that you got permission from whichever of us to reference more than one previously established point. (I don’t expect this sub-rule to be appealed to much: THE WHOLE TOPIC IS FREAKING HUGE!!–IT OUGHT TO BE FAIRLY EASY NOT TO HAVE TO RELY ON SIMPLY REPOSTING PREVIOUSLY ESTABLISHED TOPICS!!!)

4.) Multiple entries from the same members are allowed, but only after… let’s say… four other members have posted an entry. (I or the ad/mods generally may adjust that number later for better results.) This prevents members (like myself :wink: ) who would really prefer to post huge arguments, from violating the spirit of the endeavor by sequentially posting a large ongoing argument in multiple posts. IF YOU ARE LIKE ME, and I know I am, YOU KNOW WHO I AM AIMING THIS RULE AGAINST!! :mrgreen: [size=50]Me. I’m aiming this rule against me.[/size]

In summary:

• short entries;
• don’t simply reiterate previous points–instead build from them, or provide new material, or reiterate previous points for a significantly different position (ultra-u instead of purga-u for example);
• be nice. :slight_smile:

To be fair (or even self-critical!), we should provide a similar thread or threads for ECT and/or anni over in Discussion Negative. But I’m super-busy today, so someone else is encouraged to go be fair until I get around to it. :wink:

I’ll kick off with my unusual 700 word approach from a different thread a few months back.

Note that while I mentioned three popular and common Christian universalist scripture arguments at the end, I have left plenty of room for subsequent entrants to easily expand on them, to different degrees and/or in different ways. Or if someone wants to go into more detail about the end scene of RevJohn, what I said can be reiterated and easily expanded upon. Or if someone wants to write an entry where they expand on more details about Paul’s condemnation of the Stepmom-Sleeping Guy in 1 Corinthians, that’s fine.

But, as a negative example, if someone just wants to mention Paul using “whole-ruination” in a hopeful-punishment situation again, without adding more detail or building anything further from it, because it’s personally very important to you and you just want to stress that again: that would be your one allowed prior reference.


Where *did *you get those ‘I love me’ icons?! I want one. :smiley:

Here’s my effort, slightly expanded and improved thanks to the relaxation of the word count. I trust I haven’t broken any of your rules!

Peace and love


God is Love – the Christian Universalist Gospel
God is love. We can know this is true, because the Bible *tells *us it is true (1 John 4:16); Jesus *shows *us it is true, through his loving, sacrificial life, death and resurrection; and our deepest longings and feelings let us *know *that it is true.

Christian Universalism is the gospel – the unqualified good news – that because God is love, He loves all his creatures with a saving love. This means He will save everybody – every person who has ever lived.

Some Christians say that’s not right. Universalism, they say, is sentimental. It’s wishful thinking. God is holy and righteous and just. And because He is holy and righteous and just, He must punish sin. And that means punishing unrepentant sinners by sending them to hell forever.

But is that right?

Testimony of Authority
There are three main sources for all the beliefs we hold: reason, authority and experience. For a Christian, the most important must be authority. The authority of the Bible as God’s revealed truth, but also the authority of the Church, and of Christians through the ages. And despite what we have been told to believe, authority is strongly in support of Christian Universalism.

The Bible is clear that God is infinitely more righteous and more loving than we can possibly imagine. 1 John 1:5 says that “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all”. And the Bible is clear that God loves everybody, and wills that everybody be saved – 1 Timothy 2:4 (more on this crucial verse below).

The early Church fathers – men like Origen and Gregory of Nyssa, who were closer to Christ than any who came after them – knew this. That’s why they taught Christian Universalism.

Testimony of Reason
Jesus tells us to use reason to decide what is true. (Luke 12:57: “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?”) And our reason tells us that if God is God, He must be infinitely loving (as the Bible says) and infinitely powerful (as the Bible says). Which means He must be able to achieve all His loving purposes for His creation.

And Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 2:4 that God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (NIV). The NIV, as with many modern translations, waters down this verse, reducing it to a statement of something God merely ‘wants’ or ‘desires’.

The original Greek word translated ‘wants’ in the NIV is θέλω, Strong’s number 2309. Its primary meaning is “to will, have in mind, intend; to be resolved or determined, to purpose” (Thayer and Smith Bible Dictionary).

Hence the KJV gets it right when it says that God “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth”. Not wants. Not desires. Will have all men to be saved.

So, if God wills that everyone be saved, and God gets everything He wills, it is a logical certainty that everyone will in fact be saved.

Testimony of Experience
Our hearts testify to the fact that Christian Universalism is true. Says Christian scholar Robin Parry, author of The Evangelical Universalist:

“… hold in your mind traditional Christian visions of the future, in which many, perhaps the majority of humanity, are excluded from salvation forever. Alongside that hold the universalist vision, in which God achieves his loving purpose of redeeming the whole creation. Which vision has the strongest view of divine love? Which story has the most powerful narrative of God’s victory over evil? Which picture lifts the atoning victory of the cross of Christ to the greatest heights? Which perspective best emphasises the triumph of grace over sin? … To my mind the answer to all these questions is clear, and that is why I am a Christian Universalist.”

But what about …?
But what about the bad people who don’t repent of their sins, who never receive Jesus as their saviour? Hitler, or Bin Laden? How can they be saved?

The Universalist answer is that ‘bad’ people will be saved the same way as everybody else, as all the greatest saints (like Paul, the “chief of sinners”). They will be saved by and through the infinite grace and love of God. The God whose love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8). The God whose mercy endures forever (Psalm 136).

They may not repent, and therefore may not be saved, in this earthly life. But scour the Bible, and you won’t find a single verse that says people can’t repent and be saved in the next life. For nothing is impossible with God (Mark 10:27).

Christian Universalism – Good News for All People
Paul, the architect of the Christian faith, saw the truth about the God who is love. Says Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:22: “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”

That is the good news for all people. That is Christian Universalism.

Bumping the thread up a bit, since the server imbroglio. :wink:

Thanks for the contributions so far!

I can’t seem to verify that the goats referenced in Matt 25 are baby goats. Can you elaborate on where you get that from?

I don’t have my sources here at the house, so I’ll have to check them when I get to the office tomorrow; but for example the only other time the term appears in the NT is in the parable of the prodigal son, where translators and interpreters routinely agree it means “kid”, i.e. a baby goat. (Offhand the latest person I’ve seen using the term that way in the prodigal son parable was Rob Bell last year, as context for what the older brother was facetiously complaining about: he and his friends not being given something even as large as a chicken to feast with! Rob apparently didn’t notice the same term is used in the parable of the sheep and the goats, which I commented on at the time. Lord, it’s hard to believe it’s been a year and a half since I wrote that… :wink: )

There are two other words for “goat” in the NT; one means “he-goat”, a grown animal as formidable as a goat would ever get. This isn’t that term, although presumably that’s the term that would have been used under the typical interpretations of the parable (since these goats are acting pridefully). The other word for goat I don’t recall has any special connotation, but it isn’t this term either.


Would you elaborate more on the 2 Thessalonians passage… especially on Paul quoting Isaiah. Thanks!

*EDIT: I found it here… viewtopic.php?f=10&t=2028

Thanks Jason!

I like this; I only just now saw it, and I’ll try to get something posted here soon.

I know this is an old thread, but if anyone has the quotes from Oriegen, I’d love to read them.I was long put off by many church father’s because f their views on women, but II’d love to check this out.

Interesting read folks!