Poll: Can I be a Calvinist and a Universalist?


:laughing: good one :laughing:


Do people have a relationship with their cats? I’d say yes, they do. Even though the cats don’t have Libertarian Free Will (LFW). Therefore, that proves that God can have a relationship with human beings who have no LFW.

As for God making choices, He does, but that doesn’t prove they are the LFW type or that God is not bound by His nature of love. Hopefully He doesn’t have the LFW to turn to the dark side & make the universe an endless hell for all.


The following commentaries explain Calvinistic & LFW opinions re that verse:


Also the following thread at a site full of busy forums where i (as ClementofA) & several other universalists often post:

christianforums.com/threads … t-71715078

There have been a lot of Calvinism vs LFW thread debates in that particular forum recently.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb 12;2


I don’t think God’s word is complicated. Or God’s gifts of the Holy Spirit - are complicated. The Bible was part of the Reformation. And available to the common man and Biblical scholar alike. And the simple man, can read the good book. Something as profound as no free will, should be a truth - that God want’s the average man (by reading the Bible) - to see. As well as the scholar - to see. Or those with the Holy Spirit and the gift of knowledge, to understand and communicate. But that is not, the way things have unfolded. If God was trying to “sell”, this “no free will” stuff. That’s just a simple observation - on my part. :smiley:

Just a footnote here. Traditional Calvinism usually promotes Compatibilism - which is a hybrid of free will and determinism. So even they, don’t see the “truth” - of no free will entirely. At least that’s my understanding, from the Calvinist Got Questions and CARM sites (i.e. gotquestions.org/compatibilism.html).

There was a long and detailed attempt, to “sell” this “no free will truth” before at [Free Willism or God’s Soeveignty in Salvation of All). It was as well received, as a lead balloon. It would have been better received, if the presenter referred to A.E. Knoch. Then listed his main tenets and where he differed.

Here’s an interesting article I’ve encountered today:

A Denial of Theological Determinism

I did enjoy the mindfulness meditation (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness) last night at taucenter.org/. And the Franciscan nuns, just let the group meet there - free of change. Mindfulness is a very simple practice. And the last half hour, they introduced the talking stick (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talking_stick). Which is really Native American - in origin. Whoever has something to say, they pick up the stick. And all must be silent and listen, as that one speaks. Both are simple practices - that do wonders. And give additional perspective, to the Christian journey.


This fellow has redefined the TULIP as:

Total reconciliation
Unlimited atonement
Irresistible grace through the ages
Perseverance of God

christianuniversalist.org/resou … ist-tulip/


These are various books, quotes & sites mostly related to “Calvinistic Universalism”:

“John Murray’s conversion to Universalism
How an 18th-century Calvinist embraced Universalism and became the first minister of a Universalist church in America.”

The touching testimony of a former 5 point Calvinist turned Universalist:

"Reformed theology, also known as “Calvinism” has its roots in the teachings of the fourth century theologian, Arulius Augustin…It’s main flaw, and it is a huge flaw, is that it is almost always accompanied with the unbiblical doctrine of “endless torment.” When coupled with this false doctrine, it changes from the most satisfying and God-glorifying expression of the gospel into a horrible mockery of the truth that, ( in the words of Arminian theologian John Wesley), “makes God out to be worse than the devil.” [this sites has links to many Calvinist writings, e.g. Calvin’s Institutes] biblicaluniversalism.org/art … ormed.html

“The Calvinist Universalist: Is Evil a Distortion of Truth? Or Truth Itself? By Stephen Campana” [free online preview]
books.google.ca/books?id=5WsNBQ … sm&f=false

These sites have teachings similar to concordant.org:

“The World Communion of Reformed Churches…has 80 million believers…WCRC is the third largest Christian communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches.[21]” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvinism#Spread

A debate of “If God is sovereign in the Calvinist sense, then universalism should be true”:
debate.org/debates/If-God-is … e-true./1/

“…many leading universalist theologians are/were Reformed and believed that their Calvinist concepts of God’s sovereignty eventually compelled them to embrace universalism…I have sometimes said that if I could be a universalist I could be a Calvinist. Well, I would still have the problem of human responsibility. But my point is that I don’t care about free will except insofar as it is necessary to explain why a God of love allows some people to perish eternally.” evangelicalarminians.org/calvini … versalism/

A 4 point Calvinist reviews “The Evngelical Universalist” by Gregory MacDonald
ukapologetics.net/10/evangel … salist.htm

“The One Purpose of God” by Jan Bonda…a Calvinist-Universalist classic, focusing largely on the book of Romans [free preview below]:
books.google.ca/books/about/The … nVftANWQAC

eerdmans.com/Products/4186/ … f-god.aspx


**Justin Martyr (circa 100 – 165 AD) **
‘We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments, chastisements, and rewards are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Otherwise, if all things happen by fate, then nothing is in our own power. For if it be predestined that one man be good and another man evil, then the first is not deserving of praise or the other to be blamed. Unless humans have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions-whatever they may be… For neither would a man be worthy of reward or praise if he did not of himself choose the good, but was merely created for that end. Likewise, if a man were evil, he would not deserve punishment, since he was not evil of himself, being unable to do anything else than what he was made for.’ (Justin Martyr, First Apology, chapter 43)

‘But lest some suppose, from what has been said by us, that we say that whatever happens, happens by a fatal necessity, because it is foretold as known beforehand, this too we explain. We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments, and chastisements, and good rewards, are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Since if it be not so, but all things happen by fate, neither is anything at all in our own power. For if it be fated that this man, e.g., be good, and this other evil, neither is the former meritorious nor the latter to be blamed. And again, unless the human race have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions, of whatever kind they be. But that it is by free choice they both walk uprightly and stumble, we thus demonstrate. We see the same man making a transition to opposite things. Now, if it had been fated that he were to be either good or bad, he could never have been capable of both the opposites, nor of so many transitions. But not even would some be good and others bad, since we thus make fate the cause of evil, and exhibit her as acting in opposition to herself; or that which has been already stated would seem to be true, that neither virtue nor vice is anything, but that things are only reckoned good or evil by opinion; which, as the true word shows, is the greatest impiety and wickedness. But this we assert is inevitable fate, that they who choose the good have worthy rewards, and they who choose the opposite have their merited awards. For not like other things, as trees and quadrupeds, which cannot act by choice, did God make man: for neither would he be worthy of reward or praise did he not of himself choose the good, but were created for this end; nor, if he were evil, would he be worthy of punishment, not being evil of himself, but being able to be nothing else than what he was made.’ (Justin Martyr, First Apology, chapter XLIII)

‘For God, wishing both angels and men, who were endowed with free-will, and at their own disposal, to do whatever He had strengthened each to do, made them so, that if they chose the things acceptable to Himself, He would keep them free from death and from punishment; but that if they did evil, He would punish each as He sees fit.’ (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, chapter 88)

**Tatian (110 – 172 AD) **
‘The Logos…before the creation of men, was the Framer of angels. And each of these two orders of creatures was made free to act as it pleased, not having the nature of good, which again is with God alone, but is brought to perfection in men through their freedom of choice, in order that the bad man may be justly punished…but the just man be deservedly praised…Such is the constitution of things in reference to angels and men.’ Also, …our free-will has destroyed us…Nothing evil has been created by God; we ourselves have manifested wickedness.’ (Tatian, Address to the Greeks)

**Athenagoras (177 AD) **
‘Just as with men, who have freedom of choice as to both virtue and vice, so it is among the angels…Some free agents, you will observe, such as they were created by God, continued in those things for which God had made and over which he had ordained them; but some outraged both the constitution of their nature and the government entrusted to them.’ (A Plea for the Christians 24)

**Irenaeus (130 – 202 AD) **
‘For He who makes the chaff and He who makes the wheat are not different persons, but one and the same, who judges them, that is, separates them. But the wheat and the chaff, being inanimate and irrational, have been made such by nature. But man, being endowed with reason, and in this respect like to God, having been made free in his will, and with power over himself, is himself the cause to himself, that sometimes he becomes wheat, and sometimes chaff. (Against Heresies, book 4, chapter 4, 3)

In the previous books I have set forth the causes for which God permitted these things to be made, and have pointed out that all such have been created for the benefit of that human nature which is saved, ripening for immortality that which is [possessed] of its own free will and its own power, and preparing and rendering it more adapted for eternal subjection to God.’ (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, book 5, chapter 29)

Tertullian (160 – 220 AD)
‘…it is not the part of good and solid faith to refer all things to the will of God…as to make us fail to understand that there is something within our power.’ (Tertullian,Exhortation on Chastity, 2)

‘I find, then, that man was constituted free by God. He was master of his own will and power…Man is free, with a will either for obedience or resistance.’ (Tertullian, 207 AD, 3.300, 301)
Clement of Alexandria (153 – 217 AD)**
‘So in no respect is God the author of evil. But since free choice and inclination originate sins…punishments are rightly inflicted.’ (Stromata 1:17 )

‘This was the law from the first, that virtue should be the object of voluntary choice.’ ( Stromata 7:2)

‘A man by himself working and toiling at freedom from sinful desires achieves nothing. But if he plainly shows himself to be very eager and earnest about this, he attains it by the addition of the power of God. God works together with willing souls. But if the person abandons his eagerness, the spirit from God is also restrained. To save the unwilling is the act of one using compulsion; but to save the willing, that of one showing grace.’ (Salvation of the Rich Man chap. 21)

‘Neither praise nor condemnation, neither rewards nor punishments, are right if the soul does not have the power of choice and avoidance, if evil is involuntary.’ (Miscellanies bk. 1, chap. 17)

We…have believed and are saved by voluntary choice.(Clement of Alexandria, 195 AD, 2.217)

To obey or not to obey is in our own power, provided we do not have the excuse of ignorance. (Clement of Alexandria, 195 AD, 2.353)

Origen (185 – 255 AD)
In response to a claim (much like the Calvinist doctrine of God’s exhaustive sovereignty) that ‘whatever happens in the universe, whether it be the work of God, of angels [or] of other demons…is regulated by the law of the Most High God,’ Origen says:
‘This is…incorrect; for we cannot say that transgressors follow the law of God when they transgress; and Scripture declares that it is not only wicked men who are transgressors, but also wicked demons and wicked angels…When we say that ‘the providence of God regulates all things,’ we utter a great truth if we attribute to that providence nothing but what is just and right. But if we ascribe to the providence of God all things whatsoever, however unjust they may be, then it is no longer true that the providence of God regulates all things.’ (Against Celsus 7:68.)


I like it!! :smiley:


Inasmuch as the Reformed(Calvinist) churches, as the Reformation, are Sola Scriptura & Sola Fide [not sola pope or sola tradition] they don’t care what the Church Fathers teach, rejecting teachings based on Tradition alone - such as transubstantiation, purgatory, mariolatry, LFW, etc - as being unbiblical. Clearly the Church Fathers of the first 500 years had many strange, and unscriptural, ideas. And it only got worse after that.

puritanboard.com/threads/ea … ion.37047/
christianbook.com/gospel-ac … escription

According to a certain English translation(s) a number of individuals called Early Church Fathers appear to have believed in Libertarian Free Will (LFW). Whether these translations are accurate, how interpolated the originals are, or influenced by the doctrine of reserve, is difficult to say.
Pretending to believe in LFW would have been a perfect candidate for the doctrine of reserve. And it is well known that many of the ECF
writings have been altered. tentmaker.org/books/prevailing/upd4.html

Nevertheless, there are some Calvinists that have alleged that there are Early Church Fathers before Augustine that support their views:

apuritansmind.com/arminianis … h-fathers/

John Gill, Calvinism & early church fathers, with Greek texts in his “Cause of God and Truth":
books.google.ca/books?id=Dsw8AA … &q&f=false
grace-ebooks.com/library/John%20 … %20The.pdf
books.google.ca/books?id=6UlBQw … &q&f=false

It seems the Sadducees & Pharisees believed in LFW. Jesus said to His disciples, beware of their teachings.
OTOH Scripture appears to say nothing about a third Jewish sect, the Essenes, who were apparently determinists.

Josephus says “the sect of the Essenes affirm, that fate governs all things, and that nothing befalls men but what is according to determination”
(Josephus, Antiquities 13, 172).

books.google.ca/books?id=kuWNBQ … ts&f=false

“Like hyper-Calvinists, they believed that God ordered all things in the world, including acts of human will.” re both the Essenes & the Dead Sea Community (Qumran)

books.google.ca/books?id=AwTobS … ts&f=false

"Fred Gladstone Bratton notes that The Teacher of Righteousness of the Scrolls would seem to be a prototype of Jesus, for both spoke of the New Covenant; they preached a similar gospel; each was regarded as a Savior or Redeemer; and each was condemned and put to death by reactionary factions… We do not know whether Jesus was an Essene, but some scholars feel that he was at least influenced by them.[55] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essenes

A third faction, the Essenes, emerged out of disgust with the other two. This sect believed the others had corrupted the city and the Temple. They moved out of Jerusalem and lived a monastic life in the desert, adopting strict dietary laws and a commitment to celibacy.
jewishvirtuallibrary.org/pha … nd-essenes

Jesus spoke of those such as Himself “who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (Mt.19:12)

As the Essenes, John the Baptist also lived in the desert: “And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel.” (Lk.1:80)

“…the description of the ascetic practices of John the Baptist have led some to speculate that he may have been associated with the group in some way…John the Baptist is widely regarded to be a prime example of an Essene who had left the communal life (see Ant. 18.116-119), and it is thought they aspired to emulate their own founding Teacher of Righteousness who was reportedly crucified.”

The Essenes “strictness far exceeded that of the Pharisees…” newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Essenes
Jesus said “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt.5:20).

…Since the nineteenth century, attempts have been made to connect early Christianity and Pythagoreanism with the Essenes. It was suggested that John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth were Essenes…Contemporary authors such as Robert Eisenman present differing views affirming that the late Essenes were actually early Christians. newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Essenes

The Essenes lived communally & shared all things in common. Likewise with the disciples early in the book of Acts.

The Essenes emphasized being “channels of peace”. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Mt.5:9).

Free Willism or God's Soeveignty in Salvation of All

You might be pushing your wheelbarrow just a tad far here… whether they were your “LFW” or not Jesus’ injunction was against their law-righteousness i.e., self-righteousness, NOT freewill. :laughing:


Truly He does not specifically mention LFW, & those words never appear in Scripture, so the question is which of their “teachings” He had in mind. Which brings us back to what Jesus Himself, and the Scriptures as a whole, have to say on the subject. Even where some translations use the words “free will” this does not require that be equated with the notion of LFW.


I think it is clear that scripture pre-supposes that mankind, and each person, has the ability to choose. That ability is paramount throughout the Bible.

I’m content to leave it at that. Like I’ve said, when we cling to one pole or the other, a problem is created that a) has been argued for thousands of years and b) has no practical effect no matter which side we are on.

But it makes for a lively discussion, I will grant u that. :smiley:


You won’t find any clear statement regarding free will in the Bible, but you’ll
find many direct statements which deny it. And I suspect this might be an issue
of some importance, given that the issue of free will goes back to the very
beginning. You will find many biblical injunctions to do one thing and refrain
from another, and you can certainly infer free will from these if you are
determined to do so. We can just as easily assume that lest people receive
the guidance of God’s word, they can’t act on it, and that those who act on
it obediently are those constituted, predetermined by God to do so upon
hearing His word. As Jesus said, my sheep hear my voice. How does one
reconcile these statements with free will?

Jeremiah 10:23
I know, O LORD, that a man’s way is not in himself, Nor is it in a
man who walks to direct his steps.

Jeremiah 1:5
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I
consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.

Acts 13:48
And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Romans 8:29-30
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate… Moreover whom
he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he
also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Timothy 1:9
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to
our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us
in Christ Jesus before the world began.

Ephesians 1:4-5
He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should
be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto
the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good
pleasure of his will.

2 Thessalonians 2:13
God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation.

Isaiah 46:8-11
Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors.
Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, My purpose
will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.

Psalm 139:1-16
O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when
I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my
lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.


Well, that’s why we call it a problem - there seems to be conflicting data in the Bible.

Still I have to ask: what difference does it make, other than in our opinions, which ‘side’ - if either - is ‘correct’?
God commands us to do certain things, and keep away from other things. He does not ask our opinion on obtuse philosophical matters first.


As a pragmatist, I just take a theological framework and run with it. At the end of time, God will tell me - if I was right or wrong.

Even Jewish folks or Judaism, have discussed free will and determinism - for centuries. Just type in the words “Judaism free will” into Google.

I been trying to figure out, if P-Zombies and Zombies, have fee will or not. From the discussions I’ve found, they first ask folks to define free will and determinism.

I subscribe to the Patheos Catholic and Evangelical newsletters. I found this story interesting - on the Catholic newsletter at patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2017/09/the-flying-monk.html. Let me quote a bit:

I don’t think it proves anything. But I found the story interesting.

As a pragmatist, if believing in determinism, compatablism or free will - works for you - then run with it. :wink:


horan said:

My question is did Adam, and thus Eve, practice free will? In other words, was what we say is ‘The Fall’ done by humans without Gods intervention? :astonished:


I still pose the same question. How do you reconcile, with free will, the many biblical statements indicating that God is absolutely sovereign in all things? Isn’t this essentially the same type of question you ask of people who believe in the hell doctrine? Don’t you urge them to study the matter thoroughly, to carefully examine the biblical evidence? Of course, if God is in command of everything, including our wills and desires, why would Adam and Eve be exceptions? It seems a number of people don’t think this matters? I think it does, but short of insisting upon it, doesn’t it behoove us to make the effort to find out? Does somebody who believes in a God and Savior who will consign most people who’ve ever lived to eternal, conscious torment believe in the same God you do? Does a Muslim believe in the same God you do? Buddhist theology has something called the dharmakaya, the truth body of Buddha. Is that the same God who made a covenant with Abraham? Why then would Jesus insist that you have to align with Him; saying also, he that has ears to hear, let him hear? Who’s ears are those? Why do we suppose that we can legitimately claim anything as our own? Well, I’ll leave you with that. God bless.


The problem surfaces if Adam had no autonomy why would God present the curse? So in your vernacular, If God was so sovereign, why was there a fall, and why did Christ have to enter the scene? :astonished:


The FACT remains that human choice is a given all through scripture. To say that choices are really fictions, or that the offers of deliverance/salvation were made in bad faith, is just not a cogent position.

We all have to live with the tension between ‘freedom to choose’ and the ‘sovereignty of the Lord’. It works out just fine.


So truly with regards to so-called “libertarian” we could take a leaf out of Jesus’ book do likewise… :astonished:

Their “doctrine” was their “hypocrisy”… leaven that permeated their whole existence with clamberings of self-righteousness where their deeds made a mockery of their words, as per… Lk 12:1; 11:39, 42, 44; 18:11 et al.

This basically comes down to following Jesus’ stated and demonstrated example, where unlike Adam, in the garden… he freely chooses to submit his own will to the Father, i.e., he exercised freewill choice (Lk 22:42).

The imposition of “libertarian” into the moniker is completely bogus IMO. There is choice and its relative consequence BUT IT IS always choice nonetheless…