The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Poll: Can I be a Calvinist and a Universalist?


A Christian Universalist can thoroughly believe all 5 points of TULIP, even Limited Atonement (LA). The doctrine of LA states that Christ’s atonement is for the elect only. How could that be necessarily inconsistent with Universalism? How many people must be designated as unelect for LA to still be LA?

Let us suppose that the sum total of all human beings from Adam to the Second Coming is 100 billion.
If 50 billion are elect and 50 billion are unelect, could LA still hold? Of course.
If 99 billion are elect and 1 billion are unelect, could LA still hold? Of course.
If 99,999,999,900 are elect and 100 are unelect, could LA still hold? Of course.
If 99,999,999,999 are elect and 1 is unelect, could LA still hold? Of course.
If 100 billion are elect and zero are unelect, could LA still hold? Of course.

It matters not at all what the numbers of the unelect are. LA can still be true, even if the unelect number 0.

What would this mean within the context of Calvinist Universalist thought? LA would express the truth that “before” creation, with no reference to creation but only to His own good pleasure, God sovereignly elected each and every individual to salvation. He did not kind of casually toss a “universal salvation bomb” in the direction of mankind, knowing that all humanity would thereby get saved. He did not save an anonymous mass of people. Instead, God intimately and exquisitely loved and elected each and every individual to Heaven.

Thus Limited Salvation. Salvation is limited to those God elected, and He elected everyone. If a high school dance were held, and admission were limited to those who got at least a 2.0 GPA, and every student got at least a 2.0 GPA, then everybody would be welcome to the dance at the same time that it was limited.

Check-out the Primitive Baptist Universalists. They’ve been around since before any of us were born, and they without trouble hold to both Calvinism and Universalism.

One of the innumerable considerations that makes me a Universalist is that the inner logic of every type of Christianity leads to Universalism. Glory be to God.

If you are a Calvinist and a Universalist then… WELCOME TO THE CLUB!!! I am one and you can find several of us as well here in the group. Actually, you can find websites from Calcinist Universalists on the web. Not many but they are there:

Just a couple of websites for you to check out:

  1.   A PCUSA minister turns universalist … salism.htm

    The author of the website is also a member here.

    Peter Hiett’s church

  3. The author of “Whatever became of Melanie” Allan Chevrier mentions that Calvnism and Universalism are compatible in his novel.

  4. Boyd Purcell, the author of Spiritual Terrorism is also a Calvinist Universalist and a Presbyterian Minister

  5. Also the website
    belongs to a group of reformed (Calvinist) Universalists.

Historically, many of the Universalists in the Continental US (late 1700’s and early 1800’s) had been calvinist ministers at one point.

So, you’re in good company. Blessings.

Greetings !

 I thought it would be interesting to Welcome!! you with not being a Cheerleader for Calvinist --TULIP  :wink:  :wink:  :wink: 

    I would like to mention that Karl Barth was from the Reformed camp as well... 
           So not all the Reformed camp thinks along the same lines ...

     This Forum is truly encouraging towards anyone who wishes to share the same good natured exchange
       of ideas, theology and paradigms with others.

       ( besides Calvin is certainly not the only "turkey" who tried to BBQ another -- 
          Church History has ample -- plenty of those -- especially during the so called Ecumenical Church Councils
         of eons in the past ...  with the mud slinging anathemas flying everywhere )   :wink: 

      Very good to have your insights here .. Welcome again !!

         p.s. i live over here in a Virtual Sea of so called non-elect (traditionally speakin ) people
          :wink:  :wink:

I would suggest another way of looking at the “L” as a calvinistic universalist. Namely that, the “L” means that the atonement is “limited” to those who come to faith in Christ. It is** not **universal to all mankind unconditionally.

Unless one believes in Jesus, one cannot benefit from the atonement. In other words, the* limit *is a reference to the application of the atonement, not its efficacy. it is offered to all freely, and efficacious to all, just so long as they believe. So faith is the limiting factor for the atonement. Just as we read in John 3:16. No faith…no salvation. period!

For God so loved the world (which I read as the human race) that he gave his only son (as an atoning sacrifice. The lamb of God sent down from heaven to take away sin by his blood appeasement) that whoever believes should not perish. (not that everyone should not perish,. But that whoever believes should not perish. In other words the atonement is **LIMITED ** to those who enter by faith into the COVENANT of GRACE. Those outside the covenant are outside of its blessings. Their sins are not atoned for.

Now this is a problem for the run of the mill Calvinist because he also believes in unconditional election and ET. So If God deliberately chooses to not save individuals he is choosing to torment the forever. I would have to agree with John wesley, that if that was the whole story than John Calvin does indeed make God out to be worse than the devil. but that is not the whole story.

As a universalist I can say he will eventually bring everyone into the covenant of grace so eventually everyone will believe and everyone will be atoned for. Jesus is the savior of the whole world. Not just of those who believe now. Thus the limitation on the atonement actually is temporary, as was mentioned above, but not because God changes his mind. but because the Spirit works his changes in us. Ironically it is white being temporarily black. Our black hearts become white when the Spirit regenerates us and Christ’s righteousness is then imputed to us. When we come to faith in Christ and enter the covenant of grace our hearts become white. Someone pretty authoritative once said, “though your sins are as scarlet (or ebony) they will become white as snow.”** So it is entirely OK to agree with the “L” on a universalist basis. The atonement is limited to those who have faith. Thank God that someday the ranks of the faithful will include all of mankind.

Amen to that!

Ah, but this should read: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever is believing should not be perishing, but be having eonian life. This is very different to what this passage is usually assumed to mean. It is not about ultimate salvation, but about the experience of life vs. the experience of not having the life of Christ in you.

Even though I have calvinistic leanings in my theology, this is a good example of why I have trouble with the calvinist approach. The atonement was not limited in any way. Jesus was completely representative of everyone in his death and resurrection. While it may be true that we cannot experience the fulness of blessing until belief allows bearing of that fruit, that does not in any way limit the scope of the atonement. That was a decidedly unilateral action on God’s part.

Having said that, the thing I like most about the calvinistic approach is the respect for God’s sovereignty; that is the reason that I think makes it a bit easier in some ways for a calvinist to become a universalist. The arminian approach tends to lend too much power to man’s will, which ends up being a problem for God accomplishing His (in their minds).

I think that those with Arminian leanings will not like the term Calvinistic universalism while those with Calvinistic leanings will not like Arminian universalism but the truth is that neither term is really accurate because the Arminian system presupposes endless torment just as much as the Calvinistic one does.

Both systems are flawed and universalism is the resolution to the flaws in both systems. Calvinists tend to limit divine love to bulster divine sovereignty Arminians tend to limit divine sovereignty to bulster divine benevolence.

Calvinists impugn God’s grace; Arminians impugn his glory. Universalist does full justice to both.

i’m sure others have said it, but limited atonement needs to get thrown out as a bad apple…and while i have “issues” with some other petals in the old TULIP, they aren’t that incompatible with UR. if you have reconsiled a version of Limited Atonement that doesn’t mean a permanent situation, and it makes sense to you, cool.

i’m not sure if, like Johnny, i feel that throwing out the L invalidates the whole thing…i’m that picky with some things, but not sure about theology.
it’s really a label at the end of the day…and labels are there to help categorise things for ease of understanding, but they can also be very restrictive.

it’s a shame, really…tulips are quite pretty really! and there is a lovely black variety that i saw in Oxford most recently. :laughing:

i had to vote for irrational, because there isn’t an option for picking and choosing, and i don’t “personally” feel that the standard interpretation of L fits UR at all.

I’d say ‘yes’ (seriously) but it’s a tricky one -


Some universalists believe that God has predestined everyone to repent and be converted, and therefore be with Him forever.
This position is a form of “Calvinism” in the sense that it’s identical to Calvinism except that instead of a few being predestined to be God’s people, everyone is so predestined. Neither position allows that people possess libertarian free will.

Since I consider this universalist position to be a form of Calvinism, I voted “Yes”.
I’m not sure, but I think Thomas Talbott would fit in the category of “Calvinistic Universalist.”

After reading Talbot’s excellent book, The Inescapable Love of God, I would have to say he actually comes off looking more like an Arminian Universalist than a Calvinistic one. He even seems to have an axe to grind with Calvinists and Augustine. Reading his book, it seems like he must have been grinding his teeth at some points while thinking about calvinists.

I am more or less calvinistic myself but still really appreciate his book. Some of the older writers seem more calvinistic, like John Murray, Thomas Brown and Seigvolk.

It’s my understanding that Talbot does lean Arminian – but maybe someone will correct me. If you want a view from the Calvinist perspective, you may like Jan Bonda, The One Purpose of God.

I think the difference between Calvinistic Universalists and non-Calvinist Universalists is as follows:

  1. Calvinist Universalists believe that all are people predestined to be saved — God acts sovereignly to ensure that this happens.

  2. Non-Calvinist Universalists believe that every single free-will agent will, sooner or later, freely choose to submit to Christ, and be saved.

By the way, it was after reading The Inescapable Love of God, that I concluded that Talbott’s ideas seemed Calvinistic. Perhaps someone should ask him in order that the matter may be cleared up.

I vote “No” because Calvinism is defined by the Reformed Confessions. Specifically, the Canons of Dordt expound on the doctrines commonly referred to as Calvinism. The Canons of Dordt specifically state that not all people are elect, and that those who are not will be eternally punished.

Article 15 of the Canons of Dordt says:

Maybe that’s why Barth never quite “came out of the closet.” :wink:

that article has the distinct smell of sulfur around it. what a load of old bol—blasphemy. talk about putting yourself DIRECTLY on the left hand side with the other goats. which tells me i ought to pity them and love them, and pray that they are restored, else i may join them myself. but it’s so hard to resist, and honestly…such a soft, tempting target. such obvious totally evil doctrine that enslaves them, puts others off God, and generally makes a mess of everything.
John Calvin, i would go back in time and smack you upside the head rather hard if i could.

Maybe a Universalist can be a “Reformed Calvinist” … Calvinism with a twist – just add that God loves everyone with saving love and rewrite all the theolgical philosophy in light of that. :sunglasses:


Reformed Baptist like to say that they take reformed theology to the next level by not baptizing infants. If they can do it, maybe we can too: Maybe those who embrace UR coming from a Calvinistic perspective can likewise say that they are taking Reformed Theology /Calvinism to the next level by saying that all mankind are in the Covenant of Grace: God elected all; Christ secured the salvation of all; and all will be effectually called by the Holy Spirit.

Hi Dan,

I’m inclined to believe that there is an elect chosen particularly for salvation in this age, to be a nation of priests working with and under the High Priest to bring all creation to salvation in a coming age. The elect are the first fruits of the harvest, early in the year, but the main harvest comes at the end.


Amen, Sonia!