The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Poll: Universalists who believe in The Trinity and Free Will

I have to say, I have never heard of ultra-universalism before hearing it from Geoffrey on this forum :smiley: And though I’m not sure what it entails, I myself like the term :smiley: And I have to say that though I do not agree with his orthodox understanding of scripture, He is pretty sharp, and does challenge me. :smiley: Keep it up Geoffrey :exclamation:

We need to love each other in the midst of controversy! :wink:

STT… when**/**if you find these people, what with you do with them? :confused:

Anyway, I am seeking these people because one of the reasons I find it difficult to believe in Universalism is the simply overwhelming number of Christian universalists who deny said truths, finding some may help.

So then you said:

So may be you need to ponder or study what the folks here are sharing with you…(Paul’s patience) they all might not believe the same as each other, but most of them are very committed to figuring out what God wants us to do through Christ. :astonished:

We can learn a lot by just hanging out here. :exclamation: :open_mouth:

The problem is that the differences are not just simply non-essential doctrinal issues, it’s about Jesus being God (Trinity) and God’s character (free will).

-The Trinity: This is a very important truth because a denial of it usually leads to a denial of The Lord Jesus Christ being God.
-Free Will: This is also a very important truth because whether the punishment is eternal conscious torment, annihilation, or a restorative punishment, punishing someone for something they were predetermined to do is just plain wrong.

That is fine, but you seem to be wanting someone else to tell you about or direct you on doctrinal issues… You want to believe in the trinity, and Free Will, and yet you seem hesitant to take the stand yourself.

Maybe you should (and in a sense I think you are trying to do this) declare your position, see what kind of flak comes your way and address it. :open_mouth:

Ok, but this seems a little odd… assuming you must presently believe in either ECT or annihilationism then HOW can you do this with any confidence given there are plenty in those camps that do not for example affirm the “Trinity”.

Again, I don’t find this very balanced because there are plenty on this forum who reject the notion of “The Trinity” and YET wholeheartedly affirm “The Lord Jesus Christ being God”.

Well I agree that “punishing someone for something they were predetermined to do is just plain wrong” BUT surely that is our human perspective and we can’t claim to know God’s ultimate mind on the matter; thought I choose to believe God has more grace than me so I conclude that your expressed sentiment, with which I agree, to be true.

Thank you very much for your kindness. I have nothing but love and warm regards for you and for all the other regulars here. Too bad we don’t have an embracing smilie. I’ll have to content myself with: :smiley:

[size=140]An embracing smilie:[/size]

Well, if the end will come, we won’t have a need for any “ism” - right :question: :laughing: But I doubt that all of the earth’s population, has heard the gospel. More later, in this post.

Now some questions for you. Are you seeking to defend and/or put forth the view of exclusivism, restrictivism and ECT? Or are you trying to really understand other theological positions? Or are you seeking to debate positions, with a one sentence question, and perhaps a Bible passage or two - taken out of context? What are you attempting to achieve?

As I said before, from Inclusivism and other positions:

Or more explicitly at

Let me quote from the article at “Are Quakers Christian, not Christian—or both?”. Especially since I was a Quaker for many years. But now I’m Anglo-Orthodox, in the Continuing Anglican Movement. But this brings to light, how non-Christians (and Christians) should be responding.

Inclucisvism is an established theological position. In mainline Protestantism. In Roman Catholicism. And as a majority opinion, in Eastern Orthodoxy. You may not agree with it. But it exists. And if you want to know more, then just Google or Bing the keywords “Christian inclusivism”. You will find informative articles, hopefully addressing all your questions.

And even if the gospel is preached and everyone hears it - they might not understand it. If you grew up in a Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Communist, etc. - country, you might be conditioned, into that particular belief system. And it’s hard to leave it.

But let’s take the Muslim faith - for example. There are Muslims that have visions of Christ. And they do convert to Christianity (after the vision of Christ), even if it means a death sentence for them.

Sure, folks (i.e. Hindus) might worship a false God. But Christ and the Holy Spirit, are still trying to work on them.

But we also worship false gods. Money, status, fame, fortune, power, etc. And they keep taking us away from God - even us Christians.

I like the Quaker position, of Christ as the inner light. And they like the Gospel of John. Where Christ is portrayed as the Logos. For those who are not explicitly Christian, this is how I feel Christ tries to reach them. And also reaches those, who are explicitly Christian. Along with the Holy Spirit - of course. Let me share a couple quotes, from 2 historical Quakers (from the earlier Quaker article):

I look at things this way. An explicit belief in Christ and following the Christian historical creeds and beliefs - is the best way. It’s a guaranteed ticket, if you can keep it.

Things like inclusivism, second change theology (i.e. Salvation for the Dead -Hades is not Hell- Biblical Second Chance Theology for Dead People in Hades), Postmortem evangelism opportunities and Universal Restoration, are all potential ways (and arguable from scriptural ), to reach those without an explicit belief ticket.

And in An ‘evangelical inclusivist’ defends evangelical inclusivism and Why inclusivism makes sense, it also adds this:

What you are seeking…an individual that believes in free will, the trinity, historical creeds (i.e Apostles creed and Niceed Creed), and universal reconciliation, is found here at:

Is Hell Eternal Punishment, Eternal Death or Disciplinary Restoration?.

And I side with his position, since it:

Looks at immortality as conditional
Believes that some - the worse offenders - might face annihilation.
Looks at the lake of fire, like the Eastern Orthodox does - being in the presence of God
Honors the historical creeds and Christian beliefs
And can be in accord, with what I side with: a middle ground between Universal Reconciliation and Conditional Immortality. Which preserves the free will element quite nicely.

There are many theories of the trinity. The poll does not ask which one (so to speak) we are asked to vote for.
I’d be very interested in which of the following you are asking about. Or if there is another theory I am unaware of, for that matter.

  1. One-self Theories
    1.1 Selves, gods, and modes
    1.2 What is a mode?
    1.3 One-self Theories and “Modalism” in Theology
    1.4 Divine Life Streams
    1.5 Difficulties for One-self Theories
    1.6 The Holy Spirit as a Mode of God
  2. Three-self Theories
    2.1 Relative Identity Theories
    2.2 20th Century Theologians and “Social” Theories
    2.3 Functional Monotheism
    2.4 Trinity Monotheism
    2.5 Perichoretic Monotheism
    2.6 Group Mind Monotheism
    2.7 Material Monotheism
    2.8 Concept-relative Monotheism
    2.9 Temporal Parts Monotheism
  3. Mysterianism
    3.1 Negative Mysterianism
    3.2 Positive Mysterianism

And if we added all those variables to the poll, Dave, we probably can’t see them all on a screen. And it would be a statistical nightmare to interpret. :laughing:

I know, it would be inconvenient.

BUT - 99% (in an unscientific survey :smiley: ) of the people even on this Forum would show that they are unaware of the number of theories out there, and if they did become aware of them, might be a little more circumspect about calling any particular theory ‘essential’ to being a Christian or, worse, calling those who disagree -deniers of the faith.

Dave, I don’t think the “One-self theories” are forms of the Trinity. They are forms of Modalism, and modalists strongly reject the Trinity. Also monotheists are non-Trinitarians.

In my opinion, “Trinity Monotheism” is an oxymoron. The term is probably used to describe those Modalists who think they are Trinitarians.

Unless they disagree with you about your following sentence.

How I am I hesitant to take the stand myself, the fact that I take a stand on The Trinity and free will is the reason I am here struggling to accept universalism.
I want the truth and while universalits make many great arguments, there are some things they can’t answer and the number of universalists denying The Trinity and free will and the lack of universalists affirming those truths is simply too overwhelming for me to ignore.
I want to believe in universalism, but that is exactly the problem, I fear it’s my flesh wanting to believe in it and believe that God won’t annihilate me if I lose faith, I worry I have itching ears and I can’t endure sound doctrine.

People who do not hold to ultra-universalism to be believe that a sinner has to wait until the afterlife to be saved, we believe that punishment occurs both in this life (Hebrews 12) AND the next life (Hebrews 10), think of Hitler, who committed suicide right after doing the awful things he did, did he go straight to Heaven / New Jerusalem (after Resurrection)? what about the people who hijacked Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961, they hijacked the plane and demanded it be flown to Australia, and even after the plane ran out of fuel, they still didn’t stop and died in the crash, did they go straight to Heaven / New Jerusalem (after Resurrection), and speaking or resurrection, there are two resurrections (John 5:29) for a reason:

JOHN 5:29:
-29: And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Ultra-universalism does not harmonize with this verse.

Well even in Annihilationism I noticed issues with many denying the Trinity, but the leap from Eternal Conscious Torment (ECT) to Annihilationism is not as big because both are literal eternal punishments, there is no need to dig into the whole ‘αἰών [aiōn] (G165)’ and ‘αἰώνιος [aiōnios] (G166)’ isssue, which is another thing that makes it difficult for me to accept universalism because I can’t find any God-inspired use of ‘αἰώνιος [aiōnios]’ to mean a temporal thing, some people say Romans 16:25, but I don’t quite understand the usage in that verse.
And while there are Trinity-deniers (and many free will deniers) in the ECT camp, the large bulk of believers in those two doctrines hold to ECT or Annihilationism, whereas in Universalism, there is simply an overwhelming number of people denying those two vital truths, every time I come close to accepting universalism (I remember one time I crossed over the line only to be kicked in the guts by ‘αἰών [aiōn]’ and ‘αἰώνιος [aiōnios]’ having different Strong’s Reference numbers (G165 for aiōn and G166 for aiōnios respectively combined with the issue I mentioned above about finding an inspired use of aiōnios to mean a temporal thing.) I will start listening to yet another Univeralist Christian on YouTube only to here them say things like “Jesus is not God”, “God is sovereign and controlling everyone” or “The Trinity is a false doctrine”.

Regarding The Trinity, one may affirm that Jesus is God without holding to the doctrine of The Trinity, but what about the Holy Spirit?

And lastly, on to free will, I’m glad you can agree there, and while we can’t claim to know God’s ultimate matter on things, common sense says there is absolutely NO justice in punishing someone for something they were predetermined to do regardless of human perspective, many universalists and some annihilationists say that ECT is incompatible with God’s love, and a rebutted by traditionalist saying that is our human perspective while reinforcing the fact that God is holy, one time I said God was love to rebuke determistic Calvinism and was met with a response with something along the lines of ‘God is holy, the Bible says God is holy, holy, holy, it never says he is love, love, love, you can’t put one attribute of God above another’, I responded saying something along the lines of ‘I’m not ranking one attribute above another, Calvinism removes love altogether’, but that is beside the point (I just thought I would put it out there because God’s holiness over God’s love is an argument often placed against universalism and sometimes annihilationism).

I am simply seeking the truth, wanting to believe in universalism (perhaps too much, mabye the reasons I listed here: [Objections to Univeralism) may be enough to reject some may say), but I am unable due to several reasons (see link to my other post, although you probably have already seen it), one of which being that the number of universalits who deny the truths of The Trinity and free will and the lack of univeralists who affirm them is simply just too overwhelming to ingore, and if there is half and half demographics here of purgatorial-universalits vs ultra-universalists, there is more cause for concern, there is simply no scriptural basis for ultra-universalism as there are many passages in the Bible which refer to the coming judgement, and The Lord Jesus Christ spoke very seriously about it.

Hi - concerning my post about the various theories of trinity - have you made a decision as to which one you are asking us to poll on?

SeekingTheTruth Said:

Well if you are a Trinitarian, and a believer in human free will, and a Christian, you have all the tools to progress in your search for the truth. The Idea of universalism is something YOU need to come to, thus my post. Get off the fence and quit blundering about folks not affirming this or that.

Good luck :exclamation:

Thanks for tagging me, Jason. Sorry it took me so long to notice. :blush:

STT, I haven’t read the WHOLE thread, but I notice you repeatedly state that the majority of universalists deny the Trinity and the free will doctrine. I’m not sure how you can credibly make this statement. I couldn’t definitively say one way or the other what a majority of universalists believe. If you’re specifically referencing Unitarians, then perhaps you’d have an argument. Most of the folks here aren’t Unitarian, though Unitarians are universalists AND members of a distinct denomination. That makes them easier to count. They also believe that other religions offer alternative pathways to God, but I’m no expert on Unitarian Universalism, so I won’t say more than that about their beliefs.

Christians who believe God will save all people (but who are NOT Unitarian Universalists) are scattered throughout many denominations. Some don’t attend formal denominations at all. Some don’t attend church at all. Because of our diffuse nature, it’s really hard to count us. Also, no scientific polling has (to my knowledge) been done. I’m not sure how it would be possible to do even if some pollster were to decide to attempt it. Your anecdotal experience only proves that (in your experience) universalists who disbelieve the Trinity and the free will doctrine are a lot more vocal than those of us who believe in these things. This is my experience as well. With a few exceptions, the Universalists I know who disbelieve the Trinity LOVE to talk about it. They start FB conversations about it all the time. I generally refuse to engage them, and am often dismayed to find them yapping at my heels until they just get p****ed and go away, denigrating me loudly as they stalk off. (NOT referring to ANYONE here, BTW, and I absolutely mean that.)

Bottom line, I know I can’t persuade them; I don’t need to persuade them. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job–unless I’m the one who’s wrong, of course–in which case I figure the Holy Spirit will take me in hand and persuade ME. At present however, I am persuaded to believe in the Holy Trinity and in the existence of some degree of free will.

Regarding “free will,” I will say that I believe God WANTS us to have free will, that He will not stop until we DO have free will, and that we will not be truly free until we reach a state in which it is morally impossible for us to sin–not because God physically restrains us, but because sin has become so repugnant to us that we are no more capable of sinning than I am capable of eating a big soft pile of steaming dog poo. No one is trying to stop me from doing that. Physically, I’m free to eat what I choose. I have three dogs, so the opportunity is always there. Nevertheless, there is ZERO chance that I will partake. When we view sin as it really is, THEN we will be truly free. Truly free will requires a full understanding of sin and of righteousness.

Regarding post-mortem punishment, I believe that it is corrective and that it achieves its end. I believe that end of righteous punishment/correction is that the punished one is conformed to the image of Christ and reconciled to our Father and to all of creation.

Universalists are a diverse lot, and certainly some (or even many–who knows?) of us do disbelieve the Trinity and the free will doctrine. I believe it is impossible for us to say what percentage of us believe this or that way, however. We just do not have enough information to make that call.