The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Poll: Universalists who believe in The Trinity and Free Will

So what is it about universalism per se that has you assuming that it must somehow be your “flesh wanting to believe in it”? And… what is it about universalism that you so want to believe in it?

I notice you’ve raised this a few times now across a few threads; let me repeat an answer I’ve previously given you specifically on this…

There is a basic example of this very thing in the Scriptures relative to the temporal nature of <αἰώνιος> aiōnios… that which is otherwise referred to as being “eternal”. Take “circumcision”… it is said to be an “everlasting covenant” AND YET such ‘eternal-ness’ applied ONLY WITHIN the “age” wherein it applied and thus functional.

Such was life under the old covenant AND YET this “everlasting covenant” of circumcision was but a type that which was to find true fullness and completion in Christ.

So, what we have is a temporal covenant operative WITHIN a specified “age” i.e., of the old covenant era, described in such language as being “everlasting” and “eternal”.

There are of course many other examples of the same use of “eternal” from the OT relative to the land, the priesthood, the Sabbath etc, yet all finding termination in the fullness of Christ.

What about this are you finding “it difficult for me to accept”?

[tag]Cindy Skillman[/tag]
Well I am not going to here discussions on universalism at church, so I turn to YouTube Christians for such, and time after time again, I find a Christian Univeralist channel on YouTube only to find the Christian on the channel denying either The Trinity or free will, it gets incredibly frustrating.

I know that I don’t have to be like that, but the numbers are simply too overwhelming to ignore.

Regarding free will, obviously free will is limited by a nature and physical abilities, the denial of free will I am talking about is when they say God physically takes control of someone because he is ‘sovereign’ (I don’t understand how people relate that word to spiritual puppetry) and then quote Romans 9:17-22 (quoted below) and say it’s okay.

ROMANS 9:17-23:
-17: For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
-18: Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
-19: Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
-20: Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
-21: Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
-22: What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
-23: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

I personally don’t know exactly what these verse mean, but I know there is more to it then what determinist Calvinist would say (if not, is there any purpose to life? obviously not) but I know the entire chapter is partially referring to events in the Old Testament.

God Bless
Christ Be With You

When I hear people teaching things that can be summed up with things like ‘God will torture you forever if you listen to catchy contemporary rock song with non-sinful lyrics because 1 John 2:15-17’ or ‘God makes people just so he can torture them forever because Romans 9’, I struggle with my faith, even if God would only annihilate someone for having fun by listening to that song, I struggle with my faith, universalism gives me comfort if I lose faith or if I am unable to have faith like Abraham (offering up his son) or to sell all of my possessions, God will not annihilate me, and I fear that is my flesh

As for ‘αἰών [aiōn]’ and ‘αἰώνιος [aiōnios]’, circumcision being an everlasting covenant is from the Old Testament, which is not written in Greek, so it does not use ‘αἰώνιος [aiōnios]’, I know about the Greek Septuagint using the word for temporal things, but at the end of the day, the Greek Septuagint is not Holy Spirit-inspired text, it is a translation, just like the King James Bible is a translation, I can’t find a single use of ‘αἰώνιος [aiōnios]’ in the God-inspired New Testament Greek, some may argue Romans 16:25, but I don’t understand how the word is being used in that verse, according to BlueLetterBible, is is used in combination with ‘χρόνος [chronos]’ which apparently means ‘time either long or short’.

I know it probably looks like I am finding fault, but please understand, I have OCD and anxiety disorders, and this is a very big leap in theology and I would hate to be wrong about it, I would hate to start singing praises to God about victory in saving all only to be wrong.

God Bless
Christ Be With You

PS: Sorry for repeating myself and being annoying, it’s just that, like I said, it’s a very big leap in theology and I would hate to be wrong.

Correct, Cindy. We really need statistical data, from polling, surveys, etc., to make that call. And it has to be from a statically significant, sampling population. Actually, I think some folks can present a good positional paper on universalism (or other subjects, for that matter). Regardless of whether they believe in free will, Trinity, etc. However, if they ignore the insights of historical church fathers, reformers, creeds, theologians, philosophers, etc. - their RYO (i.e. Roll Your Own) theological presentations, might be way out in left field, with a baseball bat. :slight_smile:

Since we are talking about universalism…and Bob Dylan just won the Nobel prize for literature…it’s only fitting to dedicate this religious song of his :exclamation: :smiley:

And here’s a good prayer article, I’ve read today:

What Prayer Can Do: Strength in Numbers


I should clarify that when Cindy is talking about how “Unitarians” are universalists, she means the UUA, the stereotypically pluralist group. They are quite different from unitarian Christians per se (though the group somehow morphed from Christian groups both unitarian and universalist), and their universalism is more pantheistic or just vaguely feel-good positive than what Christian universalists typically believe.

Unitarian Christians might or might not be universalists; just like they might or might not be Calv or Arm equivalents. But there aren’t many unitarian Christian groups and the UUA kind of farms noteriety :wink: , so just like the UUAs give Christian universalists a bad image they give Christian unitarians a bad image, too.

As for Dave’s multiple trinitarian type list… :unamused: :unamused: :unamused: :unamused: Different kinds of modalism (whether naturalistic or supernaturalistic theism) where God manifests in three ways but not in three distinct persons, are not the Trinity. Polytheisms with three lesser lords or gods, are not the Trinity. Cosmological Tri-theisms where there are three distinct independent facts of reality, are not the Trinity. They are not different varieties of the idea of one and only one ground of all reality being three distinct persons relating personally to one another. Nor are different technical disputes about how the persons of the Trinity inter-relate to one another, multiple different trinitarian theologies.

Regaring monotheists being non-Trinitarians: many monotheists are not trinitarian (unitarian and modalist Christians aren’t, non-Christian Jews aren’t, Muslims aren’t, binitarian Christians aren’t – I’ve only ever read one of those, who also happened to be a universalist incidentally to his binitarianism), but trinitarians are also monotheists – one and only one God Most High is the foundation and source of all reality. That isn’t tri-theism or bi-theism (three or two ultimate foundations of all reality), and it isn’t polytheism (x-number of lesser gods dependent upon an overarching foundational reality). Whether someone judges that the Trinity collapses logically into something that ultimately isn’t trinitarian theology, is irrelevant for distinguishing conceptual categories: I think cosmological tri-theism logically collapses into polytheism, but I recognize and understand the conceptual distinction of what cosmological tri-theists (some Mormons primarily) are trying to claim.

Modalists, who are non-trinitarians (and even anti-trinitarian), affirm the Holy Spirit is the one and only God Most High just like the Father and the Son. They deny that the Holy Spirit is a distinct person personally interacting with the Father or the Son (and deny that the Father and the Son are actually interacting with one another, these just being modes of God’s operation and nothing more.)

Some unitarian Christians (there being historically many subvarieties) also affirm the Holy Spirit is God Most High, not a creature like the Son. But they consider the HS only a mode of God, another name for the Father. (Theoretically a unitarian Christian could regard the Son as only a mode of God’s operation, another way of naming or describing the Father, while believing the Spirit to be a not-God creature or lesser god produced by God. I don’t recall ever reading about such Christians, but technically it’s a unitarian option.)

In theory someone could be a bi-theist and regard the Father and the Holy Spirit as two Gods Most High while the Son is a not-God creature produced by one or both of Them. That wouldn’t be monotheism, and so wouldn’t be the same as the HS also being the one and only God Most High along with the Father, but the Spirit and the Father would both be a God of that type on this theology. (Perhaps a Goddess Mother Most High, per the frequent feminine grammar in Judeo-Christian scriptures, with the Son being Their first creation or a creature They adopted as their leading son or something like that.)

A cosmological tri-theist could consider the third God Most High to be the Holy Spirit of Christian theology. (A tri-theist doesn’t have to be a variety of Christian of course; something like Zeus, Gaia, and Hades, could be the three independent ultimate grounds of all existence.) Theoretically I suppose someone might go for four or more Gods Most High borrowing Judeo-Christian data, with the Holy Spirit being one of those.

Finally (?), someone could be a… hm, what to coin the term… a quartitarian Christian theist? One and only one God Most High but four Persons relating to one another not only three. Bulgakov, the great Russian Orthodox systematic theologian, comes close to this, although he explicitly avoids making the position, in how he treats the deity of the Trinity as a personal impersonal power or something like that which the Three Persons interact with distinctly. (I’m not a big fan of this move. :wink: ) But someone could go with Wisdom, perhaps, as the Fourth Person.

This does have some relation to Dave’s (otherwise somewhat facetious) list of multiple trinitarian Christianities: none of those options would be a different Trinity, but there are a lot of complexities involved in distinguishing types of theological options. Orthodox trinitarian Christian theism may be hard to believe, and isn’t hard to specify (despite some subtle sub-variations, like whether the Spirit proceeds from both the Son and the Father or only from the Father alone), but it isn’t simply the same as “Jesus being God” or even “Jesus and the Holy Spirit being God”.

And now you have something more for your OD-C to OCD about. :mrgreen: :ugeek:

The Sophiology invented by Vladimir Solovyov (1853-1900) and adopted by Sergei Bulgakov (1871-1944) is a shameful notion based on western romanticism rather than on Byzantine thought. (Georges Florovsky gives a good account of this in his magisterial Ways of Russian Theology.) This is a good example of why I ignore writings by Orthodox thinkers–because they are all too typically infected by non-Orthodox ideas. I “limit” myself to the thousands of pages of liturgy. “Sola liturgica”, if you will.

In the Orthodox liturgy one of the most common Old Testament readings are the passages from Proverbs and from the Wisdom of Solomon speaking of wisdom as personified. From their liturgical context, it is 100% clear that the Church understands these passages as speaking of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity (and most certainly not of some divine Sophia). The greatest church building of the Byzantine Empire–Hagia Sophia–was named for the “Holy Wisdom”, in other words, Jesus Christ. The Byzantines would have gotten violent if someone tried to insist it was named for some sort of goddess.

Anyway, this is just a note to deflect any possible mistaken notion that Sophiology is Orthodox. It is not. I know Jason knows that, but I’m not sure about the lurkers. :slight_smile:

Ach, I had written in response to JP but it turned out to be retaliation, not response. So I’ve deleted it. Those that are interested can read Tuggy’s excellent explanations of the many trinity theories which ARE different trinities.
A HYPER-TRIN calling me OCD is rich!! :unamused: :unamused:

Still, I think we agree on the following?

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth;
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.

  1. I do not see where you are seeing post-mortem punishments in Hebrews 10. Perhaps in the passages speaking of future sins? But “future” does not equal “post-mortem”. Ultra-universalism recognizes punishment in the past, present, and future:
    Past: I was punished yesterday for the sins I committed yesterday.
    Present: I am punished today for the sins I commit today.
    Future: I will be punished tomorrow for the sins I commit tomorrow.

  2. Yes, Hitler and the hijackers and everyone else went straight to Heaven upon physical death. Even I will go straight to Heaven when my body dies. Ever since Jesus died on the cross, this has been the case. Hitler and the hijackers did not have the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit during their last day on earth. This was their punishment. It doesn’t sound like much of a punishment to the worldly mind, but to the heart full of the Holy Spirit it is recognized for what it is: utter ruin. On top of that, Hitler et. al. all got the death penalty. Isn’t physical death a pretty severe penalty? It’s even called capital punishment. We all receive capital punishment for our sins. But that is small potatoes compared to not being filled with the Holy Spirit. All the tortures the mind can invent are nothing compared with the loss of the Holy Spirit dwelling within.

  3. That translation of John 5:29 is tendentious, to say the least. The Greek word rendered there as “damnation” is “krisis”. As you and I have discussed before, “krisis” means “a separating, a sundering”. Thus we have: “And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of sundering.” This sundering is the separating of the man from his sin. The man lives forever in glory, the sin is utterly destroyed by our Savior.

Also consider the following common sense point: Who is it that does good? Who is it that does evil? The only possible answer is everyone. You have done good, AND you have done evil. That means you and everyone else will participate in the resurrection of life AND in the resurrection of sundering. The resurrection of life is the same resurrection as the resurrection of sundering. Once a man has been sundered from his sin, what does he have but life?

The common way of interpreting this verse does violence to the text. It re-writes it to say, “And they shall come forth; they that have done more good than evil to the resurrection of life; and they that have done more evil than good to the resurrection of damnation.” That is comic book exegesis in which there’s a big scale with God putting little blocks called “good” on one side of the scale, and little blocks called “evil” on the other side. While God does this the soul looks on in fear, hoping the scale tilts this way rather than that. It’s silly.

Ultra-universalism is nothing more than the plain, common sense reading of the New Testament. It is a testimony to the power of groupthink that the clear meaning of the New Testament on this point is obscured because of the Hell people. And even when someone sees through the Hell nonsense, he still is often half-confused by the Hell people’s post-mortemizing of passages that deal with this life here on earth.

On top of that, ultra-universalism is the clear teaching of the Orthodox Church’s liturgy. One doesn’t get more orthodox than that, and orthodoxy is the antonym of heresy. Historical Protestantism also clearly teaches that anyone who goes to Heaven goes straight to Heaven upon death. Luther railed against post-mortem punishments for the saved. Calvin inveighed against post-mortem punishments for the saved. The 39 Articles of the Church of England calls the idea silly (“fond”). The only historical Christian body to believe in post-mortem punishments for the saved is the Roman Church. Do you think that all of the historic Christian communions are heretical except for the Roman Catholic Church?

STT, you said:

That’s just my point, STT. The numbers OF NON-TRADITIONALS WHO POST TO YOUTUBE are high. That doesn’t prove in any way that most non-Unitarian universalists disavow the Trinity. All it proves is that more non-Trinitarian universalists post their views to Youtube than Trinitarian universalists. This could mean many different things. It could be a simple function of your chosen search terms. It could be that more universalists are non-Trinitarian than Trinitarian. IMO, one major thing that it means is that non-Trinitarians are more motivated to post their views to Youtube (and etc.) If you’d like to hear from a variety of viewpoints, try I believe these vids are also posted to Youtube, but they should be easier to find at this link. I also highly recommend Tom Talbott’s “The Inescapable Love of God” for an Arminian, Trinitarian discussion of traditional Christian Universalism.

My take on these verses is this: God raised Pharaoh up for a purpose. Not that God forced Pharaoh to be what he was, but God used Pharaoh and his innate personality as a vessel of dishonor to teach us about what GOD is NOT. God allowed Pharaoh to be what he wanted to be. God strengthened Pharaoh’s resolve, thus enabling Pharaoh to have the courage to do all that was in his heart. Keep in mind that PAUL also was a vessel of dishonor until he became a vessel of honor. Being a vessel of dishonor is not forever; it is not incurable. In fact, part of the point of God allowing Pharaoh (and Paul) to be a vessel of dishonor was to bring him out of that mode. Later (in Ezekiel, I think) God talks about how He will redeem Egypt (whom Pharaoh symbolizes) and call Egypt “My son.” Clearly, God did not leave Paul in that state of dishonor either. God takes our baseness and uses it to wake us up to our need for Himself.

I repeat, God is in the business of MAKING us free. He is not a puppet master, though He is adept at steering us in the right direction. I would even say that He is irresistible–not because He treats us as robots, but because He guides us toward maturity like the absolute best and most skillful and loving of parents, for our benefit and the benefit of us all. I know you don’t disagree with this–I’m not trying to convince you–just want to make sure you understand that you and I are in agreement here.

Blessings, Cindy

You are right, Jonny95. I retract my statements above. When I wrote that, I had in mind Unitarians rather than monotheists. It must have been a dysfunction of my 78-year-old brain.

Most Trinitarians are, in fact, monotheists. Their belief is that there is only one God—a God who is a compound God consisting of three divine Individuals.

Regardless of what the Greek word for ‘damnation’ is in John 5:29, the verse still proves there are two resurrections and the Book of Revelation shows the timeline of these resurrections.

-4: And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
-5: But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
-6: Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

And in Revelation 21:8, we see what happens to those in the ressurection of damnation:

-8: But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Post-mortem punishment (regardless of it’s purpose, whether tortuous, destructive, or restorative), plain and clear.

If ultra-universalism were true, there would be no purpose for two resurrections.

[tag]Cindy Skillman[/tag]
YouTube usually offers a very wide range of demographics on all topics, so I don’t understand why universalism would be different.
Your take on Romans 9 sounds right, there is no purpose to life at all with the Calvinistic interpretation.

I understand your take on free will about how God is making us free,
I’m against people saying things like ‘God is sovereign and controlling everyone’ after saying we have no free will.

God Bless
Christ Be With You All

I’m sure many here - myself included, and elsewhere in the Christian world - side with your sentiment :exclamation: :laughing:

I accept the traditional and orthodox understanding of the book of Revelation rather than the modern American understandings. To whit:

first resurrection = baptism
second resurrection = the resurrection of the body that occurs at Christ’s Second Coming
New Jerusalem = the Church
those outside the New Jerusalem = those outside the Church

All too many contemporary readers ignore the teachings of historical Christianity regarding the book of Revelation in favor of rather lurid imaginings.

I’d be interested in your evidence that Youtube is as reflective of the population as you claim it to be, STT. Nevertheless, there is a great deal of Trinitarian universalism at large on Youtube. It appears that you have somehow not succeeded in discovering it. Maybe you need different search terms. Or maybe you could follow the links I gave you and discover what you seem bent on denying–that Trinitarian, Arminian universalism is not at all unusual, even though the monists, etc. do tend to be more vocal (in my experience–that’s not a scientific poll anymore than your personal experience is. :laughing: )

As I said earlier:
“Yeah I think you’re right about that. I think we over-compensate trying to overcome the (to us) unwarranted stigma. (a fundamental betrayal of the gospel, that sort of thing, though I am so over that :smiley: )”

Anyway - by ‘monist’ you mean what? I know what the word means but just want to make sure we are using it in the same way. Thanks Cindy.

I am a universalist in the sense that I believe everything will eventually be made right with God. However, I do not claim to know how all this will come about. I don’t think you will find the answers you are seeking concerning the afterlife(life after we leave this earth) in the Bible, nor do I think that anyone here on earth is able to give you definite answers. We simply do not have enough information. I also believe in free will. From what I understand, God does not control everything we do. The word of God is inside everyone of us. This can motivate or guide us in our thoughts and actions, but we have the will to decide for ourselves whether or not to follow it. If we do not follow, this can cause some serious problems in our lives. As for the Trinity, I don’t accept the doctrine as defined in the Nicene Creed. If it is defined differently, I may be able to accept it. That being said, I do believe that Jesus is God.

Backtracking to the fact you believe in free will and in the fact that Hitler went to heaven the first time around, wouldn’t Hitler get up there and try to gas the Jews as soon as he got there?
I think Cindy Skillman nailed it, God wants it so “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”, and for that to be the case, purgatorial post-mortem punishment is required for the salvation of Hitler to work with free will.

if that were the case, EVERYONE would be taking part in the second resurrection, but Revelation 20:5 makes it clear that only some take part in the second resurrection:

-5: But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

[tag]Cindy Skillman[/tag]

Could you please link me to these YouTube channels. I know there are a few, but the bulk of Christian universalits I find on YouTube are denying The Trinity and/or free will. It drives me crazy.


One big barrier to me accepting universalism is a fear of being wrong, I would hate to sing praises to God about victory in saving all and get to the end of my life to only find out I was wrong.

God Bless
Christ Be With You All

I think this has been answered to some degree by Rev. Arimasa Kubo, at (i.e. Salvation for the Dead -Hades is not Hell- Biblical Second Chance Theology for Dead People in Hades). Now this applies to Second Change Theology, but it also would apply to Universalism - that believes in postmortem punishment or correction. I prefer the term postmortem refinement.

So are you preaching a gospel, that asks folks to repent now and accept Christ? And one that is in accordance, with the historical Christian creeds? If so, I don’t think God will fault you. Anyway, here is the response:

Now for some humor, from :laughing:

For my vegetarian friends read “nut roast” instead of “turkey”,

Computer: “Enter new password.”
Me: “Beef stew”
Computer: “Sorry, not stroganoff”

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and wondered, “Who ties up your shoelaces?”

A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. “But why?” they asked, as they moved off. “Because” he said, “I can’t stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.”

These should get you started, STT.

Seeking the Truth, in answer to your response, I would say that this then puts you in a quandary. Any stance that you take may be wrong. Who’s to say for sure what happens once we leave this earth. For this we must simply trust in God. I personally believe that the book of Revelation is not speaking about anything of the afterlife ( life after we leave the earth). From what I understand, it is an overview of Israel’s history from it’s beginning until it’s end, describing all of the major events that have occurred throughout in apocalyptic form. As a side note: The afterlife can be can be referred to as life after the world in which we live falls apart. In this sense there are many “after-lives”. Before we physically die, there will be many changes that take place and each of these is the end of an old life and the beginning of a new one.