The Evangelical Universalist Forum


I’m sure we all would love to know what the truth is. Personally I went through a radical transformation this past year that brought me into the habit of seeking truth and God. I started realizing that “something stinks in the woodpile.” The woodpile being my perception of God and many people I’ve known who shaped my views. I’m 22 been a Christian for most of my life and an agnostic for some. I find myself in a battle in my mind against doctrines and teachings that have shaped me. Universal Salvation when first presented to me made me jump out of my seat, and run around my house praising God. It was random how I came into seeing it just watching videos from one of my favorite teachers. I like him because he doesn’t give spin. He doesn’t claim to know how it all works but what he did show me was the inconsistency of certain translations especially where it counts. So even in this knowledge and the following 3-4 months of trying to put all the pieces together I am still not at ease with this new doctrine. I try to see both sides so I will read articles for ET against UT and visa versa. So far I’m finding that they haven’t touched the 100s of scriptures that seem all inclusive. Even with this mass of evidence for UT that I have no argument against and can’t seem to picture it anyway I don’t feel at ease with it. I am now labelled a heretic and I have lost friends, worried my mother, and have been accused of many things. Is all this going to waste? I don’t push this on people, but I like to hear peoples thoughts, thoughtful people that is. But even these thoughtful people just try to slam it down as fast as they can. Some consider, still slam it down, but at the end of the day still wonder if it’s true.

I get questions like, “How could the truth be hidden like this?” “Do you think you are smarter than Bible translators?” “Do you think God would allow his people to not know the truth?” “Don’t you believe God preserved his word?” “So everyone’s wrong but you huh?” “Have you forgotten everything I taught you?”

The guilt and personal attacks run deep. How do I get peace about this? I’m only a 22 year old guy with limited understanding and an extremely sinful past. Does my sinful past disqualify me from knowing truth? Am I being deceived and is God allowing my deception? I question myself and UT constantly now and almost want to be convinced out of it. I’ve read so many refutes against UT and still have yet to be convinced out. God took the scales off my agnostic/atheist mind, and I started to see that he was there. He showed me I was following man and what I hated about the church was man’s doing. He showed me all this when I still believed in ET. But then did he throw the scales back on my eyes so I would be doomed to hell for eternity for believing and practicing a lie? This life is so confusing…

I’m not sure what I’m looking for but I need help.

Welcome, Irony!

It took me probably 4-6 months of studying it to become fully convinced. And even then I still had moments of doubt.

It’s a fairly common experience to have friends and family become upset or worried, so you’re not alone there. Keep seeking God and seeking truth. It might help for you to refrain from discussing it with people in your life for awhile – or maybe not, there’s no one answer to that. But maybe you can find some encouragement and support here, among people that share your hope.


Glad you came here, Irony!

I have to echo Sonia here and I think it may be best not to discuss UR with friends and family if they don’t seem receptive. There are a lot of people who can’t believe or grasp the possibility of UR. It doesn’t mean they’re evil or “bad”—they’re just not ready. The idea of ECT is abhorrent if you*** really*** think about it, but it’s amazing how many people will accept it because of spurious theological arguments and their own desire for “Bad” people to get their due. (That includes me in the past by the way).

Keep seeking the truth and listen to your heart and conscience. Even accepting UR is just one step on the journey we’re all taking.

Glad to have you here! :smiley:


So what helped you become fully convinced? I agree though sharing this may not be helpful on my journey, but I share it because I don’t want to be alone on it. Maybe it’s selfish? But I pray one person close to me would become intrigued and help support me in research. Not to tell me I’m right, but to help me come to a conclusion out of this mess. Truthfully I felt I was lead into this knowledge though.

I was witnessing to Mormon Missionaries who visited me for a while. They brought up some questions for me about my own faith and it sent me searching for answers. For more than a month we had several talks each week. I have never prayed for truth and humility more in my life than when I was faced with two missionaries my age. I prayed daily for them and myself to see a clearer picture of our creator. So I didn’t accept Mormonism and tried to reach out to them as best I could. I really did stir up questions in their minds too and each day was interesting as I watched them ponder things I brought up, but we didn’t agree and parted ways. But that brought to my attention a teacher tying to lead people out of Mormonism who had spent most of his life in it. Who really gave me most of my “ammunition” and questions to bring up. Things settled down and I stopped watching his material after the missionaries left me alone. But then maybe a month later I met a guy at a group meeting I go to. I felt compelled to talk to him outside of group. He is the only person I’ve ever talked to after the meeting and I’m rather shy by nature. He revealed he was a Mormon, but wasn’t sure if it was true. So I told him about that teachers ministry and shared some things I learned and he was interested. For whatever reason I went back to his website and watched a random, but more recent video he posted. All the other stuff I watched was years old and off youtube. I seriously randomly selected a video and they are all an hour long and don’t have time to watch all his stuff. This video showed me the literary and grammatical corrections. So that’s the story, God lead or trick?

Very interesting story, Irony.
You never can know for sure about that type of thing—and I think that’s the way God wants it. :smiley: I obviously believe UR is “true” and am a convinced universalist. I did have to look at a lot of scriptural arguments at the time to become convinced and I think many people do. At this point, however, my view of scripture has changed and philosophical and ethical arguments would have a greater weight. God will meet you where you are. If it’s scriptural questions then that’s what you need to address.

There are a lot of things in the archives here (and at Tentmaker) addressing scripture and universalism and if you can’t find a satisfactory answer, start a thread about the problem you see. There are many people here more than happy to discuss that. I guess I’m saying you’ve just started the journey and need to start walking. (My own suspicion, by the way, is that it was God and not coincidence that led you to pick that video :wink: )

I’m with Steve, though I’ll throw caution out the window – yes, DEFINITELY God! :wink: Oh, okay – I might be biased but still . . .

Welcome, Irony. :smiley: (Love the name.)

I did the same. Read pro-hell blogs, books, listened to videos, prayed a lot. And of course I was also reading and watching everything I could find that was pro-UR. No contest. Simply none. I honestly TRIED to find something that would prove me wrong about UR – not because I didn’t want to believe it – I’m absolutely certain that I’ve ALWAYS wanted to believe it – but because I didn’t want to believe a lie. At this point, there’s no going back for me though. It’s too late for that; I’m completely convinced. Here are some good books to help you learn more about UR, in case you haven’t found them already.

The Inescapable Love of God by Tom Talbott (updated version due out this year sometime)
Evangelical Universalism by Gregory MacDonald (aka: Robin Parry)
Hope Beyond Hell by Gerry Beauchemin
The One Purpose of God by Jan Bonda

And that’s just a start. Others will have other recommendations; these are the ones I happen to remember off the top of my head. As others have said, please do post your questions. We’re all eager to discuss your concerns, and it’s never the questioner only who learns – we all benefit.

Blessings, Cindy

Well I am listening and reading “Hope Beyond Hell.” I really think it hits it on all angles as far as scriptural evidence goes.

My questions lie more in wording of some scriptures that describe both the destiny of the believers and non using ‘Aionian.’ That seems to be some sort of conflict for many people. Also one verse that really doesn’t make things smooth is

“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32"And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come,”

So that one really sticks me in the ribs. But then what do I make of the rest of these scriptures that paint a beautiful picture?

Hey Irony,

We may be birds of a feather, for I am somewhat less than certain that universalism is T, though I very much want it to be T. And pressure to believe something will come from all sides, from universalists and non-universalists alike, though I think the universalists here are non-dogmatic (mostly :smiley: ), patient and have integrity and will let the chips fall where they may.

Universalism, Calvinism, Arminianism - if any of these are T (for it is possible that none of these is true and the “real” reading of the Bible has yet to be discovered), these all need to be evaluated. Any guilt trips come from insecurity in my opinion. Read all the books, pro and con, you can. And don’t be discouraged even if your hopes aren’t confirmed. For instance, while I am not absolutely convinced that evangelical universalism is T (tho I will say that I am 70% confident), the other position which I think has weight is a type of deism of the type that Thomas Paine described, “Theophilanthropy”, which is a very simple position that involves a personal God (knowable w/o the Bible), following one’s conscience as best one can, and trusting to God’s love and providence for the afterlife (which I am fairly sure doesn’t involve infinite punishment). So, even the truth hasn’t led me 100% evangelical necessary universalism, it is definitely leading me away from Hell, though I never would have expected that deliverance could also come through a kind of hopeful universalist deism. And… it may very well be that evangelical universalism is T… (What tempts me to deism or theophilanthropy are the arguments over scripture; however, that may be a knee-jerk, and maybe, on a clear reading, universalism is unambiguous - I think when the dust cloud settles of your emotions, you will find the truth)

As long as you are endeavoring to do your best, and searching for the truth, God is leading you. Take heart, from the Gospels, it would seem that repentant “extremely sinful people” are beloved by God, and are often much, much closer to God than they think :smiley:

Ah yes – how could I forget the venerable George MacDonald?! (Known here with great affection as GMac.) You need his sermon, It Shall Not be Forgiven, also available here as an audiobook with his other sermons: Unspoken Sermons. Wonderful sermon (as are the others) though you may have to read/listen more than once if you’re anything like me. :slight_smile: Let me know what you think.

Some great posts already…i am a bit like the others in that it took me some time to grasp it, though i always wanted it to be true. I remember when i was younger reading how God desired all to be saved, and i couldn’t understand how God couldn’t get what He wanted? Surely that’s a perk of being God? I don’t think He coerces or “predestines” in the way some teach, so i think He works along side our rebel wills, slowly wooing us. Death is clearly no barrier for Him in this end.

I had embraced Annihilationism beforehand, as i’d done a local Bible study with a group i didn’t at the time know much about: the Christadelphians. They had VERY good Scriptural evidence that Hell as a place of Eternal Torment did not exist, and was the product of pagan views (not what i’d call fluffy Pagans, but those that had rather fierce gods and nasty afterlives for their enemies) finding their way in to the text via translators who had that baggage to draw on. I was utterly convinced by then that God would not damn eternally, but rather that He’d allow people to live out what was left of their lives (with some punishment for the really bad ones), and that they’d simply die. They had a few other views i was less convinced by, for example, they are Unitarian, a position i disagree with but learned to respect at least.

I was talking to a friend randomly, i think about hell not existing, and must’ve made some offhand comment about Rob Bell’s book Love Wins, that i wanted to read it, it sounded interesting. He advised me not to waste my time…that The Evangelical Universalist was much better, and that Universalists had some very good arguments. As he is an Annihilationist, it’s slightly ironic that he played a part in my conversion! I read the book, and by the end i was dithering a bit still, and just felt i needed to make a choice. I wasn’t told if it was right or wrong, but just that i needed to do it. So i made my choice, and put my faith in God’s salvific will for all, and His ability to pull it off (whether by deterministic means or by working with our free will, it is rather an academic question, IMO). Since then, i have had tremendous peace in myself about the Gospel, which now IS good news, stripped of its edge of fear.

I decided to mostly keep it secret, as i knew already that some friends had reacted badly to my Annihilationism prior to this…and this would be far worse! Unfortunately one friend found out that thought he had more knowledge than me (good luck, mate…i was a Christian when you were in kindergarten, and did my due diligence :wink: …always irksome when people assume you’ve not done that!!), and he had some real trouble with it, but seems content to agree to disagree for now. I’m not going to ram it down peoples’ throats, but if anyone seems vaguely interested, i’ll explain my position. I have been blessed with some Universalist friends, as well as a church that is mostly (if not totally) Universalist as well, St Luke’s Holloway, Dave Tomlinson’s church (he’s written some amazing books that are worth checking out). I pray that you’ll be able to find similar fellowship yourself…i’m sure it’s out there, God will bring it if you’re patient. But remember…if we’re right about this (and we are! this is God’s character we’re discussing!), then it doesn’t matter how wrong other Christians are…yes, damage and hurt are done in the name of ECT, but the change will happen at God’s slow, patient pace.

Just as a slightly off topic addendum, i believe Mormons have a form of UR themselves…it’s not quite what we have, and i think their view is that some favoured souls become like gods of their own worlds, but they don’t have hell (if i’m not going mad here), and am pretty sure they think they can pray everyone into the Kingdom…even post mortem, which is why they have such interest in genealogies…i think it’s rather beautiful to see that attitude and that diligence to save all. A bit like (again my understanding) of Hari Krishnas, who feel they are blessing everyone by chanting God’s name (they’re understanding of it). We may disagree on a number of issues, but it’s nice to find good things in other faiths…God’s revelation is not exclusively granted to us, IMO!

Iron :slight_smile: ,

I would say take your time and work on it carefully until you’ve gained some years of experience with the ideas involved. Make sure your family and friends know where you’re still in strong continuity with them, and work on reinforcing that – they should grow to feel better about what you’re looking into otherwise.

On the somewhat fluid application of “eonian” even by scriptural authors, I discuss that along with the most relevant counter-universalist example (the judgment of the sheep and the goats from Matt 25, with eonian life contrasted to eonian punishment) here on the forum in some detail.

I also talk about the incident of the warning about the sin against the Holy Spirit in a lot of contextual detail here on the forum, too.

(I’m verrrrry slowwwwwly collecting and posting up several hundred pages of scriptural analysis about Christian universalism; I only have maybe 50 pages posted here so far. Sorry. :frowning: I like to take my time doing that sort of thing, though; I’ve been working on my notes privately for years already.)

Truthfully I was worried for those two missionaries souls. All my life I grew up thinking they were possibly going to hell. Following what I still believe to be an extremely over bearing, however supportive group with man made practices and doctrine. The irony is I wasn’t much different. My picture of God was flawed, but did God blame me for it? I don’t think so anymore. I did the best I could with what I had and once I drew in closer it seemed like my “religion” started to flake away. Not only that but I lost this incredible fear I had for everyone’s soul. Since I was a child I have been telling people about God casually. When I was very young (5 years old ect.) I remember having no urgency and it was more sharing and loving. I’m not even sure I knew about hell. But it seemed like my heart was truer back then. When I got older I was more trying to stick it to the unbelievers but in desperation lacking love. I’ve met very loving, and interesting, non Christians. I feared for them and tried to think up creative ways of leading them into eternal life. I really didn’t get the concept that it was ALL God’s power.

I remember the first time my mom tried to teach me about double predestination when I was a teenager she showed me a video of a sermon. I went to a highschool with 2000 kids in it. When I would remember the teaching I would see that the majority of these people would be doomed from the start walking around the campus. I think that teaching is suppose to bring Christian’s peace. Like Oh well it’s just the way it is and now I no longer have to stress about helping save the unsaved. But it really bit me with anger and that was seriously a huge turning point for my Christian life. At that moment I felt like I was duped my whole life. The concept not only trashed the free will I had been taught all my life about how people need to choose God (Which I seem to not hold to anymore and am more inclined to believe that he chooses), but it was taught side by side. So my pitch fork and fire hell where “most are consigned to destruction so that an extremely small portion will be shown mercy” came to life and utterly destroyed me. It wasn’t for another 7 years when I was shaken to my core to reject this idea of God and return to him.

How did this happen? I really hate to admit the biggest part in why I came back to God because it isn’t pretty, but it was because of an extremely strong LSD trip which landed me in the ER only due to how dysfunctional I was, no near death experience here. I was completely loaded at a concert, blacked out and only remember certain things. It was there when I had a vision which is the most memorable part. My vision was this… I was peering over at the hospital out of my body, not in my own room and was shown many babies being born. Baby after baby, beautiful live’s being created and then I saw my greatest fears acted out. Most of them were held by the mother, she would hold it, love it and give it back to the doctor, I could feel the love so strongly and then the sadness. Then most were thrown into the trash by him, he was sad but said “nothing can be done for them.” The trash lead to a shoot which went straight to hell. A pile of burning living babies lay there and more were on the way. Then it went out into more of a world view where I could see the mass of new life coming into earth. It was so painful to see such a scene and knowing their fate from the previous scene. Each one was tenderly loved by its mother, but she knew the fate of her baby and she cried. Then the vision stopped. I was in a empty space and a voice said, “Is this what you think I do? Wake up.” After that I woke up frantically realizing where I was. Pretty much brushed the experience off since I was back in the world and had to deal with the mess I made. Being very intoxicated it took me a while to even remember that vision. I didn’t return to faith for a few more years, but it left an imprint on my mind. After this experience I was still agnostic with a lingering sense that God could really be there and totally different than what I was taught. I don’t share this story with anyone, but I did experience it. It was a very dark place in my life as well as a very scary thing to experience. Now I know psychedelic trips are not something I will do again, not a good way of seeking truth, and I hope I haven’t offended by writing it. Even writing it doesn’t give the experience justice since it was so layered and extremely descriptive. But in sharing it I express a deep feeling within myself and is another factor in my personal journey into looking into Universal Salvation and alike subjects.

I have finally downloaded those sermons and will listen and read along tonight. Thank you everyone for your kind words of encouragement and guidance.

Hi Irony,

That is an absolutely fascinating story and you certainly haven’t offended me by telling it. I’m speechless… but think you’ve found the right place. :smiley: (and , yes, I do think God was speaking to you through or during that “trip”)

I look forward to hearing more from you. :wink:


Ditto Steve! :slight_smile:

Thank you,

It really was probably the most traumatic night of my life! I was 19 and had plenty of experience in that sort of risky business, but I had no idea what I was in for that time. What is so interesting is that something so clear happened while going through such a chaotic experience and that I somehow remembered it even through blacking out. It must have taken me a year to remember that night as anything more than a bucket of many paints spilled on the floor. The clarity was so different than the garbled mess of flashing colors, noises, and movement. I remember trying to muster clarity of thought afterwards to figure out how I would get out of there and there was none. I could hardly talk, let alone think in a concise manner that would bring meaning to my words or thoughts. That is why I think the clarity I had just moments before couldn’t have come from myself since the visions before and after were just static on a tv in comparison. I would also think that I would have tried to wake up or at least think about something else while seeing Calvinism acted out in the most gruesome of ways since it was quite traumatizing.

I think it’s important to not go by what you feel all the time though. One hilarious Bible teacher I know said it best, “Sometimes I FEEL like a women! But that would be strange to consider too.” His lesson was you don’t go by what you feel when it comes to the Bible and that you should confirm within scripture. But in the experience, what I heard it say was something only God or a liar could say since they commanded the assumption that they were God. If it would have said “Is this what you think God does?” I would think less of this experience. I have had other dramatic realizations that are strange as well, most of them are forgotten into the fog and for good reason.

Sorry for being so long winded. I’m not sure exactly my motives in sharing all this with you but it all sort of ties into my spirituality and feelings on the subject of God. Some of what I experienced is something that I wouldn’t trade for anything. The rest is the absolute mess I made for myself while tinkering with my own mind, body and spirituality. Being still in that mess until this year, with the pain and anguish resulting from it not far off, I can see the changes in my own heart resulting from letting God in. No other force could have taken all the guilt, hate, embarrassment, confusion, addiction and depression from me. There’s no way to describe the place I was in than to call it “hell.” God doesn’t seem to let anything go to waste turning the most evil and painful things into beautiful expressions of his love and forgiveness. Some people are perplexed why God let’s bad things happen to good people. I’m more confused why he lets good things happen to bad people, but I’m glad he does :laughing:

Thanks Irony, that is an incredible story! I have no trouble believing that God spoke to you in that chaos! He saw you and took pity, and took the opportunity to share a very poignant vision of the implications of extreme Calvinism as well. That’s pretty awesome, thanks!

Thank you! I actually never knew what Calvinism was until recently but had residual Calvinist views on certain things pertaining to the Christian God at the time. I didn’t know a 5 pointer believed that babies would burn in hell if aborted ect. I don’t think the vision implies my beliefs on what God does with babies and what not. I’ve always seen it as more of a quick way of showing life wasted. It was life wasted in extremity. Since this life is but a vapor how much difference is there in putting a baby in hell eternally or a fully grown man? My beliefs on death had always been that at age 13 you come into the age of accountability and thus are now responsible for your salvation and sin. Having been taught that from a young age I would have never thought God would put children in a place of torment. So if God was directing this to me based on my beliefs about babies and eternal hell it never dawned on me at the time that he would actually do that, if he existed. So it was accepted by me as a metaphor for precious, beloved, human life wasted, that ultimately he created knowing he would and for the purpose of throwing in the trash.

On a separate note I am really enjoying this forum and your posts!