The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Universalist election


I’m reading Howard Dorgan’s book on PBUs. The PBU view of election is that the elect are chosen to witness. What’s your view of election?


I haven’t read that book, but from what you’ve said, I think I agree. Not to witness just in this age, perhaps. Perhaps to carry the ministry of reconciliation into the “future” to whatever extent it turns out to be necessary. Maybe, in whatever life to come “looks like,” we will be the “shepherds” (or sheep dogs?) sent out to rescue our younger brothers and sisters who have yet to choose to be reconciled to God.


PBUs seem to think the number of elect is limited. So “the saved” is not the same as the “elect”; everyone is saved, but only some are elect. In contrast, I’m pretty sure I’ve read at least one universalist who thought everyone would eventually become elect, and thus saw election synonymously with salvation.


The pantelist view is that “the elect” was the “firstfruit saints” of the NT era AD 30-70… those chosen in witness unto Christ, worship unto God and works unto others. Though that reality and ministration has indeed been fulfilled the pattern and precedence has been set and so any so moved by the Spirit of God can follow in like service.

The pantelist view is that “the elect” was the “firstfruit saints” of the NT era AD 30-70… thus those chosen were indeed limited. And similarly, pantelism views all humanity to be reconciled BECAUSE OF the faithful and fulfilled ministration of the elect.

Most evangelicals see “election synonymously with salvation” and typically that meaning… getting to heaven when you die. Pantelism views the terms generically assumed to be synonymous… “saved, born-again, elect” to be designations applicable to those coming into Israel’s covenant renewal — naturally, to the Jew first and then the Greek; thus they are fulfilled. There is NOTHING however hindering anyone beyond the era of covenant renewal coming into the blessedness of this in this “age to come” i.e., the age/s following the redemption of Israel which initiated the reconciling of humanity.


I think Paul’s story about running the race for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus suggests that there is some special 'high calling" to be had, which it isn’t certain one will attain to without significant effort. I used to think Paul must be worried about his own salvation. As you might imagine, that worried me not a little! I think the “high calling” is the ministry of reconciliation–certainly in this life, but also (if needed) in the life to come. What that will/would look like, I can’t begin to imagine. And maybe it won’t be needed–because maybe Davo is right and all the work of reconciliation that isn’t done during life will be done in the last moments of life (which could seem to stretch out ever-so-long in the mind of the person experiencing it, I suppose.) I do think though, that there is SOME special election that Paul was striving to win through to. In my studying, the most likely candidate seemed to me to be what I’ve explained above. I’m open to other suggestions, though.



My view of election is that it is not an exclusive club of the few who were lucky enough (Calvinism) or the smart enough, or goody-two-shoes enough (Arminianism, Phariseeism) to get to go to heaven while the rest are sadistically roasted alive for all eternity, or exterminated like a worthless plague or trash into endless oblivion.

Election is closely related to predestination, is it not?

This book on various views of election including comments by universalist Thomas Talbott may be of interest: … 0805427295 … on&f=false

EO scholar David Bentley Hart posted:

“By the same token, I do not understand what relevance to the issue Wills sees in (4) my refusal to render “proörizein” as “to predestine.” After all, one can be predestined to any number of ends, and the later fully developed picture of “hell” need not be one of the destinations on offer. I refuse that translation for the very simple reason that that is not what the word means, even though such a definition has backed its way into some lexicons as a result of theological tradition. The reason that a theology of predestination never took shape in the Greek-speaking Eastern Christian world is because, well, it was Greek-speaking. Again, I lay this out in my postscript.” … h-version/

"96. Is predestination only for believers?

Predetermination, or rather, designating beforehand is a scriptural thought, which should be considered in its contexts to determine its scope. That it is applied to the saints cannot be questioned (Rom.8:29,30; Eph.1:5,11). But it is also applied to the acts of evil men, especially at the crucifixion of Christ (Acts 4:28). Paul, in Ephesians, puts us on the right track when he calls attention to the fact that we were designated beforehand according to the purpose of the One Who is operating all in accord with the counsel of His will (Eph.1:11). Predetermination is only one aspect of God’s larger purpose. There is a double harmony in this verse. The pre-determination agrees with the purpose, and that agrees with the counsel of His will. The latter two are concerned with all which is headed up in the Christ, both that in the heavens and that on the earth (v.10).

The same agreement is seen in connection with pre-designation in the conclusion of the first part of Paul’s epistle to the Romans. We are aware that God is working all together for the good of those who are loving Him, according to the purpose that, whom He foreknew, He designates beforehand… (Rom.8:28,29). God cannot confine Himself in His working to the saints alone because they are vitally affected by their environment, sinners as well as saints, things as well as persons. Consequently, while only those who love God are spoken of as designated beforehand for special blessing, this involves a previous purpose in regard to all as well as them. And the purpose must have been formed in God’s mind before its execution or it would lack the essential sense conveyed by the elements of the original word, BEFORE-PLACing.

The divine process, expressed in human terms, but refined by divine usage, is this: God wills to reveal Himself. He takes counsel with Himself, as there was none other. As a result, He forms a purpose or plans all to the consummation. Some are chosen or selected and designated beforehand to be associated with Him in the execution of His purpose, and have a special place in His plan. What is true of them is not said of all, and should not be attributed to them. All will be saved, but only those chosen have eonian salvation. Only the members of the government in the United States are elected. The rest of us are not elected to be private citizens. Neither are the bulk of mankind chosen not to be saints. Saints alone are selected according to His purpose.

God is not a man, so we cannot reason from our standpoint to His. Yet a wise man will act more like God than a fool. As I did much of the work myself on the first house I built, I made no detailed plans, thinking I could save myself that effort. But experience taught me the folly of this. So, when I built my last house, I had an architect make detailed drawings from my full sketches. Alterations, while building, are vexatious and expensive. That is doubtless why God’s plans show so much detail. Of course it could not all be revealed to us because of our limitations. But some prophecies of the future are most minute in their descriptions, and these are only samples of God’s foreknowledge.

What a marvelous revelation it was for our hearts when we first saw that God had a purpose, or plan! He knows all beforehand because He created all and operates all according to the counsel of His will. This word, purpose, is the one which tells us of God’s activity in respect to all things before they enter the sphere of His operations. Nothing is left to chance. And the purpose is based upon counsel, not guesswork, and conformed to His will. He has a definite object in view, and has planned all beforehand, so that He will be All in all at the consummation. Let us keep this order. God’s will leads to counsel, and counsel presents a plan or purpose which is for all, and not till then are election and predesignation introduced for some. … part-four/


Well, not long ago, I was a 5 point Calvinist. At best, I am down to two or three points. I think I may have explained the reasons for the change when I wrote my first post in Introductions, “Introducing Myself”. I had been profoundly disturbed to read about Michael Servetus’ treatment by Reformers. Then later, while heating up a supper for my wife, I almost dropped a hot dish when removing it from the microwave oven and thought how indescribably horrible it would be to endure, fully consciously, the fires of hell for ever… and ever …and …, as taught by Calvinism and the majority of evangelical and RC churches.

By the way, I have just finished reading a book which I think was excellently written: Brian Zahnd’s “Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God”. I’d recommend it to anyone.


Does not Calvinism teach the “elect” cannot be lost? Yet:

“Paul states there that those Galatians who are called/kaleo are deserting Christ to follow another gospel. As we both know, “called” is a term that refers to the elect. Paul’s own testimony confirms that those who are elected are deserting Christ.”



The following is from:


The Calvinist replied:

Christ is the chosen one of God, the Ark of God’s salvation. All who get into the Ark, that is into “Christ”, are therefore also chosen and saved. Just as all who got into Noah’s ark, which typifies Christ, were saved from the wrath of God (the waters that destroyed the world).

If there is a chosen ship and people are told that all who get into it will be saved, then all those who believe this good news and who get into the ship will be chosen to be saved.

Those who didn’t get into the ship are at fault because they had libertarian free will (LFW) and chose not to believe, get in the ship and be saved.

OTOH if humans have no LFW & no LFW choice to get in the ship, then it’s God’s fault anyone fails to do so and He is responsible for their sin and for them being lost. Therefore He is unjust. Especially if the lost end up being tortured by Him for all eternity. What kind of a “God” would do that? Maybe the God of Islam or the KKK, but not the God of the Bible.

“he hath chosen us in him” (Eph.1:4)

He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God – (Luke 23:35)

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” – (Rom.10:13)


Corporate election seems to be the view of the Hebrew Bible. Israel was elected as a nation, but people could be cut off or added in. We are elect in Christ, not into Christ.