Universalism Vs Calvinism/Arminianism

The focus of this page is not to discuss all the teachings of Calvinism and Arminianism. But instead, to point out the one teaching from both views that are in opposition to Christian universalism.

Calvinism and Arminianism both are philosophies that teach HOW the soul is saved. Both give 5 points to their teaching to communicate their beliefs. Understand that Calvinists and Arminians both are MUCH closer to Christian universalism than they realize. They each need ONLY reject 1 point to be a universalist. You can be a 4 point Calvinist and be a universalist. You can also be a 4 point Arminian and be a universalist. Also understand that the single point of difference is not insignificant, but nonetheless, there is only one point that differentiates them. The irony is that Arminians can reject all 5 points of Calvinism yet be considered a brother while they deem the universalist a heretic. And the Calvinist can reject all 5 points of Arminianism yet be considered a brother while they also deem the universalist a heretic.

The following are the points that are irrelevant to being a universalist. In other words you can hold either position.

1)Total Depravity vs Free Will - the basic difference is that the Calvinist says it is God that gives man faith, but the Arminian says God calls man to faith and the man responds. Obviously for those familiar it goes deeper than that and much more could be said. But the point here is that neither position is in conflict with Christian universalism.

2)Unconditional vs Conditional Election
- the basic difference is that the Calvinist says God chooses man to save him without condition, but the Arminian says salvation is conditional of man responding in faith to God. Neither view is in conflict with Christian universalism. If it is unconditional, God saves the remnant firstfruits first, and the rest come after. If it is conditional, God is all powerful and can draw all men to himself. It is not done by force, but by teaching. A good example of this would be Jonah. He resisted God's call, but God eventually got what he wanted from Jonah by breaking his will until he submitted to God on his own. Neither view is in conflict with Christian universalism.

3)Once Saved Always Saved - The Aminian says you can lose your salvation and the Calvinist says you can not. Neither view is in conflict with Christian universalism. The reason the Arminian view is not in conflict is because if someone lost their salvation, it is not forever, they can still be brought back by God.

It does not matter what position one takes on these points. None of these positions disqualify universalism. Personally I (lean) more Arminian on these points. But again...irrelevant because there are Christian universalists that lean Calvinist on these points too. So what are the points that are in conflict?

Calvinist Error - Limited Atonement - God Is Not All Loving

Calvinists teach that Christ died only for the elect that was predestined for salvation. Everyone else was predestined for eternal torment or annihilation. They deny unlimited atonement, and instead believe that atonement is limited only to the elect. Calvinism limits the love of God by denying that it is God's purpose, will, and desire to save all people.

Calvinists ONLY need accept UNLIMITED ATONEMENT to be a Christian universalist, to which our Arminian brother says "Amen! Of course the atonement is unlimited. God's love is for all mankind." Unfortunately though, Calvinists teach limited atonement. Calvinists can maintain everything else, only accept the atonement is unlimited, and low and behold they are a universalist. Now the Arminian will say it is unlimited but it must be accepted by faith. This is fine because God is all powerful and will bring all to repentance, not by force, but by teaching. Limited Atonement is a horrible doctrine that limits the love of God toward only some people, and not all. The Bible is clear that Jesus is the savior of the world, and died for all mankind. 

The Character of God
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:27-36 (The last verse sets the context. Everything stated before is revealing the character of God toward his enemies and that we should be like him. God doesn't set a standard for us that he himself doesn't follow. God is not a "do as I say but not as I do" kind of God. So what credit is it to God if he only loves those that choose to love him? God is telling us that there is no glory in that.)

The Love Of A Father
Is there any father, or any mother, that would ever turn their child away FOREVER? A million years from now now your child wants to repent and return to you, will you turn your own child away still? Would you EVER stop pursuing their repentance and reconciliation? When I think of my own kids, my own flesh and blood, who I would die for myself, I would NEVER EVER put a timer on reconciling with them. How much more is our Hevenly Father's love for us? TRULY ask yourself, do you really love your own children more than God loves you? I don't believe this can be true and it does injustice to the greatness of God's unfailing love. 

Does any parent, EVER punish their kids simply to satisfy their wrath? Me personally, the ONLY reason I ever punish my kids is for sanctification and repentance. It is never forever. Reconciliation, restoration, and sanctification is ALWAYS the goal of a loving father. 

I believe we forget the whole reason sometimes of why we call God our Father. It is to remind us of the love he has for us, how he feels about us, we can directly relate our relationship with our kids and understand our relationship with our Heavenly Father. When we read scripture we can never set aside the context of this relationship. This must be part of the lense through which we wrestle with some of the more challenging scriptures that seem to contradict this relationship. We can never toss this aside and read scripture as if it didnt exist. The love of any father, whether earthly or heavenly, is never ending, never stops pursuing reconciliation. There is no end to that pursuit from our Heavenly Father!

Arminian Error - Resistible Grace - God Is Not All Powerful

Arminianism teaches that some choose to reject God by their own free will and suffer eternal torment or annihilation. Arminians limit the power of God by denying that God holds the ability to save all people. They say that free will limits God in that he can't accomplish all of his will, purpose, and all that he pleases. This teaching is called resistable grace.

Arminians ONLY need accept IRRESISTABLE GRACE, to which our Calvinist brother says "Amen! Of course God's grace can't be resisted. God is sovereign and all powerful and always accomplishes his will." Unfotunately though, Arminians teach resistible grace, that God can be forever rejected by man. Arminians can maintain everything else, only accept irresistible grace, and low and behold they are a universalist. It is not by force that God accomplishes this, but by teaching. The prophet Jonah resisted God's will, but God won because he taught Jonah that it is not a good thing for him to resist God. Everyone will willingly submit to God just as Jonah willingly submitted.

The Sovereignty Of God
The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders. This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back? Isaiah 14:24-27

Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yetdone, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. Isaiah 46:10-11

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. Eph. 1:11

I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. Job 42:2

But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases. Psalm 115:3

Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and in the earth, in the seas and in all the deeps.” Psalm 135:6

He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand.” Daniel 4:35

All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. John 6:37-39

The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. John 3:35

...but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. Heb. 1:2

It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their feet.” In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. Heb. 2:5-9

All things have been committed to me by my Father. Matt. 11:27