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Talk:Trinitarian universalism

Article Name?Edit

OK I checked the sources and couldn't find any section where the concept was referred to as "Christian Trinitarian Universalism." Anyone have any information that shows this? I've always heard it referred to as Universalism. It seems that the name was just used to distinguish this article from Unitarian Universalism. And if that's the case, shouldn't we use something along the lines of "Universalism (Christianity)"? Chef Ketone 22:44, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Better yet, shouldn't this be merged into Universalism altogether? Also, the article sounds like it's trying to argue a point, unlike an encyclopedia article... Chef Ketone 23:17, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Technically, the word 'Christian' is not necessary as Trinitarianism is unique to Christianity in that no other religion/philosophy have the idea of Three in One: Father, Son, Spirit. Perhaps we can rename the article as Trinitarian Universalism to distinguish it from Unitarian Universalism? It can be shown that TU is quite different from UU. When this article is fully fledged out, it'll be too big to fit comfortably into the Universalism article, IMHO Caroline1008 03:30, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

I'm doing a major rewrite of this article. It's still a work in progress so please be patient with me! Caroline1008 07:13, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

I've asked for feedback from as many Trinitarian Universalists as I know and also comments from people who feel Universalism is heresy. The article is still in process while these comments come in. The major theologians/philosphers for and against this are still living so this could get pretty interesting. Already I've received an email forwarded from someone who wrote to an author of a book I cited. Caroline1008 19:32, 17 September 2006 (UTC

Can someone give me a reference for the use of name Trinitarian Universalism? Who coined this term? My fear is this name is being used solely by Wikipedia editors.--GMS508 14:54, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

The original author used it to differentiate a type of Christian universalism that is different from Unitarian Universalism. This is also the reason why the first part of the article contrasts the 2 beliefs. Other terms used are Evangelical universalism or biblical universalism or simply, universalism. However, most Christians, when they see the word "universalism" assume either Unitarian Universalism or an "all roads lead to God" type of religion. Is there another term you feel would be more apropos to this idea? 13:24, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
It is my opinion that the title “Universalism (trinitarian)” may be a better choice. When I came across this article I assumed that the title “Trinitarian Universalism” was a common name for a particular school of thought, but I was unable to find it being used anywhere else on the Web except in articles that referenced Wikipedia. If someone else is using this name I would like to keep the present name, but I think we need a reference stating when and who coined the name--GMS508 19:19, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
The name is specifically to differentiate it from the most popular form of Christian universalism which is Unitarian Universalism. Here are 3 web references that are not referring to wikipedia. Caroline1008 04:12, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Factual AccuracyEdit

Universalist believe in hell??? What is the Universalist definition of hell and how does it defer from the orthodox view? How can hell exist and all be reconciled—is hell Gods idle threat? Opinions do not count, there needs to be expanded explanation with citations explaining how Trinitarian Universalist can believe in hell, and how this hell differs from orthodox view.--GMS508 00:50, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

the difference is the belief that a) hell is not eternal and that all will be reconciled to God eventually and b) the possibility of post mortem repentance and salvation (which differentiate universalism from conditionalism). I can point to works that argue that aion is not necessarily eternal when used as an adjective with hell. Besides, Jesus preached a lot about hell so biblical universalists (which are what Trinitarians are) would believe in the existence of hell. 03:19, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

This article states that there is “no biblical text that says His mercy and gift of salvation will end when one dies physically.” A reasonable person might say that Luke 16: 19-31 implies this strongly. Who is making this assertion and where is the citation.--GMS508 00:50, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Luke 16, which is Jesus retelling an ANE story with a twist, is covered in the article. And no, it's not proof text that hell is eternal. Universalism that is biblically based, does not deny the existence of hell. It does affirm the possibility of post mortem repentance and salvation. 03:19, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Doesn't this statement contradict universalism, "It will be fully present for those who persist in rejecting God's gift of salvation"?--GMS508 03:47, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Trinitarian universalists do not deny the existence of the fullness of hell. They just believe that eventually it will be emptied. 03:19, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Should I delete this section? Does anyone believe that it has intellectual worth?--GMS508 00:50, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

read Bonda, MacDonald and Reitan on the subject before you do anything so drastic. Their works are referenced in the reference list.Or better yet, you could contribute to another wikipedia article "universal salvation" that is probably more in line with your thinking. 03:19, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
You should not assume that because I challenge the article that I disagree with it. Anything worthy of consideration should be able to stand-up to critical review. I would not delete anything that can be cited.--GMS508 23:12, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

At the beginning of this article, the author(s) state "Trinitarian Universalism is a formulation of Universalism, the belief that every person will be saved, that is centered and based on the Christian Trinitarianism of Athanasius, Karl Barth and T. F. Torrance". Would this be the same T. F. Torrance who wrote "Universalism or Election?" in Scottish Journal of Theology 2(1949) in response to J. T. Robinson in the same issue? I have a copy in front of me now, the final sentence of which is "No doctrine [universalism] that cuts the nerve of that urgency in the Gospel can be a doctrine of love, but only an abiding menace to the Gospel and to mankind". The opening sentence should be redacted to ensure that there is no implication that Torrance espoused universalism by piggy-backing it onto his thinking on the Trinity. You could clarify the association by mentioning he was a critic of universalism. Didymus27, 4th April 2007.

Didymus27, This article makes many questionable inferences. Please edit or remove any information that you know to be false.--Riferimento 23:37, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Torrance was arguing against a liberal kind of universalism that denied the incarnation and universality of Christ's work on the cross. Trinitarian Universalism is a newer version here is a link to an article that explains it very well. It's apparently written by someone with a dcotorate, not that that matters at wikipedia :) The article is talking about a New Universalism which this wikipedia article just happens to call Trinitarian Universalism since the original name Christian Trinitarian Universalism was offensive. It's finally hitting the radar screen. N.T. Wright's "For All The Saints" even opposes this particular kind of universalism's idea of hell. More critics are writing about this kind of universalism as if the adherents are evangelical trinitarians instead of assuming all universalists must be liberal or unitarian. The book, "Evangelical Universalist" received a favourable review in the Scottish Journal of Theology ;) The book 4 Views on Hell published in 1997 does not mention the TU's idea of hell. A similar book coming out in 2008? will.
I agree with you that we should all check our assumptions on this topic. Editors keep trying to fuse this form of universalism with the general one that everyone is so familiar with. I've let some deletions like why TU is different from UU and that TU affirms biblical authority go even though those are distinctives of TU. Oh well, win some, lose some. Caroline1008 17:46, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Here is link to excellent blog with series of articles "Why I am a Universalist" that is based on Barth's theology.
Here is link to another excellent blog which says that guy can't use Barth's theology to bolster his universalism because Barth isn't a universalist
Have fun! Caroline1008 19:31, 6 April 2007 (UTC)


I removed this from the Ariminian objections: JoeSwan asks, "Is true Love forced? Why did Jesus die on the cross? If all will be eventually saved, why even believe in Jesus? Why go, preach, and teach all nations obedience to Jesus's commandments, as we are commissioned by Him? These are good questions to honestly consider when seeking truth."

Hi Joe and welcome to Wikipedia. The article is not a forum for starting a debate. It's suppose to be an articulation, to the best of my friends and my humble ability, of what Trinitarian Universalism is all about. We do know that not everyone agrees with our view. Hence the repeated admonition that this is considered heresy by the greater Christian commnity. If you'll like to debate/discuss, you're more than welcome to do so at this link: or you can check the discussion page under your user name.
I hope you'll reread the article. The answers to all your question are all there - but from a Trinitarian Universalist's perspective. Love must be chosen. Jesus died for us. It's better to believe now because hell is horrible and I'd prefer to go through life with Him than without Him. Preaching the Kingdom message will help people know God as revealed by Jesus, the best thing possible in the world! There are 100s of other reasons including reduction in evil (a la Walter Winks writings). Blessings, Caroline1008 00:58, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

It seems to me that the title is biased. By defining "Christian Universalism" as "Trinitarian Universalism" you sre declaring that all non-trinitarians are also non-Christians? That is sectarian bias. There are a significant number of Christians who are non-trinitarians, including many charismatics holding the Unity view (aka Jesus-only, or modalism), also many of the smaller adventist-type denomnations who are non-trinitarians. User:RCC_UR

The article is not talking about who is a Christian and who is not. The article even clearly states that this belief is heresy. The article is describing a kind of universalism that is dependant on Trinitarianism for its raison d'etre, hence the title. There are other articles on wikipedia that talk about other kinds of universalism, including Unitarian Universalism. A good starting point would be to look at the universalism article. Or someone could start an article comparing and contrasting unitarian and trinitarian formulations of Christianity. 13:40, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Why are there no links to sites or articles that refute universalism (Trinitarian, Binitarian, Unitarian or just plain old Confuseditarian)? This appears to be rather biased. Methinks, this may be someone's pet subject who has forgotten to give a balanced view. Note, this is an online encyclopedia, not a soapbox. Didymus27, 4th April 2007.

Questions about the Use of Heresy and DogmaEdit

I have removed the use of the word Dogma as I felt that it was contradicted in the article. Dogma as I understand it means: A doctrine or a corpus of doctrines relating to matters such as morality and faith, set forth in an authoritative manner by a church. I do not believe that there is one authoritative source of doctrines for Trinitarian Universalism.--GMS508 21:37, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

I have serious problems with is article?Edit

Was this article created by one or two people who wish to distinguish their beliefs from the beliefs UU Church?

Here are some questions I have about this article:

1.) “Trinitarian Universalism is coherent theology of God as revealed by Jesus Christ, but it is generally considered heresy by all the major branches of Christianity: i.e. Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant.” There is no authoritative body that could speak for all Protestant denominations so without a reference I seriously question whether all Protestant faiths would call this type of universalism a heresy.

The reference would be the doctrinal statement of faith for every denomination and church, a rather tedious process although I suppose I could ref 10 of the biggest. It would be exceptional to find a Protestant church whose statement of faith does not include a belief that salvation is only for the few who accept Christ in this lifetime. I can't think of any who states that eventually, all would be saved. I would be very interested if anyone knows of even one. 13:55, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
10 is more work than necessary 2 or 3 should be enough. But it would be helpful to see a reference to a doctrinal statement so the reader could decide for themselves whether heresy is the correct word.--GMS508 19:20, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
I've just added links to what Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Presbyterians, Southern Baptists and Assemblies of God (the largest Pentecostal denomination, I think) believe regarding salvation. They all agree that some people will go to heaven and some to hell but none would say that eventually, everyone will be saved. I've heard that the Eastern Orthodox believe that it is possible that all men be saved but it is heresy to say that God must save all men but I can't find the reference. There is a current debate within the Presbyterian denomination about hell and salvation with the old guard calling pluralism (which is not even as radical as universalism) "vile heresy". The web link is here [1] To the best of my knowledge, the liberal branch has not been able to change their doctrinal statements to say that people who are not professing Christians can be saved.Caroline1008 21:52, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

2.) The section, “The core beliefs of Trinitarian Universalism,” which was originally titled “Dogma” is a summary of beliefs. Is there any source besides this article where you can find these beliefs listed?

The source would be "The Trinitarian Faith" by T.F. Torrance which is reference in the article. It is also the core belief (or dogma) of many churches. Although some might quibble about nuance, many would not dispute these as fundamentals. 13:55, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
If the “The core beliefs of Trinitarian Universalism” section is a summary of ideas presented in "The Trinitarian Faith" by T.F. Torrance, I think it needs to be spelled-out a little clearer. To me the “core beliefs” section looked like it was from multiple references and possibly not an example of one complete coherent theology.--GMS508 19:31, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

3.) “The Bible is infallible…” Infallibility is a code word used by some denominations. Infallibility is used as a cover by scholars who do not want to upset conservatives who accept the inerrancy of scripture. I originally changed this language because it offended me but then reverted my own edit, because I could find no source that supports these core beliefs.--GMS508 17:55, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

A statement about the validity of the bible as an authority has to be placed somewhere. Otherwise, another authority (logic, the Pope, or soemthing eles) would have to be explicitly stated. The article is saying that universal salvation is biblical. That leaves either a statement that the bible is inerrant (as in the Chicago formulation) or infallible (as in Wesleyan formulation). I personally like the Wesleyan formulation. The article would still work if inerrancy was claimed but I agree that would raise other issues. 13:55, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
I do not like the word “infallibility” I feel it is misleading. But I guess it is the accepted terminology, so I’ll need to get use to it.--GMS508 19:45, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

should the opening paragraph be rewritten?Edit

I would like to rewrite the opening based on some of responses I received on this talk page. I believe that some of what has been clarified on the talk page should be said near the beginning of the article.

Here are the important points that I feel need more clarity in the opening paragraph:

1). Trinitarians are unique form of Universalism, if I understand you right, in two important ways: Trinitarian belief, and a belief in Hell.

Trinitarianism presupposes a belief that the bible is infallible and necessary for all theological statements. Because the bible speaks about hell, then hell exists. But Trinitarianism, with it's grand themes of Christ atoning for the sins of all men, of Him gathering all humanity in Him etc., has seeds of universalism but most Trinitarians won't cross the line because they believe there is no biblical warrant for universalism. Trinitarian Universalists feel it is the only logical choice (even in light of other options like inclusivism or conditionalism) and therefore they seek to reconcile universalism with what the bible says. What I'm trying to say is that TU is a form of universalism that evolved out of the kind of Trinitarianism that Barth and Torrance wrote about.Caroline1008 03:04, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Caroline1008 02:57, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

2.) Trinitarian Universalism is a term used to describe a new movement in the Christian community and is collective work of various modern writers and theologians.

It is generally believed that universalism has no biblical warrant. Mulholland and Grace's "If Grace is True" pretty well said that some parts of the bible can not be inspired. Talbott's "The Inescapable Love of God" was the work that opened the field but it is primarily philosophy. MacDonald's "the Evangelical Universalist" and Bonda's "One Purpose of God" were the ones who attempted to prove that universalism is biblical. Since all these works were published within the last decade and more are being published, it is a very new movement. Caroline1008 02:57, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
I don't see how you can say that it's a new movement when you acknowledge that Universalism is "ancient". In any case the UCA were Trinitarians before they were Unitarians, and Trinitarian forms didn't die out at the time of the UU merge. Don't you think they were using the Bible to come up justify their doctrine? 1 Cor. 15:22 has been a favorite long before any modern TU revival. — coelacan talk — 03:35, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
Trinitarianism came under heavy fire about 200 years ago. Even people who believed in the Trinity felt it was difficult to explain and defend. After the UU was formed, TU became a very tiny minority. Be that as it may, Christianity seems to be separated into 2 broad groups: the conservative branch who feels theology can not contradict what is written in the bible and the liberal branch who feels that the bible is neither infallible or inerrant. TUs belong to the conservative branch mainly because Trinitarians belong to the conservative branch. Caroline1008 04:12, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
"Trinitarianism came under heavy fire about 200 years ago." In the USA. Let's not overstate the scope of the issue; it's rather limited in geography. The UU was formed only 45 years ago. Did it really almost wipe out other forms of Universalism at the time? "TUs belong to the conservative branch mainly because Trinitarians belong to the conservative branch." That's an untenable statement. I know that personal experience is not WP:RS, but I was raised in a liberal Trinitarian Christianity, and I know at least a hundred liberal Christians in my personal life at this time and every single one of them is Trinitarian. For non-personal references, pick up a copy of Sojourners and you aren't going to read one single word about Unitarianism. And the article over at Trinitarianism says nothing to suggest this statement either, — coelacan talk — 04:41, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
After the Enlightenment, theologians in Europe rethought the doctrine of the Trinity. Statements like God is 3 in 1 or Christ is fully God and fully Man were not considered logical. Schleiermacher, a very influential German theologian felt the doctrine with it's themes of atonement and resurrection had no place in redemption. "Because the Trinity could not be directly connected to redemption, Schleiermacher placed it well outside the life-giving core of the Christian Faith." [[2]] Universalism waxed and waned over time. It was revived following the Reformation but in our times, it is mostly connected to UU. Individual universalists come from all backgrounds from evangelical to Eastern Orthodox to RC to New Age. The usual division between Liberal and Conservative (and things change quickly in our pomo times) is what they believe about the bible. One believe the bible is inerrant (or at the very least infallible) and authoratative. The other believe the bible is a record of people's experience with God but not inerrant. Now, every group would like to think their beliefes are the orthodox or at least, the common core and not the fringe. I know that's what I like to think of my beliefs! :) :) So, one group's definition of another group's is probably pretty offensive. I come from the conservative side, the side who decided that they own the concept Trinitarianism. I'm willing to explore this further. :) Caroline1008 15:52, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
Can you show me where the majority of liberal Christians are Unitarians? If the vast majority of both liberal and conservative Christians are Trinitarians, then neither group has any claim to ownership. — coelacan talk — 22:03, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
Liberal Christianity has a good overview. I think it'll be more correct to say the beliefs of Conservative Christians are sharply defined. Liberal Christians are more open and inclusive. I know what Trinitarianism means in the Evangelical circle. What does it mean in Liberal Theology? When Conservative Christians disagree on doctrine, they use the bible to defend their positions. Anything that does not have biblical warrant is not accepted. Would a Liberal Trinitarianism be different, broader than the Conservative one? Caroline1008 03:38, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
Unless the majority of liberal Christians are Unitarian, then conservatives have no claim to ownership of Trinitarianism. gives the highest estimate of Unitarian Universalist (pretty much the only Unitarians left these days) as 600,000. A tiny drop in the bucket. The vast majority of liberal Christians are Trinitarian. What do you mean by "liberal Trinitarianism" or "conservative Trinitarianism"? What can those terms possibly mean? Trinitarianism is Trinitarianism. One may hold to it and also be conservative, or one may hold to it and also be liberal, or something in between (or neither?) but Trinitarianism is a rather straightforward profession. I don't see what it would mean to say that it's modulated by conservatism or liberalism. I'm having a hard time understanding this, so let me ask you, what would a "conservative Trinitarianism" look like? How would it differ from Trinitarianism in general? Would it be narrower?
Now, as to the slander that liberal theology is not Biblical, are you really suggesting that liberal Christians don't care what the Bible says, or that they don't look for doctrinal defense in its words? Since we were talking about Ballou earlier maybe it would be helpful to point out that Ballou was converted to Universalism by people who were quoting Romans 5:18 to him. He didn't just think "oh, God is love, end of story." It was Biblical teaching that brought him there, and he taught from the Bible his whole life. I'm afraid that you are presenting only a caricature of liberal theology. To understand that the Bible is a historical document is not to throw the Bible out or to decide that it's unnecessary for theology. How many people have been converted from being non-Christians to being liberal Christians by the Sermon on the Mount or the Beatitudes? No small number. — coelacan talk — 05:54, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
Okay, one more try :) How would you say liberal theology differ from conservative theology? How does Schleiermacher (frequently thought of as the father of liberal theology) differ from Barth (his contemporary and opposite)? Would you accept that conservative theologians are usually defined by their belief in an inerrant (or infallible) inspired scripture? Is it slander to say liberal theologians are more liberal :) in their views of the bible? Witness the Jesus seminar where theologians debate whether Jesus said or did the things the bible said he did. Also, Conservative is not synonymous with Orthodox. A lot of Protestants dont' consider the Jehovah Witnesses Christian because they differ in their view of who Jesus is even though JWs are conservative theologians. Anyone who believes that scripture is inerrant is a conservative no matter how young, hip or progressive he feels. :) In theology, as in philosophy, it's all about nuance and nuance begins with definitions. Encyclopedic entries don't do nuance well. An expert and a pedant will find fault with the entry because an entry tries to say in 2 pages what would fill books. Trinitarianism from Athanasius to Barth is such a topic. In the spirit of discussion, let's limit it to one aspect of Trinitarianism - perichoresis. How many who claim to be Trinitarian knows that perichoresis is a key concept, knows what it means, and can say it in one paragraph or less and have it make sense to someone who was not raised and steeped in it? Caroline1008 10:24, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
It doesn't matter. You don't get to enforce a proficiency test to decide who's "really" Trinitarian and who's not. If one assents to the notion of a single god in three persons then that's it. And the issue at hand is ultimately not Biblical infallibility, it is Trinitarianism. I do not want to go off on a side-issue about conservative vs liberal theology. You said that conservatism owns Trinitarianism, I said you have no basis to argue that, and we drifted off on a tangent. I don't think this particular thread is going anywhere. I'm going to reply to your other comments further down. — coelacan talk — 18:59, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

3.) Trinitarian Universalism should not be included in the same accusation of Hersey as other forms of Universalism because it is so different. I am not sure it is adequate to say that all Trinitarian Universalism is considered heresy. Unlike Universalism Unitarianism some of the problem areas such as Trinitarian belief, and belief in Hell do not apply. I am not aware of any examples of Official Church doctrine that specifically states there is an eternal Hell without reconciliation. The common charges of why universalism is heresy do not apply. In fact it seems to me to be no more heretical than conditionalism.--GMS508 00:09, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

If other Christians agree that the scholarship and exegesis of TUs are valid and that TU is a possible option like Arminism vs. Calvinism, then it would not be classified as heretical. So far, most Christians believe that only some will be saved and that it is heresy to say that all would be saved. Caroline1008 03:16, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
Just dropping by. I'm a little bit familiar with UU and other Universalisms. Apologies for all the abbreviations that are to follow. 2) Trinitarian Universalism is not new at all, although the term may be a neologism, it has just been named this to distinguish it from UU when Universalism became associated with UU's only in the American public mind. Trinitarian Universalism is synonymous with what used to simply be called Universalism. When Primitive Baptist Universalists call themselves this, for instance, they are "Trinitarian" but they aquired the PBU name before UU ever existed and they haven't changed to adopt the TU naming. So there are plenty of non-UU Universalists who do not call themselves TU's and probably never will. This neologism might not survive and it would certainly be a mistake to expect that it will be universally adopted. It might or might not make sense to try to apply the term retroactively, since the Universalist Church of America was Trinitarian if I understand correctly, until the merger with the Unitarians, and then that mixes everything up. 1) Not all TU's believe in Hell. The PBU's, for instance, who are called "No-Hellers" by other Regular Baptists, believe that Hell is a state of being that a person can live through on this Earth, but that there is no afterlife Hell, only universal reconciliation. Whether you want to really call this a belief in Hell or not is a matter of debate. 3) Whether you want to call it heresy or not, most Christians do not believe in universal reconciliation and regard all Universalisms as heresy. The Catholic encyclopedia, for instance, refers to Apocatastasis (the earlier term for Universalism) variously as heterodox and even heretical.[3] So there's my responses. I know that I've probably muddled things for you for the moment but take some time and you'll probably get a clear view of it all. In some way, the article should make clear that basically all Universalism was previously what the article is calling TU, up until the merging of the Unitarians and the Universalist Church of America. It should also make clear that TU is basically a neologism that really just means "Universalist" in this older sense. — coelacan talk — 02:40, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
TU has ancient roots. But as you noted, universalism became tied to Unitarianism and liberal theology in the 1800s. In the 1900s, Barth and Torrance wrote their seminal works and revived Trinitarianism. The last decade saw the publications of a number of books from Trinitarian Unviersalists. There are universalists who believe in the Trinity from many different denominations and countries. The No-Hellers have one way of explaining the hell of the bible. TUs have a different take - the possibility of post-mortem salvation. It would seem that TUs ideas on hell is the most common one just judging by what's available online and in the bookstore. Many authors spend quite a lot of time explaining why 'aion' is not eternal but none say hell does not exist.Caroline1008 03:16, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
The PBUs ("No-Hellers") are both Trinitarians and Universalists, so it's misleading to say there's the TU way and then there's the PBU way. And what did the UCA teach before they became UU's? Was it post-mortem salvation or was it instant reconciliation or sleep-until-resurrection like the PBU? I know the PBU probably got their influence from the earlier American Universalist churches that became the UCA. — coelacan talk — 03:23, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
I know I am talking to people who are little smarter than me, but neither Bart or Torrance were Universalist—or am I wrong?--GMS508 03:35, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm 99% sure that Barth did not entertain Universalism. I don't know anything about Torrance to be honest. Caroline? — coelacan talk — 03:44, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
Neither they nor Grenz or Kruger (also Trinitarian scholars) are universalists although Barth is frequently accused of being one. He was once asked when he was saved and he said 2,000 years ago. Torrance would say same. Barth says God can save all men but we must not constrain Him to say He must save all men. Kruger says Christ's work is universal but it is not universalism. He has a podcast on that. Purves (another Trinitarian scholar) said we must come as close to Universalism as possible without crossing the line. The authors who are Trinitarian and Universalists (Talbott, MacDonald, Reitan) took their work on Trinitarianism and worked out a universalism based on it. Ironic, isn't it? Caroline1008 04:00, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Propose article moveEdit

I copied this assertion from this web site “In 1899, the general convention of Universalists formulated a brief statement of the five essential principles of the Universalist faith and the “Winchester Profession” was commended as containing these principles. They are:
1. The Universal Fatherhood of God
2. The spiritual authority and leadership of His Son, Jesus Christ
3. The trustworthiness of the Bible as containing a revelation from God
4. The certainty of just retribution for sin
5. The final harmony of all souls with God”

If it is accurate, and I have no reason to doubt that it is, then I think we need to state in the article that UU roots are TU. We will need to reference this convention.

I hate to be so quibbly but the above is not Trinitarianism. It is a set of statements that is acceptable for both Trinitarians and Unitarians.Caroline1008 03:42, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
It's good to be quibbly, because that's how we iron out what's appropriate for an encyclopedia. =) I'm going to be quibbly too. Elhanan Winchester was a Trinitarian (I wasn't sure about Ballou but I'm sure of this). Specifically, in these statements, "Fatherhood of God" coupled with "His Son, Jesus Christ" sounds unequivocably Trinitarian to me. I don't think those statements would be acceptable to Unitarians. — coelacan talk — 05:54, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

I’ve changed my opinion about the opening, here are my suggestions:
1.) We need to state that this belief system (TU) is an older tradition than UU.
2.) We need to state that it is a neologism, if what recently learned is accurate, neologism is not pejorative when used to describe a religion. It means giving a new name to older beliefs to designate a re-examining of these beliefs.
3.) I also think we cannot use the word infallibility in the opening. Infallibility still implies a dogmatic approach to scripture and TUs do not seem to be that dogmatic. I think it is probably going to be more accurate we state which proponents of TU hold to the infallibility of scripture.

TUs are dogmatic about scripture. There is a universalism that basically says God is love and it is inconceivable that He would condone eternal conscious torment. Then there is TU which agrees with the above and then goes to great pains to reconcile that belief with what is written in the bible.Caroline1008 03:51, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Just my ideas, please tear them apart.--GMS508 15:32, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

I think you've got a handle on it. (I'm not aware of "neologism" ever being a pejorative, actually.) It is true that what we're calling "TU" here is older than UU, of course, because TU is just Universalism as it was always previously practiced, no more, no less. Before the American Universalists combined with the Unitarians, nobody would have ever expected that the word was intended any other way. So I am actually having a bit of a problem with the title of this article in general. While I'm not disputing that there is a lot of Universalism that is Trinitarian, I've never encountered this TU term at all (granted I haven't read every external link from this article so point me where I should look). A google search shows me Wikipedia-derivatives almost exclusively, with the exception of this which is one page on a Univeralist site that doesn't use the term elsewhere on the site and the page asks us to look at the Wikipedia article on "Trinitarian Universalism" so I'm suspecting the page was heavily inspired by this article. If it is a term that was adopted by Wikipedia editors then it's WP:OR and we have to change it. If it was in widespread use outside of this article and it's derivatives, I'm not seeing it, and I wonder if the use was really widespread enough to justify a whole article.
I'm not saying that we shouldn't cover the subject, I'm just thinking that perhaps the content here should be folded back into Universalism or universal reconciliation or something. Maybe there are more appropriate titles if we keep the article, but I would object to "Biblical Universalism" (because all Christian Universalism, Unitarian or otherwise, is Biblical), and "Christian Universalism" (because while today not all UUs are Christian, most still are and this naming would attempt to wrongly exclude them). TU is a neologism, and that's fine, but we have to show that it's being used in notable publications outside of Wikipedia, or put the content somewhere else.
I think you're right about "infallible" by the way. It would be a real surprise if all TUs held to this. — coelacan talk — 19:23, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

I had issues with the name too. The trouble is it is actually very useful name, and does seem to have been used at least informally for a little while. I asked on the UU talk page if anyone was familiar with the term and received one response stating that he had seen the term before, but he did not provide me any references. Caroline provided me with a link covering a sermon given by Leland Bond-Upson in November 2002 (see above) in which he uses the term in capitals. I think I am going to ask again on other talk pages related to this subject for help finding a citation for the name.--GMS508 22:12, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Okay. I'm unconvinced that it's a particularly useful name, as it is really functionally the same as simply Universalism. Moreover, I feel that it presents an undue weight to the "Trinitarian" distinction. That might sound odd but let me explain. A lot of Universalists who are not Unitarians would probably tell you that they are Universalists, but they would not emphasize that they are Trinitarians. Pearson doesn't, the PBUs don't; look at our external links where Keith DeRose doesn't, Gregory MacDonald mentions the trinity once and doesn't call himself "Trinitarian", that Systematic Reconciliation link doesn't, the two Catholic links don't, Tentmaker doesn't on the front page (I didn't search the site), the Orthodox link doesn't, and as I said earlier, the site only uses it on one page that links back here.
So what's my point? The explicit emphasis on the Trinitarian aspect is an artifact of Barth and Torrance and others like them, and it's fine for us to mention, but it's not an emphasis shared by most non-Unitarian Universalists. The way that this article gives particular mention to their works over and over gives POV to a particular subset of non-Unitarian Universalists, and implies that if one is a Univeralist and not a Unitarian, then one must be an ultra-Trinitarian like Barth and Torrance. Most Universalists don't feel this way.
I think we can keep the majority of the content of this article, but I think it would be more appropriate to move it elsewhere. I see that Universalism discusses many religions. Perhaps we can start a Universalism in Christianity article that would discuss all Christian Universalism, "generic", ultra-Trinitarian (though I don't propose we use that term, I'm just pointing out that there is some distinction in emphasis), Unitarian, PBU, Pearson's thing (which is sort of generic but with a Pentacostal bite), and all the rest. We could go historically, include everyone, and when the UU's break off we would mention that some UUs are Christians and some no longer are, etc., and talk about the later strong emphasis on Trinitarianism that this article currently represents, as well as all the other shades. What do you think? — coelacan talk — 22:55, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
I am not attached to the name but it did seem like a clean way to isolate Universalism in the Christian community. I was first attracted to this article because I was looking for information on Universalism limited to the Christian community. But the problem that I found with this article is I could not separate the Universalist writers and scholars from the Trinitarian writers and scholars. I really believe that there are individuals out there like me who are only looking for information on Universalism in the Christian Community.--GMS508 00:33, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
I've also noticed that there is a dearth of information about Christian Universalism in general on Wikipedia. Would you be interested in helping me move this article to Universalism in Christianity then, and beginning to expand it to be encompassing of the more general topic? — coelacan talk — 01:03, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes I would be interested.--GMS508 02:59, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
I want to elaborate on my thinking for the proposed title. The obvious question that would I can think of is, why have two articles, universal reconciliation and Universalism in Christianity? The answer is that Universalism is not perfectly synonymous with universal reconciliation. It is that, and sometimes more. There is a second, common thought in Universalism: if Christ's atonement applied to all people, then Christians can have meaningful fellowship with non-Christians. This is the logic behind how Unitarian Universalists came to be a group that was not only Unitarian Christians who are also Universalist Christians and vice versa, but who include non-Christians in fellowship and even as ministers. It sort of goes like, "if all have sinned and all are saved, then all may share in worship," or "if we're all going to be sharing Heaven, then we might as well get to know each other on Earth" or "if God is going to save everyone, then there must be something he likes about them; let's find out what". I don't know if I'm properly characterizing it, but however it should be stated, one can see that there's a tendency in some Universalisms to extend not only reconciliation but fellowship to non-Christians. This is not limited to Unitarian Universalism. The Quaker Universalists expand Universalism beyond reconciliation in this way too. And Quakers, with their daily emphasis on the experience of the Holy Spirit and contemplation of Christ, cannot be called Unitarian by any stretch of the imagination. So what we have catalogued so far as Universalism cannot all fit over at universal reconciliation, and I don't think it's well-situated here at Trinitarian Universalism. But I do think that Universalism in Christianity is wide enough to hold it. — coelacan talk — 06:33, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
How about renaming it Evangelical Universalism? Caroline1008 04:09, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
I just did a google search on the term and game up with only 144 hits, many of these referring to the need for "Universalists" to get "evangelical" about spreading their Universalism (not the meaning you're assigning to the phrase). I'm afraid that limiting the scope of the article as such would deprive it of notable sources, and the article would not survive an AfD nomination (and I don't know if you've noticed, but since about April or May the admins have been deleting articles of questionable notability like it was going out of style). However, if we went with "Univeralism in Christianity", all the content here would fit, and the proximity would make it very easy to contrast it with the other forms of Universalism sharing the article. — coelacan talk — 05:54, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Bishop PearsonEdit

I reckon this article might want a little piece of Carlton Pearson and his "Gospel of Inclusion". That "This American Life" audio link over on his article is a gem, btw. — coelacan talk — 03:55, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

His 'inclusionism' is very like the form of universalism talked about here in that it is Christocentric, biblical and does not deny hell. He coined the word inclusionism because of what most Christians think universalism means: liberal, not biblical, all roads lead to heaven, sin all you want and still be okay. Because other theologians are publishing works on universalism that is biblical and based on Trinitarianism (which what Bishop Pearson talks about without the big T word), using a new phrase may not be necessary. It may confuse with inclusivism which is a different (and much better established) concept of who is saved and who is not. BTW, Bishop Pearson has lost a lot of his Evangelical supporters and have been declared heretic by his denomination. Universalism, by any name, has a long road to travel. But it is still early days. Caroline1008 13:01, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
Caroline, I would like to object to the way you are using the word liberal. Liberal Theology is a inclusive theology and it includes all the orthodox (“conservative”) beliefs, it takes a “this and that” approach to theology instead of a “this not that”. I think when you are saying “liberal” you’re talking about modernism and postmodernism theology which does reject some of the orthodox beliefs. I understand what you are saying, but being a self-define “liberal” and “progressive” Christian I object to the notion that I am not biblical and I think others might also.--GMS508 13:45, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, but I do mean Liberal Theology. :) Conservative Christians like the Evangelicals are against statements like "all paths lead to God" or "people can be saved apart from Christ". I think both modern and postmodern theology can be either liberal or conservative. Brian McLaren is a pomoXian who wants to stay within the conservative camp, no matter what his critics say. The Evangelical Theological Society have only 2 doctrinal positions: 1) the bible is inerrant (as in Chicago Statement formulation) and 2) God is Trinity. I tend to put Christians who believe those 2 statements in the conservative camp and those who don't in the liberal camp. This may be my background bias coming through. Caroline1008 15:30, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
I think a liberal theologian once said, “We know that all things work together for good”--GMS508 03:09, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, a conservative theologian would refer to Romans 8:28 and emphasize that it is God who works good and ONLY for those who love Him and who are called by Him. Caroline1008 15:27, 10 December 2006 (UTC)


The article lists this type:

  • soft or non-dogmatic who believes that God wants everyone to be saved and that it is possible for God to save everyone but, at the same time, will not limit God's sovereign right to choose not to save everyone.

How is this different from every other non-Universalist Christian theology? I'm having a hard time seeing how this is Universalism at all. I am aware of two types of Universalism, though. One I'm familiar with being called "Ultra-Universalism" (Ernest Cassara uses this term and it would apply to Hosea Ballou) which is like instant salvation, when one dies one is immediately reconciled with Christ. This is what the PBU's hold as well, except that they believe that the dead sleep unaware of time until the Resurrection, and at that point all are saved (from the subjective view of the dead person, this is instant). Then there is "Restorationist Universalism" like Winchester's, which says that there will be punishment for sin after death but it is not eternal punishment and one will eventually be reunited with God. This is still unavoidable reconciliation and there is nothing one can do to get in the way of eventual salvation. — coelacan talk — 19:46, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

One of the hallmarks of Calvinism is limited atonement and that some are predestined for eternal damnation. Most Evangelicals believe that, in order to be saved, a person must be evangelized and make a profession of faith usually by saying the sinner's prayer. Saying otherwise caused Bishop Pearson to be labelled a heretic and led to the desertion of a lot of his Evangelical followers. Your distinction in universalism being a) no hell and b) hell is one I was not fully aware of. I knew next to nothing about PBUs and the article is mainly talking about a universalism that is different from UU. Within TU, there is a little trend to "out" some theologians like Barth or Denck (although there is controversy about Denck). Someone (Ansell?) is writing an article "outing" Moltmann. I would call these people 'soft' universalists because their theology points that way, and they would agree that God is capable of saying every one, and He wants to save everyone but they haven't come out and say, yes they believe He will save everyone. The dogmatic ones say He will.Caroline1008 22:58, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
I just noticed that this article refers to Ballou as a Unitarian. I am not an expert, but I was not aware of this. We'll definitely need some refs on that. And I started changing the style of the references all over to "ref" tags but there's so many of them I'll have to come back to it. — coelacan talk — 20:03, 9 December 2006 (UTC) is a reference to Ballou saying believing in the Trinity is like believing in infinity X 3. I think most UU sites claim him as Unitarian as well as Universalist. Caroline1008 22:49, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
Well there you go. Thanks! — coelacan talk — 22:56, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

other interesting Universalist, non-Unitarian groupsEdit

I'm getting good leads with a google search on "german baptist brethren" OR dunkers AND universalism. They apparently at some time in the past had adopted a strain of Universalist thinking, though of what sort exactly and how long it persisted I am unsure. We also have some Quaker Universalists who seem to be a thriving minority among modern Quakers. — coelacan talk — 06:08, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

why we believe in universalismEdit

Hi all. I was just wondering if we want an article describing universalism or an article explainig universalism. For example, Bishop Pearson became a universalist when he heard the voice of God. In his tradition, the rhema word of God is authoratative but it must a) be verified within his community and b) not contradict the bible. His community leaders have declared him a heretic. However, I and qutie a few universalists believe universalism can be biblical. But there are issues to iron out such as the term inclusionism means something else on wikipedia and, inclusivism and universalism are older terms with universalism identical to Pearson's inclusionism. Also, a systematic theology of universalism that is internally coherent, reflecting God's character and just must be worked out. His affirmation of Winchester's Profession #4 of just retributiono of sin demands some sort of post mortem judgment/punishment. In other words, hell. So, let's iron all that out before posting a unified theory of universalism. Caroline1008 13:45, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Also, after rereading my posts here, I must apologize for obscuration and general surliness. I should have written that many people who believe in Jesus are not Trinitarian. Trinitarianism is a belief that God is the Father, God is the Son and God is the Holy Spirit and they are One Person. To believe that Jesus is less than God is Arianism; to believe they are three gods is Tritheism; to believe they are 3 roles of one person is Modalism. Basically, the concept is very tight and any variation makes it non-Trinitarian.

The reason this article is called Trinitarian Universalism because it is a universalism based on a very ancient and very orthodox understanding of Trinity. Originally, the article separated Trinitarian beliefs under the heading dogma and Universalist beliefs (based on T) under the heading doctrine. :) The reason Barth and Torrance are referenced because they are the best modern theologians defending and explaining what the Trinity is and is not. They are also very respected within Evangelical theological writings and this can be verified by how often they are referenced in works regarding the Trinity. In fact, their Trinitarianism points so stronly to universalism that Barth is often accused of being a universalist despite his denials. This article is presenting the systematic theology of TU (so far) and tries to answer questions like: a) why does the bible say we must repent and believe in order to be saved? what does salvation mean in the universalist framework b) what is hell, why does the bible talk of eternal punishment c) what is justice for those who suffer unjustly when evil people live happy lives? d) what about the End Times, Armageddon and the Lake of Fire?

Hoping that you will reconsider the article. Caroline1008 14:11, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

First, if you were surly I did not take offense.
What I wanted to find when I first located this article was a source that would reference major theologian who have shaped Universalism. I would be interested in helping develop an article that describes Universalism in all its Christian incarnations, and the major theologians and writers who shaped those beliefs.
I would not participate in an article that promoted Universalism. I would be interested in documenting the opinions of notable experts in Christian theology who promote Universalism.
I am actually of the opinion that the emphasis on Trinity detracts from the article. I am also of the opinion that this article comes close to promoting a particular form of Universalism. Last, I’ll state just so it is understood what my personal biases are; I am not a Universalist and my interest is purely intellectual. What I want to do is accurately describe Christian Universal beliefs and briefly summarize the intellectual arguments against them.--GMS508 23:03, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
The major theologians are: Thomas Talbott - philosophical approach. Jan Bonda and Gregory MacDonald - biblical exegesis. Eric Reitan - book in works but has published several articles. Hans Urs von Balthasar - Catholic theologian. Bishop Kallistos Ware - Eastern Orthodox. Morwenna Ludlow, David Hilborn & Don Horrocks - historical development.
No Unitarian theologian is referenced in this article. This is about the universalism emerging within the Conservative Christian camp which is very new. The one thing that links all the above theologians is the belief in the Trinity and authority of the bible.
John Calvin is a Trinitarian who also believed in eternal damnation. In order to hold that belief, he posited that God wants to save only some people and that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the elect. Modern Trinitarians believe that God loves everyone and that Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of everyone. It is stated explicitly in the bible. Then they live with the tension that some are eternally damned. A tiny minority says that universalism is the only possible option. This article attempts to describe systematically the universalism that arises out of Trinitarianism. Caroline1008 01:59, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

a really long (sorry about that) reply to CarolineEdit

Responding to your latest posts in this section and the one below, Caroline: I think it's pretty clear also that no article is going to present "a unified theory of universalism" because the different approaches sometimes begin even from fundamentally different assumptions. However, they could all be discussed, compared and contrasted in one article. Now, do we want "an article describing universalism or an article explainig universalism"? Ideally, we should try to do both, to the extent that we can without performing original research, which Wikipedia forbids. I am afraid that, despite all the sourcing, this article nevertheless is synthesizing original research. I'll get back to this in a moment.

The problem remains that there are many Universalists who are Trinitarian in their thinking who are not represented by this article and could not be represented by this article with its current emphasis on ultra-Trinitarianism (I hope this term is okay, I don't know what else to call it since "generic" Trinitarianism is not usually so ardently ephasized). You said below that no Unitarians are being cited here, and that's fine, but the fact is that there are other Universalists who are Trinitarian who apparently could nevertheless not be included here, even though the name of the article suggests they should (Pearson's church, Primitive Baptist Universalists, Quaker Universalists, and Dunkers to the extent that they were Universalist). And I don't know why you brought up Arianism, Tritheism and Modalism, as all of these groups I've mentioned are strictly Trinitarian. The PBUs are also very conservative, and most Dunkers are ultra-conservative (although not quite so much as the Amish), and neither group is new.

A quote from James Torrance: "It is highly significant that in our century, so many leading theologians have been calling the Church back to the centrality of the Trinity - Barth, Rahner, T.F. Torrance, Moltmann, Jungel, Zizioulas, Gunton and others. More and more theologians are becoming aware of the extent to which our Western concepts of God in Roman Catholic and Prostestant thought owe more to Aristotle, Stoic concepts of natural law, Western jurisprudence, post-Englightenment thought, than to the God of the New Testament, who in the person of the Son is revealed as our Father, drawing us by the Spirit of adoption into a life of communion and of participaton, in worship, prayer and mission in the very Triune life of God."
If anyone can name 3-5 leading theologians writing in the last 100 years who do not ground their work on Trinitarianism, then I'll admit I've been over the top by grounding universalism on Trinitarianism. If, as James Torrance posits, all theology begins with the Trinity, then....Caroline1008 05:22, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
In precisely what way does Trinitarianism lead to Universalism? What is the lineage of thought there? I'm not familiar enough with conservative Christianity to know off the top of my head how Universalism is understood to derive from Trinitarianism. — coelacan talk — 06:28, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
In brief (and with zero nuance :-)), God exists eternally as 3 in 1 in a communion of love and perichoresis. In one point in history, Christ enters creation and took on the form of man. He is fully God and fully man (Chalcedonian Creed). His death on the cross atoned for the sins of the world and He drew all mankind to Him in His resurrection and ascension into the inner life of the Triune God (perichoresis). Caroline1008 13:32, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
This appears to be simple universal reconciliation by divine atonement and grace. The same derivation would apply to hypothetical Tritheistic or Modalist Universalisms. I can see that it works for Trinitarianism, but it is not theoretically unique to Trinitarianism. But I do see what you're saying. You've answered the question to my satisfaction, but I don't think that it applies exclusively to TU. — coelacan talk — 18:59, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Caroline, you've said "The reason this article is called Trinitarian Universalism because it is a universalism based on a very ancient and very orthodox understanding of Trinity." I can see that there is a Universalism that incorporates this understanding of the Trinity. But how is it based on it? What I'm asking is, how does the Universalism follow from the Trinitarianism? Isn't it actually that there are some people who adopt this emphasis on the Trinity, and who also happen to be Universalists? Does one actually follow from the other or do they simply both follow from the Bible?

Now, I also understand and admire your desire to have an article that is a prominent display of the fact that one can be both Universalist and Trinitarian. And I do think that the strain of ultra-Trinitarian Universalism that this article currently discusses should rightly be mentioned somewhere on Wikipedia. That's why I'm suggesting that we move this article to Universalism in Christianity, make Trinitarian Universalism redirect to that page, and expand both the current content and the wider content. I think this is necessary for the survival of this article, because when "Universalism in Christianity" has expanded to its appropriate size, someone will say that the content here is duplicated there, and there will be an AfD for this article recommending merge or delete.

At that time you will have to present WP:Reliable Sources that satisfy WP:Notability, and I'm afraid that most of the sources here do not actually support the title of this article, nor could alternate titles such as "Evangelical Universalism" likely be defended from AfD. I'll cut and paste this from above because it's pertinent: "A lot of Universalists who are not Unitarians would probably tell you that they are Universalists, but they would not emphasize that they are Trinitarians. Pearson doesn't, the PBUs don't; look at our external links where Keith DeRose doesn't, Gregory MacDonald mentions the trinity once and doesn't call himself "Trinitarian", that Systematic Reconciliation link doesn't, the two Catholic links don't, Tentmaker doesn't on the front page (I didn't search the site), the Orthodox link doesn't, and as I said earlier, the site only uses it on one page that links back here." Without plenty of WP:Reliable Sources demonstrating the reality of this Universalism with its explicit emphasis on Trinitarianism, this article would be destroyed by AfD. I'm afraid that if we make "Universalism in Christianity" and leave this article behind, that is exactly what will happen.

So to summarize, I'm sure that all the content of this article can survive in the proposed more general article, and I'm quite confident that we can give it its own sections and prevent the content here from being diluted by content that belongs in the other sections; I think we can enforce a barrier. However, if this article is left in its place, I am afraid that it will fall to AfD when "Universalism in Christianity" covers most of its content. If you're unconvinced, I invite you to go have a look at some of the logs of old AfD's at Wikipedia:Archived delete debates. Just pick a day and look at how many get deleted, and look at how the voting goes. Sometimes articles aren't kept even when have over 70% of votes as "keep" and less than 30% as delete. You've had to do a lot of synthesis work here to demonstrate the crossover of Universalism and Trinitarianism, but I'm afraid that wherever your sources do not explicitly mention both terms, they will be discounted and the synthesis will be called WP:OR. I cannot say for certain that it will go down like this. But I'm advising you that I personally would not take my chances. We can undoubtedly defend the more general article of Universalism in Christianity though, and I will watch to keep irrelevent content from seeping into the section that houses this ultra-T content. So, considering all that, are you sure you don't want to move this article and use it as the beginning content for the other? — coelacan talk — 00:56, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

for your proposed article, what would you say is the reason that Christian Universalists believe in universalism? What made them think that all people will be saved when prevailing opinion is that most people are going to hell? Matthew wrote that broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it. Why do some Universalists believe there is no hell or that hell is life right now when Jesus described vividly what hell is like? What about justice for those who suffered evil? Perhaps the unifier in universalism :) is finding out why they believe what they believe. Caroline1008 04:38, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
Not exactly my decision to make. Wikipedia is only to catalogue others' work. For me to put forward any such theory of my own would be WP:OR. But whatever is already published can be used for citation. I have noticed several lines of thought for the why's and how's. A comprehensive article would seek to catalogue and investigate each of those lines. — coelacan talk — 05:46, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
Just trying to get a handle on how familiar my fellow editors are about universalism and universalists. I'm not familiar with PBUs and no hellers at all. I've read the one book by Quaker Universalists, If Grace is True, but I'll rate my familiarity with them as low to middling. I've a pretty good handle on how the UU came to be and what they believe. I'm an expert on the biblical, evangelical kind. I am also familiar with various Christian concepts of atonement, salvation and hell as well as the historical development of these doctrines. If we can't agree on a very basic concept of what is liberal Christianity and what is conservative, it might be a torturous process. At the very least, would you agree the Quakers consider themselves liberal but the biblical, evangelical kinds (MacDonald and Bonda) consider themselves conservative? Caroline1008 10:41, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
Quakers are such a diverse group that one could not call the movement as a whole either liberal or conservative; I'm not prepared to make that call. But I don't think that it's going to be necessary or desirable to pin each and every group as either conservative or liberal. There are groups that I would say straddle the middle. If we limit the discussion to infalliblism there remains the huge debate about which scriptures are literal and which are symbolic. An infallibilist who, when in doubt, leans toward a symbolic interpretation, can arrive at a result that looks uncannily similar to the result reached by a fallibilist. Indeed almost any particular exegesis is possible to reach from either starting point, depending on the mood and predilection of the reader. In any case, labelling any group as liberal or conservative is WP:OR and forbidden here, except when we have external, reliable sources that specifically say "liberal" or "conservative", and when we have those sources then there's no need to work it out on a talk page. I'm not interested in doing original research, and I fail to see what the ultimate benefit of such labelling would be, except that you appear to want to enforce a strict dichotomy. If you're still thinking about moving the article to Universalism in Christianity, let me know; if you've made up your mind to leave it here, let me know that too. If you're uncertain then ask more questions but I think that the most important question you need to consider is whether this article can survive AfD. — coelacan talk — 18:59, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
But consider this crucial cifference. It is perfectly okay for Liberal Christians and Unitarians to believe in universalism. Here is a quote from wikipedia's Liberal Christianity "Liberal Christianity tends to have a wider scope in its views on salvation (including universalism)." Christians from conservative denominations (Evangelicals, Presbyterian, Pentecostals etc.) are not suppose to believe in universalism. It is heresy. And if they do believe, they are censured by their community. Look at what happened to Bishop C. Pearson. So you have one large group that belongs to communities that accept universalism. And you have one tiny minority who belong to a large anti-universalism group. This tiny (but growing minority) says the core doctrine of their parent group drives them to universalism. Is this minority group distinctive enough from the universalists found in liberal Christianity and Unitarian Universalist churches to warrant a separate article? I think they do and I think there have been enough published by the theologians of this group to not be Original Research by moi :-) I have never published anything. Caroline1008 02:47, 15 December 2006 (UTC)
We should also include the Concordant Publishing Concern in the article. They are Unitarian but Conservative (biblical literalists) Universalists. They differ from Unitarian Universalist because they base all their doctrine on a very literal reading of the bible, often in the original Greek. Caroline1008 13:18, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Universalism in ChristianityEdit

Caroline, I sense that you are not interested in moving the article, and that your preference is to maintain this as a niche article about “universalism emerging within the Conservative Christian camp” and that Universalism in Christianity should be a separate article. Am I correct?--GMS508 02:27, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Because Trinitarians like George MacDonald had to resign from his pulpit and J. McLeod Campbell was fired from his for believing in universal atonement; because present day Trinitarians like the Torrances, Kruger, Stockett etc. will affirm the universality of God's love and atonement but is adamant that this is not universalism; because countless Trinitarian professors and pastors will not admit they are Universalist publicly but will write under pseudonyms, confess at the end of their career (like Barclay) or confess privately. For all Trinitarians worldwide, I'd prefer this article stand alone as both a beacon in the night and as a thorn in the flesh. No Liberal Theologian has lost his career because he believed in universalism. No Unitarian has lost a friend because he is a universalist.
I do think your idea of a separate Universalism in Christianity article is good and I will contribute without mention of Trinitarianism :) Caroline1008 13:37, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

A Response from Gregory MacDonaldEdit

I would never reveal what is written in private email but Gregory MacDonald has given me permission to post this after I told him about the debate here. The following is a quote from him.

"Using me against you - I see why they say what they do but they are mistaken. Whilst I may only mention the word "Trinity" once (or only a few times) I think that my universalism is intergally trinitarian. However, one of the weaknesses of my book is that I do not bring that out clearly enough so I cannot blame them for missing it. I can only ask them to go back and read the book again. Feel free to quote me on that (not that it would do any good).

I would oppose merging this with a general article on Christian universalism that included unitarians. Call me old fashiod but I do not consider unitarianism to be orthodox Christianity. I am quite open about considering it heresy. This is not to say that I don't think unitarians can be lovely, sincere people who have grasped some central truths about Jesus and God (including some that many trinitarians have missed). However, their unitarian version of 'Christianity' is, whilst sincere, mistaken in a major way. Trinitarianism means far more to me than universalism and I would associate myself more closely with trinitarians who believe in eternal conscious torment that unitarian universalists even if the latter are right about the universalism.

So I think Wikipedia needs at least two articles: Unitarian Universalism (this clearly warrants an article) and orthodox Christian Universalism (which will be trinitarian whether it be ultra trinitarian or not ultra ???). This would be fine and it would allow some toning down in the emphasis on trinity whilst at the same time only including trinitarian universalists. It could mention unitarians and include a link to their article.

What is ultra-trinitarian? I have obviously drunk too much wine but I don't think it is possible to be too trinitarian. To my mind it is THE central Christian doctrine around which the whole of Christian theology orbits. Merging the article with universal reconciliation would be OK if it was a merger and not a take-over. Why do they wish to merge? Why not just have links to each other? Grrrrr" Caroline1008 03:06, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Universalism as a POVEdit

Barth and Torrance don't deny a hell, as much as they say we can't limit the friendliness of God. It is his choice whether or not to save all. I believe they would call it a "universal hope" as in we can hope all are saved, but have objections to being called universalists. Others slap the "universalism" title on those who believe in this "Trinitarian Theology". Ergo, I still don't like the title and the POV slant. Hopquick 11:25, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

A problem with the philosophy sectionEdit

I have a problem with this section. It says that all three points cannot be true at the same time, and it says that Arminians resolve the problem by disagreeing with the first point, that God is omnipotent and sovereign. This is a Calvinist misrepresentation. Arminians don't believe that all three points cannot be true. They argue that God wants all to be saved, and in his sovereignty extends the gift of salvation to all, but he also allows the gift to be refused - which is why there are people going to hell. According to Arminians, God's plan is not to offer salvation only to some, who cannot refuse it, but to offer it to all and allow people the choice to either accept or refuse it. Arminians believe in original sin and total depravity, which means that no one can come to faith on his own, but "prevenient grace", or the work of the Holy Spirit in lives of unbelievers, draws one towards Christ so that he is given the free will to accept or reject the gift. Because God is the One Who "set the rules", He is still sovereign.

You may disagree and think this is unbiblical or contradictory, but when you're describing the Arminian viewpoint, you need to represent it accurately.

So IMO, the article should reflect that Mr. Talbot believes that the 3 propositions are not compatible, and that Arminians believe in the sovereignty of God, but dispute his view of the implications of that.

I've never edited an article, though; can someone else suggest a possible way to correct this?-- (talk) 03:52, 28 March 2009 (UTC)


The article incorrectly stated that Christadelphians taught Universalism. This is not true. They teach annihilationism.

See this link from

Sayworth 3 April 2010 (UTC)


A brief outline of Trinitarian theology is off topic when introducing Trinitarian Universalism? Several sections are said to be duplicates of other wikipedia articles AND original research. Really? I've removed the labels because they didn't make sense. —Preceding unsigned comment added by () 03:06, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Sorry, tags restored. here. There's reasonable cause for most if not all of these tags. Before removing the tags some address/discussion of the relevant problem is needed. Cheers :Is a brief outline of Trinitarian theology is off topic when introducing Trinitarian Universalism? I don't know. We'd have to look at that specific tag. In ictu oculi (talk) 03:13, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
I looked at the 3 tags on Core Trinitarian doctrine - the other 2 are more an issue than tag 1 for straying, but this is really not needed, a link to Trinitarianism would be enough and is already there. In ictu oculi (talk) 03:15, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Trinitarian UniversalismEdit

The main kind of universalism is Unitarian Universalism. If you look at Encyclopedia Britannica, that is the only entry. Trinitarian Universalism was the original kind of Universalism as espoused by Origen and by universalists during the Reformation. It is a radical difference from Unitarianism and it is the cause of the split between Bellau and Murray resulting in Unitarian Universalism becoming the main kind of Universalism in America in the 1800s. So yes, Trinitarianism should be explained - in brief - in this article. It is a key tenet. The reader should not have to wade through an entire article of Trinitarianism before digging into Trinitarian Universalism. No article about Trinitarian Universalism can be complete without a discourse on Trinitarianism. Also, how can a section be original research AND a duplicate of another article? Besides, the other wikipedia articles on universalism copied the Trinitarian Universalism article. The TU article was the first up with those clearly articulated statements. Why aren't labels plastered all over all those other articles for duplication? What are the writings of this movement? And does TU truly exist or do Unitarians feel it should be folded into their movement? The key difference between TU and all the other articles on universal salvation (including Bishop Pearson's thoughts) is the emphasis of Universalism grounded on Trinitarianism. That is the belief that Jesus Christ is God and his death and resurrection atoned for the sins of humanity. Without that, then it's no different from the other kinds of universalism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:59, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Hi, probably the reason that the labels are here is because Trinitarian Universalism was at the time a minority movement within Universalism, that's what the sources suggest. So if there's duplication related to Universalism then it'd be in the main article. As regards the views of Carlton Pearson, he has his own article, he is refed here, but his New Dimensions International is probably not notable as his group joined with All Souls Unitarian Church, DC - beliefs. Thanks. In ictu oculi (talk) 01:50, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Incidentally, your comment above "Trinitarian Universalism was the original kind of Universalism as espoused by Origen and by universalists during the Reformation." There were certainly no Universalists during the reformation - 19thC Universalist historiography on this point is now known to be wholly incorrect. As for Origen, this is under debate, but the most recent research suggests that he also was misread. Greek Orthodox scholars also dispute 19thC Universalist claims about some Greek orthodox writers. So if this article was responsible for the duplicate content spread across other articles, then that's rather unfortunate. It would have been better if modern academic sources had been used in the first place. What remains now is to document that the following early Universalists were Trinitarians: Gerrard Winstanley, The Mysterie of God Concerning the Whole Creation, Mankinde (London, 1648); Richard Coppin A hint of the glorious mysterie of the divine teachings (1649) defended at Worcester Assizes, 1652. Jane Leade A Revelation of the Everlasting Gospel Message (1697) Jeremy White (chaplain) chaplain to Cromwell, wrote a book, entitled, The Restoration of all things, which was published after his death (1707) published posthumously, 1712. Cheers In ictu oculi (talk) 02:05, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, entry Apocatastasis ( "It (Universalism) reappears at the Reformation in the writings of Denk (d. 1527), and Harnack has not hesitated to assert that nearly all the Reformers were apocatastasists at heart, and that it accounts for their aversion to the traditional teaching concerning the sacraments (Dogmengeschichte, III, 661). The doctrine of apokatastasis viewed as a belief in a universal salvation is found among the Anabaptists, the Moravian Brethren, the Christadelphians, among rationalistic Protestants, and finally among the professed Universalists. It has been held, also, by such philosophic Protestants as Schleiermacher, and by a few theologians, Farrar, for instance, in England, Eckstein and Pfister in Germany, Matter in France. Consult Köstlin, art. cit., and Grétillut, "Exposé de théologie systématique" (Paris, 1890), IV, 603." Where is your proof that there are "certainly no Universalists during the reformation"?
Batiffol's article is not a reliable source. Please check the modern sources in the main Universalism article.In ictu oculi (talk) 13:49, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Are you saying Origen was not a universalist? He believed that even the devil will be saved. By the way, orthodox Christianity after the Nicene Council of 325 AD affirmed the divinity of Christ and therefore Trinitarianism. A theologian who was a Unitarian would explicitly explain why he is what he is because that would be an interesting viewpoint in a Trinitarian church. A theologian who is a Trinitarian as well as a Universalist may write solely about his Universalist beliefs. The Trinitarianism is assumed; he avows the other Christian tenets but he begs to differ on universalism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:19, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Again, please check the sources in the Universalism article. In ictu oculi (talk) 13:49, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
An article by Carlton Pearson "Jesus: The Savior of the World (The Gospel of Inclusion)" where he affirms the deity of Christ in the 6th paragraph and goes on to talk about Christ's death atoning for the sins of humanity as a basis for his Universalism. He will later drop Trinitarianism in his latest book. Of course Pearson does not say, "I am Trinitarian" or "I am Unitarian" in either works. I assumed it when reading them. Is that observation or original research? I can cite the places in both works that support both viewpoints.unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:37, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Well I'm not really sure on what grounds Carlton Pearson was notable for mention in the article in the first place, but as a Living Person if he is no longer a Trinitarian then he probably should be removed from the article.In ictu oculi (talk) 13:49, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Begun CLeanupEdit

The main issue with this article is that it needs to focus on TRINITARIAN Universalism and leave the major Universalist topics to Christian Universalism.

To that end, I have removed the Biblical Passages objections and response... I don't think it can be put into the Christian Universalism article, because a lot of it is unsourced.... Sethie (talk) 13:10, 10 November 2019 (UTC)

Material moved from the articleEdit

A lot of the below is well written, except that it has no sources and there were tags saying it duplicated other articles...

Also, we are dealing with the fact that this article duplicates multiple other articles.

This material may be better put in other related articles Sethie (talk) 19:24, 15 November 2019 (UTC)

moved material begins here:

Bible teaches eternity of hellEdit

The following are problematic verses for Trinitarian Universalists and which they usually seek to qualify in some way.

The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats
Matthew 25:14–30
Jesus is teaching a principle of Kingdom living: small acts of kindness have eternal value. This is not a teaching about what merits salvation and what merits damnation and it is definitely not a teaching about the eternity of hell. Also, the Greek word 'aion' can be interpreted as "a long time" as well as "eternal". Finally, this passage may not be dealing with personal eschatology at all, but rather with the judgement of Christ on nations based on how they treat his children. On this view, the passage teaches that nations that abuse Christians will be subject to enduring chastisement while those who protect Christians will enjoy enduring life.
Pauline writings
2 Thessalonians 1:9
The phrase "everlasting destruction" could be translated as "destruction of the coming age" which makes it a reference to eschatological judgment. The phrase "and shut out" should be translated as "that comes from". Therefore the verse should be read as: "They will be punished with destruction of the coming age that comes from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power." The imagery is that of the holiness of God burning away forever the sinful nature of unrepentant man.[1]
Eschaton in Revelation
Revelation 14:11
This description is considered hyperbole.

Some attempts to explain the passage note the ancient uses of burning sulfur for ritual purification and even medicinal therapy, that the Greek word for 'torment' -basanazo- refers to applying a touchstone to determine the presence of gold, and that the Greek word for sulfur 'theoin" is rooted in the Greek 'theos' for 'god'. Thus, the passage could be paraphrased that those who worship the Beast would be tested, tried, even purged and healed through the "burning sulfur" of the Divine Presence, and that such an ordeal will endure for aions of anions, however long is needed for their restoration.

Revelation 19:3
This refers to the whore of Babylon which is a metaphor for corrupt political systems and/or economic policies. It is not a reference to the eternal suffering of people.
In Revelation, the kings of the earth are depicted as in league with the Whore of Babylon, which is probably symbolic of corrupt political and/or socioeconomic systems, and they are drunk on the maddening wine of her adulteries.[2] They weep and mourn when she is finally thrown into the Lake of Fire.[3] Then they gather on the plains of Megiddo with the Beast to fight the "King of kings and Lord of lords" and the armies of heaven in the final battle, Armageddon. They are defeated and the Beast and his False Prophet are thrown into the Lake of Fire. Those who followed them are slain with "the sword that came out of the mouth" of the Word of God which is probably symbolic of the Gospel or Truth.[4] But in the last scene in New Jerusalem, where the gates are ever open, where the leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations, the kings of the earth are expected to enter, bringing their splendor with them.[5]

Calvinist objectionsEdit

Romans 9, according to Calvinism, teaches that some people are natural objects of God's wrath, created and prepared for the purpose of being destroyed. Judas was predestined to be the Son of Perdition, the one prophesied to betray Jesus. It is written that "It would be better for him if he had not been born" (despite the fact that, without Judas' betrayal there would have been no crucifixion, no resurrection and therefore no salvation). God foreknew all those he would save and that some people are destined for eternal damnation. Also, according to Calvinism, justice requires that sins against an infinite, holy God merit eternal punishment, especially for those who reject his gift of salvation. God is love and also holy. Thirdly, Calvinists would contend that nowhere in the bible does it even hint at the possibility of post-mortem salvation. After death comes judgment.

F.W. Farrar offers this possible interpretation to Jesus' remarks regarding Judas. When Jesus said, "it would be better for him if he had not been born," the "him" was referring to the Son of Man (Jesus) and the "he" to Judas. Thus he meant that it would have been better for the Son of Man if Judas had not been born. Another view is that although everyone else is to be saved, perhaps Judas will be punished and then annihilated. At any rate the passage does not disprove universalism and certainly does not prove eternal torment.

Pointing to God's eternality is not a satisfactory explanation as to why a temporal sin logically entails unending punishment, though it may be for that reason eternally grave. God's attributes can never conflict with one another, lest God be an imperfect being who is subject to internal strife. God's mercy can never violate his justice, as if God's Love pushes him in one direction whereas his holiness pushes him in another. Universalism brings all his attributes into harmony by pointing out the way in which they describe the one single will of God. The early twentieth century theologian Paul Tillich described this relationship between God's justice and mercy as "creative justice" and as "the strange work of love" in Love, Power, and Justice. Creative justice refers to justice under the principle of agape, or unambiguous and unconditional love. Because it drives towards the reunion of the separated (eros) unconditionally (agape), it makes amends with s/he whom is separated by severing from their personal center that which entrenches the separation (i.e. "the strange work"). This ultimately entails being faced with the Law, or the unconditionality of the moral imperative, and recognizing the need for reconciliation and forgiveness. This "destructive" work of love is always for the sake of building up love's object as and into a subject. Gestalt therapy and psychotherapy are modern examples of love doing this strange work: the process is painful and entails major reform, but health and well-being are its intention. Martin Luther said "the love of God creates its own object."

  1. ^ Bonda, Jan. The One Purpose of God: An Answer to the Doctrine of Eternal Punishment. 1993. ISBN 0-8028-4186-4. pp 211–212
  2. ^ Revelation 20:2
  3. ^ Revelation 18:9
  4. ^ Revelation 20:11–21
  5. ^ Revelation 21–22
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