When it takes an Arminian to explain Calvinism

What kind of Christian are you? Did Jesus die for everyone, or just for the believer? Did you yield to God’s Spirit, or were you simply chosen? What about depravity, are people incapable of receiving “the things of God”, as it’s written. Why isn’t everybody saved (or are they?), are people unsaved because they’ve resisted God’s grace, or because God’s withheld faith and Their saving grace? No debate highlights our differences so great as when Arminians debate Calvinists, however, in my experience, Calvinists are involved in an awful lot of doubletalk on the subject, to so great an extent that most people, Calvinists included, don’t know what Calvinism actually is, they don’t get how sincere believers differ on the subject. Some notable Calvinists include Jeff Durbin, Dr. James White and John Piper, two of which I’m actually reading from right now. But where do you fall on the subject? What explains Calvinism best would be the famous acronym T.U.L.I.P.


People freely do evil, Calvinism teaches, yet, how’s that so when God’s an irresistible God, couldn’t He have determined man to do (and prefer to do) good if He’s an irresistible God? Yet, isn’t that to compromise man’s freedom to pick, choose and love God with an authentic, freely given love? I can’t make people love me, but, could God make me love Him? How can God be an irresistible God if people are lost, wouldn’t such an idea imply God didn’t want their rescue in the first place? Now, I’ve long listened to one of the leading defenders of Calvinism from out of the States (Dr. James White), and they haven’t done so well a job at explaining Calvinism as the scholar in the upcoming video has. Dr. Jerry Walls, who’s described as the leading critic of Calvinism, does so fair a job of introducing the uninitiated to Calvinism, that I wanted to share it here. Where do you land on the debate? I’d advise believers to break each of the letters down and see how strong each feel in light of Scripture as we go. Is the tulip going to wilt, or are believers in human freewill setting up a man centred, false gospel?

― T. C. M

17 thoughts on “When it takes an Arminian to explain Calvinism

  1. I remember a deacon / elder / guy in a position of authority in my old church teaching me that “once saved always saved” was not a contradiction from “the shepherd holds his sheep firmly in his hands and no one can snatch them away from him, but he doesn’t stop them from freely jumping out of his hands.” I’m not sure which kind of Christian that makes me.

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    • I suppose the fact that there’s an exception to the rule, namely the son of perdition, who is lost, would mean it’s not necessarily true that people are once saved and always saved, although, it may be believed from the text that true believers today are saved and always saved. The issue is so complex and exciting that it’s one of the reasons I call Calvinists my brothers, unlike in the case of Muslims, Mormons and the like, I can see an honest disagreement with the Calvinist and the traditionalist baptist. There’s fair ground for disagreement here. The Calvinist might say “OldSchool, God can save you in spite of your poor theology.” To which I can only reply “Of course, He can save us to the uttermost because His atoning sacrifice was unlimited. 😉 ”Really interesting point, Jamie. I wonder if you came away agreeing with this elder guy’s views.


      • My motto is: “It’s important to learn everything you can, but nobody says you have to believe everything that you’re taught.”
        I respect his right to believe as he does, I think of his beliefs as neither right nor wrong, just different.


      • By “neither right nor wrong”, we’re meaning to write accurate and inaccurate, correct? I mean, it’s not a moral thing, but an accuracy thing. So, even if we haven’t yet formed an ironclad opinion on the views of somebody else as being accurate, their views are either right or wrong, it’s not that they’re neither, it’s just that we’ve not arrived at an opinion on their views one way or another. “the jury is still out” as they say. Have you had an opportunity to listen to Dr. Walls yet? After reading a little from your blog I’d really enjoy your take on his lecture.


      • More like: “sense of right and wrong – motivation deriving logically from ethical or moral principles that govern a person’s thoughts and actions”. I never thought to think of “right and wrong” in terms of “accurate and inaccurate”. To the Calvinist, he is right and the Arminian is wrong, to the Arminian, he is right and the Calvinist is wrong; when in reality, there is every possibility that neither of them are right and neither of them are wrong, depending on which point of view you have from where you’re looking at the problem. God, for example, may neither be Calvinist or Arminian, though His Word can be interpreted to support both positions, there’s always the possibility that he’s something else entirely. After all, when the Bible was bound for the first time, the potential to read Calvinism and Arminianism out of it was there, but nobody had thought to do that yet. And even now, there could be a whole third or fourth or fifth major school of thought to emerge from Bible interpretation given enough time and creativity. I just refuse to take sides.
        I finished the video on your blog. It was interesting, it helped me understand the suspicion I had of doublespeak going on in their debates. No wonder it’s so hard to agree on much of anything when both sides mean different things by the same word.


      • “sense of right and wrong”, would this be big city fancy talk for the Calvinist/Armenian being “of the opinion” that their views are accurate, Jamie? Would I be being generous to read your reply as: “To the Calvinist, he is [of the opinion that he’s] right and the Arminian is wrong, to the Arminian, he is [of the opinion that he’s] right and the Calvinist is wrong;”?

        That’s an excellent snapshot of people in their subjectivism, for which we’re simply sharing an array of opinions, due to what only views which are positively diametrically opposed would have to face off in a sense. An example being librarian freewill versus straight determinism (not compatible determinism), “the ability of the creature to choose A or to not choose A” versus “the inability to do anything other than choose A (full stop)”. In the case of libertarian freewill versus not libertarian freewill there appears to be no mystery third option, albeit some of our brightest are bound to go into hair splitting over varieties of determinism (soft/hard determinism). Admittedly to read “there is every possibility that neither of them are right and NEITHER OF THEM ARE WRONG,” confuses to no end. There’s absolutely no need for the distinction between “right/wrong” when yourself and I are merely using your definition of “of the opinion that”, or “sense of right and wrong”, if we’re using right/wrong in your subjective sense they’re both right and both wrong in any room where both Arminianism and Calvinism are fairly represented.

        Just so long as they’re being believed as accurate one way or another they’re “right” in your sense (hence you’ve shared “depending on which point of view you have from where you’re looking at the problem.”) Every camp believes their view nearer not to their own viewpoint, but to God’s ordained system of things as revealed by Their revelation (the view from above). Writing in my sense however, as in accuracy/inaccuracy, true/false, you’ve explained “God, for example, may neither be Calvinist or Arminian,” which can appear to make some sense regarding “neither [view] being right”, though not with regards to “neither being wrong”, because for straight libertarian freewill to be actual would undo a firm Calvinist’s determinism. It’s the old saying you could both be wrong (incorrect), but you can’t both be right (correct).

        Even to have Calvinism/Arminianism both proven not to belong to the God’s eye view would mean punting to another view which belonged more upon one side than another concerning the hot question of human freedom and foreknowledge (the diametrically opposed either A not A views). If Molinism were the most accurate viewpoint, for example, Arminianism being a bastardized Molinism would mean Arminius (Arminius and not Calvin) came away nearer to having had a God’s eye view of sovereignty, freedom, salvation. Calvin and Arminius don’t appear to be both capable of being right/accurate/true unless somehow contradiction corresponds to reality (which God’s word appears to deny).

        “given time and creativity” I do appreciate how new kinds of interpretation could emerge. I’ve never considered the sky the limit however, for example, creative minds don’t imagine in colours we’ve never witnessed, nor do they suppose shapes you and I couldn’t entertain. People are either free or they’re determined, you see colours or don’t, albeit fresh interpretations could come about like how a bastardized Arminianism differed over against Molinism (both supposing creatures truly free in the plain sense of the word free), and various soft deterministic readings of Scripture which aren’t straight determinism. Like an abacus readers could develop their theology to the extent of either extreme (A or not A/A and only A), what they couldn’t do however is break the abacus (like how an artist can’t boast of having painted by shapes which nobody else could’ve done).

        The doubletalk does utterly infuriate, especially when their use of language serendipitously results in an unattractive aspect of Calvinism being disguised. The confusion of language only comes about when people are in danger of concluding something ugly by Calvinism. “Double predestination” (terminology which I’m not sure Jerry actually used in the above video) would be an excellent example of where communication appears to break down in the Calvinist’s favour. The U of T. U. L. I. P. gets praised only as it relates to man unconditionally being rescued, for which glory be to God. However, election appears conditional, I’d write, it’s based upon the condition of having an alive faith (as opposed to faith without works). That’s not to write works save (it’s by grace through faith). Nonetheless, unconditional election implies double predestination (or as I’d describe it “unconditional damnation”). That’s where people begin confusing the subject. In my experience, Calvinists are only straight shooters until they’re asked to believe damned people are damned without condition. “Oh, it’s all God. God gets the glory for gifting people faith and grace. You’ve got to attribute your rescue to God. To say you’ve had faith robs God of His glory.” Although they’re later inclined to write “Oh, it’s all man. God’s goodness isn’t discomforted because man’s sinful. You’ve got to attribute your damnation to yourself.” Again, a really interesting contribution, Jamie. Hopefully I’m being fair to your messages. God bless.


      • I think you’re being fair, but when it comes to the deepest aspects of Calvinism – I tend to end up getting confused and hopelessly lost at some point. Sometimes I wonder if they keep it wordy so that people’s attention spans will time out long before they realize that a lot of it doesn’t make sense. As much as I’ve looked it up time and time again, it’s just never really been my cup of tea. I try to align my beliefs with particular concepts: love God, love everyone else (neighbors and enemies, all people in general), be merciful, compassionate, and kind, put people ahead of the rules (it’s lawful to heal on Sundays), take care of others first; that sort of thing. I tend not to think about TULIPs for the most part.


      • You and me both, which was actually why I wanted to share Dr. Walls’ lecture. To find an articulate, accurate voice demystifying Calvinism, especially when the Calvinists wouldn’t, that’s something I knew was worth sharing. Anybody in their thirties or above will remember that really old TV show, magic circle unmasked or something (remember that?), where you’d have “the masked magician” explaining how famous magic tricks were done. Total jerk, 😛 ruined magic for everybody, although, that’s the kind of treatment Calvinism needed, because faithful Calvinists weren’t and are not helping. When believers won’t, or feel they can’t, share their Calvinism, share a view which they’re so bold as to describe as “the gospel”, that’s alarm bells in my head. Much like yourself, I’ve always found an overarching theme, or concept, one so overpowering within the Bible that it’s solid a foundation upon which to best understand the material when in doubt, God’s love is an awesome example of that.

        When it comes to wordy presentations of Calvinism, I’m of the opinion that Calvinists have set the terms of the conversation for far too long. An example would be “particular redemption”, which is just another way of writing “defined atonement”, which is yet again another way of writing “limited atonement.” Now, why wouldn’t Calvinists just stay with limited atonement? Perhaps because associating the word “limited” to the cross is a source of discomfort for the reformed camp, for which they’ve got to micromanage every single speck of the conversation. Of course Scripture on the face of the text goes totally against limited atonement, due to what the “I” of the tulip collapses also, for if God’s sacrifice were made on behalf of everybody, yet certain people are unsaved, then somehow, by some means, they’re resisting God’s Holy Spirit. They’re free enough to resist.

        For people who would enjoy hearing an expert rebuttal from someone of the reformed viewpoint, I’d probably recommend Dr. James White, who uploaded a radio rebuttal (or perhaps a written article) about three years after Dr. Jerry Walls made their “What’s Wrong with Calvinism” video. It would be best to link to the actual video/article itself, sadly the links I’ve found have all been taken down, luckily there’s an article in which James’ arguments are listed minute by minute. I didn’t find their reply particularly impressive, although I did seek it out knowing he’s a very dedicated and intelligent believer. Let’s see….



      • I remember that show – he believed that the magic community had become complacent and by revealing the old tricks, he was hoping the magic community would innovate new tricks to thrill, delight, and surprise. It’s available on Netflix 🙂
        I find that a lot of beliefs are daisy-chained together, you’ll find a great many calvinists who are young earth creationists and complementarians; as if what they believe in the specific manner of how they believe it is the only true doctrine out there and everyone who doesn’t believe as they do is misinformed. I find a lot of people spend a lot of time trying to convert Christians from one denomination to another rather than focus their efforts on the unsaved. But if that strategy were a sound one, we wouldn’t have countless denominations and movements.

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  2. To me the solution is: God desires all to be saved. God’s purposes will be accomplished. God allows us to disobey out of his mercy so that he can have mercy on all of us and we will all know he is God. I believe God will one day accomplish his mission, even with allowing for our choices, such that all people will be saved. I have a tattoo on my arm from 1 Timothy 4:10 that says that God “is the savior of all people, especially those who believe.” I feel Calvinists and Arminians need to get together to understand the big picture. God’s judgements are severe at times, but even those are acts of his mercy.

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    • Even the Talmud explains how God’s mercy in some way “outdoes” Their wrath, perhaps because (as Dr. Walls explained) wrath isn’t an essential of God, but rather power and love are indispensable aspects of Their Spirit. I suppose in reply I’d write God doesn’t accomplish everything He desires, so He purposes events and actions diferently from those things which He would like to have done in our lives. He is commited to greater things. So when we write Their purposes “will be accomplished” we’ve then got to answer what are God’s purposes. For example, the Lord didn’t desire that parents sacrifice their children through fire to idols, and yet that’s exactly what He allowed for to happen. God’s committed to something greater than the rescue of physical bodies from the fire at our expense of freely accepting/rejecting Him, namely an authentic relationship between Himself and His creation. An example of our relationship with God is, as Calvinists overemphasize, one of the potter and the clay, and of course, the potter has full rights over the clay. However, that’s one of the least stressed of the examples of our relationship, rather, we’re described as the sheep of a Shepard, and lastly, in the most common expression, we’re written of as a bride. Lewis in their “The Problem of Pain” book wrote that’s the most dangerous of relationships to describe in print, and he’s right, as it’s the most details, and thus more open to being perverted. To say we are His bride is a wonderful and scary thing if we’re unsure of how to understand it.

      Insofar as my reading of Scripture goes however, God’s mission isn’t to rescue everybody (it’s to show Their mercy upon all), because They desire more that people freely choose Him rather than to have to coerce their worship and love. He makes an open show of universal mercy by a truly bona fide offer of grace extended towards everybody, and yet that’s never to overstep or override Their want for our freely choosing Him. If Their purpose is to save everyone, and not to make a universal show of His saving grace, I’d enjoy reading some scripture to that effect. I have an interesting story which I’m sure would be helpful here.

      Recently I’d been talking to a Jehovah witness, an older man who insisted Jesus didn’t return in Their own body, rather he was adamant that Jehovah needed the body of Jesus for Their sacrifice to be truly made, due to which Jesus after being crucified took different forms, returning in a spirit body. I pointed towards two portions of scripture which totally undid their views:

      1. The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

      2. While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

      To this view they said no, they insisted they too have scriptures which support their view, and after trying several which fell flat, the older man held up on one single verse. Their big stronghold. They used 1 Peter 3:18, which read “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” I bluntly replied “Being made alive in the Spirit isn’t the same as saying Jesus was made alive as a spirit.” Although this wasn’t getting through. What did get through however was this question “Isn’t it a rule of good hermeneutics that we understand unclear verses in light of clear verses, and not in the reverse?” This hit home. I had shared very explicate verses, portions of scripture in which Jesus said “a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have” He was saying “I am NOT a spirit”, my witness friend went from explicate verses to a less clear verse and tried to forcefully interpret the clear in light of the unclear.

      In so doing they wounded the text, causing damage to a fuller understanding which does no damage to either verse, in this particular case the fuller, less destructive understanding was my own. That may not always be true, but in this case it was. The best question which you and I as thoughtful people should be asking is how much damage (if any) does a universalist picture do to the scriptures, similarly does an understanding which doesn’t include some kind of worldwide rescue of sinners somehow harm God’s revealed word about Himself. For example, I love 1 Timothy 4:10, which reads “That is why we labour and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, and especially of those who believe.” We’re reminded we’re to labour for God’s kingdom, to strive, and that we’ve put our hope in a living God who truly is the Saviour of all people (as Jesus died on behalf of all). However, in Matthew 25:46, Jesus teaches concerning the unsaved: “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Notice there’s a sort of contrast between an eternity of life, yet also an eternity of punishment. What the faithful receive in full the unsaved receive in kind, and it’s in a universalist understanding where I’m thinking we’d begin to do damage to the scriptures in the above.

      We labour and strive precisely because everybody isn’t saved, everybody isn’t rescued, but rather the saving grace of God is made available to all, in addition to rescue being made actual or possible on behalf of all people before Christ retroactively (Abraham was saved by faith after all). Anyhow, it’s really awesome to read and respond to your message, Nicole. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading and I’ll hear back from you soon.

      Best wishes and God bless.

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      • I appreciated your response. You said if there is a good explanation of why God may save everyone, you would be interested and I can recommend no better book than “The inescapable love of God” by Thomas Talbott. He contends that there is no wrong done by God eventually removing all obstacles that keep one from realizing his goodness and the evil that comes from refusing it (he writes a lot more and better than me.) He compares it to one who has put one’s hand in a fire. Someone with a rational mind will not do it again. For God to eventually remove all obstacles to belief in him for all people does not do injustice to their free will. I think a universalist understanding of scriptures gives a better and more holistic understanding of scripture than anything else. Why did Jesus not simply preach salvation and take the kingdom? Just preach repentence to him? Because forgiveness has to start somewhere and he showed ultimate forgiveness in forgiving even the people who crucified him. If god wants to be able to have mercy on everyone, this was the beginning. 1 Peter 3:19 say that Jesus went and preached to imprisoned spirits from the days of Noah. I feel the good news is really good news for everyone. Of course, it needs to be preached because it is only through Christ that we can be saved.

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  3. Also, the word that commonly gets translated as “everlasting” is aionian, a word that means age-enduring, even in modern greek, as my former Greek boyfriend will attest. It’s translated according to traditions passed down by the church. Most of the early church was universalist, but the power of the sword came over when Rome converted to Christianity and the doctrine of everlasting punishment took. I used to be arminian, but I feel that believe that God is truly loving and loves everyone combined with knowledge of trying to truly understand the scriptures in their larger context and the goodness of God causes me to believe God has a plan for everyone. He created everybody and the bible says he will reconcile all things to himself (Colossians 1:20). I feel if studied well enough, the passages for the salvation of all people and Jesus being good news to all people are clearer than any passages for everlasting torment.

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    • I suppose Thomas’ conclusion would be based upon the idea that people are truly rational in their rejection of God, in addition to believing that we’re somehow rational and able to learn in hell or the grave or wherever/whatever state it is that he believes the unsaved are going to be in when they’re set into an “aionian” punishment. The majority of people who reject God, at least in the now, aren’t doing so because they’ve been rationalists who make decisions based upon an oven burner “once bitten twice shy” decision making process. I imagine any seasoned evangelist would agree, because even when they (the Christians) have every answer, every argument, and even when they argue in love, most of the time the other person’s just going to say “I’ve got my views. That’s that.” The rationalist, dismayed, replies “But but but, I’ve got the answers!” and that’s true, the other person simply doesn’t care. Of course I would have to read their book so to make an accurate objection (if any).

      “Why did Jesus not simply preach salvation and take the kingdom?” My reply can only be to write Jesus wasn’t simply an ordinary preachers, but rather the spotless lamb, it’s an issue of sacrifice. This makes sense historically speaking, as sacrifice (so say the Pharisees) wasn’t accepted since the year 30AD, whereabouts when Christ was put to death. After which the sacrificial system itself was done away with with the destruction of the second temple in the year 70AD. I do appreciate how Christ as our model for human behaviour said on the cross “Forgive them Father, they know not what they do”, however, we’d be hard-pressed to extract universalism therefrom. It’s like when our brothers in Calvinism use Psalms (AKA songs) to try and make the Lord “hate” people (or even an e.g. of “Jacob I’ve loved but Esau I’ve hated”). To which of course you and I can reply “Songs aren’t the safest place to gather an understanding of God’s nature from.” There’s genre, context and historic backdrop to be considered. That’s why it’s safer to ground our interpretation of Scripture in principles.

      With regards to 1 Peter 3:19, apparently there’s around 12 different interpretations of the chapter in its fullness, for which it’s always better to set our feet on less contentious ground so to enter into Peter later. As I’ve tried with my witness friend, to limited success (the rationalist in me must be furious!) About God’s good news being good for everyone, you wouldn’t go so far as to write an Arminian interpretation of the crucifixion wasn’t good news for everybody, right? Because Christ being offered upon behalf of everyone, even when we’re faced with the fact of people rejecting that same sacrifice, that’s still good news for all. If a person were offered a miracle cure for some terrible illness, and they reject it, I wouldn’t say that simply on account of them rejecting the treatment it wasn’t good news. On the contrary, it would be fantastic news that they’d been gifted this wonderful, curative medicine. I can see why a Calvinist perspective could be considered less than good news, because of double predestination. God damning people for doing what He predetermined them to do, be it based upon our sins or Adam’s as the federal head. Being a universalist circumvents this problem.

      Now, I’ve been looking forward to replying on this, and hopefully you don’t mind if I’m a bit cheeky here. 🙂 I don’t speak classical Greek, although I do know my Greek alphabet, this guy taught me, doing so within a day.

      Honestly I need to share their video, because if his little story can teach a chilled out (AKA lazy) guy like me it can teach anybody. Anyhow, my point is to write when in doubt differ to an authority, in your case, it’s your ex, although in my case, it’s moody Matt Slick. The reason I’ve read why translators, who of course are greater authorities than us both, translate aionion as eternal isn’t because it’s not “age-enduring” (because they happily write that’s correct), rather, they opt for eternal because, like in the case of every language, words have multiple meanings drawn out by the surrounding context.

      We can find aionion in many different cases (genitive, nominative) and yet, in many cases it’s clearly in reference to eternity given the immediate context. Romans 16:26, for example, reads “but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— “ No Christian would want to write God exists “for an age” or “age-enduring” instead of eternal, as if to write He won’t endure after an age. This is why we defer to experts, me to Matt Slick, my interlinear Bible and other sources. Whereas you may defer to Thomas Talbott (here comes the cheek) and an ex who’s Greek, but you can’t defer to him any more, because he’s an ex, and we screen their calls so as to not talk to them. 😉

      Writing you used to be an Arminian was an interesting point to read, how do you identify now? I imagine a person could be something of a universalist and believe in an Arminian interpretation of God’s sovereignty. Perhaps a four point Calvinists would mesh better into your understanding, or maybe another opinion I’ve not considered. Lastly, you’ve shared how “Most of the early church was universalist, but the power of the sword came over when Rome converted to Christianity and the doctrine of everlasting punishment took.” That’s a bold claim, one I’d never personally make without having done an awful lot of church history. I’m curious, is this what Thomas Talbott also teaches? We can’t safely write for Christians who never put pen to paper, although for everybody I’ve read from, they appear to presuppose an eternal punishment for the unrepentant:

      Barnabas (A.D. 70)

      “[Christ speaking] I see that I shall thus offer My flesh for the sins of the new people.”

      “The way of darkness is crooked, and it is full of cursing. It is the way of eternal death with punishment.”

      Letter to Diognetus (A.D. 125-200)

      “You should fear what is truly death, which is reserved for those who will be condemned to the eternal fire. It will afflict those who are committed to it even to the end.”

      Polycarp (A.D. 135)

      “They despised all the torments of this world, redeeming themselves from eternal punishment by the suffering of a single hour…For they kept before their view escape from that fire which is eternal and will never be quenched.”


      Having studied a fair amount of Ignatius’ authentic letters I can add he appeared to believe in eternal damnation also. I can’t really see much of the history rewriting tyranny which Jehovah witnesses, Muslims and Mormons insist took place to hide their pure faiths, which they insist were the predominate viewpoint before the advent of [insert your favourite baddy here]. Once again, it’s been a real pleasure replying to your message, Nicole. Keep well and I hope to hear back from you later. 🙂


      • I appreciate what your saying. I haven’t looked at the video yet, but I will. mAny phone is having issues on me, so I’ll get back to you when I can get into my computer. As for my understanding, there were 6 Christian schools of thought before A.D. 500 and 4 were universalist, one was annhilationist, and 1 (the church in rome) believed in eternal punishment. Rome won over due to the sword, according to Talbitt. For a list of early Christian universalist you can go to http://www.tentmaker.org/tracts/Universalists.html . The important thing, though, I think we can both agree, is a relationship with Christ. It is his continual presence that reassures me of his salvation, whatever I might believe about the rest of creation. He is God and is reigning from heaven and it is good to know he is in control and he is truly good.

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