Calvinism is Jank

When you get to be my age as a college professor you have to start acting like an anthropologist to keep up with the culture of your students. When I started teaching I could make a Seinfeld joke and everyone in the class would laugh. I was young enough that the students and I shared pop culture.

Those days are long gone. Both because I've aged and because I don't have the time I used to have to see movies, watch TV, be on Facebook, or listen to new music.

To remedy this situation I resort to anthropological fieldwork. I ask my students about what they are listening to, what's cool, what's lame. And so on. And I also pay attention how my students talk.

The other day I was visiting with Caren, our student worker in the department. She was talking about something and said, "It was pretty jank."


"Did you say jank?" I asked. "J-a-n-k?"

"Yes," she replied. "Don't you know what jank means?"

I did not. So she spent some time explaining it to me. The anthropologist hard at work.

My researches into the meaning of jank continued this last weekend eating pizza with our friends Matt and Amy (Happy Birthday Amy!). Matt, being much more cool than I, helped fill in some details. I also spent some time looking up jank on Urban Dictionary.

As best I can tell, jank originally meant that something was of poor or lesser quality. But the meaning of jank has now evolved into an all purpose word for saying something is bad. Context largely defines the meaning of jank. If you don't like something or find something to be defective, cheap, or of poor quality you can call it jank. As in, "X is jank." (You can even say something is "janky".)

Given that this blog is on the cutting edge of theological experimentation (e.g., I've tried to introduce "D'oh" into the theological lexicon) I thought I'd try to introduce jank into the theological blogosphere.

Hence the title of this post.

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99 thoughts on “Calvinism is Jank”

  1. According to Urban Dictionary, "jank" means (among other things) "unnecessarily redundant, superfluous, or meaningless". 

    Which is interesting, because arguably the word "jank" is itself "unnecessarily redundant, superfluous, or meaningless". Plus "unnecessarily redundant" is itself a redundancy. So "jank" is a janky word meaning jankily jank.

    I'm So Meta, Even This Acronym... ;-)

  2. I love it!  There's a certain je ne se quoi about "jank" that works for me!  Especially in the context of Calvinism...  Things that make you go, "D'oh!"

    My warmest wishes to Amy on her birthday.  Love and blessings -- if it could be bottled up and shipped to TX, I'd send a truckload to Matt and Amy.  Do you think that prayer generates a butterfly effect, to describe the impact in human, scientific terms?  I hope so!  ~Peace~

  3. One man's (or woman's) "jank" is another man's treasure ;-)

    Seriously, I think it all comes down to what those belief systems do to us.  Actions tend to follow belief-thoughts.

  4. There is no commonality between Calvinism and Universalism.  God is not sovereign in Universalism.  Man is God and he can do anything he wants. No repercussions.  Period.  I'll take my chances with Calvinism.  Defining differences between right and wrong...

  5. I have to agree with Richard on this one. Moreover, the God of Calvinism sacrificed His only Son on the cross for blood just to forgive His people. If it was only death God was after then clearly God could have killed Christ in a more humane way. No it was both blood and death God was after. Only a madman would require blood to forgive. The sacrifices don't stop there though. No, most of mankind will suffer forever in the lake of fire under God's barbaric wrath.

  6. How can you possibly "take your chances" with Calvinism? It's not up to you, what you do or don't believe. And if God wants to save a universalist God can do that, right? And if God elects to damn a Calvinist God can do that, right? So it really doesn't matter how you or I "take our chances."

  7. Ha!  I love that this post is about the word, jank, and not Calvinism.  Consider me a fellow anthropologist, as I have struggled to keep up with teen trends while helping my husband with youth ministry.  Urban dictionary has definitely been my friend, but I have also found (as I'm sure you have, as well) that getting the information directly from teens/college students has its own benefits.  Yes, I look like a moron, and the teens are always very amused by my ignorance, but it gives me a chance to really listen to them and see what's important to them.  Plus, my genuine interest in the nuances of their world somehow conveys to them that I care about them.  It's a win-win situation!

  8. So glad you noticed that. Yes, it's a post about jank and not about Calvinism.

  9. And let me add this. I don't have anything against Calvinists as people or Christians. I extend the right hand of fellowship. I just don't get it from an intellectual standpoint. But then again I don't get a lot of things so that's cool.

  10. I confess, this post startled me.  I graduated college less than three years ago, and for all intents and purposes I still consider myself "young" and to a lesser extent, "hip."  However...I did not know what "jank" meant, nor have I used it in a sentence.  Has youth jargon and popular culture evolved so fast that being two or three years removed can cause one to be out of the loop?  

    I now ask myself: do I adapt and start using "jank" in my every day vocabulary, or do I just continue using the same slang I grew up with, with the hopes that in a few decades, it will still/again be fashionable to use the words "bro," "epic," and "chillaxin'."

  11. Is jank new? I feel like I've been saying that for years, and I'm...not that young. (Okay. I admit it. Most of my slang still comes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I don't care what the kids say, it will never go out of style!) 

  12. However, a debate about Calvinism and universalism has broken out in the thread. Someone said that universalism is jank. That is OUTRAGEOUS!!!!! I'm up in arms. A jank-calling contest has broken out.

  13. Can't say if it's new. I'm just sad that when I make a Senfeld joke about "The Contest" I just blank stares.

  14. Welcome to the world of blogging.  When one opens a discussion a variety of opinions do occur.  I will stop the rabbit trail on Calvinism if I have ruined your day.  Please write a post relating to the two theological perspectives and I will gladly move my comments over there.  If you allow divergent views....I mainly see cheer leaders posting with total agreement.  Lively  discussion and healthly arguments are good.  It sharpens us.

  15. I was being silly. I don't mind you defending Calvinism. Below your other comments I asked you some questions. Let's talk about those.

  16. Will do.  It might take a day or two to get going since my job is in sales and I can't always stop and write.

  17. "God is not sovereign in Universalism. Man is God and he can do anything he wants."

    Hmmm. Let's see how that plays out:

    For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 

    Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 
    He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 
    Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? 
    But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. 

    You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

    For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. 

    Sounds pretty "sovereign" to me. In fact, the only time I see man mentioned is in bringing "condemnation," as all Christian viewpoints short of universalism are so good at doing. Thankfully it was God again, in Christ, whose one act of righteousness brings life for ALL men.... including Calvinists.

  18. Great. Let me sharpen my questions for you:

    Is believing in Calvinism a mark of election? For example, can I, believing in universalism, be one of the elect though I don't believe in Calvinism? That is, can I be elect but be confused and even in error?

    Conversely, does believing in Calvinism necessarily mark one as elect? And if that's not the necessary mark, what is? How do the non-Calvinist and Calvinist elect know they are elect?

    Finally, if believing in Calvinism is a facet of election then belief in Calvinism is an imputed act of grace on God's part. Belief in Calvinism is grace and not a work. If so, then there's no point in arguing about this, as I see it, because I just don't have the grace yet to see it. So trying to persuade me of Calvinism is essentially pointless. My mind is darkened as a person bound for torment. Right? So why debate? You're talking to a brickwall, an unregenerate mind.  You should be praying for me!

  19. No repercussions, eh? How about we all go read what Richard has written about Universalism and hell. No /eternal/ repercussions, sure. That's not the same as no repercussions, though.
    Beyond which, I'm skeptical that repercussions is really something we want...

  20. This is funny, but I'll point out that not all redundancies are unnecessary. Safety redundancies come to mind, and redundancy can make a rhetorical point (and so is not unnecessary, if that point is relevant). Therefore, unnecessary is a necessary modifier for redundancy, and so is not a redundancy, necessary or otherwise.

  21. I'm in university (grad school, though, which is not a hot spot for linguistic coolness) and I have never heard the word "jank" used before.

  22. To add to Richard's question: "So why debate? You're talking to a brickwall, an unregenerate mind.  You should be praying for me!"

    But why even pray? Anyone's election or damnation was determined before the foundation of the world, at least according to Calvinism, so trying to change God's mind is completely futile. This is just another of the many contradictions within Calvinism - a convoluted mindset which has the otherwise well-educated, like John Piper, unthinkingly confirming the doctrines of Unconditional Election and Limited Atonement while claiming that there is a "universal offer of salvation." 

    Yep, it's "jank." That pretty much covers it.

  23. "I think it all comes down to what those belief systems do to us."

    Take a look at Mark Driscoll, a loving father, pastor, and devoted Christ follower, and you will see what it does.

    "God hates you." That is Mark's message today. But he says it with tears in his eyes, as if there was something anyone could do to change that.

  24. Hi Noname,
    Clearly you're new here, so "Welcome." Richard's blog is one of, if not THE most hospitable blog on theology, with a variety of discussions and viewpoints. I hope you'll spend some time reading his posts on universalism (here's his FAQ link on it: ) I think it will surprise you. Perhaps it will help clear up some misconceptions. His whole series is worth the time, if you're interested, and answers thoroughly and Biblically the most common objections and critiques.  It's not an attempt to change your mind so much as to give you a better perspective and dispel assumptions. Blessings, and again, welcome. 

  25.  I'm not able to respond to the post below because there was no reply button.  BTW I am not interested in converting you to a particular theological perspective.  I am at lunch break and not able to write a long dialog at the moment.  Looking forward to this discussion.  Not interested in the "cheerleaders" commenting between our discussion.  I hope they pick another thread.

  26. I imagine there are plenty of millenials unfamiliar with 'jank,' especially those who are academically and grammatically inclined.  But if u hang wit' da kids who need words dat can rly git who dey r,* then you have probably heard the word 'jank.'

    *Translation: But if you spend time around youths who desire to use a lexicon that emotionally and onomatopoeically describes their adolescent experience.

  27. I know, Jim731, I hear you.  I can only be certain about one thing:  the god of Calvinism isn't one which I can worship.  It's so interesting to me (I *WISH* I could take a detached, altogether anthropological approach) how prevalent the Calvinist (neo-, hyper-Reformed) doctrine is among Protestants of all flavors.  And for that matter, I don't see how Reformed doctrine is really all that different from conservative RC doctrine.  By its nature, it is a system of thought that is unquestionable...prone to circular logic.  All systematic theologies are human constructs, it seems to me.  But as far as systematized explanations of God go, Universalism seems like a much saner option to me any which way I look at it.  Peace, friend.

  28. In my super-orthodox Dallas schools days we were early on introduced to "TULIP," an acronym for the jank in Calvinist Soterology. This was nearly 50 years ago. It's good to see it wasn't all in vain. Jank is a good descriptive word. When I first heard that bad was good, it threw me for a loop. But then I began to realize that all us old buzzards had better tune into the prevailing youth culture, else become agents of anachronistic irrelevance. Hey, I still want to be cool.......and communicate. Alas, these young people are just taking over! It's downright janky!

  29.  I get it...that was a great episode! (and I'm 27 if it helps you feel younger)

  30.  If you're surprised this happened...I'm a little disappointed... ;)

  31. I'm always surprised when people disagree with me. It's a shock to my narcissism.

    I go around muttering, "How can ANYONE disagree with me? THIS IS ME--ME!!!!--WE ARE TALKING ABOUT!"

  32. I probably can't participate in this discussion right now as I have major difficulty with the doctrine of total depravity -- the one point on which Calvinism and Arminianism seem to agree.

    *sigh* I guess I'm jank after all.

  33. Maybe it's regional slang and hasn't made it here to Northern Virginia yet. On the other hand, teen slang changes so quickly that I was out of the loop two years into college.

    Regional lingo and resulting incomprehension make it difficult to have meaningful theological discussions, don't they? On every level from the Great Schism to chatting about last Sunday's sermon. Old works like "justification" and "salvation" come with new baggage, and we don't always realize we're speaking two different languages.

  34. Welcome to sanity. It is certainly much easier and far more peaceful to trust and love God, than to run in fear, and in "circles" at that.

  35. I think I'm in a camp that strongly sympathizes with Universalism. Deep down I hope that it is true and that is a part of God. But I can't stand firmly on it like I can other truths. 

    I know there has been a lot of comments made in jest, and I'm not against those at all - I enjoy them! But I think we need to be careful, now that we are a bit more settled and putting our "thinking caps" on, let's try not to demonize Calvinism and push certain theologies and modes of thought that aren't isolated or particular to Calvinism.

    Some of the above comments seem to isolate the notion of determinism rather than Calvinism (though, I know that there is a link). I don't think Universalism or other theological "isms" are not devoid of determinism either. 

    There are a lot of very intelligent people - at least much more so than I - who have thought deeply and not without ardent conviction regarding Calvinism as well as Universalism and others. Let's not be so presumptuous and naive to think that there aren't flaws, contradictions, and maybe some intellectual justification of our emotional reactions in regards to our own thoughts and beliefs. 

    I just want to have a more honest and less defensive conversation. Let's keep trying to hit what we are aiming for. Self-critical honesty and humility can make a conversation productive. But I suppose it is hard to gauge those things through blogging threads...

  36. Let me add my welcome to those already given. Since you're new here I won't take umbrage at the "cheerleaders" comment. If you stick around for awhile and get to know some of those you labeled as cheerleaders I'm sure you'll discover they are far from the 1 dimensional caricatures your comment implied. In fact you'll discover that they are some of the best people you're likely to find out here on the interwebs.


  37. :-)

    It's not an easy thing to look at one's beliefs, face the unknown, and live with certain ambiguities...  I think we each have to work this stuff out for ourselves, when it comes right down to it.  People have their own reasons for believing the things that they do.  I don't know what God plans to do, but I hope I can become a more peaceful, trusting, loving person toward others.  In other words, not be a total jankity jank.  D'oh!  Have a good weekend, Jim.

  38. As a frequent and animated dissident here, qb can assure you that there's plenty of us-'uns about; we just choose our battles.

    Incidentally, NObama 2012.

    qb, a semi-Pelagian Arminian open theist with no Universalist tendencies and a rock-ribbed Madisonian political world view

  39. In re: the butterfly effect, don't get your hopes up.  If there's a prayer butterfly in, say, Abilene that sets in motion the dynamics you seek, it's equally possible that there's a prayer butterfly in, say, Amarillo that sets in motion the opposite dynamics.  Lorenz cuts both ways, as I always say.



  40. Given this and similar discussions out and about on the WWW, the irony of your point is certainly not lost on me.

    Imagine if we managed to focus our energy in the same mutually-edifying direction...  ~Peace~

  41. I sit here wondering how I got myself in this particular situation
    and please excuse my grammatical errors. 
    My wife is not here to correct my grammer.

     For those you who regularly
    read this blog I believe I just hit a last straw so to speak.  In between the comments on how Calvinism is
    deterministic and makes God out to be a moral monster to the patronizing post concerning
    the film Courageous. Sadly it seems to be as biting as the goofy blogs on the
    far right who argue that all denominations are going to hell.  We must be careful to not become what we so
    dislike.  Fortunately this blog seems to
    be a location for the committed Universalist. 
    Not a haven for the questioning. 

    Why am I so concerned with what you are teaching? To be
    honest you have a right to your beliefs and I am not in the least bit trying to
    change you.  I have no doubt you will
    stick to your beliefs when you are done with this conversation.  I have no doubt I will stick to mine.  Calvinism is repugnant to a Universalist.   In the same light, Universalism is disturbing
    and extremely unattractive to the Calvinist. 
    My concern is the teaching of college students your beliefs at a
    university that supposedly believes in some form of absolute truth.  I doubt parents are aware of this when they
    send their kids to ACU.   Maybe they are…that
    is their choice.
      I am a child of the
    CofC. I have four generations in that denomination.  I am keenly aware of their methodology, theology
    and culture.   Instead of producing passionate Christians
    they tend to succeed in producing folks who are very good at proof texting.  I should know.  If I ever look at my watch and the time is
    2:38PM my first thoughts are not that it is early afternoon-it is Acts
    2:38.  It was grilled in me since I was a
    child.  On the other extreme the CofC’s  Arminianism is so pronounced it borders on Pelegianism
    and on the saddest end and opposite spectrum- it produces Universalism.  People are so embarrassed by the extreme view
    of other Christians be damned for no apparent reason they tend to embrace the idea
    of Universalism as a viable alternative. 

    Sorry for the long(very long) intro to some of my
    arguments.  Presently I am spending time
    with my kids and will continue the discussion concerning your questions sometime
    in the very near future.

  42. "People are so embarrassed by the extreme view of other Christians be damned for no apparent reason they tend to embrace the idea of Universalism as a viable alternative. "
    That's very interesting. Having grown up in the SDA church I can really relate to a lot of what you say regarding CoC. And I suppose it's very possible that the quote above from you could apply to me. Had never really heard anyone say something like that before, but it really makes sense.

    Having said that, I can just say that no matter what prompted me to start having universalist ideas, I have subjected it to the most rigorous biblical, theological and philosophical scrutiny that I can and have only become more convinced in the process.

    But do bring on the dialogue. It never hurts to critically examine one's thoughts and beliefs.

  43.  Thanks for the comment. I can say I have done the same with the Doctrines of Grace (Calvinism). Extensive amounts of study and personal prayer on my knees.  Concerning the above quote.  One of the reasons the CofC started was to counter Calvinism.  Maybe my reaction was a deep down rebellion to the theology of my youth.  You never know.  All I know is the theology I have now seems more grounded than the one I was taught as a child.

  44. Welcome noname. Though I am quick to offer my own opinions on universalism and Calvinism, I certainly do welcome your comments. I will always do my best to try and understand your views, but as you implied, neither one of us is likely to change our views through a limited discussion like this. That's God's job.

    I am very interested in a couple of your comments, so please elaborate:

    "Universalism is disturbing and extremely unattractive to the Calvinist."

    Why do you find the salvation of all mankind "disturbing and unattractive?" Would you actually prefer that some people spend eternity separated from God? If you truly believe that only God can heal and restore you, why do you not want Him to do the same thing for everyone?

    Why are you so "concerned" about what Dr. Beck (or anyone for that matter) may "teach" to someone else? Is it possible that an "elect" person could be deceived and ultimately lost forever? Or, perhaps even worse(?), is it possible for a "non-elect" person to find faith in God through a universalist viewpoint, and come to love Him with all of their heart and mind, and thus be "saved?"

    Concerning universalism, I would concur with Dan G below, in that "I have subjected it to the most rigorous biblical, theological and philosophical scrutiny that I can and have only become more convinced in the process." And in the same light, I have subjected Calvinism to the same scrutiny and found it contradictory and irrational (not to mention "repugnant" as you so rightly observed), though I am sure that you would disagree. It seems to me that whenever Calvinists are unable to rationally explain a particular viewpoint, "compatibilism" for instance, the fall-back answer is always, "Well that's a paradox. We humans just can't understand it." I would welcome your explanation of how God can be sovereign in determining who will and who will not believe, but just in holding man responsible for not believing. Please feel free to develop and present an analogy to better explain your viewpoint. I learn best from pictures, so please "paint" a very descriptive one. ;)

    Peace to you.

  45. "I hope I can become a more peaceful, trusting, loving person toward others"

    Ahhh... being made in His image. Sounds good to me. Take care.

  46. Looking forward to your replies to my questions. I appreciate your willingness to have a conversation.

    One clarification. I don't teach universalism to ACU students. I'm a psychology professor. I don't teach bible or theology. I've never once mentioned universalism to students on the ACU campus.

    Of course if a student wants to come to this blog and follow my personal thoughts and reflections about faith they can do that. They can also not read if they disagree. Regardless, nothing I write about here shows up in my psychology classes.

  47. Universalism does not mean "no repercussions" (although Calvinism *does* mean "no compassion"). God still punishes in Universalism...but what Universalists cannot countenance is a God that punishes for all eternity for the sin of one small lifetime.

    Your thinking is simplistic. You have no conception of what "a really long time" means in cosmic terms, let alone "eternity." Period.

  48. You know, a funny thing happened the other day. I was reading Romans straight through, and suddenly realized that the bits I used to think proved Calvinism, actually....don't. At all. The key is to keep in mind who Paul has in mind. He wasn't writing about universals. He was writing about two specific groups: his fellow Jews and Gentile converts to Christ. The whole time. The. Whole. Time. And he does this Tevya thing, switching perspectives. "On the one hand.....on the other hand." First in favor of his fellow Jews, then against them. The bit about objects destined for wrath...his fellow Jews. But wait...what's that bit about God's forbearance? And then he wants himself to be punished instead? And then he says the branches that were cut off can be grafted back in? What? Then, all Israel will be saved, and we're back to the beginning in the debate as to who, actually, is Israel. He's come full circle. And left it hanging, but just a tad on the side of UR. Objects of wrath=fellow Jews=ones able to be restored after all.

    That being said, I used to be a Calvinist sooooo. Most people who are not Calvinists think of Calvinists as hyper Calvinists. Regular old Calvinists, like, say, R.C. Sproul, do not believe God forces people to be bad just so that they can burn in hell forever, but rather removes restraint upon their evil ways. And total depravity doesn't mean as bad as bad can be, but, depraved to the core. Like sin is something that resides deep in the core of our being. (I guess God was sort of mistaken when he told Cain that sin was crouching at his door, postlapsarian time frame and all. God should have said that it was already embedded in him......oh well.) Unconditional election? Well, given that election in the Bible is it is again...which group is really Israel, which group inherits the promise given to Abraham...God elects first one group, then the other group, but then re-elects the first group on the terms of faith, which was the terms all along. Limited atonement. It's just logic. Either Jesus atoned for the sins of everyone and everyone gets saved, or there are some he didn't die for, otherwise they would also be saved. Here's where Calvinism and Universalism are closest together, with Arminianism the illogical one. So which side will we err on? Can the place of punishment be eternal, but God still relent and decide to show mercy? Is that a quality of Godness? But grace, really, how can we say enough about it? There is something to be said for an irresistable grace. Hmm, maybe those tough old branches will eventually get jealous for it.

  49. I don't see why there needs to be much difference in the out-working of Calvinism and Universalism (I say "needs to be" as there a number of janky Calvsnists and janky Universalists that I know, but also many of both persuasions who I deeply respect)

    There are some aspects of Univeralism that I'm not completely comfortable with, and I'm happy with at least 80% of TULIP ....the only point of of discussion for me is around the L -- limited atonement. The sacrifice of Christ on the cross was for the purpose of saving the elect -- so who are the elect....we don't know we should treat everyone the same ...i.e. as if they were elect (as in e.g. Matthew 13:24-30 parable of the weeds) the  so the out-working needn't be any different?

    So for me there is 20% of possible jank in Calvinism and the same in Universalism (e.g. I can't see how universalism fits  around the C.S Lewis bit on people becoming grumbles).  The Bible says that we see as through a glass darkly just now..... so it may be that we can't get any better than that an "ism" that gets it 80% right and 20% of jank (this also fits with the 80:20 rule!)

  50. Hi noname, thank you for sharing a bit of your story.  I have no desire to argue against Calvinism, or defend Universalism.  But, as I "listen" (actively, from the heart) to your comments, two questions arise.  What drew you to this particular blog?  And, how long have you been following the posts and discussions here?  In my experiences here at ET and in other places, examining my expectations--the "thing" that I hope to receive, as well as how I see myself fitting in and contributing to the thinking and/or being (my presence among many), has helped me to avoid being disappointed or blindsided by any particular limitations of that environment.  Understanding the general objective of the blog or other place (e.g., church) sometimes isn't altogether clear, until one has hung around a while and had time to gather enough information and deeply analyze the whole. 

    I'm less concerned with right belief, and identifying with a particular system (-ism) or denomination, than I am with having authentic relationships, and that requires mutual trust that encourages honesty.  I see no reason, despite obvious limitations of the digital connection, why our interactions can't be more than a war of words that tear one another down.  I'm hopeful of that possibility, and welcome the opportunity to know and embrace you here, in this place.  ~Peace~

  51. A very interesting perspective and quite different from the one that I have come to hold.  So, I went back to look at Romans 9 again.

    I'd like to just address two of your statements.  You said:  "He was writing about two specific groups: his fellow Jews and Gentile converts to Christ. The whole time."  and "The bit about objects destined for wrath...his fellow Jews."

    First I see him questioning (in a rhetorical sense) whether God has changed His mind about the Israelites.  He concludes, of course, no.  For he points out that all who are physically related to Israel are not the Israelites for whom God has made the promises  (Romans 9:6  But [it is] not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are [descended] from Israel;)  Next, to shore up his argument, he gives the example of Jacob and Esau.  An example of Sovereign choice before either twin had done anything either good or bad.  This, as I see it leads to the expansion of his sovereign choice argument to apply not only to Israel but to mankind.  I can find nothing here that limits the potter/clay analogy to just Israel.

    Well, at a minimum, I am sure that one of us has not understood the text as it was intended by God.  Sadly, that one is moving along a path that leads to the wrong conclusion.

  52. "Well, at a minimum, I am sure that one of us has not understood the text as it was intended by God.  Sadly, that one is moving along a path that leads to the wrong conclusion."

    And who, pray tell, could that one be? Welcome back David. I missed your certainty. 

  53. Thanks Susan. I can always count on you to keep things in the proper perspective... and with the loving heart of fellowship.

  54. What's jank to me is that I've posted two comments here from my iPhone, where the comment count is at 63, yet they do not show up here when I view on my Mac in Firefox -- where the comment count shows as 61.

  55. Hey Jim,

    Right back attcha!  Actually, I've been here all the time.  And, I assure you that I try to never miss one of your comments.  I could also say that about qb.  The difference being that I understand your comments and I don't think I can fathom qb's.  But, I enjoy them nevertheless.

    The difference lately has been that every time I get the urge to comment (and that is very often) I bite my tongue and that seems to be working.  The bad part of that is that my tongue is so torn up that food no longer tastes good.  But, the positive in that is that I've been able to lose some weight.

    "And who, pray tell, could that one be?"
    Well now, isn't that the $64,000.00 question.

    "I missed your certainty."
    In your view is certainty a good or bad characteristic to possess in regard to this subject matter?  When I read Romans 4:16 (For this reason [it is] by faith,  . . . in order that the promise may be certain to all the descendants, . . .  who are of the faith of Abraham, . . .), I get the distinct impression that God thinks it is a good thing.  Not only that but as I read 1 John 5:13 (These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.) it sure seems as if God thinks true believers can Know with certainty.  The flip side of that, however, is that the false believer can believe that he/she has eternal life with certainty and they are wrong.

  56. Hey there my friend, it's good to hear that you're always lurking in the shadows.

    I'll have to try writing a little more incoherently... I must be slipping up if you can understand me. I'll take it as a challenge then to keep you guessing.

    I wish I was as good as you are at biting my tongue. Invariably I give in to the pain and say more than I know I should. Glad to hear that it's helped you to lose weight, but I do like an occasional challenge to universalism with a little salt for flavor. It's just one of my many weaknesses.

    I'll let you keep your answer to the $64,000 question all to yourself. 

    As far as certainty is concerned I think it's an excellent characteristic... as long as we're humble enough to realize that others have just as much right to their certainty as we do. Unfortunately, too many people are subject to the uncertainty that the "answers" from church provide, and they end up without any conviction whatsoever. I don't like wishy washy religious clichés as the answers to serious questions, so I much prefer that someone has a well thought out opinion complete with certainty and conviction.

    Since "salvation is of the Lord," what any one of us "believes" - false or not - has no bearing on our salvation. It is not our abilities or goodness that will "save" us, but God's. But you've heard that from me before, haven't you....

  57. Thanks for taking the time to respond. Three things.

    First, you shouldn't be ashamed of the gospel. So why the anonymity?

    Second, universalism is wholly compatible with the creeds. It's not heresy. It might be heresy to Calvinists, but it's not heresy in any real sense.

    Third, I understand the doctrine of election, as does just about everyone reading the blog. So you don't have to explain it. I asked you a very simple question: Can someone who believes in universalism be one of the elect? Phrased differently, do you have to believe in Calvinism to be one of the elect? These questions can be answered with a yes or a no. We can make progress if you actually answer the questions.

  58. Why does it matter what I think on that issue? I'm not God.  Maybe my silence is your answer...or maybe its not.  I will say one does not have to be a Calvinist to be elect. There are two distinct questions and I answered the 2nd one.  If an understanding of election was on this blog there would be less harshness concerning its discussion.  There is not an interest in what I believe.

  59. "But you've heard that from me before, haven't you...."

    Yes, and actually I agree that it doesn't depend on us; but on God.

    Before I revert back to tongue biting. . .   Just for your information, I had saved one of your comments from yesterday where you list many of the 'Universalism verses.'  I was going to try to delve into them once more.  But, as I was looking at Romans 9 to write the comment that started this exchange, I noticed a 'counter-example.'  So, here goes.

    As Paul reveals in Romans 9, all Israel is not actually Israel in the sense of receiving God's promises.  Or as Romans 9:6 has it "...For they are not all Israel who are [descended] from Israel; ..."  However, from the point of view of the flesh, they are indeed all Israel who are descended from Isreal.  So, we have 'all Israel' and we have a 'portion of Israel' in view here.

    Then in Romans 11:26 we have the statement that "and thus all Israel will be saved;..."  Isn't this 'all Israel' actually the portion of 'all Israel' that Paul mentions in verse 9:6?  The portion that is a subset of 'all Israel according to the flesh?'

    If you see any merit in this approach, then, could it not be that there is a 'caveat' attached to the 'God desires all men to be saved' verse (1 Timothy 2:4) which is being overlooked by Universalists?

  60. I don't feel like I'm being harsh. But you did answer one of my questions: "I will say one does not have to be a Calvinist to be elect."

    Great! Then I can be elect and be a universalist. See ya in heaven.

  61. There are plenty of orthodox Christians who are not Calvinists. I would say the majority are not Reformed.  I said God makes the decision on the first question.  Please don't put words in my mouth.  This thread truly was an experience in bait and switch. 

  62. So you're saying if a person believes in universalism God can't save him/her if God elected to?

  63.  My final answer is I don't know.  I don't want to make that decision. So many things can fall under the umbrella of Universalism I am not going to make a stab at something that goes beyond my understanding. My suggestion is we stop the thread and try not to get something out of me when I really don't have an answer for you.

  64. Richard,

    When I first saw your 'sharpened questions' my initial thought was, "this is the simplest test I could ever take."  But, since it was addressed to another, I waited.  It seems as if you have his answers, so I now feel free to provide my answers.  And, of course, feel free to ignore them.

    1)  Is believing in Calvinism a mark of election?  NO
    2) For example, can I, believing in universalism, be one of the elect though I don't believe in Calvinism?   YES.
    3) That is, can I be elect but be confused and even in error?  YES
    4) Conversely, does believing in Calvinism necessarily mark one as elect?   NO.
    5) And if that's not the necessary mark, what is?  There is no necessary mark.
    6) How do the non-Calvinist and Calvinist elect know they are elect?  Nobody knows they are elect until they have believed the gospel of 1 Cor 15 and the Holy Spirit has baptized them into the body of Christ while they are living.
    7) Finally, if believing in Calvinism is a facet of election . . .    IT ISN'T

  65. I understand your point David. But whether one particular set of verses, or one particular conversation that Paul was having at the time, pertains to ALL Jews (Israel) or only a portion of them, is not proof of God's ultimate plan for humanity.

    The problem with your conclusion, if you take this "caveat" to what you see as its limited meaning, is that God is NOT good. We end up with nothing BUT caveats: 

    Jesus loves the little children... well, except those "non-elect" ones over there.  

    We are to love our neighbors... well, except for any that aren't elect.

    God is good to everyone.... well, except for those that He hates, of course.

    We are to do good to our enemies... but of course that doesn't apply to God.

    Christ is the savior of the world.... well, except for those he doesn't save, of course.

    Again, the end result of which is that we are forced to accept the notion that God is NOT good and does not have the best of intentions for all of His creation, but is actually going to use the eternal misery of some to try and "glorify" Himself through some egotistical show of power.

    I suspect that you may disagree, but simply HAVING the power to do anything does not make God "good," but what He DOES with it. If I were to accept your conclusion that God does not love ALL of His creation then I am left with the fact that He does not truly love ANY of us. I am not truly saved unless all are saved. The 99 must be willing to go find the one. If He feels the need to destroy someone as a demonstration of His power in order to gain my praise then He simply does not deserve it.

  66. Jim731, There's no room to comment after your post, so I'll start a new one here. I love how you draw out the comparisons below (God is love EXCEPT ...)  To me, the second halves are like the experience of child in a home where love is defined in terms of hurtful behaviors. Mom and Dad SAY the words "I love you" but the actions and demeanor toward the child become an abusive experience that is anything but real love. How confusing that is! How fearful will that child grow up to be of "love," because his experience has taught him that love is damaging, demanding, demeaning and hurtful. (I'm not talking about ordinary, loving discipline.)  And how oft does theology often do the same thing with God: "God loves you, but He's gonna hurt/ punish/torture you unless you  ____ (fill in the blank: are elect/have correct faith/keep to these theological boundaries).  What would Jesus say to such accusations against His character? I keep going back to the verbs Jesus used. "Love as I have loved you. Love God with heart, mind, soul, and strength. Love your neighbor, and this is what it looks like. Love your brother,  your enemy. If a brother offends, try to reconcile. If after numerous attempts, he will not listen, walk away." Nowhere do I see him saying, "Use me to threaten, bash, condescend, sarcasticly  degrade, and verbally pummel." But the casualties of Christianity and church can attest that these are common experiences. Graciousness treated as a mere weakness to be dismissed.

    I'm always grateful for the scraps of grace that occasionally surface, and I find them here among the community at E.T. more than most places. What's sad to me is how the most theologically insistent are often the clanging gongs that I Cor. 13 speak of. I can't help but believe that evidence of Christ is not found in absolute theological correctness, which will always be arguable at best, but in imitating Him in words and interactions. Whether someone calls themselves Calvinist, Arminian, or Universalist won't really matter. Because what someone really believes is what they live out, not what they claim as heady truth.

  67. Patricia, as always your sharp and beautiful insights are a great inspiration and comfort to me. You and I have obviously walked through similar paths - the hypocrisy of organized religion, and its expressions of hatred under the guise of "love," seem to be a common thread between us. My eyes blur from tears when I read your kind words for me, and for your righteous indignation at the hurt that you have seen and experienced in the supposed "name of Christ." Thank you for your affirmations and unflinching honesty.

    You have a gift for cutting to the chase: "Nowhere do I see him saying, "Use me to threaten, bash, condescend, sarcasticly  degrade, and verbally pummel." But the casualties of Christianity and church can attest that these are common experiences. Graciousness treated as a mere weakness to be dismissed."

    It is truly sad that you need to speak those words, but so very necessary and enlightening. I look forward to that day when our blindness is gone, and we no longer see our fellow man as something to be threatened and degraded, but to be loved as God loves us.

    I know that graciousness often eludes me in finding the right words to say to those with whom I passionately disagree, but I can't help but speak out when someone places exceptions and limits on the love and power of God. As you eluded to, God places no exceptions on who He calls us to love, so I can only assume that He sees none for Himself. In fact, I am sure that the thought to do otherwise never even crossed His mind. He simply cannot NOT love... it is His very nature.

    Thanks for being such a blessing to me, and to this blog. 

    (BTW, from some comments you have written here, and elsewhere, I got the impression that either you or your husband work for the same bankrupt airline that I do - American. Is that true?)

  68. It appears to me that Universalisma and Calvinism are two sides of the same and Janky coin. On one side, soverienghty is taken to its logical and unbiblical extreme. On the other side, sovereignty is taken to its logical and unbiblical extreme. Wait, what I mean is neither side can actually believe humans have any input into their own destinies. This is why I reject both. If universalism is true, then let's rape and pillage. If Calvinismis true, then let's rape and pillage. Either way, my life has no consequence at all. I will either be saved along with the rest of you, ooooooor I might be saved along with some of you or condemned along with most of you. Does it really mattr how I then live?

    In fact, in Universalism, God is even more sovereign than in Calvinsim because NOTHING I do will hac
    Ve effect on my destiny, where as, at least with Calvinism I can have some guess as to my destiny based on whether I have been forced, er, chosen....wait, I mean....oh, you know, if I live like I am saved. Then again, if I live like I am saved, and somewhere late in life I denyit all, then I was never saved in thE first place. Which again means that....oh blast Calvin!

  69. Jim, I've been shown such kindness by you and many others here.  It is a sacred space for me.  I'm protective of these gifts, in the sense that I don't want to be careless with a beautiful thing.  Love and gratitude enable me to be generous toward others.  ~Peace--and thank you, Jim.

  70. Jim I find it odd you are asking about a blog commenters' marital status, vaguely wrapped in a question concerning employment.....
    No doubt your intentions are benign yet these days , people should not reveal identifying information to strangers on the interwebs.

    The above debate concerning election is just one of many topics that the bible is utterly unclear on. Arguments for all views can be found in this unreliable , collection of writings by men obsessed with a god who desires human and animal sacrifice. Is god rational ? If you answer yes, then why use his book so irrational ? Sadly, we now have a powerful "-ism" named after John Calvin who made admirable strides to reform the mother " -ism "...... Both isms have diametrically opposed views of god's character, intentions , and judgment. Supporters of each view claim they know god. How ?

  71. You've misunderstood the role of God's justice in universal reconciliation. In fact, universalism has a keener sense of justice that most soteriologies. Compare:

    1. You rape and pillage and go to hell, not getting out until you "pay the last penny" (to us Jesus's phrase). (And when did consequence come to mean force? You're really confused on that point. You should read more.)

    2. You rape and pillage and say the Sinner's Prayer during the last week of your life to get it all covered over by Jesus's imputed righteousness.

    Which one takes your sin more seriously? Universalism is interested in sanctification, actual holiness in the lives of people.

  72. Jim, I am deeply appreciative of your words, and conviction that God truly is love, and that love is not abusive, nor is love one thing to God and another to us (as too many theologies explain it away). We are, after all, made in His image, and He knows the limits of our understanding. A choice between threats isn't good news to anyone, nor does it spell love. 

    My husband is a mechanic for an ABI subsidiary of AMR. We're going to be taking some hits from the bankruptcy situation, and we're not out of the woods yet, but as he says, "If it means I get to keep my job..."  I have to agree with QB, NObama in 2012. So you work for American? What do you do, Jim?

  73. You're the one who should write a book Patricia. In just one paragraph you essentially exposed and demolished the ridiculous notions that are passed off as the "truths" of orthodox Christianity. It is truly amazing how many people blindly accept the idea that "love" means something different to God, or that He does not understand, and have compassion for, all of our misconceptions, ignorance, and imperfections. It is as if they believe that we made ourselves, and that He is holding us responsible for not making ourselves as smart and as capable as He is. I suppose that it is just our arrogant, self-idolizing tendencies rearing their ugly heads in our willingness to direct the blame onto others for not forming themselves into "honorable vessels;" for it allows those of us who "obviously did a better job" of molding ourselves to take the credit for it. "Salvation by grace.... especially for those who deserve it." I can only imagine that the real potter finds our attempts at one-upmanship to be very amusing, and a little bit sad.

    I hope everything works itself out for your husband's position. Like you are, anyone associated with American  is taking a hit over this mess. I'm a 737 pilot based in LAX (displaced out of SFO as they closed that base). I was with Reno Air before American bought them and I still commute from Reno. As much as I enjoy flying, this business - especially as our management operates it - just isn't fun anymore. I can't wait to retire, but that is looking like a near impossible task at this point. Best of luck to you and your family.

    (P.S. As a retired editor you probably noticed that the proper spelling of "alluded" apparently "eluded" me in my last response to you. For some reason the realization of that mistake popped into my head when I was far from my computer and thinking of something completely different. Oh, the wonders of the scattered mind.)

    Take care, Jim

  74. Would you say then that you would really *like* to "rape and pillage" but the threat of hell stops you from doing so? I doubt it, but I have often heard from Christians that the threat of hell is necessary to "make people be good." A ridiculous notion to say the least. 

    While I concur with Richard's response as to the consequences of our actions, there is another aspect of universal salvation that I think you are missing. You seem to think that salvation is all about "deserving" your way into heaven. But the real beauty of God's promises to us is that He will HEAL and RESTORE all of us -- the rapists, and the murderers, and the universalists, and the Calvinists... and even Rick. 

    Peace to you.

  75. Richard,
    I think I understand the role of justice in UR...I think. I was really slamming Calvin, well his apologists, here more than UR...tried to do it with some sarcasm, but apparently that got lost. Thank for responding!

  76. Actually, I failed to notice the alluded/eluded reference. (I do, however, still cringe every time someone puts a superfluous "e" in judgment, or uses "composed of" when it should be "comprised." Old habits ...But I have consciously ended a sentence with a preposition before, out of pure rebel defiance.).

    Having been raised Baptist, I've been part of the tendency to attempt to theologically "herd cats," to try to make/force/argue people into seeing things a certain way (which is different from discussing and comparing, which I think you do very well. I would still be trapped in that system if not for several influences, including you, Richard, and originally George MacDonald). It took me a long time to realize what a (satanic/slavery of death?) game it was. In the Evangelical circus, there's the belief that the sum of a person's real value is soley based on the content of their belief system.  It took a long time for me to realize that it's a person's story that has made them who they are. God knows each of our stories, better than anyone. But most Christians would rather skip getting to know someone and simply scale their estimation of you down to whether your beliefs agree with theirs or not. I don't see Jesus in that.

    I know well the fears about retirement. What the company taketh away, the company never giveth back. And they started taking away after 9/11. Meanwhile, the cost of living has exponentially skyrocketed, and we were living quite frugally to begin with. (See, the rebel preposition!) 
    Will be praying for your job security, too.
    Blessings, Patricia

  77. No worries. Feel free to slam Calvinism. I do rush to defend UR from the criticism that 1) what we do on earth has no repercussions in the future and 2) that God will "force" people into heaven. The issue isn't force but time and the infinite love, resourcefulness, and patience of God winning out in the end. Think: Parable of the Prodigal Son.

  78. Hi Patricia, reading through all the discussion, I found this:  "...attempt to theologically herd cats" -- too true (and paints quite a comical picture at the same time).  Eighty-something comments and counting.  What in the world to make of that?  It's not that it surprises me anymore; I think I'm just more sad than anything.  My initiation into faith was in a Baptist church also, Patricia.  We have had so many similar experiences.  I hope you've had a peaceful Sunday.  Thanks for the wisdom you've brought to this discussion.

  79. "It took a long time for me to realize that it's a person's story that has made them who they are. God knows each of our stories, better than anyone. But most Christians would rather skip getting to know someone and simply scale their estimation of you down to whether your beliefs agree with theirs or not. I don't see Jesus in that."
    Beautiful. I just wish more people - especially Christians - understood that.

  80. Thanks, Susan. We do have a lot of the same kind of history, don't we? I refer to myself as a "recovering Baptist." I don't know that you ever really undo the damage through which you you grow up, but you learn to recognize it as such, and try to go forward without continuing the cycle.  I realized this last week how very cult-like my own family was, where the Charming/Strong Personality tells the rest what to think, and to know their place. No one is permitted to require accountability of said Person, question, disagree, or ask for acknowledgement of any kind. Any such "treason" is met with being ostracized, demonized, accused/assumed against, and the minions turning on them wholesale. There's a good deal of overlap between such families and such churches.  It took me a long time to realize that good people, real Christians, God, and real love wasn't like that.

  81. Dr. Beck, I LOVE how you pick these things up and share them with us!

    Reading through the post, I was thinking about jank myself. For me, the term first hit in my days judging a CCG called Yu-Gi-Oh (I'm not sure if your son ever got into it or not). The short version is that kids build decks from a huge variety of cards and play against each other. Typically the decks that did well used all the expensive, high powered cards. 

    However, from time to time, there were "jank decks" that did surprisingly well. The jank decks were the decks that were thrown together out of cards that by themselves seemed pointless. They were the cheap, silly cards that were filler for the set release. People would just hand them to you if asked, no need to spend any money. They were beyond junk cards, they were jank cards.

    And yet, in the hands of the mastermind that put them together, all the "jankiness" came together in a way people did not expect, went against the grain of the game way typically played, and won! It frustrated some players, and amazed each other. It wasn't supposed to work, but it did. The jank decks were the gem. From then on it became almost a symbol of mastery of the game if you built some form of jank deck that went against what all the typical "follow the leader" type decks players were using.

    Oddly enough, I'd say we're all jank in that regard, right? (Now i'll segue into something some folks may call blasphemy, but go wiht me here) Yet God has chosen to reveal himself to the janky. And often enough it is the "plumbers that read Plato" that somehow change the world for the glory of Himself. He's assembled the jank into something beautiful, something that the world would never have expected, and yet it wins the game of life, because the true master of the game knows it intimately enough to know what truly works.

    Thanks for the fun and the inspiration. Maybe you can entitle your next post "The Jank Will Inherit the Earth" 8^D

  82.  Jacob and Esau fit perfectly on the continuum of Paul's argument regarding children of the promise vs. the ancient-near-east-patriarchal-primogeniture-circumcision-succession promoters. ("You who call yourself a Jew...") Esau, the "natural" heir, is rejected and Jacob/Israel, the second born, chosen. Like Isaac vs. Ishmael. And Jesus vs. Adam. (And in Richard's Slavery of Death terms, ecstatic identity vs. hero systems). The Jews who rejected Jesus were cut off from the inheritance/covenant tree because they did not bear fruit. The fruit of reconciling the nations/Gentiles to God, being faithful image bearers of God to creation, a nation of priests. Jesus fulfilled this vocation. "The Righteous One will live by faithfulness".

    Paul's definition of salvation in the context of his letters is not "going to heaven when you die" but inheritance of the peacemaking vocation, participation in the reconciliation of the whole creation to God through Christ, and the ongoing provision of food and life in the Body of Christ, fulfilled in the resurrection of the body. It is through Christ that Abraham is the father of many nations, Jesus is the offspring through whom all nations are blessed. The Gentiles are grafted in to the covenant tree, though the original branches (Israel) were cut off, but Paul hopes they will later be grafted back in. Paul's main train of thought, again, is not about the universal individual and his state before God the judge, but about Israel's identity and vocation. How that story went and where it was going.

  83. It is now utterly incumbent upon us to develop JANK as an acronym to snarkily compete with TULIP as mnemonic for Calvinist doctrine.  We'll popularize it throughout western Christianity, and Richard's pronouncement will be finally be true: Calvinism is JANK.

    You're welcome.

  84. Richard, greetings from Flagstaff.

    So, I lean toward annihilation - ala Stott, Fudge et al.  I say I lean, because of the very clear uncertainties of exchatology itself (irony intended).  I currently fellowship with an EV Free church and have found I am not allowed to be a "member" since I do not hold to conscious endless torment.  In discussing this detail wiht the leadership, I presented to them this question, "Do you know of anyone who would say, 'I used to live a life dedicated to God's purposes.  I was pure, faithful, lived in moral integrity, did all the Christian things...etc.  But since i discovered annhiliationism, I now know I can rape and pilliage!'  Do you know if anyone who has ever done this?"  They, of course could not recall such a person. 

    I don't think I know anyone who holds to universalism that has tried that either. 

    What I don't understand is why it seems more important that we hold an orthodox view of the nature of a place we claim we will never attend, than knowing about the nature of the place we all claim we are destined for.

    Finally, do you have any idea why some would call Rob Bell et al "heritics" as if they are simply hell-bound?  Seems pretty janky to me!

  85. Hi Rick,

    Not Richard, but I had a few thoughts in response to your comments/questions, and hope that my butting in doesn't offend or annoy you.

    Re: Belief of punishment or annihilation as a deterrent -- It seems to me that whether one believes in ECT, annihilation, or universal salvation (not absent of a metaphorical and/or literal "fiery purification" in the final judgment, as I understand it), none of these models is going to be an effective motivator for "being good."  Isn't that what Jesus and the Apostle Paul meant when they spoke of living by the Law, versus the Spirit?  Rule-keeping, the threat of punitive justice, do these lead to true worship or wholeness/holiness?  I think maybe love and gratitude toward the God who has been merciful and compassionate toward us are the only really effective motivators for "being good?"  That's a truth that, if apprehended now, has the power to transform us in the present, versus speculating on a future eternal reward or punishment.  How much the grace of God, versus our own freedom to comprehend and do what we choose, factors into apprehending that truth is a bigger question in my mind than the consequences for missing the mark, either in right belief or right practice, or both.

    I was a member of an EFCA congregation for about four years.  The organizational statement of faith is pretty conservative, though if your fellowship is anything like mine was, there is a range of beliefs among the people.  Unless you want to be a warrior for change within that setting -- depending on how important the correctness of the doctrinal statement of faith is to you I guess, you could either sign on the dotted line in public affirmation and then not sweat it that much, or exit, stage right.

    For what it's worth, I take the label "heretic" as a compliment these days.  It's all in how you look at it.  I'll be eager to hear what Dr. Beck has to say in response...  ~Peace~

  86. Hold on a second, here.  I'm going to draw a connection which I feel exists but wasn't spelled out for a second which connects "God hates you." with Calvinism.  That is NOT what Calvinists believe!  (At a very minimum, that is not what I believe.) 

    First and foremost, God is "holy".  (Isa 6:3).  Those who do not believe are not at peace with God (Rom. 5:1) and are enemies of God (James 4:4).  

  87. After thinking it over I'm going back to Calvinism. I hold that hell is eternal but not everyone recieves the same intensity of punishment.

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