He belongs to Calvin, thinking that is a better platform from which to push universalism. But I don’t think the evidence supports this.
I am not a fan of Luther any more than Calvin. I stick to Jesus and Paul in which there is no support for universalism except to shoot down Calvin’s teaching of limited atonement. In fact I see no support for any of the five points of TULIP Calvinism.
- Total Depravity? Nope, in the Bible, God sees good in people all the time.
- Unconditional election (which is equated with salvation)? Nope. Election is not about salvation but about God selecting people for providential work. Salvation is offered to all as a gift for all to accept if they choose.
- Limited Atonement? Nope, Christ died for all people.
- Irresistible Grace? Nope, that which cannot be refused is an assault by a stalker not a gift.
- Perseverance of the Saints? Nope. Romans 10… faith doesn’t ask such questions.
Though I well understand that not only is there is much more to Calvin than these, but these in themselves are an interpretation of Calvin by the Dutch Reformed in opposition to the Articles of Remonstrance (which I do not support either).
But I give my full support to the 5 solas of Protestantism, which we have from a Lutheran scholar Theodore Engelder.
- By grace of God alone. Salvation is 100% the work of God.
- By faith alone. No this is not a power to save ourselves. This is the other side of the coin of grace about what we are to do, which is to accept the gift which God offers. And accepting a gift never changes the gift into something earned.
- Through Christ alone. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus, because Jesus and the Father are one God. This does not mean that the words “Christ” or “Jesus” are some kind of password into heaven. There are no secret handshakes or passwords like with the Gnostics.
- Scripture alone. The Bible is the sole authority for the Christian religion. This is includes John 5:39 which warns that scriptures are not the source of salvation but are only meant to lead us to Christ.
- Glory to God alone. The point here is not that God is seeking to glorify himself but only that people should not be using Christianity to elevate themselves like the Pharisees had done: Matthew 23: 6 they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, 7 and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ. 11 He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; 12 whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
With that said we should remember the warning of Paul…
1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chlo′e’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brethren. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apol′los,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I am thankful[b] that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Ga′ius; 15 lest any one should say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Steph′anas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any one else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
Paul, Luther, and Calvin were human beings with any number of sins. If we believe the attribution of all the text to Paul then we see that Paul was just as much a product of his culture as Luther and Calvin were. What? Calvin wasn’t perfect either? Perhaps not as anti-Semitic as Luther or no more misogynistic than what is attributed to Paul, but certainly a deadly holocaust persecution of those who disagreed with his version of Christianity such as the Anabaptists as well as a puritanical police state with harsh punishments of such trivialities as laughing in church.