Few topics are more likely to cause a stir among Christians than universal salvation, or apokatastasis—the view that no person will ultimately experience eternal estrangement from God. Although the universalist view is difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile with the authoritative teaching of most Christian churches, it is not consistently considered heresy on the level of, say, denying the Trinity or the hypostatic union in Christ. But the concept of hell as “eternal conscious torment” has undoubtedly been a part of the Christian theological fabric for centuries, and from the perspective of the broader Church catholic, the burden of proof is probably on any challenger wishing to disrupt that consensus.
Christian morality is not ultimately instruction in how to make oneself a member of the Christian club. It is not a self-help program whose rules are adopted by a small set of people who wish to better themselves. Christian morals, rather, are simply moral teachings that agree with the natural design of the universe.
John Calvin: More Lutheran or Zwinglian?
Everybody knows that Calvin was closer to Zurich than to Wittenberg. What this essay presupposes is: Maybe he wasn’t? In fact, Calvin was neither Zwinglian nor Lutheran in the developed sense of those terms, but rather saw himself as one who might mediate between the two sides in their intractable debates, particularly over the nature of the Lord’s Supper.
But what is perhaps most interesting, given contemporary ecclesiastical circumstances, is that Calvin saw himself as unabashedly part of one church—not just invisibly, but visibly—with all magisterial Protestants in Europe, and sought to make that visible unity more concrete through his literary and theological efforts, even if those hopes were in large measure frustrated.