Debate Does King's Covenant Eschatology Lead to Universalism?


Editor's Note: This debate resulted from a challenge by Simmons to King and Presence Ministries to defend Covenant Eschatology.  King did not respond.  Instead, Sam Frost M.A. made a return challenge to Simmons, resulting in the instant debate. 


Part II - Simmons’ Response to Frost:

Does Max King’s Covenant Eschatology and the Corporate Body View Tend to Universalism? 

In his first article, Sam said little or nothing thing about covenant eschatology or the corporate body view of Max King, but seemed to be involved in running interference, off somewhere talking about “the sin” and “the death” and Romans five and Genesis three.  King bases the eschatological resurrection upon the annulment of the Mosaic law, but Sam wanted to talk about imputed Adamic death.  Although he explained himself well, unfortunately, his article had nothing to do with the matter at hand.  We therefore largely ignored Sam’s article as irrelevant to King’s covenant eschatology, and placed before the reader hard evidence of Max King’s Universalism and its connection to his particular brand of eschatology.   

King, the author and maker of “covenant eschatology,” is founder of Presence Ministries.  King’s son, Tim, and the current president of Presence Minstries, are both writing articles that clearly embrace Universalist sentiments: Man is reconciled to God because he no longer lives under the rule of sin and death as determined by the Mosaic world. Through the gift of Christ he dwells in a world of righteousness and life. The issue is cosmic and corporate, not individual and limited.”  (Tim King, Comprehensive Grace, 2002)  The premise underlying this statement is none other than covenant eschatology.    King says “Man is reconciled to God because he no longer lives under the rule of sin and death as determined by the Mosaic world.”  That is 100% covenant eschatology; it is also 100% Universalism.  According to King, mankind was under the rule of death in Moses; but that law now being removed, mankind is universally justified.  “The issue is cosmic and corporate, not individual and limited.”  Yet Sam shuts his eyes to this simple truth and denies the connection exists!  He wants us to believe that King’s Universalism has some source other than covenant eschatology.  But here we have King’s own word that covenant eschatology is at the very heart. The whole issue of sin and death was determined by the Mosaic world.  Here is Tim King’s statement expressed in logical form: 

Major Premise: The reign of sin and death over man was determined by the Mosaic law

Minor Premise: The Mosaic law was annulled at the eschaton, losing all men of its power; therefore,

Conclusion: Men are universally reconciled to God 

Thus, King’s Universalism is a logical and necessary consequence of covenant eschatology’s peculiar notions about the Mosaic law.  At this point, I could lay down my pen and not write another word.  I have shown the connection from Tim King’s own mouth; we have his own words affirming the necessary connection exists.  We do not agree with the major and minor premises, and might easily demonstrate they are wrong, but that is quite beside the point.  The issue here is whether King’s covenant eschatology logically leads to Universalism.  By King’s own testimony, it does.  But we can go further and show that covenant eschatology cannot be extricated from Universalism without overthrowing the basic premise upon which it rests; viz., that the resurrection (justification) consisted in annulment of the Mosaic law.  The logical progression of thought goes something like this: 

1) King  affirms that sin could not be defeated until the law was taken away; (“The defeat of sin is tied to the annulment of the old aeon of law”)[1]

2) That in the asserted removal of the law was man’s resurrection (justification); (“When the ‘ministration of death written in tables of stone’ was finally destroyed, death was swallowed up in victory.”[2])  

3) That the law was taken away for all men, therefore, by King’s view, all men were justified (resurrected). (“The issue is cosmic and corporate, not individual and limited.”)

4) However, in reality, only the outward and perishable form of the law was removed; the inward substance is eternal and remains.   

5) Therefore, inasmuch as the law did not pass, there was no resurrection upon the basis asserted by covenant eschatology. 

King’s covenant eschatology is thus seen to be hopelessly bound up in confusion and contradiction. At its heart it impugns the cross, saying men could not be justified unless the law was removed.  But this is wholly false for Christ’s cross triumphed over the law.  (Col. 2:14, 15)  Hence it was hardly necessary for the law to be removed for man to be justified.  Indeed, its very assertion that the “law” was removed is found a lie, for the law of Moses was merely the outward and perishable form temporarily imposed upon the moral law of God to show man his sinfulness.  (“I had not known sin but by the law” – Rom. 7:7)   The outward form, consisting in the ceremonial and certain other incidentals, was indeed removed, but the inward part remains until this very day.  What was immoral and sinful then, is immoral and sinful today. Adultery, fornication, lying and murder did not become immoral and sinful because of the Mosaic law, and they did not cease to be immoral because the ceremonial law passed away.  The old, ceremonial law was invested with no power that the eternal, moral law does not possess.  Indeed, since the Mosaic law was merely superadded to the moral law, the power of sin and death in the former is identical to that of the latter.  And since the moral law continues to condemn all men today (for all men sin), it is impossible that the removal of the Old Covenant brought about the “resurrection” covenant eschatology asserts.  If there is taught in the New Testament a spiritual resurrection, it is by the cross of Christ and the cross alone.  Passage of the ceremonial law was soteriologically irrelevant and affected no change in man’s standing before God.  The cross changes man’s standing before God, not the passing of the ceremonial law.  The “old aeon” of the ceremonial law was not removed so sin could be defeated and death annulled as asserted by King; just the opposite: it is because sin and death were defeated that the old aeon of ceremonial law was removed.  But if this saves covenant eschatology from Universalism (because the moral law still condemns all men, all men are not justified) it also overthrows its basic premise that there was a spiritual resurrection by annulment of the ceremonial law. 

But if we ignore all this and grant King that the ceremonial law condemned all men, and that its removal was the eschatological resurrection, the result is Universalism, for it is impossible the law was removed for the church alone.  King knows this and it is the very basis of his statement above that Man is reconciled to God because he no longer lives under the rule of sin and death as determined by the Mosaic world.”  Hence, at every turn King’s system is seen to be false.  For pointing this out, we are castigated, vilified, and ridiculed.  But the arguments are unassailable and have not been touched, or even attempted to be disproved.  People are screaming; people are irate, but no one is attempting to disprove the substance upon which our accusation is founded.  We produce again two syllogisms, which epitomize the case against covenant eschatology in logical form.  If Sam will extricate King’s system from Universalism and save covenant eschatology, he MUST show these syllogisms to be false because either they do not represent King’s teaching, or have some defect in logic:

Syllogism No. 1

Major Premise: The power of sin and death over mankind resided in the Mosaic law.

Minor Premise: The Mosaic law was done away for all men for all time in A.D. 70.  Therefore,

Conclusion: All men are freed from the power of sin and death.


Syllogism No. 2

Major Premise: The resurrection consisted in the removal of legal condemnation. 

Minor Premise:  Legal condemnation exists today despite annulment of the Mosaic law.  Therefore,

Conclusion: There was no spiritual resurrection based upon annulment of the Mosaic law.

The first syllogism demonstrates the basic assumptions of covenant eschatology; the second demonstrates how that system fails if a source of law and condemnation beyond the Mosaic law still exists (as in fact it does).  Together they represent the premises upon which the corporate body view rests, and without which covenant eschatology cannot endure.  We have quoted King many times before and his teaching is sufficiently well know for all to recognize that the major and minor premises of the first syllogism are an accurate representation of King’s teaching.  Does the conclusion therefore not follow?  Indeed, it does, and this is precisely why Presence Ministries is posting Universalistic articles: they have followed their own teaching to its logical results! Hear Tim King again: Man is reconciled to God because he no longer lives under the rule of sin and death as determined by the Mosaic world.”  

But, according to Sam no logical connection exists.

Got a Theory?  Make a New Translation

Sam’s first article made an elaborate case based upon Sam’s very unique translation of Romans five and “the sin” and “the death.” The reader must know that not one translation in Christendom agrees with Sam.   His argument is like the Jehovah Witnesses’ argument about the Word being “a god.”  Not a single translation in print agrees with the Jehovah Witnesses, so they created their own, and so does Frost.  Not even the “literal” translations of the Greek found in interlinear Bibles agree with him.  All are agreed that the proper rendering is to leave the article un-translated.    

It is a peculiarity of Greek that the article appears before all or most nouns.  Thus, whereas in English we say “Jesus wept” (Jno. 11:35), the Greek says “the Jesus wept”, placing the article before the proper name and noun.  And this occurs thousands and thousands of times in the New Testament (“These things having said, the Jesus went out with the disciples his beyond the winter stream” – Jno. 18:1; Not this one but the Barabbas.  Now the Barabbas was a robber.  Then therefore took the Pilate the Jesus…etc.  Jno. 18:40; 19:1)  Sam has a theory and he does not mind bad Greek and  bad English to make his theory work.  But as we have said, Sam is completely alone in his translation. He is also completely wrong in his underlying theory. 

A Penalty Paid, Loses it Bond over Man

Sam argues that “the sin” of Adam brought about “the death” for all mankind.  Where King condemns all men under the Mosaic law, Sam condemns them by imputed Adamic death; both end up in Universalism.  Sam defines “the death” negatively, as the impossibility of eternal life for mankind.  There is probably no point of Sam’s argument that could not be disputed, but this definition irked me most.  It is not that his definition is untrue; it is that it is only half true.  Dear reader, does sin bring about only the impossibility of eternal life for man?  Does it not rather bring down the sentence of eternal damnation and the lake of fire?  Surely, this is true.  Sam believes the sin and guilt of Adam is directly imputed to all mankind, including even infants, whom he maintains are “born guilty” and must be baptized to escape damnation.  The Catholic Church recently softened its doctrine regarding limbo infantum and now allows that infants can be saved without baptism, but not Sam. It is still a central tenant of Sam’s belief that God imputes Adam’s guilt to every man, woman, and child.  This gives the lie to Sam’s definition of “the death,” for we see that his definition fails to give account for the positive aspect of Sam’s belief and the fact that Adam’s sin (per Sam) sends innocent babies to hell. 

Sam next argues that “the sin” of Adam and “the death” have been removed from the cosmos.  “The Sin has been removed from the cosmos along with the Death. This is not just true for believers in Christ, but true for all men, everywhere.”  This is where the sophistry of Sam’s definition enters in.  Sam absolutely affirms death is gone.  But as this would bring about universal salvation (a fact Sam himself admits below), he employs his half true definition of death so that he can keep some men under its power:  Death is not really destroyed; the possibility of life is simply created!  According to Sam, “the death” was like a prison whose doors were shut upon man, but which Christ has opened, brining the possibility of salvation to all mankind.  The prison is still here; all men are born into it; only some (the elect) will walk out of its opened doors and escape.  This, of course, contradicts Sam’s statement that “the death” has been removed from the cosmos.  As we see, Sam maintains that the prison of death still exists; only its doors have been opened.   Sam ties to justify all this by arguing that the cause of man’s universal death in Adam was been taken away, but the effect remains.  But this is wrong.  Jesus died not to take away the cause of man’s condemnation (imputed Adamic guilt according to Sam, but the Mosaic law according to King).  Rather, Jesus died to take away the effect of man’s transgression, which is the penalty of death.  A law is known only by its effect.  The law of gravity causes objects to fall to earth; the law of sin and death brings down the sentence of death upon all who sin.  Annul the law, and it is rendered ineffectual.  A penalty paid loses its bond over man.  Sam cannot have it both ways; he cannot have Christ pay the penalty, annul the law, and still keep the effect (penalty) of the law in force.  Such is the hopeless contradiction of Sam’s attempt to put away the cause, but retain the effect of “the death.”  

Did Jesus Die for Adam’s Sin, and Not

for the Sins of the World?

Dear reader, did Jesus die for “the sin” of Adam, and not for the sins of the world?  Yes, for the sins of the world, of course!  (Jno. 1:29; I Jno. 2:2)  What would it avail you or I if Jesus took away “the sin” of Adam but left the sins of you and I in place?  No, no, no!  Jesus takes away my sins; my sins make me unacceptable to God and bring down the sentence of death; not Adam’s sin.  I completely deny that the Bible teaches God condemns men and infants to hell upon the basis of another man’s transgression. But this is what Sam believes based upon his complete misreading of Roman five.  Death (legal condemnation) passed to all, not because of Adam’s sin, but because all sin.  (Rom.  5:12)  Isn’t that what Paul says?  “And so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”  Cf. Rom. 3:23 – “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  And what does Paul say are the wages of each man’s sin: Death!  (Rom. 6:23)  We die (come under juridical death), not because God condemns us for what Adam did; we are condemned for what we have done, or not at all!   

We are not talking here about man’s inherent fallenness.  Our sin nature, inherited from Adam, is not a cause of our condemnation standing alone.  Until we arrive at an age of moral accountability and act upon our sinful inclinations, we are safe from sin. Infants do not go to hell.  I find shocking that anybody could believe they do, but that is Sam’s theology of imputed guilt that makes babies “born guilty.”  Paul says that by the transgression of one, condemnation came upon all.  (Rom. 5:18)  But this came only as an indirect result of our inheriting Adam’s fallenness, not by direct imputation of his guilt!  Abraham argued with God, saying, “Shall not the judge of the world do right?”  “Far be it from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked; and that the righteous should be as the wicked.” (Gen. 19:25)  I affirm with all that is within me that babes are pure and innocent before God, and God would not, could not send infants to hell and be a righteous judge!  But Sam has God sending infants to hell on the basis of what Adam did.  A marvel of misinterpretation that could conceive of God thus! 

Universal Imputed Adamic Guilt leads to

Universal Justification

As we have seen, Sam’s argument about “the sin” and “the death” operates upon the basic assumption of universal, imputed guilt.  How he can avoid Universalism by his system I cannot see.  For if “the sin” and guilt of Adam is imputed to all, then its destruction and annulment accrues to the benefit of all.  Sam’s system leads inexorably to Universalism.  Here is Sam’s translation of Romans 5:12, taken from his first article.  Read it and see the Universalism inherent in his view: 

"For as through the one man (Adam) came to all men to condemnation, so also through the righteous act of the one man (Jesus) to all men to justification of life." 

This verse is, perhaps, the leading text for Universalists; the use they make of the text is precisely the use made of it by Sam.  Only Sam is inconsistent in his interpretation, whereas the Universalists are consistent in theirs (even though both are wrong).  Sam misinterprets this passage, saying, “Paul explicitly stated, ‘the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men’ (Rom 5.18)."  Sam argues for the direct imputation of guilt to all upon the basis of one man’s act, but wants to chop off the second half of the passage that extends justification to all.  But this cannot logically be justified.  If you impute guilt directly to all, you must impute justification to all.  There is no exegetical warrant or basis for treating the two differently.  Here is the passage in the Authorized (King James) Version (words in bold are added by the translators to bring out the sense).  Clearly, the passage affirms that in the same way all men are condemned, so all men are justified. 

“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”  

According to Sam’s view, condemnation is imputed universally to all apart from individual act or guilt; but he wants justification to come only by obedience to the gospel.  Hence, there is a complete discontinuity in the passage.  Universalists recognize this and exploit Sam’s misinterpretation to prop up their notions about universal justification apart from faith or obedience. Here is how Gary Amairalt, a leading Preterist-Universalist, uses the text, which is typical of all Universalists: 

The traditional religious mind, quick to condemn, will says, [sic]”Ah, it is true that the gift came to all men, but one has to choose to receive it and most do not.”  But this verse does NOT give one the right to make this limitation.  Were each of us given the opportunity to “choose” to enter death and condemnation?  No, we were not!  Our corporate plunge into death was imputed to us all through Adam.  Likewise, corporate mankind’s entry into the life of Christ will be Christ’s decision, not our own despite what the traditional church says.  Gary Amirault, Adam Succeeded, Will Christ? (2006). 

(Notice the use of “corporate body” language in addition to Frost’s imputed Adamic death language.)  As we can see, the notion of universal imputed guilt leads logically and unavoidably to the idea of universal justification.  If guilt requires no moral act of man’s will, then justification requires no moral act of his will either.  The one must be imputed on the same basis as the other.  Thus, Sam’s misinterpretation leads to Universalism. The answer to the quandary is to recognize that as justification comes only by the moral act of faith, repentance, confession, and baptism, so condemnation comes only by the moral act of sin and disobedience.  The offense of Adam brought condemnation to all because all men inherit his fallen nature and act in obedience to the law of sin in their members, not because God imputes Adam’s guilt to innocent babes.  This is apparent from Paul’s exclamation: 

“The law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.  For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not…For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  O wretched man that I am!  Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”  (Rom. 7:14-24)

Paul here affirms the free will of man: “To will is present with me,” says Paul.  But the performance of the law is beyond man due to his fallen nature.  He can never completely rise above his carnality.  The inspiration God breathed into Adam that allowed him to be a partaker of the divine image was lost to Adam and all his descendants by his sin.  All men are carnal, sold under sin.  But condemnation comes only as we act in obedience to sin’s lust.  Thus, Paul says “I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”  (v. 23)  How is man brought into captivity?  By imputed guilt?  No, but by the law of sin in his members, that causes him to obey sin’s lust – and this, though it be the very thing he hates!  Thus, as it is a moral act of faith and obedience that justifies man through Christ’s blood, so it is a moral act of sin that condemns man.  In both cases, a moral act of the will is essential.  Sam’s Calvinism leads him to Universalism - a phenomenon that has been noted many times before.[3]  Here are the two models expressed in logical syllogism.   

Frost/Calvinist/Universalist Paradigm

 Major premise: God directly imputes Adam’s guilt (sin/death) to all men.

Minor premise: Adamic sin/death was done away at the cross/eschaton; therefore,

Conclusion: All men are justified from Adamic sin and death.


Simmons/Arminian/Particularist Paradigm

 Major premise: God condemns/justifies only as a man commits a moral act.

Minor premise: The penalty of man’s transgression was paid at the cross; justification is available to all that will believe and obey; therefore,

Conclusion: Those who perform the moral act of faith and obedience are justified from sin by the grace of God.

We would not seem to indict Calvinism as invariably leading to Universalism.  Its basic concepts of limited atonement, election, and reprobation make it opposite of Universalism in most regards (Sam rejects limited atonement and falls into Universalism by this route also.  See “Frost & Four Point Calvinism,” below).  However, in this particular (imputed Adamic guilt), Calvinism does plainly lead to Universalism.  (Parenthetically, for what it is worth, Calvin himself did not believe in imputed Adamic guilt; this was added by other men later: “Infants…suffer not for another's, but for their own defect.[4] )  

Sam Admits His System Leads to Universalism

Why does Sam’s system lead to Universalism?  Because he arraigns the whole race before the court of heaven upon the charge of a single law, which he subsequently casts into the lake of fire, relieving all men of its effects.  (Yes, “effects.”)  King does the exact same thing with the law of Moses: he condemns all men under Moses, then takes away the Mosaic law, justifying them from its charge.  Universalism results in both cases!  Both systems are false and must be rejected!  Survey the writings of Universalists posted on the web and you will learn that they come to Universalism by these two routes: imputed Adamic death, or the Mosaic law, or both. 

It is an interesting fact that Preterism brings to light logical ramifications that would not otherwise be discovered.  The Universalism hidden in imputed Adamic death and covenant eschatology comes to the surface where it would not under normal, futurist eschatology.  In futurist eschatology, the wicked are consumed at Christ’s return and the world ends, so the prospect of life in the world without imputed Adamic guilt (or the law under King’s view) are never addressed.  But in Preterism, where the world and life continue after Christ’s return you have to address the issue of the affect of “the sin” and “the death” being removed from the cosmos.  And the result is plain:  Universalism!  You only have to read Sam's statements to see that this is true (even though he is painfully attempting to avoid it):

“Let me assert quite plainly: all men are under the rule of the Grace and RighteousnessNo man is under the rule of the Death and the Sinthe Sin has been removed from the cosmos along with the Death. This is not just true for believers in Christ, but true for all men, everywhere.” Sam Frost, Observations, (2007).

 Sam, of course, sees what is happening and admits that his system leads to Universalism.  After making the comments immediately above, he goes on to state:

 “Many would assume that the only result of such a theology is universal salvation for every man.  This would be true.”

Here is Sam’s fatal admission.  He unequivocally states that his system in facts leads to universal salvation.  “This would be true” he says!  And he has the audacity to come here and argue that no logical connection exists!  Sam knows he has gone too far and has crossed over into Universalism so he tries to back-peddle by arguing that “the cause” of death is gone but “the effect” remains.  Of course, this is perfectly ridiculous.  As we have already shown, you cannot remove death from the cosmos and it still be here in effect.  Can a law be annulled and it still have effect?  If God annulled the law of gravity, removed it from the cosmos, would things still drop to earth?  If God annuls the law of sin and death, removes it from the cosmos as Sam asserts, are men still condemned?  Can a penalty be paid and still have claim over a man?  No more can “the death” be cast into the lake of fire and still have claim over the souls of men.  Sam’s attempt to destroy death but keeps its effect in force results only in hopeless contradiction

 Sam Frost and Hypothetical Universalsim

(Four Point Calvinism)

It may surprise the reader to learn that there is actually a name given to the doctrine expressed by Sam.  It is called Amyraldianism or hypothetical universalism.  Moise Amyraut (1596-1664) is credited with formulating “Hypothetical Universalism,” which, in simplest terms, is the Calvinist T.U.L.I.P. without the “L” of limited atonement (four point Calvinism).[5]  In his Traite de la Predestination (published in 1634), Amyraut claimed that God, moved by his love for mankind, had appointed all human beings to salvation provided they believe and repent.  However, since human beings would not on their own initiative believe and repent, God chose to bestow a special measure of his Spirit to some only, who are the elect.  This is briefly comprehended in the saying “Christ died sufficiently for all, but efficiently for the elect.”[6]   The reader will recognize immediately that this is precisely what Sam Frost is teaching: he says that “the possibility and means for attaining Eternal Life with the Father is now available to all men.”  Thus, Sam is a “four point” Calvinist, otherwise known as “Hypothetical Universalism”   - a system long recognized by five point Calvinists as leading to Universalism.

According to traditional five point Calvinism, man cannot obey the gospel by his own volition or the operation of the mere word of God upon his heart: God must divinely supervene to cause men to obey.  However, God does not choose all men for salvation, but only some; the rest are predestinated for hell.  But this presents a morally and logically irreconcilable quandary that leads to full Universalism.  Removing the concept of limited atonement from Calvinism leads to Universalism in that, if Christ died out of God’s great love for all men, then God, whose responsibility alone it is to save him, is morally required to save them all.  For God cannot savingly love all men, impute guilt to all, but justify only some.[7]  The God, by whose decree all men are vicariously deemed guilty, based upon the transgression of one, is morally required to apply equally the substitutionary death and atoning blood of Christ to all. In the words of one writer, “The bottom line is, if Christ’s atonement is sufficient to save every person, then God in the end sends billions of redeemable people to hell.”[8]  Thus, when Sam states that “eternal life is now available to all men” he is preaching unlimited atonement.  But, how can God send Christ to die for all, but withhold salvation from some?   This makes God both illogical and divided against himself.  For if he savingly loves all men and sends Christ to die for them, how can he elect only some to be saved?

Of course, these are only quandaries for those like Sam who deny man’s ability to obey the gospel by the exercise of his own free will.  Where men are morally responsible to obey the gospel, unlimited atonement leaves the choice up to man whether he will avail himself of the offer of grace or not, relieving God of the moral blame for the sinner’s refusal to believe and be saved.   However, where, by the doctrines of election and reprobation, and total depravity, the responsibility is shifted to God, who directly supervenes to save some and harden others, God bears the moral implications of failing to save mankind.  Thus, the logical and moral implications of Sam’s four point Calvinism argue strongly in favor of Universalism, and demonstrate further how his system is hopelessly flawed.    With Sam, all roads lead to Universalism.  In the words of one writer:

Those who have opposed the Calvinistic scheme have often said that Universalism is its legitimate fruit I think for the theoretic denial of free will I have just named, that this is true.  The Calvinists, by a happy inconsistency, have maintained a deep sense of the evil and wickedness of sin.  But when they had, by a method "more honored in the breach than in the observance," made the Author of man's nature and surroundings responsible for all man's doings, it was natural that men should infer that God's fairness required the salvation of one as well as another.   The principle, or rather the lack of principle, by which God elected one man, appeared equally good for the election of all men.  Hence we need not wonder that the Universalism of eighty years ago was offered as a "Calvinism Improved' - a title given by Dr. Joseph Huntington to his Universalist book.  The Old-School doctrine of the nature of the Atonement made it a legal satisfaction for the sins of the saved.  The New-School doctrine of the extent of the Atonement makes it sufficient for all men.  Combine the two, and all are saved at the stroke of logic, and the result of the reasoning abides, though the old and false view of the Atonement is discarded.[9] 

That last sentence is telling – “all are saved at a stroke of logic.”  Sam’s four point Calvinism, when applied to covenant eschatology and the corporate body view, becomes yet another factor logically contributing to the tide of souls led astray into Universalism.


Preterism is at a across roads: If it will free itself of Universalism it must reject covenant eschatology and the notion of imputed Adamic guilt.  If there is a way to salvage these doctrines, without overthrowing the basic premise of covenant eschatology, I do not know what it would be.  If we say with King and Frost that the resurrection consisted in annulment of the law, then we justify all men by its removal.  If, on the other hand, we say that legal condemnation still exists in the moral law on the basis of our individual sins (the correct Biblical view), then removal of so-called Adamic guilt and the Mosaic law would not constitute a resurrection as covenant eschatology affirms – in fact, they would be soteriologically irrelevant, as indeed they are.  It is the cross of Christ alone that justifies man, not the annulment of law.  Either way covenant eschatology ala King and Frost is doomed.


[1] Max R. King, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ, p. 644.

 [2] Max R. King, The Spirit of Prophecy, p. 145

[3] For a fuller discussion of Calvinism’s many connections to Universalism, see our newsletter for 07/07 at:

[4] Calvin, Institutes II, i, 8.

[5] The acronym T.U.L.I.P stands for Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints.

[6] See generally, Matthew McMahon, Amyraut and Hypothetical Universalism;

[7] Reformed doctrine holds that God imputes the guilt of Adam’s transgression to all men, including infants.  John Murray, The Imputation of Adam's Sin (Philipsburg, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1959) 

[8] Bob Higby, The Destructive Teaching of Hypothetical Universalism,

[9] Human Destiny: A Discussion: Do Reason and Scripture Teach the Utter extinction of an Unregenerate part of Human Beings, Instead of the Final Salvation of All?  Affirmative: Charles Fredrick Hudson.  Negative: Sylvanus Cobb.  (Sylvanus Cobb, Publisher, 1860) p. 37. Emphasis added.

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