Destined For Salvation
God's Promise to Save Everyone

Kalen Fristad

A Review
By Frank A. Mills

April 20, 2024
Destined for Salvation Cover

Destined For Salvation: God’s Promise to Save Everyone, Kalen Fristad. Morris Publishing (Kearney, NE), 2003. 157 pages including notes. ISBN: 978-0-9729625-0-6.

Destined for Salvation is about the belief – a biblical one according to the author – that God will eventually save everyone. Or to put it a different way—God is on a quest to save everyone, and that it is God’s divine grace that will ultimately fulfil the quest. This is the thrust of Destined For Salvation.

However, just because God is on a quest to save everyone, it doesn’t mean it is a shoe-in. There is still going to be suffering and punishment in this life, and perhaps the next. [“Suffering” as used by Fristad, speaks of the suffering we bring upon ourselves by not following God.]

Fristad writes that the scriptures teach us that it is of ultimate moral necessity that people be converted through punishment or suffering. God isn’t punishing for the sake of punishment (p. 23-4). God’s punishment is necessary to bring us to repentance, and is counterbalanced by the fact that God has the unlimited capacity to forgive those to (re)turn to him. It is important to Fristad that the Christian matures in Christ so as to lessen the suffering and punishment in this life or the next.

If punishment and suffering on earth serves a useful purpose, then we can assume, according to the author, that hell has a useful purpose. Whether the hell we suffer on is earth or the hell of the afterlife, its purpose is to bring us to God. Ultimately, in Fristad’s view, punishment is not to punish us for sin, but to eliminate sin.

Christ’s death on the cross, as Fristad sees it, was not to appease an angry God, but rather to expiate for our sins. It was not to reconcile God to us, but for the purpose of reconciling us to God.

There are those, such as myself, that believe Christ’s sacrificial death was to show us the way to live in harmony with God, to save our own self in the here and now (even more so than to “save” us in the afterlife). This is not the same as what Fristad is saying. Fristad is clear, we cannot be saved by our own free-will. To think so is idolatry. Sin still has to be dealt with. The how we live in the here and now, for Fristad determines what punishment we need to undergo. Contrary to the traditional thinking that if we accept Christ we definitely escape hell, it appears that Fristad holds that we all might possibly suffer some sort of afterlife remediation, in addition to whatever we suffer in this life.

Humans, according to Fristad have the free will to choose heaven or hell. The choice however, is not permanent. In the afterlife, God’s irresistible grace will overwhelm our freedom to choose. And if we have the choice of free-will, according to Fristad our salvation cannot be finalized on earth.

Fristad has an interesting concept of heaven as being a place of progressive growth toward the fullness of God (p.99). He suggests that the “many dwelling places” that Jesus speaks of in John are those progressive stages of becoming more and more Christlike.

Such a view runs counter to those who hold that God’s grace is so irresistible that upon entering into the divine we all immediately become “Christ-like.”

Along with his view of a “progressive afterlife,” Fristad holds that Jesus will minister to those suffering in hell. He will do so, until his love becomes irresistible and they are rescued from hell.

For Fristad, it is this irresistible grace that ultimately saves all that offers the best antidote to atheism, communism, pessimism, Satanism, lukewarm Christianity, the unchurched, and agonizing over hell. Not only antidote Christian Universalism is about making the world a better place through the action of those of us who believe. I do wish though that Fristad had spent more than five pages on this idea.

Chapter 5, "Laying a Solid Foundation,” is one of the best brief explanations laying out how our Christian understanding of God has unfolded that I have seen. In chapter 10, Fristad gives us an excellent overview of those over the years who have espoused Christian Universalism.

The book ends with encouragement to share the good news that all are destined for salvation, while warning that as we share, we will face opposition.

Over all, Destined for Salvation is an easy read. Kalen Fristad’s ministerial background is evident throughout the book. I recommend the book to those exploring the idea of universalism from a traditional Christian perspective. For those of us with a different perspective, Fristad presents a vigorous defense of his position. One that will surely challenge our thinking.

Kalen Fristad, a United Methodist minister, is the Director of Destined for Salvation Ministries, a ministry teaching the good news of God’s ultimate love and salvation for all.

Kalen Fristad responds to my review

Thank you for reviewing my book. I think most of it is very good and on target. Thanks.

However, while I don’t mean to be disrespectful, it seems to me that you didn’t get some of the points quite right.

For example, you use the word punishment very often, which it seems to me is not really consistent with my book. The concept of punishment suggests that God is doing the punishing. However, I say on page 23, “ I believe we need to move away from the concept of justice, or reward and punishment. No one can do anything so bad that God‘s grace is exhausted to the extent God becomes angry and punishing. Those things that we experienced that seem to be rewards or punishments do not come from God. They are the natural consequences of behavior, whether that be the misery caused by wrongdoing, or the happiness, healing, and joy which results from doing what is right.” Also, on page 75, in my chapter regarding unconditional love, in reference to “you-are-loved-unconditionally faith,” I state, “I realize this goes against conventional wisdom, which contends that God must punish evildoers. But that is not God‘s way. God‘s way is to unconditionally love evildoers.” That being the case, and regarding the places in the review that you referred to both punishment and suffering, it seems to me that it would be more consistent with my book, if you were to eliminate the word punishment in most cases, and just use the word suffering.

In regard to free well, in chapter 4, by chapter on free well, I make it very clear that we do not have total free well, so we don’t have free well to choose heaven or hell on our own. I make it clear in that God doesn’t overwhelm our freedom to choose, but according to John Wesley, on page 45, people are assisted by God‘s grace to choose the better way. Also, I state on page 46, that “even in our freedom, God guides us all into union with Godself.”

I assume you had a reason to not include any scripture passages in your review, but I think it could’ve been helpful to have included perhaps at least one or two of the passages I referred to in chapter 1.

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