Masters Thesis

Paul Tournier was an unrestricted universalist. His writings, personal correspondence with him, and interviews with many who knew him support this conclusion. An analysis of his soteriology over 35 years of writing reveals a transition from reformed roots to an unbiblical, neo-orthodox perspective influnced by Emil Brunner and Karl Barth. 130pp.

Daniel D. Musick, B.A., Wheaton College, 1973


Submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of MASTER OF ARTS With a Major in Christian Theology At Wheaton College

Wheaton, Illinois   November, 1978

The views expressed in this thesis are those of the student and do not necessarily express the views of the Wheaton College Graduate school.



Search for God
Religious Experience


Chapter III. GOD'S ACTION TOWARD MAN-Continued Forgiveness

Chapter IV. EVALUATION Is Tournier a Universalist?
Influences on Tournier's Universalism
Personal experience
Psychological influences
Ecclesiological reactions
Theological influences
Search for God
Religious experience
God's love
The Evangelical Response


BIBLIOGRAPHY Sources Consulted on Paul Tournier
Related Bibliography


Born in 1898, Paul Tournier, a physician from Geneva, Switzerland, has spent years applying his Christian faith and Biblical understanding to the field of medicine and the treatment of human problems. Having written numerous books, translated into 10 languages, he has won a worldwide audience, and has earned recognition, not only from doctors, but also from psychiatrists and theologians. He is popular among laymen, pastors, teachers, and counselors--particularly among the growing number of those interested in integrating Christian faith with contemporary trends in psychology.

Among evangelicals, however, questions have been raised concerning the compatibility of his Biblical perspective with that of traditional evangelical theology. In one review of his book, Guilt and Grace, it was noted, "some will undoubtedly be perturbed by his observations on dogma, . . . and some by his emphasis on the all-inclusiveness of God's love.1 Referring to the same work, Gary Collins more specifically points out that "There is evidence that Tournier is a universalist who thinks that evangelism consists of telling men they have all been redeemed already."2 The same author else-where devotes several pages to Tournier's universalist tendencies, noting particularly his doubts regarding the reality of hell.3 Other than the comments Collins has made regarding various statements found in Tournier's writings, no real in-depth study of Tournier's universalism has been made.

It is for this reason, in conjunction with evangelical interest in his views on salvation, that this topic has been chosen. Hence, this thesis purposes to explore and evaluate Tournier's universalism in the con-text of his soteriology, and to determine whether or not he subscribes to universalism.

With regard to terminology, the expression "Tournier's universalism," first, is intended neither to assume from the outset that he is a universalist, nor to deny the possibility. It is intended primarily to designate his own form of universalism, obvious in Guilt and Grace where he refers to the "universality of salvation,4 the nature of which this thesis purposes to explore.

Second, by "universalism" is meant the view, held largely by liberals, that "God designed to save all men by the atonement and that in consequence all men will eventually be saved, if not in this life then in the after-life." This is more formally called "unrestricted universalism," and is contrasted with qualified universalism--the view that "God planned to save all men by the atonement but that all will not be saved because ultimately of a failure to believe," and "particularism"--the view that "God purposed by the atonement to save only the elect and that in consequence only they are saved."5

Third, to "explore" Tournier's universalism means to research and bring to light those aspects of his soteriology which are universal in scope. It should be noted that this exploration presupposes two priorities: one of interest in the universal over the non-universal, which tends to bias the research, and the other, a general principle of interpretation--the priority of the explicit over the implicit, which, in a small degree, can effect the nature of considerations raised for examining and evaluating his universalism.

Fourth, the use of the term "soteriology" should not suggest that Tournier has systematized his views on salvation. It means, rather, his uncategorized views, found in his writings, related to salvation, which have been somewhat systematized herein for purposes of examining. There are two reasons for exploring his universalism in the context of his soteriology. One is to gain an understanding of his own terminology which sometimes differs from terminology commonly used in evangelical circles. It would not be possible to evaluate his universalism without attempting to understand the nature of his soteriology; nor would it be fair to attempt to determine whether he subscribes to universalism without these findings. The other reason is that his views on salvation are the context from which his universalism seems to emerge. In order to consider possible changes in his thought over the more than 30 years of writing, his works have been divided into three time periods: his early works, first published in French before 1952; his following middle works published before 1960, which seem to be pivotal in his views on the universality of salvation; and his later works, including many articles which began to appear in American journals and magazines.6 A summary of the more noteworthy changes in his soteriology will appear in the first section of the evaluation.

In seeking to understand Tournier's theological perspective, several preliminary considerations should be noted. First, he is not a theologian, and he is careful in letting this be known.7 This fact, however, does not subtract from his responsibility for the statements he does make.

Second, he is ambiguous in his writings. They are not only frequently disorganized, but it is not difficult for him to admit, "I speak loosely of things I know nothing about, and give wrong definitions of the terms I employ."8 Furthermore, what he writes must be examined in their proper contexts, which is not always easy to do. Much of what he writes is reactionary, hence somewhat extreme. He also addresses non-Christians as well as Christians, and at times it is difficult to determine his audience, which, to some degree, may also be effecting the manner in which he expresses his views.

The third and final consideration is that the primary source material has been translated from French into English. This creates certain limitations in examining his views; however, there are two compensatory factors. One is the multiplicity of references to most of his views, and the other is the assistance the author has received from a fellow French colleague who translated some of the crucial passages in Guilt and Grace9 and found no significant differences in the original French edition.

This author has not been without personal reservations in completing this investigation. What began as a detached theological attack soon changed, upon reading his works and coming to know him through these, into a deep respect for his value of unity among men of every theological persuasion. That this research could con-tribute to divisions or perpetuate barriers did, indeed, instill personal feelings of guilt. In talking with many who have met him or who know him personally, the relative insignificance of his particular viewpoints became evident when set against the background of all the good he has contributed to the lives of those he has touched. It is similarly hoped that the study of these findings will be set against the same background.


Titles are shown below with abbreviations that appear in footnotes throughout this work.

Early Works: 1940 -1952

The Healing of Persons (HP)
Escape from Loneliness (EL)
The Person Reborn (PR)
The Whole Person in a Broken World (WPBW)
The Strong and the Weak (SW)
A Doctor's Casebook in the Light of the Bible (DCLB)

Middle Works: 1953-1959

"The Frontier between Psychotherapy and Soul-healing" (FPSH)
The Meaning of Persons (MP)
Guilt and Grace (GG)

Later Works: 1960-1975

The Meaning of Gifts (MG)
The Seasons of Life (SL)
To Resist or to Surrender? (RS)
To Understand Each Other (UE0)
"Toward a Christian Anthropology" (TCA)
Fatigue in Modern Society (FMS)
Secrets (S)
The Adventure of Living (AL)
"Forgiveness and Mental Health" (FMH)
"What is Mental Health?" (WMH)
"The Person in an Age of Conformity" in Are You Nobody? (PAC)
A Place for You (PY)
"A Dialogue between Doctor and Patient" (DDPP)
"Listen to God" (LG)
"There's a New World Coming" (NWC)
Learn to Grow Old (LGO)
"My Religious Vocation as Physician" (MRVP)
"North Carolina Conference" (NCC)
"The Doctor, the Senior Citizen, and the Meaning of Life" (DSCML)
Forward in Gary Collins' The Christian Psychology of Paul Tournier (CPPT)
The Naming of Persons (NP)
"The Meaning of Possessiveness" (MP)

End Notes for Introduction

1Review of Guilt and Grace, by L. I. Granberg, Eternity 14 (June 1963) 1: 45.
2Gary Collins, "Paul Tournier at 75," Christianity Today, May 11, 1973, p. 9.
3Gary Collins, The Christian Psychology of Paul Tournier. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House), pp. 89-90, 100-104, (hereafter cited as CPPT).
4GG , 187; cf. 208-210.
5Charles Horne, Salvation (Chicago: Moody Press, 1071), pp. 41-42.
6See the time chart below by which these writings are ordered.
7WPBW, 2; MP, 215; GG, 126; AL, 24.
8PR, 198.
9GG, especially pp. 187-8, where Tournier's tendencies toward unrestricted universalism are most explicit.



A good starting point for understanding Tournier's universalism is to examine the basis of man's universal need for salvation, his sin.

The clearest definition Tournier gives, which is consistent throughout his writings, is: "Sin is every-thing that separates us from God and from each other."1 Elsewhere he defines it as disobedience to God,2 and at one juncture he quotes Spoerri to define sin as "'every-thing that hinders the advent of the kingdom of God.'"3

Several things can be noted regarding his under-standing of sin. Most frequently, particularly in his first book, he views sin as specific acts, whether they be overt manifestations, or covert attitudinal or motivational sins.4 Elsewhere Tournier's use of "sin" contains nuances of temptation and its power,5 and of guilt.6 He is particularly interested in the effect of sin on people's lives,7 and in the relationship between sin and sickness, death, and disease.8

Two observations can be noted concerning the development of Tournier's views on sin. The first has to do with an apparent growth in his understanding of sin as a state. In his first few books Tournier only alludes to original sin,9 but he goes into greater detail in his remaining works.10 In his earlier works he views sin primarily as acts, but midway through his writings he begins to concern himself with sin also as a state of man, epitomized in Guilt and Grace where he contrasts "the guilt of doing to the guilt of being."11

The second change has to do with his emphasis on the importance of the conviction of sin. In his early and middle works Tournier views the conviction of sin as necessary for repentance12 and the only road to conversion.13 He also states that it "leads to a true and personal relationship with God,"14 and views "recognition of one's sinfulness [as] the essential precondition of the experience of God's grace."15 In his later works, however, there appears to be less stress on the importance of personal conviction of sin.

As for the universality of man's sin, this is quite evident throughout Tournier's works. Though his belief in that is only implicit in numerous references in his earliest works, it becomes explicit in The Strong and the Weak: "We are all sinners--equally sinners: the descent, honorable, respectable folk equally with those they despise."16 "Sin is common to all men."17 This emphasis continues through several of his works,18 but is expressed most explicitly in Guilt and Grace :

Further, we recognize with the Bible the fearful universality of evil: 'None is righteous, no, not one . . . All have turned aside, together they have gone wrong; no one does good, not even one' (Rom. iii. 10-12.) 'Man . . . drinks iniquity like water' (Job xv. 16). None escape guilt.19

Not only does Tournier believe in the universality of sin in man, but also emerging midway in his writings is the notion that all men are aware of their sin, which is manifested in their feelings of guilt.

In his earlier works, this notion is more implicit. In distinguishing the spirit from the mind and body, he sets it apart as "'something' more . . . which has to do with the relationship that exists between God and man." He goes on to assert that

this 'something' is connected with the religious drama of man's fall and redemption, and I think that even the most unbelieving man has some inkling of this, in spite of everything. It animates both body and mind, and expresses itself through the one as much as the other.20
Tournier also sees modern man preserving "at the bottom of his soul . . . an ideal and conception of life which he owes to Christianity . . ." including "the need for pardon, grace, and reconciliation with God and man."21 "Modern man struggles in secret with his feelings of guilt."22 He also observes:

All men are afraid of God . . . They are afraid of God because they have a bad conscience and because they dread the sacrifices which he may ask of them."23
The universality of man's awareness of his sin, however, becomes explicit midway through his writings, particularly in Guilt and Grace . Everyone feels guilty for sins of omission.24 In addition, whether a man is a Christian or not, unfaithfulness to oneself "is a universal source of guilt, for no one feels that he is always faithful to himself."25 This Jungian notion of guilt Tournier relates to that expressed by the prophet Habakkuk, "'Thou hast . . . sinned against thy soul' (Hab. ii. 10)."26 Even "the atheists have an acute sense of guilt, and they are more pessimistic about man than the Calvinists."27 Tournier also feels that the Biblical viewpoint explains what modern psychology also confirms, that "all men are equally burdened with guilt."28 "None escape guilt; all thirst for salvation and pardon."29 Furthermore, departing from Reformed teaching, he notes that man

. . . perceives the solidarity of evil, a fatal link binding all men and all generations together, a fundamental blemish, an original sin--'Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?' cries Job (xiv. 4) . . . There are none righteous, all are guilty as they know and feel more or less clearly. Guilt is no invention of the Bible or of the Church. It is present universally in the human soul.30
In addition to this, the parable of the prodigal son expresses the condition of man as observed by doctors: "All men are exiled, impoverished and all feel guilty; all yearn for the wealth of the home they have abandoned, and for forgiveness.."31

In the same work, correlated with man's universal guilt is a psychological attitude to which Tournier devotes an entire chapter, "the idea deeply engraved in the heart of all men, that everything must be paid for."32 Tournier believes that "the need to pay for one's rehabilitation is universal."33 It is true, not only "of our traditionally Christian western world, . . . [but] of the innumerable multitudes of Hindus who plunge into the water of the Ganges to be washed from their guilt." He continues:

Think of the votive offerings and the gold leaf which covers statues of Buddha. Think of all the penitents and pilgrims of all religions who impose upon them-selves sacrifices, ascetic practices, or arduous journeys. They experience the need to pay, to expiate. In a more secular sphere, less aware of its religious significance, think of all the privations and all the acts of charity which so many people impose upon themselves, in order to be pardoned for the more or less unfair privileges which they enjoy.34
He also observes that the ritual of the Day of Atonement

implies the idea of man's solidarity of guilt. In order to feel at ease and reconciled with God, the individual not only needs to be cleansed from his own personal sins, but to live in a social setting which is purified, where the danger of passive contamination from evil is warded off.35
In his later works Tournier's notion of man's universal guilt seems t6 bear greater emphasis on man's general separation from God and his fellow man. He remarks that 'Tin the hearts of all men, believers and unbelievers alike, there is a nostalgia for Paradise Lost and a longing to be reintegrated . . . into the order of the world."36 In spite of the Fall, man still "keeps some likeness to God's image in himself, . . . an aspiration for perfection, health, immortality, truth, beauty and communion with God and his fellow creature."37

Search for God

Along with his predicament of sin and guilt, is man's universal search for God. The basis of this, according to Tournier, lies in his being created in God's image, which meant "perfection, health, immortality, and perfect relation with the fellow creature." In spite of man's fall, and although this image was corrupted, it was not destroyed. "So man keeps some likeness to God's image in himself, a yearning for paradise lost, an aspiration for perfection, health, immortality, truth, beauty, and communion with God and his fellow creature."38

In his earlier works the notion that all men seek God is only implicit:

The God whom we know in Jesus Christ is known to others under widely varying names and attributes. They seek him in nature, they seek him in the truth pursued by science; they seek him in the social justice and international peace they are trying to create; when they are embarrassed by their own wrongdoing and try to hide it, they show they have some inkling of his sovereign demands.39
In Tournier's middle and later works, however, this notion is more explicit, and seems to lean toward universalism. First, patients' yearning for unconditional love from therapists is proof that they seek God, who alone can offer this love.40 Secondly, "the universal quest for gifts is nothing other than a seeking after God."41 Thirdly, man has a need for fulfillment, "a need for personal adventure which is peculiar to man, a thirst for the absolute, which in the last analysis is an expression of man's hunger and thirst after God."42 Fourthly, just as man is seeking his place in the world, so he is seeking his place before God.44 Lastly, everyone is seeking God's support which was lost in the Fall.44


The earliest definition of repentance which Tournier offers occurs in his first work, where it is somewhat psychologized. In contrasting it to Pierre Janet's theory of the contraction of the field of consciousness, Tournier states that "the fundamental religious phenomenon is repentance--that is to say, the recovery of consciousness of a sin, the memory of which has been only too successfully eliminated."45 Elsewhere, the most basic definition Tournier gives for repentance is found in Guilt and Grace. It means a change of mind or change of heart, from metanoia in scripture.46

Several general ideas can be noted in Tournier's views. He believes that true repentance comes only after a long struggle arising from "intimate communion with God, from the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and not from the judgement of men." "It is a reversal, a turning in upon the self, and it is also a transcendence of the self, as the metaphysical transcends the physical and introduces points of view unknown to it."47 It involves "the passing from the kingdom of this world into the kingdom of God."48

Several shifts occur throughout Tournier's writings in his discussions of repentance. One has to do with the orientation of the change of heart or mind. His earlier works strongly suggest repentance from sin to God: "To repent and turn away from one's transgression] . . . is to come back to God's purpose."49 Men try "to escape the conviction of sin which would bring back in repentance to God."50 Repentance leads to reconciliation with God;51 it is preceded by an awareness of faults and marks entry into the kingdom of God.52 Though references after Guilt and Grace are scarce, the orientation seems to lose the action of one's turning from sin to God, and takes more the form of merely "a conscious acceptance of responsibilities hitherto ignored, "53 or the "recognition of our own problems and faults,"54 losing the personal action of turning.

A second shift in Tournier's use of "repentance" regards a matter of emphasis. His earlier references are more theological,55 but after Guilt and Grace they reflect more the psychological aspects of repentance.56

A third shift is in Tournier's view of the necessity of repentance. In his earlier works he seems to imply that it is a condition for God's forgiveness. He holds that repentance leads to forgiveness,57 and that "Christ calls us to repentance . . . so that, forgiven and set free, we can throw ourselves into action."58 In The Strong and the Weak , and afterward, however, its significance seems to shift to being necessary for merely experiencing God's grace59 or receiving forgiveness,60 and reconciliation with God61 in contrast to actual forgiveness per se. It comes to be important more as an indispensable road, route, or door,62 for God's grace,63 forgiveness, explicitly not a condition, and reconciliation with Him.64 Part of Tournier's argument against the conditional nature of repentance stems from his belief that it would be an oppressive imposition which "we can never completely fulfill and by which God may then refuse the grace to which he calls us.65

A fourth shift in Tournier's discussion of repentance is from its use in a strictly Christian context in his earlier works, to its application in a universal context in his later works where he contends:

Such an experience is by no means reserved only for believers. It is of universal application. Certainly it is of God's grace, but as Jesus said, God 'makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good' (Matt. 5:45).66
Though this experience is not limited to Christians, Tournier nowhere suggests that everyone experiences repentance.


Of all the aspects of salvation relating to his universalism, to none other does Tournier make more reference than to faith, which appears more than 500 times throughout his writings.

He never gives a concise, comprehensive definition of "faith;" his understanding seems to be both broad and vague. The foundation of our faith is the historical resurrection of Christ.67 The subject of faith is generally the person, and the object is God68 or Jesus Christ.69 To a great extent he emphasizes faith in the sovereign and providential will and purpose of God through the laws He has established.70 Faith is also vital to fellowship with God: "Faith is a movement toward God, a turning back toward God which one feels at the very moment when one confesses that one has turned away."71 Three important elements of personal faith are: surrender - "no one receives faith without an act of surrender to God;"72 commitment--"Christianity is not so much a body of principles as it is a commitment to his person;"73 and obedience--"Christianity is a message of good news, of miraculous and freely given liberation accorded by faith to those who are willing really to obey Jesus Christ."74

Tournier employs the term "faith" in numerous ways. Most often it refers to "the faith" or the "Christian faith,"75 or to religious faith.76 Quite often it is just to faith in general.77 He also makes reference to personal faith,78 living faith,79 and faith as an act.80 Two other of the more common uses are true faith81 and the perspective of faith.82

He also contrasts numerous kinds of faith. With regard to the object, he contrasts faith in God with faith in technology,83 science,84 numbers and statistics,85 and progress.86 Faith is contrasted with optimism,87 effort,88 reason;89 doubt,90 magic,91 psychology,92 and unbelief.93 Tournier also distinguishes different kinds of faith: theoretical and practical,94 intellectual and experi-ential,94 philosophical and personal,95 and faith professed and faith lived.96

One aspect of Tournier's understanding of faith which reflects some sort of universalism has to do with his growing acceptance of unbelievers. Throughout his writings can be found statements predicated upon two assumptions: (1) there are believers, people who have faith; and (2) there are unbelievers, people who have no faith.98 Interest in the seeming paradoxical faith of unbelievers, however, begins to emerge in The Person Reborn--the atheist who claims to have no faith is close to faith because of his great need to believe in someone.99 In Guilt and Grace , Tournier notes that one common ground for believers and unbelievers is that both have grievances against God which need His response.100 In addition, the unbeliever, like the believer, honors God and takes His omnipotence and holiness seriously when his sensitivity to all the evil in the world inhibits his ability to believe in God.101 In a later book Tournier writes:

Every man who discusses within himself what is worth-while in his eyes is by this very fact seeking a norm beyond and outside himself, even if he does not at-tribute it to God. It is always the faith of unbelievers that interests me the most . . . Believers believe they know God . . . Unbelievers believe they do not know him, but they are seeking him, without always realizing it, every time they seriously consider the question of what is worthwhile.102
In a still later work Tournier states that the faith of unbelievers "is revealed in their untiring search for real support, and their rebellion when those on which they have been counting betray them."103 He goes on to acknowledge, along with the faith of different denominations and religions, the faith of "all those who 'only err, seeking God, and desirous to find him' . . . (Wisd. 13.6)."104 In one of his latest works he proceeds to mention his acquaintance with "the thinking and experience of non-Christian believers, like those of Mohammedans in Libya or in Iran."105 This appears to be a noteworthy development in his thought, particularly in view of the fact that throughout his earlier works Tournier uses the term "believers" to refer solely to Christians.106

Religious Experience

In any discussion of Tournier's universalism it is valuable to examine his views on religious experiences--first, in regard to his views on other religions, and secondly, in regard to his views on the religious experiences that all people have.

In consideration of the former Tournier seems to reflect, throughout his writings, a growing acceptance of other religions and religious philosophies. In The Person Reborn he cites examples of other religions and notes their value,107 and he goes on to state: "There is something of the truth in what each says, provided he is sincere."108 In addition Tournier feels that although "Jesus Christ is the unique and total incarnation of truth, . . . without betraying him we can learn from the Greek philosophers, the sages of India, the philosophers of China, or the sacred texts of ancient Egypt."109

Continuing through his works, this acceptance grows. He indicates that the great world religions have educated humanity.110 Citing a general example of one who puts together a philosophy and morality of his own from studying different religions and philosophies, Tournier states: "In so far as he finds eternal verities in them, he will be piecing together a part of all that is contained in the Christian revelation."111

The climax in Tournier's growing acceptance of other religions occurs in Guilt and Grace . Regardless of their religious beliefs, everyone benefits from the atonement:

Jesus Christ died for all men without any distinction, for the men of every age and clime, for Brahmins, Buddhists, Mohammedans, pagans and atheists . . .

He Himself said: 'I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice.112

This is similarly expressed in a later work,113 and seems to be reflected in still another later writing where he refers to Mohammedans in Libya or Iran as "non-Christian believers."114

Second, with respect to religious experiences that everyone has, Tournier is firmly convinced that everyone is religious. In general he believes that "all men have a common religious experience which forms a shared back-ground to their lives, antecedent to any individual formulation in accordance with a particular religion or church."115 Within the heart of everyone there is a battle between God and Satan.116 Every man is religious in that he "feels connected with the whole of things and asks himself questions on his personal relation with them, on the meaning of the world, life, death and his own exis-tence."117 "Religious concerns are found in all men, atheists as well as believers."118

Not only does Tournier believe that everyone is religious, but he also indicates that encountering God is not limited to a Christian context. This, he expresses in two ways. First, he does not consider a religious atmosphere necessary for finding God.

God brings every man to a moment in his life when there takes place within him--often over some minor act of disobedience--this inner debate as to which of the two attitudes, resistance or acceptance, he is to adopt . . . Sometimes it is helped by something said by a person with no pretensions whatever to religion. It matters little how one finds God, or that the field in which the discovery is made is a limited one.119
Secondly, he expresses belief that encountering God is not limited to believers. He notes that unbelievers may encounter God and experience pardon without realizing it is from God.120 Elsewhere he remarks:

What does it mean to meet God? . . . Is not God always there, close by, as close to the unbeliever as to the believer? Do we not meet him already, without knowing it, when we rebel? Against whom do we rebel if not against him? Why do we cry out against injustice, ugliness, falsehood, and hate, if not because God speaks to us of justice, beauty, truth, and love?121
Examples of unbelievers experiencing God can be found in several of Tournier's works. There are those who do so during therapy when they engage in dialogue with God without realizing it.122 He Cites the case of unbelievers who honor God "more truly than many believers who accept the drama of human life too superficially.123 Lastly, Tournier gives an example of an unbeliever who "stammers out a prayer . . . [or] heaves a sigh that has the accent of a prayer," who "may have the experience of having his prayer answered, of receiving unexpected strength and assistance."124

Endnotes, Chapter 1

1HP, 232; cf. EL, 102; SW, 203; DCLB, 168; GG, 171; TCA, 9.
2HP, 183; GG, 116-17.
3PR, 70.
4See, e.g., HP, 150; EL, 76; PR, 13, 59; GG, 51; UE0, 47.
5HP, 211, 225, 276; WPBW, 22; SW, 209.
6HP, 225; GG, 79, 98, 133, 169, 190.
7WPBW, 67; DCLB, 205.
8HP, 226; PR, 113-24; WPBW, 12; DCLB, 168, 193-5.
9HP, 130, 228; WPBW, 56, 67, 92.
10DCLB, 166-9, 200; GG, 143; AL, 75; PY, 39; LGO, 216; TCA, 6. 11GG, 117; cf. 167.
12PR, 114; cf. 118.
13PR, 225.
14GG, 167; cf. PR, 101.
15SW, 63; cf. GG, 111, 202.
16P. 58.
17SW, 74; cf. 175.
18DCLB, 69, 197; PY, 128; TCA, 8.
19GG, 133; cf. 122, 187.
20PR, 198.
21WPBW, 22.
22WPBW, 24.
23SW, 93.
24GG, 51.
25GG, 55.
26GG, 65.
27GG, 79.
28GG, 114.
29GG, 133; cf. 206.
30GG, 135.
31GG, 212.
32GG, 174-80.
33GG, 176.
34GG, 175.
35GG, 177.
36AL, 184.
37TCA, 8.
38TCA, 8.
39PR, 197; cf. AL, 174-5.
40GG, 193.
41MG, 55.
42AL, 9.
43PY, 168.
44PY, 199.
46GG, 86, 100, 104, 212.
47GG, 86.
48GG, 100.
49HP, 141.
50PR, 114.
51DCLB, 114; MP, 114.
52GG, 100.
53UE0, 56.
54PY, 208-9.
55See, e.g., HP, 237; EL, 63; PR, 101; WPBW, 94; SW, 170; DCLB, 194; MP, 114; GG, 173.
56UE0, 56; PY, 208-9.
57HP, 258.
58PR, 209.
59SW, 74.
60SW, 222; GG, 142.
61GG, 190.
62SW, 170; GG, 122.
63SW, 222.
64MP, 114.
65GG, 191-2.
66RS, 64.
67LGO, 237.
68See, e.g., HP, 29; PR, 196; PY, 43.
69See, e.g., SW, 251; DCLB, 233, 236; MG, 57; RS50; LGO, 240.6GG, 191-2.
70See, e.g., HP, 157; EL, 83; PR, 43, 80, 144, 159, 187; WPBW, 66; AL, 192; PY, 209.
71MP, 237; cf. 162, 167; NP, 85.
72EL, 64; cf. 66; AL, 194.
73RS, 50; cf. AL, 194.
74HP184; cf. 157; EL, 170.
75See, e.g., HP, 52; EL, 137; P--R, 95; WPBW, 164; SW, 180; DCLB, 184; RS, 10; PY, 32.
76See, e.g., P-RR, 103; DCLB, 157; PY, 153.
77See, e.g., HP, 74; PR, 72; DCLB, 149; AL, 126.
78See, e.g., EL, 137; WPBW, 76; GG, 125.
79See, e.g., PR, 5, 196; SW, 147; DCLB, 151.
80See, e.g., PR, 5; MP, 83; RS, 31.
81See, e.g., PR, 173; SW, 117; S, 60.
82See, e.g., PR, 159; GG, 167; LGO, 170.
83PR, 7, 30.
84WPBW, 92, 99; DCLB, 25; SL, 23; MRVP, 259.
85WPBW, 157.
86WPBW, 92, 99, 117.
87HP, 79-80; PR, 231.
88HP, 209.
89EL, 51; MP, 221.
90PR, 106; SW, 246; MP, 50; RS, 32.
91DCLB, 119.
92AL, 208; PY, 86; CPPT, 11.
93PY, 168.
94PY, 133.
95LGO, 219; MRVP, 243; LG, 243.
97MRVP, 247.
98See, e.g., PR, 18, 72, 161; WPBW, 155; AL, 175; PY, 168; DDP, 8; DSCML, 4.
99PR, 196.
100GG, 86.
101GG, 140.
102AL, 174-5.
103PY, 201.
104PY, 214.
105MRVP, 263.
106See, e.g.,PR, 9, 18, 31; WPBW, 14, 154; DCLB, 40; PY, 203; LGO, 215.
107PR, 97.
108PR, 105.
109PR, 109.
110WPBW, 11.
111MP, 220.
112GG, 187.
113TCA, 10-11.
114MRVP, 263.
115AL, 81.
116PR, 159.
117TCA, 7.
118DSCML, 8.
119PR, 133-4.
120FMH, 53.
121AL, 147.
122HP, 248; MP, 220; GG, 200.
123GG, 140.
124PY, 203.


God's Love

With regard to Tournier's views on God's love, a few general remarks can be made. He notes that God's love is immeasurable,1 and that He "takes a personal interest in each individual."2 His death on the Cross is "the ineffaceable guarantee of his love."3 It is also all-inclusive,4 and it has no limit.5

Otherwise, of particular interest are Tournier's discussions pertaining to the universality of God's love. This is evident throughout his works, though a three-fold development seems to occur, in which he departs from his earlier Calvinism. The first, that God loves all men, is explicit from his earliest writings to his latest: "God loves each person equally."6 He "does not only love all men in general, but each of us in particular. He concerns Himself not only with our destiny as a whole, but with our every care."7 Tournier remarks that he seeks "to see man through God, through the vision of love that God has for each man."8

The second phase unfolds in Guilt and Grace: God not only loves all men, but He loves us unconditionally.9 Tournier chooses the term "unconditional" because, as he explains:

There is a decisive step between great love or a very great love or a very very great love, and a love which is unconditional. It is the distance between what is finite, be it as large as possible, and what is infinite.10
God "loves us not for our goodness or our virtues but because of our misery and guilt."11 "God does not love us because we love Him and obey Him, and in that way fill some condition, but, as St. John says, 'because He first loved us' (I Jn. iv. 19)."12 The scope of this love extends to include unconditional forgiveness,13 salvation,14 and reconciliation.15 This notion of unconditional love can also be found in a later work.16

The third stage of development occurs in Tournier's later works, and involves the manifestation of God's love among unbelievers. In reference to God's desire to set man free from his loneliness and confusion, Tournier states: "Every person who sincerely draws close to his neighbor becomes an instrument of divine love, even if one or both of them be unbelieving."17 God's love is also manifested in His support,
the divine support which is not reserved for believers, but is offered to all men, and which can sustain them in the most desperate situations, and rescue them from despair. What distinguishes the believer is thus solely the fact that he knows that that support comes from God, whereas the unbeliever sees it only as an insoluble mystery.18
In a similar vein, unbelievers can experience the divine ability to forgive others. However, they

are not aware that the grace of forgiveness emanates from God, although they vaguely sense that, in becoming capable of full pardon, their being acquires some extraordinary, ineffable, transcending quality.19

Tournier's understanding of adoption appears to be vague and general. He never addresses himself to the subject in his writings, and his few references pertaining to adoption seem to indicate that he never really developed his views on the subject.

This is evident in that there appears to be, both implicitly and explicitly, a three-fold basis for adoption or man's sonship to God. The first is creation. Tournier believes that since the source of life is God, a "child is also a child of God; he does not owe his life only to his parents, but also to God, who imparts his own creative power to men."20

Related to this, secondly, is the liberal hint that anyone who does the will of God is indirectly a child of God by being a brother or sister to Christ:

When a doctor bends sympathetically over a lonely downcast patient, a victim of the cruelty of men and circumstances, he is the instrument of the restorative power of God. Whether he is a believer or not does not alter the position, for Jesus Christ said: 'Who-ever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother' (Matt. xii. 50).21
Elsewhere, in an address to a conference in North Carolina he addressed doctors, saying, "I salute you as brothers in Jesus Christ, whether you are a believer or not you are men sent by God to be collaborators of God."22

Thirdly, though the Pauline concept of adoption is linked directly with salvation, this is not prevalent in Tournier's writings, though a vague connection between the two can be found:

The creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves . . . as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.23
Elsewhere, addressing the subject of those who recognize their sin, he writes:

God is with the weak, the poor, the humble, the sinners who recognize themselves as such, and this adoption by God delivers them both from self-contempt and the contempt of others.24
Because of the ambiguity in his views on adoption, it is difficult to ascertain the basis of man's universal sonship to God to which Tournier alludes in one of his later works:

Every religion and every church has its holy places, its places of pilgrimage, Mecca or Benares, Tinos or Lourdes. They can be instrumental in provoking fanaticism or religious particularism; but they can also be places where men meet the one God, the Father of all believers and of all unbelievers.25

Several general comments can be made concerning Tournier's understanding of God's covenants. He centers discussion primarily on the Old and New Covenants,26 though he also alludes to that with Noah.27 The covenants signify "the intervention of God in history, and it is this intervention which gives a meaning to history."28 The purpose of God's intervention through the covenants is to re-establish the order that existed before the Fall. It "begins with His covenant with the people of Israel, is continued in the ministry, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, in the history of the Church, and it will be consummated in Christ's return."29

Tournier also contrasts the quality of life under the two covenants:

Life under the Old Covenant had its majesty and its awe, but it was distant and inaccessible. In the New Covenant, life personified in Jesus Christ comes close to us, concrete, accessible, and personal.30

His views on the universal nature of God's covenant seems to have evolved from the writing of A Doctor's Casebook in the Light of the Bible to the writing of a succeeding work, Guilt and Grace. In the former he makes no mention of a universal covenant, though he does see in the two covenants implications of universal blessing and salvation. In the Old Covenant God's promise was not restricted to the Jews; rather, God promised Abraham: "'In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed' (Gen. 12:3)."31 With regard to the New Covenant, Tournier notes:

The salvation wrought by Jesus Christ corresponds to the deliverance from Egypt in the Old Covenant. The Biblical perspective widens thus to include the whole of humanity.32

In Guilt and Grace however, these implications are more explicit in the universal covenant symbolized by Melchizedik. This covenant

precedes the special covenant with the chosen people and . . . embraces the latter. It is an affirmation of the fulfillment by Jesus Christ both of the promises made by God to His people and of the universal promises made to the whole of His creation.33

Tournier sees Melchizedik "as a symbol . . . of the messenger of universal salvation, of the universal saviour who outstrips in time and space Abraham and the special covenant which God soon after sealed with him and his descendants.34 In citing the source for this belief Tournier writes:

The author of the Epistle certainly regards Melchizedik as a symbolic figure, since he says of him that he is 'without father or mother or genealogy, and has neither beginning of days nor end of life' (Heb. vii. 3). By this he proclaims the symbol of the universality of the salvation incarnate in Jesus Christ.

Tournier concludes:

Thus, there is an 'order of Melchizedik,' a universal order, which contains and exceeds all particular orders and all special covenants. Our Churches individualize salvation. Each one of them has its place in God's plan for the fulfillment of universal salvation. Their particularism does not therefore contradict His universalism, but it does not limit it either. What each of them offers is the same living, universal reality--reconciliation between God and man.35
God's Call

In examining Tournier's understanding of God's call, several general observations can be noted. The source is God,36 Jesus Christ,37 and the Holy Spirit,38 and at one point is contrasted with the call of Satan.39

The manner by which God calls is through conscience,40 the "still small voice,"41 the feeling of an inner call;42 through natural phenomenon such as dreams,43 and in the Bible44 and the teachings of the Church.45 God's call is also personal46 and individual;47 He calls us by our name.48 Another characteristic of God's call which Tournier discusses is its creative functions: "At God's call, everything takes on movement and life."49 God

calls, he sends, he gives a purpose to life, he moves, and thus awakens the person. As Professor Sieback says: 'It is the calling that creates the person.'50

Tournier's references to and discussions of God's call usually appear in three contexts. The first is that of vocation, in which he undermines any real difference in importance between a spiritual vocation and a lay vocation, emphasizing that "God is calling all of us to serve him in the station of life where he has put us."51 God not only calls people into religious vocations, but also into all other vocations such as nursing,52 politics,53 and the medical profession, to which Tournier himself believes he was called.54

The second context has to do with the believer's general conformity to God's will. Tournier points out in his works that we are all called to seek "daily after God's will."55 He calls us all to an adventure,56 as well as calling us "to exercise . . . the ministry of soul-healing."57 We are called to reconcile technology and faith,58 to make God's voice heard,59 "to procure for mankind the benefits he is striving for,"60 and to introduce God's grace to others,61 There are also specific times when God calls people to chastity or to marriage,62 to self-examination,63 to reflection upon their life's conduct,64 or "to take an inflexible stand against evil."65 He also at times calls men to service in a church,66 and "to self-denial, to renunciation, and even self-sacrifice."67

The third context in which Tournier speaks of calls involves that in which God "calls us into a living and personal relationship with Himself."68 He notes that "when the Word of God strikes a man without warning, when there is a sudden conversion, an inner call, which changes all at once the direction of his life, he perceives that God has been speaking to him for a long time."69 In an earlier work he mentions a wife who "felt an inner call to declare herself for Christ,"70 and in the same work points out: "Christ calls us to repentance, . . . so that, forgiven and set free, we can throw ourselves into action, and bring forth fruit."71 Similarly, in Guilt and Grace, Tournier states that God calls us to grace through the preaching of repentance.72 Lastly, in reflecting upon his own experience Tournier says that God called him as a child to consecrate his life to Christ,73 and elsewhere states: "I am very glad that God did not wait until I was old to come into my life to call me to Him."74

It is important, in relation to this third context, to note Tournier's views on the universal nature of God's calling. Not until The Meaning of Persons is this perspective formulated, and there, as in his later works, it appears primarily in relation to God's dialogue with man, best seen in therapeutic settings. According to Tournier therapy involves two parallel dialogues, one between the therapist and patient; the second between the patient and God, even if the man concerned is not a believer and thinks he is wrestling only with himself."75 Gathering from this Tournier concludes "many people are in fact, even without being exactly aware of it, in dialogue with God."76 They ask themselves questions pertaining to values. "Faith consists only in recognizing who it is who speaks."77

This notion of God's dialogue with all men appears more explicitly in Tournier's later works. He notes that God

calls every man; he stubbornly maintains the dialogue .... He remains faithful to his covenant with man; it is always through man that he pursues his creative work, calling him constantly to collab-orate by his obedience, to enter into his adventure.78
Elsewhere he similarly contends:

By making man in his own likeness by giving him the faculty of speaking, God makes him his partner in dialogue: the dialogue with God, the meeting with God--revolt, often as much as worship--is specific to man, gives his life sense.79
One other passage which merits attention is found in Guilt and Grace, where an important reference to God's calling appears in close proximity to Tournier's dis-cussion of salvation. In supporting his arguments for God's free and unconditional love and forgiveness,80 he states:

The Apostle Peter announced this assurance of salvation at Pentecost: 'For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him' (Acts ii. 39).81
Tournier then proceeds to continue arguing from other Biblical passages that salvation is free and unconditional.82 Superficially the text quoted seems inappropriate, in that the blessing is assured only to those whom God calls. Hence, it would seem either that Tournier is not really aware of the content of the verse, or that, in citing this verse, he is assuming two things: first, that God calls everyone, and second, that God's call to everyone is effectual. It must be recognized, however, that there is nothing explicit in his writings to suggest that Tournier ever considered God's call in this fine a detail, though this is not to deny the possibility of his having assumptions that would Correlate with that.83


Tournier never really explains the meaning of regeneration until midway through his writings. In his first work he concerns himself primarily with citing examples of the transformation of lives brought about by submission to, or an encounter with, Christ.84 In his remaining works, however, where he addresses the subject, he is more concerned with purposive explanations dealing with regeneration. It is in his sixth book that he first draws on scripture references to explain the subject.


truly becomes a person only when he comes into contact with God . . .
I believe the birth of the person to be none other than that new birth 'of water and the Spirit' of which Jesus spoke to the learned Nicodemus (John 3:5).85

His best explanation of regeneration appears in The Meaning of Persons:

To experience the 'new birth' of which our Lord speaks (John 3:3), to become the 'new man' of which St. Paul speaks (Eph. 4:24), is indeed to become adult, to attain the fullness of humanity ordained by God; but it is much more than that. It is to recover, through the redemption of Christ, fellowship with God and dependence on him.86
Elsewhere in Tournier's writings can be found other aspects of regeneration. It effects transformation of attitudes,87 and at the deepest level of one's life.88 "The new birth, the integration of the person, is not only a spiritual, but also a physical and psychological regeneration."89 It comes by grace through encounter and dialogue with God.90 It is by the Holy Spirit, which Christ sends, that "man puts on the new nature (Eph. 4:24)"91 Lastly, regeneration is "birth into eternal life" which "begins on this earth."92

With regard to the universality of regeneration, there is nothing in Tournier's writings to suggest he believes that everyone experiences regeneration, though he does hint that it is possible to experience it without being aware of it.93


Though it is referred to numerous times through-out his works, not until a 1965 publication does he give any kind of definition of conversion:

a being born again to a new life. This is not merely a conscious effort of the brain toward an ethical goal but an eminently transcendental phenomenon; in other words, a Spiritual event, a charismatic experience, i.e., the receiving of a particular blessing as a free gift through the grace and favor of the Triune God.94
Otherwise, several general comments can be made regarding Tournier's understanding of conversion. Implicitly it is a focal point of the Christian life.95 Conversion is a proof of the power of Christ;96 it is the solution for changing social ideals and institutions;97 it is associated with dedication of one's life to God, which makes the person dynamic.98 Conversion can come through an inner call, the response to which changes the direction of one's life;99 it is an "inner transformation . . . brought about by a personal encounter with God."100 It is through conversion that Christ comes to live in man (Gal. 2:20).101 Of particular interest is Tournier's apparent belief that one can be a Christian without having experienced conversion. He speaks of a man whose life was of little use to others, noting: "He was already a Christian . . . [but his heart] needed a kind of conversion, that inner transformation which is brought about by a personal encounter with God."102

There are two primary changes that seem to occur in Tournier's understanding of conversion throughout his writings. The first involves the temporal element of conversion. In his first two works, he refers to conversion as a singular experience occurring at a single point in time.103 This takes on a broader scope, however, in The Person Reborn. Quoting Speyr he states, "'conversion . . . is never an act done once and for all . . . It is really growth, which needs time to develop."104 It can have "the sudden, uniquely decisive character, or be arrived at little by little.105

The second change has to do with the nature of conversion. In his earlier and middle works, conversion is depicted solely as a religious phenomenon.106 In his later works, however, conversion is not only distinctively religious,107 but it takes on a broader meaning. For example, conversion to atheism can have the same psycho-logical characteristics as a conversion to Christianity,108 as can a conversion to psychoanalysis.109 Christian conversion is also similar to that experienced by communists, Marxists, Facists,110 and the "devotees of homeopathy, psychoanalysis, or the medicine of the person, as well as those of technology and the conquest of interstellar space, jazz enthusiasts as well as naturists, theosophists and pacifists."111

Though conversion can occur in different spheres of experience, Tournier nowhere suggests that everyone experiences conversion. He does, however, in his interpretation of the parable of the tares and the wheat, seem to possibly believe that everyone will eventually be converted. He sees, in the final sorting at harvest time, not the separation of the saved and lost--the sorting of people, but rather, that in man which is unconverted, in contrast to that which is already converted--the sorting of problems.112

Endnotes, Chapter 2

1EL, 137.
2PR, 195.
3SW, 195.
4GG, 189.
5SL, 24.
6HP, 80; cf. DCLB, 79.
7MP, 171.
8NCC; cf. LGO, 239; AL, 138.
9Tournier's extreme emphasis on the term "unconditional" must be kept in context of his strong reactions against the works-righteousness of legalistic moralism and formalism. See, e.g., GG, 189-98.
10GG, 192.
11GG, 190; cf. 189.
12GG, 191.
13GG, 189-97.
14GG, 191-4.
15GG, 193.
16SL, 24.
17UE0, 55.
18PY, 204-5.
19FMH, 53.
20DCLB, 147; cf. 158; EL, 103-4; NP, 51; AL, 138; SW, 174.
21GG, 115.
23Rom. 8:20-23, in WPBW, 124.
24GG, 115.
25PY, 47.
26DCLB, 76; GG, 209; PY, 46.
27GG, 208; AL, 199.
28DCLB, 76; cf. 166; GG, 208.
29DCLB, 166.
30DCLB, 236.
31DCLB, 233.
32DCLB, 78; cf. 76, 166, 236.
33GG, 209.
34GG, 209.
35GG, 210.
36See, e.g., HP, 278; SW, 189; PY, 55.
37See, e.g., PR, 213; SW, 205.
38See, e.g., EL, 181; DCLB, 73.
39PR, 129.
40DCLB, 144.
41AL, 143.
42PR, 89; SL, 40; cf. GG, 68.
43DCLB, 73; cf. MRVP, 263.
44See, e.g., DCLB, 277; MP, 114.
45MP, 199.
46HP, 163.
47PR, 231.
48DCLB, 123; NP, 6; cf. TCA, 7.
49DCLB, 139.
50MP, 177; cf. DCLB, 123; TCA, 7.
51EL, 174.
52HP, 164.
53HP, 164.
54See, e.g., MRVP, 239-264.
55MP, 199.
56PR, 213; AL, 153.
57PR, 229.
58PR, 230.
59WPBW, 148.
60AL, 92.
62DCLB, 160.
63PR, 214.
64DCLB, 57.
65GG, 74.
66AL, 200.
67PY, 208; cf. 149; PR, 231.
68GG, 167.
69MP, 163; cf. PY, 219.
70PR, 89; cf. EL, 181.
71PR, 209.
72GG, 191-2.
74LGO, 191.
75MP, 160; cf. 161.
76MP, 161.
77MP, 162.
78AL, 77.
79TCA, 7; cf. MRVP, 259.
80GG, 189-93.
81GG, 193.
82GG, 193-97.
83See discussion of Tournier's views on salvation in chapter 3.
84HP, 119; cf. 92, 131, 154, 209, 219.
85DCLB, 128.
86MP, 215.
87HP, 131.
88WPBW, 67.
89DCLB, 129.
90MP, 159.
91TCA, 10.
92LGO, 231.
93GG, 23.
94FMH, 52.
95HP, 263.
96HP, 278.
97EL, 162.
98SW, 202.
99MP, 163.
100LGO, 156.
101TCA, 10.
102LG0, 156.
103See, e.g., HP, 263; EL, 106.
104PR, 84.
105PR, 133; cf. 33; GG, 145, 159.
106HP, 108; EL, 106; PR, 139; WPBW, 153; MP, 163; GG, 86.
107AL, 194; PY, 221; LGO, 156; TCA, 10.
108AL, 28.
109PY, 96.
110AL, 28.
111AL, 29.
112PR, 33; TCA, 10.



There are several general ideas that can be noted concerning Tournier's view of God's forgiveness. It is the answer for God's judgement;1 it is not partial, but complete;2 and it "blots out every sin,"3 but not the temptation.4 Forgiveness is assured in Scripture.5 Furthermore, Tournier contrasts the forgiveness necessary to resolve guilt stemming from real sin, with psychiatric help necessary to resolve false guilt stemming from psychological problems.6 As a doctor he is also attentive to the relationship between forgiveness and healing: "Throughout the Bible the healing of disease is presented as the symbol of God's grace which at the same time purifies the soul of its sin."7 There are four aspects of forgiveness in Tournier's writings which merit closer attention. The first, the basis of God's forgiveness, is the atoning work of Christ:

Finally, through his sacrifice on the cross, he brings us supreme deliverance, taking upon himself all the wrongs that our efforts have failed to put right, and granting us God's forgiveness.8
Secondly, throughout his writings there appear to be four pre-requisites necessary for the experience of God's forgiveness, all of which are interrelated and not clearly distinguishable from one another. The first is repentance: "Christ calls us to repentance . . . so that, forgiven and set free, we can bring forth fruit, as he himself insists."9 Another is humility. In refer-ring to one of his own personal experiences Tournier states: "I saw then that I must be humbled utterly before I found forgiveness at the Cross."10 The third is honest recognition of sin, which is necessary "in order to take it to God so as to be forgiven and set free."11 The fourth pre-requisite is confession: "The answer [to guilt] . . . comes from God, not from man, in the forgiveness He grants to those who confess their inevitable guilt instead of justifying themselves."12 Though these four appear to be pre-requisites, it should be observed that in Guilt and Grace he goes to great lengths to emphasize that they are not conditions for forgiveness, but rather the way to it.13

Thirdly, Tournier also cites numerous results of forgiveness. They include peace,14 relief of conscience,15 joy,16 harmony with God and with ourselves,17 and help in becoming aware of our personal value.18 In addition, "pardon and grace produce joy, relaxation and security, the atmosphere in which guilt can become conscious, mature, be openly acknowledged, and in turn lead to pardon and grace."19 Tournier also states that God's forgiveness is necessary in order to genuinely forgive others: "Nothing can help us more to forgive people than to realize this forgiveness from God, which Jesus came to reveal to us . . . by his sacrifice on the cross."20

Lastly, with regard to the universality of forgiveness, in Guilt and Grace Tournier becomes explicit in stating that all men are forgiven. In the passage where he deals with the universality of the atonement and salvation he notes:

Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through redemption which is in Christ Jesus' (Rom. iii. 23-24).
Our privilege as Christians is to know that we are forgiven, and that forgiveness reaches us Jesus Christ.21

Here, possibly reflecting Barthian ideas, he suggests the universality of God's forgiveness, though non-Christians simply are not aware of it. In the following chapter, "Love with no Conditions," he goes on to argue that God's forgiveness is free and unconditional.22 Most explicitly, however, in the beginning of his last chapter Tournier states that he wants to arouse in the readers, primarily doctors, "a wider vision both of the human problem" and of the task of "doctors in the face of this problem; a deeply Biblical vision of the universality of guilt and the universality of divine forgiveness."23 He goes on to point out that man, just as God created him, is "a being both animal and spiritual, free and responsible, such as he became after the fall, guilty, tormented by guilt, and yet also forgiven."24


Dr. Tournier never defines what he means by redemption, but gathering from the 17 contexts in which he speaks of it, a few things can be gathered regarding his understanding of it. First, and most basic, redemption restores what was destroyed by the Fall. It involves God's bringing man back to Himself,25 the recovery of man's "fellowship with God and dependence on Him."26 This is made possible through the atoning work of Christ.27

Second, the object of redemption goes beyond man to include all of nature, as supported by St. Paul.

'For . . . the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves . . . as we wait-for adoption of sons, the redemption of our bodies.'28
Thirdly, as for that from which man is redeemed, Tournier, being a doctor and psychologist, places special emphasis on the consequences of sin. Man is being re- deemed from sickness,29 separation from God,30 guilt,31 and the loss of joy32 and adventure.33

Lastly, with regard to the universality of redemption, Tournier never explicitly states that all men have been or will be redeemed, but he strongly implies it. He lacks specificity when he states that through his disobedience man "forfeited his destiny and was redeemed by God."34 In stating what a person needs in resolving psychological conflict, he further fails to discriminate between actual, personal redemption, and redemption in general, stating that he needs only the "assurance that the world and he have been redeemed."35 Furthermore, the notion of universal redemption is implicit in his discussions regarding universal salvation.36


It is difficult to ascertain from Tournier's works his understanding of justification. It is vague, both in that he never explains or addresses the subject as an issue, and when he quotes passages dealing with it, he sometimes takes them out of context in order to support some other point.37

Three things, however, may be pointed out which possibly depict Tournier's understanding of justification. First, justification is related to the removal of guilt438 and involves deliverance from sin.39 Secondly, "it is always God who justifies"40 the basis being His work of grace in the death of Christ.41 Thirdly, there are only implications that Tournier sees faith as possibly the means of personal justification.42 Related to this is the importance of one's state of mind. In citing the example of the publican and pharisee (Luke 18: 9-14), Tournier states that "it was precisely because he [the pharisee] was so satisfied with himself that he was deprived of the justification which the sinner received."43

With regard to the universality of justification, Tournier generally implies a dichotomy between those who are justified and those who are not. "The justified are those who are delivered from sin by grace."44 In Luke 18:14 the publican was justified and the pharisee was not.45

InGuilt and Grace, however, Tournier also suggests that all are justified. In supporting the universality of salvation and reconciliation, Tournier quotes Scripture: "'Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus' (Rom. iii. 23-4)."46 This equation of the plural pronoun "they" who are justified with the universal "all" who have sinned strongly implies universal justification of all men. The discrepancy between the notion of particularized and universal justification in Tournier's writings could probably best be resolved in the fact that though all are justified, not all experience it or realize it during their lifetime.47


Gathering from Tournier's writings, it can probably be conjectured that the most basic aspect of reconciliation is that it was accomplished by an act of God's grace in Christ's atoning death and resurrection.48

In the development of Tournier's thought, the subject and object of reconciliation appear to broaden in scope. In his earlier works reconciliation was both horizontal--uniting man to man,49 and vertical--reconciling man to God.50 This emphasis continues in his middle works51 and later becomes global in scope: it was by Christ's sacrifice that "God wanted to 'reconcile all on earth and in heaven . . . ' Col. 1:20)."52 Elsewhere in Tournier's later works are found the reconciliation of man, not only with God, but also "with life, and with oneself, which puts an end to all inner strife."53

With regard to universal reconciliation, Tournier explicitly notes that all men are reconciled by Christ's atonement:

We have demonstrated clearly enough the universality of guilt, the solidarity of mankind in the state of perdition, so that the universality of salvation, that all men are reconciled to God by his sacrifice, may be clearly recognized.54
Elsewhere he notes: "The reconciliation of humanity to God was accomplished by God himself."55 This applies not only to Christians, but to all men. People

who profess a different religion, or those who claim to have none, stand to benefit equally from his mediation . . . Our only privilege a Christians is that of knowing it and proclaiming it.56
Though Tournier indicates that all men are reconciled to God, there is some sense in which they are not. In an earlier work he states that "for people to be reconciled, they must first be reconciled with God."57 This implies that there are those who are not reconciled to God, which may be reflective of a different perspective earlier in Tournier's life. The same is true in The Meaning of Persons, where he notes that "repentance is the indispensable road that leads . . . "to reconciliation with God.58 It could be, however, that by reconciliation he is not referring to the general reconciliation of all men to God, which is most fully developed in Guilt and Grace, but rather the personal, experiential aspect of reconciliation implicit in the same work. With regard to a man's grievances against God, Tournier feels "that no reconciliation with God is possible so long as he does not reply to the defiance we hurl at Him."59 "In order to feel at ease and reconciled with God, the individual . . . needs to be cleansed from his own personal sins."60 Elsewhere, Tournier's statement, "All may enjoy the benefit of Jesus Christ's sacrifice by which God wanted to 'reconcile all on earth . . . '"61 could imply that, though all are reconciled, not all are reaping the benefits of the atonement. Lastly, though humanity is reconciled to God, the Christian's privilege "is that of knowing and proclaiming it."62 This seems to imply another possible meaning of reconciliation, that people need to become aware of it. Hence, the best resolution for the apparent contradiction could possibly be that although all men are reconciled to God, not everyone realizes it, consequently they do not enjoy all its benefits.63


Tournier never clearly explains the meaning of the atonement though a few aspects can be ascertained. It is proof of Christ's power and love,64 and the "indefaceable guarantee" that "God loves all men equally and totally."65 Another meaning is that:

Jesus Christ takes man's place and answers for him. He alone can reply. Jesus Christ takes human responsibility upon himself. Jesus Christ alone is a person in the full meaning of the word: 'Ecce homo' (John 19:5). He alone is a person without a personage, he alone fully takes up the dialogue with God and with men.66
In addition, Christ bore the sin of mankind;67 His death served as a ransom--He "ransomed mankind by offering himself a victim for it."68 Christ's death also served as a sacrifice, by which He delivers us, "taking upon himself all the wrongs that our efforts have failed to put right, granting us God's forgiveness."69

That Christ's atoning death is the basis of salvation is obvious in Tournier's writings, particularly in Guilt and Grace. His death obliterates our guilt.70 His blood was

'poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins' (Matt. xxvi. 27, 28) . . . 'He is the expiation for our sins.' (I Jn. 11. 2) . . . 'In him we have redemption through his blood.' (Eph. 1. 7). 'We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, . . . justified by his blood' (Rom. v. 9, 10). We are saved by His life, by the gift of His own person.71
It is with regard to the extent of the atonement, most importantly, that Tournier eventually comes to lean toward unrestricted universalism, "the view that God designed to save all men by the atonement and that in consequence all men will eventually be saved, if not in this life then in the afterlife."72 This seems to appear in a two-fold development. First, that Christ died for all men, is explicit throughout Tournier's works. In his earlier works he states that Christ bore the sin of mankind,73 that He "ransomed mankind by offering himself a victim for it,"74 and that His death is the guarantee that "God loves all men equally and totally."75 The same notion continues through his middle and later works. God has paid the price for our guilt "once for all" by His own death on the cross.76 Christ Jesus "'gave himself as a ransom for all' (I Tim. ii. 4-6)."77 By His sacrifice Christ "took upon Himself all the suffering of men--of all men, the victim as well as the culprit."78

Secondly, however, the belief that Christ not only died for all men, but that His atoning death is also effective for the salvation of all men, that Tournier holds to the view of unrestricted universalism, also becomes quite apparent, particularly in Guilt and Grace:

All men benefit from this unique atonement; all men, indeed, 'the whole world' as we have just been told by St. John (I Jn. ii. 2). Jesus Christ died for all men without any distinction, for the men of every age and clime, for Brahmins, Buddhists, Mohammedans, pagans and atheists, for those who had died before He lived, and all who will live in the ages yet to come.
He Himself said: 'I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd' (Jn. x. 16). And again: 'Men will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at [the] table in the kingdom of God' (Lk. xiii. 29). For the rest, His word to Zacchaeus is sufficient: 'The Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.' We have demonstrated clearly enough the universality of guilt, the solidarity of mankind in the state of perdition, so that the universality of salvation, that all men are reconciled to God by His sacrifice, may be clearly recognized. 'Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus' (Rom. iii. 23-24).79

Five things regarding Tournier's universalism should be pointed out here: (1) His first paragraph indicates that he could not be more emphatic regarding his belief that Christ died for every man who ever has or ever will live. (2) All men benefit from the atonement. (3) All men are reconciled to God by His sacrifice. (4) Just as all have sinned, even so are all justified.80 (5) The universality of salvation may be clearly recognized.

In a later work Tournier also strongly suggests in a similar manner that the efficacy of Christ's atonement brings salvation to all men: "And then, there is Jesus Christ, who came for the sake of all men, who understands them all and envelops them all in one and the same love, . . . who died and rose again from the dead for them all, who goes before them, as the gospel says, and prepares a place for them (John 14:2)."81 Tournier's last plural pronoun, referring back to "all men" strongly suggests unrestricted universalism in that Christ is preparing a place in heaven for all men, which presupposes the universal efficacy of the atonement.

Though these passages seem to indicate that Tournier subscribes to unrestricted universalism, there are two passages which seem to possibly contradict such a view. First, also in Guilt and Grace, he states: "There could be no more moving expression of genuine atonement, the complete atonement freely granted by God to a man who repents."82 This seems to imply that: (1) the atonement is not granted to all; and (2) a pre-requisite is repentance, which not everyone experiences.83

The second apparent contradiction occurs in a later writing, "Toward a Christian Anthropology":

All men, all physicians in the world and all their sick, whether they be Jews, Mohammedans, Buddhists or atheists, are equal to us, created like we are by the same God, in his own likeness. All suffer from the same consequences of the Fall, from the same diseases and conflicts. All may enjoy the benefit of Jesus Christ's sacrifice by which God wanted to 'reconcile all on earth and in heaven alike in his own person' (Col. 1:20).84
There are two important contrasts between this passage and the similar one cited from Guilt and Grace . (1) In the former he states that all men benefit; here he states: "All may enjoy the benefit" of Christ's atonement, implying that not all benefit. (2) In the former he states that "all men are reconciled;" here he states that "God wanted to 'reconcile all,'" possibly implying that not all are reconciled.

The significance of this tension between the implicit particularism and the explicit universalism is that it appears not only with regard to the extent of the atonement, but also with regard to other aspects of Tournier's soteriology.85 Hence, some attempt at a resolution stands in order.

One explanation could be that these are not apparent contradictions, but actual contradictions. Tournier nowhere claims to be a theologian; on the contrary, he asserts the opposite.86 This would account not only for the presence and tolerance of ambiguity in details that probably do not interest him, but also for his lack of interest in synthesizing or resolving the differences.

Another resolution could be that Tournier modified, possibly in response to evangelical criticisms, his theological position between the publication of Guilt and Grace in 1957 and the appearance of "Toward a Christian Anthropology" in 1963. A problem with this, however, is that Tournier's universal tendencies still appear in works beyond 1963,87 though they are more implicit. Possible reactions to his explicit universalistic statements in Guilt and Grace, however, could have affected the ardency with which he expressed his views.

A third, and probably the most comprehensive explanation lies in what could be called Tournier's "realized eschatology." Though he never uses the phrase himself,88 and never addresses present and eventual salvation as a subject, it could be an appropriate basis for synthesizing his explicit universalism and his implicit particularism, theological principle and its personal realization, objective Biblical fact and subjective experience. In short, it seems that, though Christ's atonement is effective in the salvation, redemption, reconciliation; justification, forgiveness, etc., of all men, not all realize or experience it.

Three main areas of support for this idea can be found. First, it can explain the differences between the apparent contradictory passages regarding the extent of the atonement. Several things should be noted in consideration of the two passages: (1) "There could be no more moving expression of genuine atonement, the complete atonement freely granted by God to a man who repents;"89 (2) "All may enjoy the benefit of Jesus Christ's sacrifice by which God wanted to 'reconcile all on earth and in heaven alike in his own person' (Col. 1/20)."90 In the first statement, he is not talking about atonement per se, but the expression of atonement, the complete atonement, which probably means the experience of atonement, its being granted, and the experiencing of it through the experience of repentance which, though in itself is vital, does not procure salvation.91 In the second statement he does not deny that all benefit; what is explicit is that all do not enjoy the benefit of the atonement; i.e., all do not experience it, though they may; it is available to them. Statements elsewhere suggest all will benefit eventually.92 In addition, with regard to reconciliation, it could be, that, according to Tournier's thinking, God's wanting to reconcile is merely an expression of intent, which in no way undermines the explicit process or realization of reconciliation expressed in Guilt and Grace: God is in the process of reconciling all to Himself.

The third and strongest support comes from the dividing line between those important aspects of Tournier's soteriology which are universal in some respect, and those which are not universal in any respect. In contrast to the universality of the atonement, forgiveness, reconciliation; salvation, justification, and redemption, stand the non-universality of repentance, conversion, and regeneration.93 The line of demarcation between the two is personal, subjective experience. The latter cannot be universal because they could never be solely theological principle or Biblical fact, whereas the former could be fact alone for all, regardless of whether all realize or become aware of it. The latter involves the realization of the former. The latter is the experience by which the former is realized. Hence, for Tournier, the goal of evangelism is not to bring people to the former--salvation, etc., but to bring people to an experience of the latter in order also to realize the former.94


The clearest and most comprehensive definition Tournier gives appears in a later work, "Toward a Christian Anthropology," which was addressed to physicians. He states that man can be understood only in the Biblical view of his creation, fall, and redemption. After discussing the meaning of creation and fall,95 he explains the meaning of:


a. But God comes to his creature's help and grants him prolongation of life and some days of respite and grace. Every recovering shows the divine mercy. Thus every physician--every physician, even the atheist--works together with God. 'Medicine is God's gift' (Calvin). 'Medicine is a dispensation of the general grace of God's goodness who takes pity on man and gives remedies for the consequences of their sin.' That is what Ambroise Pare, speaking of his wounded patient, said: 'I attended to him until the end of the treatment, and God cured him.'

b. Extending this notion of man helper of God, Teil-hard de Chardin, looks on the whole work of man, the progress of learning and the evolution of man himself as a participation in the realisation of God's plan for the world. But respite of delay only means pro-visional help. It has no sense by itself, were it not as a sign of forthcoming final help. Recovering from illness, prolongation of life have no other sense and purpose than to enable man to meet Jesus Christ and to come to a deeper close contact with Him. Thus every man--particularly the physician in his relation with his sick--is called to help his fellow, creature to find that final help, Salvation.

c. Salvation is not an idea, a law, a thing but a person, the person of Jesus Christ, God himself 'emptied himself by taking the nature of a servant' (Phil. 2/7) thus filling the gap which since the Fall has separated man from God. So Jesus Christ, in historical person, is the revelation of the real man: ecce homo. He is the embodiment of the perfect inner harmony and the perfect relation with God: He only does what he sees the Father doing (John 5/19) and only says what God orders him to say.

Jesus Christ is the restored dialogue.

d. But Jesus Christ also restores the perfect relation with man. He draws him towards Him. He brings him to conversion by which He lives in him (Gal. 2/20). He sends him the Holy Spirit by which man puts on the new nature (Eph. 4/24). By this personal relation with Jesus Christ man becomes fully a person and also rediscovers the real personal relation with his fellow-creature. The dialogue spoilt by the Fall is restored by Jesus Christ.

e. But these are still mere incomplete and inconstant experiences. The wheat is not yet separated from the tares till the sorting out at harvest-time (Matt. 13/30). Man remains a divided and suffering creature who needs help. But however limited his experiences of mercy they are announcing the forthcoming glory at the arrival of the Lord all faithful wait for (Jac. 5/7-8).

At last Death will be the last foe to be put down (I Cor. 15/26) and Revelation does not promise s immortality of soul, but a personal resurrection: 'so shall all be made alive in Christ.' (I Cor. 15/22)96

Elsewhere in Tournier's writings there can be found other information reflecting more of his understanding of salvation. He sees salvation as the content of the Gospel message which "was given us so that we might be freed from the weight of the law.97 The basis of salvation is the atoning work of Christ.98 Everyone is seeking salvation.99 It has been and is mediated in history through the covenants with Noah, Abraham, and Israel, and through "all churches, all rites, and all theologies."100 It is not earned or merited by our own efforts, but is a gift of God's grace.101 Tournier also contrasts the salvation of Christ with the salvation of humanism,102 progress,103 science,104 and the psychology that pits the strong over the weak.105

There are also two other aspects of Tournier's soteriology that merit closer attention. First, the object of salvation is viewed from a global perspective; he includes not only the salvation of the soul106 and of individual lives,107 but also the salvation of mankind,108 his social structures,109 and all of creation.110

Secondly, Tournier never really goes into detail with regard to what we are saved from. He does, however, note that the salvation God brings "is not only the answer to the religious struggle of our souls, but also to the physical sufferings of the world."111 Throughout history God "wages a severe struggle with man, to deliver him from his fall."112 The intervention of Christ was necessary "in order to save man from the inexorable consequences of the law of guilt."113 God also saves men from misery114 and the desire to possess.115

Of particular interest are Tournier's views on the universality of salvation. One preliminary remark, though, stands in order. Gary Collins has suggested that because of his theological naivete, Tournier is not really aware of the implications of what he is writing when he makes his universalistic statements.116 That he is not aware of the distinction between particularized and universal salvation, however, can be refuted from at least two points in his writings. At one point in an earlier work where he is citing examples of different philosophies and doctrines, he includes: "One believes in the salvation of all men; another in the election of the saints."117 Similarly, in a later work, when referring to a patient's views, Tournier notes: "He even believed in the salvation, not just of a little band of the elect, but of all men, and he often told me that it was in his view an insult to God to suggest that he had the intention of inflicting eternal torment on anyone."118

Tournier's notion of the universality of salvation is implicit from his earlier works to his later ones. For example, in a paragraph which perhaps best epitomizes his theology,119 he mentions God's incarnation "in order to save mankind,"120 not distinguishing mankind from the elect or those who believe on Christ. In discussing the covenants, he sees salvation extending to all humanity, though he does not specify that all will be saved.121 Similarly, in a later work he notes: "God's purpose is the salvation of the world. It is not a matter of the salvation merely of the human race, but of the whole of creation."122

The notion of the salvation of all men, however, is most explicit in Guilt and Grace. Besides Tournier's views of the universality of salvation in relation to the universal covenant symbolized by Melchizedik mentioned elsewhere,123 the following best portrays his views.

Salvation is not an idea; it is a person. It is Jesus Himself--God Himself--who yields Himself up. . .

Salvation is no longer some remote ideal of perfection, forever inaccessible, it is a person, Jesus Christ, who comes to us, comes to be with us, in our homes and in our hearts. Remorse is silenced by His absolution. He substitutes for it one other single question, the one He put to the Apostle Peter: 'Do you love me?' (Jn. xxi. 15). We must answer that question, and find in our personal attachment to Jesus Christ peace for our souls."

All men benefit from this unique atonement; all men, indeed, 'the whole world' as we have just been told by St. John (I Jn. ii. 2). Jesus Christ died for all men without any distinction, for the men of every age and clime, for Brahmins, Buddhists, Mohammedans, pagans and atheists, for those who had died before He lived, and all who will live in the ages yet to come."

He Himself said: 'I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd' (Jn. x. 16). And again: 'Men will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at [the] table in the kingdom of God' (Lk. xii. 29). For the rest, His word to Zacchaeus is sufficient: 'The Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.' We have demonstrated clearly enough the universality of guilt, the solidarity of mankind in the state of perdition, so that the universality of salvation, that all men are reconciled to God by His sacrifice, may be clearly recognized. 'Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus' (Rom. iii. 23-24)."

Our privilege as Christians is to know that we are forgiven, and that forgiveness reaches us through Jesus Christ. The order to His disciples to go 'into all the world,' was simply to proclaim the 'good news' (Mk. xvi. 15), to convince all men and to multiply the visible signs of God's grace by mighty works and healings. It was to propagate 'metanoia,' this radical transformation, the arousal of a consciousness of guilt and effacement of the guilt, humiliation of the proud and restoration of the dis-tressed. But this was not the procuring of salvation. Salvation was already there, offered and assured for all men. Everything was accomplished.124

Several observations should be noted regarding this passage. First, there are several aspects of salvation which have been treated elsewhere125 that should be noted for summary purposes to emphasize the magnitude of the universalism contained in this passage. First, all men benefit from the atonement, which is the basis for universal salvation. Secondly, all men are reconciled. Thirdly, all are justified. Lastly, our privilege as Christians is not being forgiven, but merely knowing that we are forgiven, implying that all are forgiven, though they need to become aware of it.

Second, more specific to salvation, additional observations should be noted. First, he states that "the universality of salvation . . . may be clearly recognized." Secondly, he states, not only that it is offered to all men, but also that it is assured for all. A Calvinistic perspective would agree with the former, but only a universalistic perspective would state the latter. Thirdly, the purpose of proclaiming the gospel is not to procure salvation, but to " propagate 'metanoia.'" "Salvation was already there." Lastly, "Everything was accomplished." Tournier seems to indicate that historical fact supercedes our personal response, apparently implying that the salvation of all men is accomplished regardless of their response to the gospel.

Elsewhere in his writings, there are two related subjects which deserve attention in examining Tournier's views on universal salvation. The first is that of hell. Tournier notes that most of Christ's allusions to punishment are found in parables and should not "be regarded as descriptions of a concrete reality."126 The others he views as figurative, suggestive and evocative, but not descriptive or argumentative, purposing to arouse "a sense of guilt and of personal responsibility which would open the way to grace."127 Consequently, Tournier states:

The position I would uphold, then, is that Christ's references to punishment make no claim to describe a precise and definite reality, but are to strike the imagination of men who are so inclined to repress their guilt and reassure themselves with trust in their own merits . . . You know the remark of the Abbe Mugnier, who, when he was asked whether he believed in hell, replied: 'Certainly I believe in it; but I also believe that there is no one there. This seems to me to be a view which is inherent in the entire outlook of the Bible, that the severity and threats of God--or what men in their remorse attribute to God--are aimed at nothing less than their salvation and at keeping them out of the abyss.128
The second related subject is that of the resurrection. At least three times in his writings he quotes the Apostle Paul: "'As in Adam all die' (that is to say, like Adam, as a result of sin) 'sin also in Christ shall all be made alive' (I Cor. 15.22)."129 This seems to indicate he believes that all will be resurrected, as is also implied elsewhere.130

In reference to Tournier's views on hell and the resurrection, Gary Collins has observed:

If every man is to be resurrected from the dead, and if no man will go to hell, does it follow that everyone is going to heaven? Tournier does not state this explicitly but this seems to be what he believes.131
From the passages examined it seems quite obvious that Tournier believes in the salvation of all men. It should be noted, however, that he also makes numerous statements elsewhere which imply the opposite. These need to be examined here. Several of these have to do with man's need for salvation, which presupposes its absence: "And with guilt comes the need for salvation, for a reparation for our wrongs."132 The apparent discrepancy here, however, can probably best be explained in the light of Tournier's "realized eschatology": though all are saved in principle, not everyone realizes or has experienced it.133

The same explanation should suffice for Tournier's discussions regarding Biblical threats of judgement. He states that "the aim of 'operation severity' is not the crushing of the sinner, but, on the contrary, his salvation."134 Since there are those who are not brought to repentance by such Biblical threats, and others, such as the Pharisees, whose "pretended moral power prevents them from receiving true salvation,"135 it could be deduce that not all are saved. In light of his "realized eschatology," however, it could be that he is not referring to salvation per se, but to the realization of it; and it could be noted more generally here that God's purpose for "'operation severity'" is the experiential realization of that which already exists in principle--the salvation of all men.

Similarly, God's desire to save everyone,136 which might imply particularized salvation, can be harmonized with Tournier's universalism in light of his "realized eschatology." God's intent to save all in no way under-mines His actualization of it; rather, what seems apparent in Tournier's thinking is that anything God wants, He gets. He wants to save all; in principle He has saved all by Christ's sacrifice.137

It should be noted, however, that there are two passages in Tournier's works which cannot be explained in terms of his "realized eschatology." The first occurs in an earlier work.

Jesus Christ is an exacting master 'If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it' (Luke 9. 23-4) . . .

"We can see how that with the choice of which we have been speaking in the preceding chapter there goes another, deeper and more costly. We are not faced only with the primitive choice between life and death, but with a choice between natural, physiological life, and supernatural, eternal life . . . 'For what shall a man be profited, if he gain the whole world and forfeit his own soul?' (Matt. 16.26, R.V. marg.).138

Tournier seems to indicate here that there are those who will not receive eternal life, who will forfeit their souls. There are two possible explanations which might harmonize this passage with Tournier's universalism. One is that this could be representative of a non-universal perspective Tournier may have had before the writing of Guilt and Grace. The other is that perhaps Tournier himself purposes to do here the same as he later notes God purposing to do with His Biblical threats of judgement--a mild 'operation severity.'139

The other passage occurs in a later work where Tournier states that the purpose of recovery from illness and prolongation of life is

to enable man to meet Jesus Christ and to come to a deeper close contact with Him. Thus every man--particularly the physician in his relation with his sick--is called to help his fellow-creature to find that final help, salvation.140
One question this passage raises is: "If all men are to find salvation eventually, why would Tournier state that the purpose of prolongation of life is to enable man to find it?" The implications here seem incompatible with universalism, and there appears to be no simple explanation.

Endnotes Chapter 3

1PR, 108.
2EL, 148.
3PR, 129.
4SW, 209.
5DCLB, 213.
6SW, 220-223.
7DCLB, 193; cf. 194-6; HP, 226.
8HP142; cf. 150; GG, 185-6; FMH, 53.
9PR, 209; cf. HP258; SW, 222; GG, 173.
10HP, 272; cf. GG, 111, 114, 145, 165.
11PR, 130; cf. EL, 152; DCLB, 192; GG, 112; PY, 133.
12GG, 121; cf. 199; SW, 87, 222, 226.
13GG, 189-205.
14HP, 256; EL, 153.
15PR, 140; cf. GG, 93.
16DCLB, 210.
17MP, 114.
18GG, 88.
19GG, 150.
20FMH, 53; cf. EL, 153-7; PR, 124.
21GG, 187-8.
22GG, 189-197.
23GG, 206.
24GG, 211.
25WPBW, 99.
26MP, 215; cf. 175.
27WPBW, 99: GG, 186.
28Rom. 8:20-23 in WPBW, 124; cf. DCLB, 42; MP, 109.
29Implicit in DCLB, 205.
30WPBW, 99.
31Implicit in GG, 173.
32MG, 57.
33AL, 198.
34WPBW, 9.
35MP, 109.
36GG, 186-7; see section on atonement in this chapter.
37E.g, GG, 187, 194.
38GG, 186.
40GG, 200.
41GG, 186;
42See WPBW, 91; DCLB, 232; LGO, 81.
43AL, 141; cf. GG, 200.
44EL, 124.
45GG, 200; AL, 141.
46GG, 187; cf. 194.
47See section on salvation in this chapter.
48See, e.g., MP, 114; GG, 185-7; TCA, 11.
49See, e.g., HP, 94; EL, 149.
50See, e.g., PR, 124; WPBW, 22.
51See, e.g., MP, 231; GG, 75, 86.
52TCA, 11.
53AL, 237; cf. LGO, 185.
54GG, 187; see the following sections on salvation and the atonement.
55AL, 222.
56AL, 222.
57EL, 149.
58MP, 114.
59GG, 86.
60GG, 177.
61TCA, 11.
62AL, 222.
63See the section on salvation in this chapter.
64WPBW, 98.
65SW, 195.
66MP, 173-4.
67PR, 119; cf. AL, 92.
68WPBW, 67; cf. GG, 206.
69HP, 142; cf. SW, 249; GG, 185; AL, 92.
70GG, 185.
71GG, 186; cf., 149, 176; HP, 142; WPBW, 99; FMH, 53.
72Charles M. Horne, Salvation (Chicago: Moody Press, 1971), p. 41.
73PR, 119.
74WPBW, 67.
75SW, 195.
76GG, 185.
77GG, 206.
78MRVP, 253.
79GG, 187; see following section on salvation for further comment.
80Implicit in the relative pronoun "they."
81LGO, 240.
82GG, 182.
83See section on repentance in chapter 1.
84TCA, 10, 11.
85See other sections in this chapter.
86See, e.g., GG, 126.
87See, e.g., LGO, 240 and other sections in this chapter.
88He does, however, seem knowledgeable of the concept. See SW, pp. 247-8 where he discusses Mehl's views.
89GG, 182.
90TCA, 11.
91See GG, 188 and the following sections on salvation.
92See the following section on salvation and discussion of the resurrection.
93See respective sections.
94See GG, 188 and the following section on salvation.
95TCA, 6-9.
96TCA, 9-10.
97PR, 83.
98See the preceding section on the atonement.
99See, e.g., DCLB, 103; GG, 133.
100PY, 46.
101DCLB, 230; GG, 121, 194.
102PY, 134.
103WPBW, 99, 121, 126.
104DCLB, 98.
105SW, 161.
106EL, 112; BW, 67.
107DCLB, 238-9.
108PR194; AL, 76; PY, 46.
109Implicit in PR, 194; RS, 10.
110PY, 46.
111WPSW, 78.
112GG, 143.
113GG, 149; cf. AL, 177.
114WPBW, 98.
115NP, 52.
116Gary Collins, interview held at Trinity Seminary, Deerfield, Illinois, November 2, 1976.
117PR, 105.
118LGO, 220.
119Gary Collins, The Christian Psychology of Paul Tournier (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1973), p. 100.
120PR, 194.
121DCLB, 78; see the section on the covenant in chapter two.
122PY, 46.
123See the section on the covenant in chapter two.
124GG, 187-8.
125See respective sections for each.
126GG, 154.
127GG, 154.
128GG, 155.
129DCLB, 200; cf. PY, 52; TCA, 10.
130DCLB, 204, 219; MP, 226; AL, 241-3; LGO, 234-8.
131Collins, The Christian Psychology of Paul Tournier, p. 89.
132AL, 178-9; cf. WPBW, 67; PR, 84; SW, 238; DCLB, 138, 240; MP, 109; GG, 133; AL, 177.
133See preceding section.
134GG, 145-6; cf. 155.
135SL, 23.
136GG, 206; AL, 76; cf. GG, 146, 155, 185.
137GG, 187.
138DCLB, 238-9.
139GG, 145-6.
140TCA, 9-10.

CHAPTER 4 - Evaluation

Is Tournier a Universalist?

Careful examination of his theology seems to indicate that Tournier subscribes to unrestricted universalism, as is summarized in the following chart.

The arguments against this, however, should also be recognized. One is that this opinion is based on the assumed priority of the explicit over the implicit.1 Argument has stemmed primarily from explicit universalistic statements in Tournier's writings. That Tournier is not a universalist could be argued from his numerous statements which imply a particularist perspective,2 though the feasibility of interpreting the explicit in terms of the implicit would seem questionable.

A second, related argument against such an opinion would have to do with the feasibility of the notion of Tournier's "realized eschatology" used to synthesize the ambiguity between his implicit particularism and explicit statements which seem to reflect a universalist perspective. The author's right to superimpose this notion on Tournier's soteriology may be questionable, particularly in light of the fact that there is no real evidence in his writings to indicate that he himself subscribes to "realized eschatology." Apart from this notion, then, the only other viable explanation for resolving Tournier's apparent contradictions would be to accept them as actual contradictions--unresolvable, and not to be synthesized, and as statements which do not comprise a coherent, unified, soteriological perspective.3 If this argument is accepted, it Would then be safe only to conclude that maybe Tournier tends toward universalism, but that, due to the ambiguity in his writings, nothing conclusive can be ascertained.

In order to gain a broader perspective on this investigation, research has been carried a step beyond his writings to include interviews with persons who know him or who have talked with him, as well as this author's personal correspondence with him.

Probably the most extensive interviews with Tournier and his friends regarding his theology have been conducted by Gary Collins. First, from his interview with B. Harnick, Collins notes that he feels Tournier's theology is Calvinistic, but also hard to categorize. In reference to the issue of hell, Harnick said that Tournier probably believes as he himself does, that some people are called to preach hell, and others the grace and mercy of God, the latter of which Tournier probably feels called. Harnick further stated that there is disagreement over whether there will be another chance for salvation after death; hence, Tournier says nothing about that. Lue de Benoil told Collins that she feels Tournier is a conservative, an evangelical, though he does not use the terminology which might normally identify one in this camp. Collins further notes from a third interview that Dr. Paul Plattner does not think Tournier believes in hell. Lastly, Edmond Rochidren believed that Tournier is not really a Calvinist, adding, however, that Tournier probably does believe in hell, although he fails to mention it because it could be harmful for some distressed patients.4

Though the opinions of friends varied, Dr. Collins' personal interviews seemed to be more pointed. When questioning him about the passage in Guilt and Grace and the fate of non-believers, Tournier merely replied that God wants to save all. He stated that he is close to Barth's theology, and seemed puzzled over the issue of hell. When asked a second time what happens to non-believers, he stated that that is really the concern of God. He added that fundamentalists like to talk about hell. They bring some to Christ that way, which Tournier does not oppose, but they think everyone else is going to hell, which lets them think they are special people.5

The findings from this author's personal interviews should also be mentioned. One preliminary observ-ation which deserves attention is the understandable defensiveness of those interviewed. The need for Tournier's position to remain nebulous seems to stem from his desire to avoid two unpleasant alternatives. On the one hand, if he overtly identifies himself with particularism, it would bother those of his patients and readers who are disturbed by the abusive threats of hell. On the other hand, if he identifies with universalism, it could become a divisive theological issue which would separate him from other believers; for one who values unity among believers above theological precision, this, too, would be an unpleasant position. Some of those questioned were quick to defend Tournier.

At any rate several opinions have been gathered. Hazel Goddard, for whom Tournier wrote a preface to her book, Hope for Tomorrow,6 stated that she feels that Tournier is difficult to pin down regarding tendencies toward universalism, though she has no doubts regarding the more important elements in Tournier's faith and theology.7 Charles Henry, head of the department of psychology at Wheaton College, seemed convinced that Tournier is a universalist after asking him if he had received much criticism from his position on universalism.8 Another person who knows Tournier but who wished to remain anonymous, believes Tournier is a universalist, though he was convinced that Tournier believes he is not.9

Lastly, Gary Collins, when asked if he thinks Tournier is a universalist, replied affirmatively, stating that he was almost certain that Tournier, in private conversation with him, had once identified himself as a universalist, though he had refused to discuss the issue in earlier conversations.10

A final consideration for examining whether Tournier is a universalist is this author's personal correspondence. The following is a letter written to him, followed by his response to that letter.11

"October 30, 1976

"Dear Dr. Tournier,

"This is the most difficult letter I've written since the one I wrote when I broke up with a girl I'd hoped to marry. I've put this off several times, and have also had to rewrite it several times because of the conflict involved in doing this. Like a naive seeker in forbidden territory, I feel tense, awkward, uncomfortable, and guilty in writing to you.

"I am a graduate student at Wheaton College and am writing a masters thesis on your universalism. I want to ask you two questions: (1) Are you a universalist: do you believe everyone has been, is or one day will be saved, and that no one will go to hell? (2) Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God: that all of scripture, as it is, can be equated with the Word of God, in contrast to its merely containing or becoming the Word of God when He encounters man?

"I chose to write my thesis on your theology because I wanted a chance to read all your English works. I narrowed it down to your universalism because many are interested in the topic, and critiquing yours will give me a chance to search it out for myself. Writing to you was my advisor's idea, not mine, but I do feel my thesis would be incomplete without some kind of response from you.

"I apologize for sounding so callous in my request. I feel guilty about writing my thesis on this topic, and I feel uncomfortable being so direct. I have the conscience of a psychologist, who, like you, values harmonious personal encounters more than the discussion of topics which tend to divide rather than unite. My motive for asking these questions, however, is that of a theologian, who often values the clarification of certain perceived truths above the consequences of discussing such topics. Herein lies a conflict between the values of psychology and those of theology. I feel caught in the middle, and writing to you intensifies the conflict within me. I realize that to understand your "theology," one has to understand your experience with people. To some extent I feel I do; my first chapter will be autobiographical, dealing with an experience similar to yours which changed my life and relationships.

"I really don't expect you to answer my questions. From talking to others who know you, I know that you'd prefer not to disclose these beliefs. But I'd appreciate any nebulous answer you could give. I personally believe you're a universalist and that you don't equate scripture with the Word of God. I can agree with you on the latter, but as for universalism, I don't believe in it, but I can't be dogmatic against it. I'm not theologically evangelical enough to be bothered with where you stand as much as I'm bothered by conservative evangelicals trying to put you in their theological camp. My critique of your universalism will also probably include a critique of evangelicals who are more concerned with a Christian having the right doctrine than with having the right life.

"So, I'd appreciate any information you could provide. I realize that I haven't earned a response to these questions, and that I'm asking you to meet me on my turf instead of my meeting you on yours.

"Apart from my thesis and the intent of this letter, I want you to know that your books have had a big impact on my life and that I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you. I can't afford a trip to Switzerland, but I intend to look you up as soon as I make it through the pearly gates. I really appreciate you. Thanks so much.

"Take care, and may God's grace continue to abide with you.

"In Christ's Love,

"Dan Musick

Paul Tournier's Response

"Troinex November 27, 1976

"Dear Sir,

"I thank you very much for your kind letter, which is so interesting. I admire the courage with which you tackle such a difficult problem that touches God's secrets which we can approach only with trembling, aware of the limits of our human spirit. You are aware of it as much as I am, for you say that you feel 'guilty.' Let me reassure you concerning that! It is a false guilt for there is no guilt before God 'to examine all things' as Saint Paul says.

"What hinders me most in this affair is that you speak about 'my' theology or 'my' doctrine, whereas I have neither theology nor doctrine for the simple reason that I am not a theologian but a practitioner who tries to help people in their problems of life and to lead them to the encounter of Jesus Christ, the Saviour.

"That you say as a theologian that I am a universalist is evident, in the sense that I believe that Jesus was sent into the world to save the sinners that we all are. This is what I understand Saint Paul to say when he mentions that sin has entered the world through one man, Adam, and spread to all men, and that he calls Jesus the second Adam through Whom redemption entered the world for all men, and even as he says 'all of creation,' that the redemption of Christ is the victory of God over the Fall. I believe that this great plan of salvation is universal, concerns not only all men but the universality of the world and that Jesus on the Cross has accomplished this Salvation, this reconciliation of men with God, that the 'chastisement' as Isaiah says is fallen upon Him to free men from the malediction of the Fall. This plan of God therefore seems to be collective, global, universal.

"But I know well that many believers whom I love and whose fervor I admire and whom I consider as my brothers, are more pre-occupied with individual salvation and can refer to numerous Biblical texts concerning individual perdition, hell, and even Jesus' words, at least as these have been reported by his disciples.

"I stay away with the greatest efforts from any polemics with these brothers. I have several times refused to speak up on such subjects that could open the door to theological controversies that would separate us from one another. This letter which I am writing to you today is very exceptional and I write it only because you force me to. I have participated with much zeal, sincerity and conviction in religious controversies while I was young, fighting for Calvinistic orthodoxy against liberal theology. It is God, at least I believe so, Who stopped me on this road where I was boasting myself to be right and others wrong, whereas there were as many shortcomings in my piety and my behavior. And I notice that when Jesus spoke of the last Judgement the criterion which he chose to separate those on his left from those on his right is not their theological credo, but their charitable behavior. And as we all recognize to have fallen short of charity we find ourselves altogether able to count only on His grace.

As to your question concerning the Bible, I consider it to be the Word of God, supreme authority of our always imperfect search for the revelation of God and attach myself more to the spirit than to the letter.

"With my fraternal greetings,

"Paul Tournier"12

In light of the investigation into whether Tournier subscribes to unrestricted universalism, several things should be pointed out from this letter, especially from the third and fourth paragraphs. First, he is in agreement with this author's claim that he is a universalist: "That you say as a theologian that I am a universalist is evident." Second, in qualifying his universalism he states that "Jesus was sent into the world to save the sinners that we all are," i.e., Jesus was sent to save all. Third, this purpose was accomplished, in that: (1) "redemption entered the world for all men;" (2) "Jesus on the Cross has accomplished this Salvation," accomplishing also (3) "this reconciliation of men with God." Last, God's plan of salvation is not individual13 but "collective, global, [and] universal." Consequently, gathering from the research of Tournier's writings, from interviews with people who know or who have met and discussed theology with him, and from personal correspondence with him, it is this author's conclusion that Paul Tournier subscribes to unrestricted universalism, that he is a universalist.

Influences on Tournier's Universalism

Before elaborating on these, several preliminary remarks are in order. First, some comments should be noted regarding the difficulty of tracing the influences in Tournier's writings. Throughout his works he quotes probably hundreds of people; this, in turn, necessitates limiting this discussion only to the major influences. A difficulty related to this is that he quotes different authors for varying reasons; sometimes a quote may be the source of Tournier's ideas, or it may as well reflect, support, or express differently something Tournier already believes. Another difficulty in tracing influences is that any author quoted has also been influenced by others. For example, Jung has been influenced by Freud; hence, the influences on any individual are always intricately interrelated. Due to these complexities, "influences" here should be understood to mean the major probable contributing influences on Tournier's universalism.

A second preliminary remark has to do with this author's assumptions regarding what constitutes an influence. Most theologians would give attention to only the major theological influences. This author, how-ever, agrees with Tournier when he states that "we constantly risk being influenced by our psychological make-up in our interpretation of the Bible."14 In addition many of our beliefs are emotion-based. We tend to believe what the people who mean most to us believe, and disbelieve or disagree with, what people who mean least to us believe.15 For these reasons influences that are not directly theological are also given attention here.

Personal Experience


As a child Tournier knew nothing of his father, who died three months after his birth, and little of his mother, who died when he was six. As a consequence, he and his sister were taken in and raised by his aunt and uncle. This experience had a profound effect on Tournier in that he withdrew into himself, becoming lonely, shy, sensitive and unsociable--it was a painful experience. The way he coped with this, for many years, was by hiding behind an intellectual facade, brought out and accentuated by his mathematical success in grade school, and by a Greek teacher in high school.16

This experience seems to have had some bearing on his universalism in at least three ways. First, Tournier's sensitivity to his own suffering probably made it difficult for him to believe that God could ever punish people by sending them to hell. Second, Tournier's life, long identification with the suffering, the weak, the already humble--because of his own experience--seems to have influenced his views on repentance and forgiveness. He seems to have developed a view that gives more attention to the lowly, humble state of the oppressed--those already crushed by feelings of inferiority and guilt-- with whom God stands ready to grant forgiveness, and to whom He announces, "'Your sins are forgiven."'17 He sees repentance, not so much as one's recognition of his sin before God, but more as his guilt and humility before God and humanity. It seems that for those who experience the latter, repentance, in its more theological sense, is not really necessary for forgiveness; they are already forgiven. Third, masking his loneliness probably effected his early Christian faith in ways that had profound reverberations later in life. For a child who is isolated and lonely, who expresses himself in cold, impersonal categories, his dedication to, and faith in, Christ probably correlated, with regard to personal depth, with his own relationships to those around him; it was probably cold and abstract as well. As a result, Tournier's Calvinistic faith, rooted in this impersonal experience, became less meaningful to him when later contrasted with his personal encounter with God.

Personal Religious Experience

These two experiences in Tournier's Christian life deserve closer attention, particularly in relation to the effect they had on his life and his soteriology. The first religious experience for Tournier occurred when he was 11 or 12, at which time he surrendered or consecrated his life to Christ.18 In a later reference to that event, Tournier notes that though he was a Christian, he had not experienced conviction of his sins.19 Similarly, he had neither surrendered his will20 nor experienced conversion.21 During the time between his first and second experiences, he was active in the church,22 had written articles about Calvinism,23 and had "fought for orthodoxy against liberalism."24 His Christian experience did not become meaningful to him, however, until he later en-countered God. Of that experience he states:

"I am not speaking of salvation, which is already accomplished in Jesus Christ. It is rather a question of the transformation of my life, of my relationships with everyone--with myself, my wife, my children, and my patients--which had changed. Well, all the ensuing development of my existence came out of this face to face encounter with God. My intimacy with him was accentuated bit by bit; my life became enriched, freed from many hindrances; it gave me a vital interest in that other side of life, for its inner dimension, so necessary to us."25

These experiences seem to have effected Tournier's universalism in two ways. First, several aspects of his soteriology became disjunct in his interpretation of these experiences. Dedication of one's life and be-coming a Christian, on the one hand, became divorced from the experience of conversion on the other hand--the conviction of sin, surrender of one's will, the regeneration of one's life through personal encounter with God. Emphasis on personal salvation, assuming Tournier had earlier stressed its significance, seems to have become more of a historical fact. As a result of this second experience, and the resulting disjuncture in his soteriology, there appear to be two consequences which had direct bearing on his universalism. First, his emphasis on one's personal encounter with God seems to have influenced his estimation of what the most important religious experience is: it is not personal salvation or becoming a Christian, but encountering God, which Tournier comes to conclude can be done in other religions and even in non-religious atmospheres.26 Second, his de-emphasis on faith in Christ and its relation to personal salvation, and his apparent acceptance of salvation as a purely historical event probably made it easier for him to accept a universalist perspective: if all was accom-plished at the Cross, then it would be easy to assume the work of Christ was effective for the salvation of all, irrespective of our response to the gospel.27

The second way in which these religious experi-ences probably influenced his universalism is that prior to encountering Christ, Tournier was less tolerant toward other doctrines and theologies. Afterward, possibly reacting against earlier attitudes, personal experience with Christ became a more basic issue or more common ground with other believers. This probably influenced his growing tolerance, not only of Christians of other denominations, but also of unbelievers of different religions.

Experience as a Doctor of the Whole Person

This experience seems to have influenced Tournier from two angles. First, his academic attempts to bridge the gap between such diverse fields as theology and medicine probably contributed to his tolerance for men and beliefs of other denominations and religions.

Second, practical application of his Christian faith to his counseling ministry seems to have contributed to his conclusion that all men are seeking God, and that God is often in dialogue with non-believers without their realizing it. This seems, however, to be a generalization from two facets of his work that Tournier appears to overlook: one is that so many of his patients are seeking God when they come to Tournier because they knew ahead of time that he is a Christian and could probably help them with their religious problems; the other is that Tournier probably assumes that his "non-directive" therapy is neutral, overlooking the fact that he communicates Christian values and his own worldview through the attention he devotes, usually unconsciously, to the nature of the patients' responses.

Psychological Influences

Though Tournier's study of psychology had a big impact on his theology, actual influences on his universalism are not that readily apparent.


There seem to be three of Freud's concepts that are somewhat relevant here. One is the notion of projection. In viewing God's love as infinite and unconditional, Tournier's understanding of projection seems to influence his conclusion that beliefs that God's love is conditional are mere human, finite projections onto an infinite God Who loves us unconditionally.28

A second is the idea of contact in therapy. Tournier seems to proceed from recognition of the value of personal contact in therapy, to later defining it as dialogue, and then concluding that whenever two people are in contact, or experiencing dialogue, there is also a corresponding dialogue occurring--that with God--which makes it a spiritual event, even if neither one is a believer.29

The third influence has to do with Tournier's understanding of repression. His sensitivity to the repressed hostility and aggression found in proud, pharisaic believers may have influenced his attraction for the humble-'those who confess their sins. He consequently often sees a sincere, honestly-searching atheist closer to God than a proud Christian who represses his sins and real desires instead of confessing them.


There are two main influences here. First, Jung's emphasis on archetypes contributed directly to Tournier's view of Melchizedek as a symbol or archetype of the universal saviour.30

Second, Tournier's acceptance of the idea of man's collective unconscious seems to have had a three-fold influence: that all men are either consciously or unconsciously aware of God;31 that all are searching for God as an answer to their deepest problems;32 and that all feel the guilt and estrangement from God in the "Paradise Lost" complex that all men feel unconsciously.33

Ecclesiological Reactions

It appears possible that Tournier's universalism was shaped, in part, by reactions against two things he saw in the church or among believers.

Exploitation of Fear

His reactions against the abuse of certain Scripture passages used to incite fear and to thereby often dominate others34 seems to have effected, in part, two aspects of Tournier's universalism. First, as for those who would threaten with hell, Tournier, having spent years resolving the problems caused by such threats against his patients, comes to deny the reality of hell. Second, as for those who would use fear to make threats, implying God's conditional love, Tournier, in response to these, goes to great lengths to develop his views on the unconditional nature of God's love.35

Moralism and Formalism

These two are used interchangeably by Tournier, and he gives so much attention to them in most all his books because so many problems he has dealt with have been a result of a moralistic distortion of religion.36 Moralism is basically what in evangelical circles is more frequently called "legalism;" it is characterized by works-righteousness, repression of hostilities, conscience and failures, and self-righteous pharisaism. Reacting against all this seems to have brought, or contributed to bringing, Tournier closer to the genuinely humble and repentant, even if they are not Christian. He views God forgiving those who are already humbled and crushed by life.37 This seems to have also effected Tournier's emphasis on the total futility of our own efforts, in contrast to the total sufficiency of God's grace in salvation. Lastly, Tournier's reactions against moralism seem to have perhaps influenced his de-emphasis on religion as a creed or morality, stressing more importantly one's personal encounter with God.

Theological Influences


Though Tournier identifies himself as a Calvinist,38 which he may have been earlier in life, he seems to have distorted some of Calvin's teachings in arriving at his universalism. First, though he firmly adopts Calvin's ideas on the total depravity of man, Tournier balances with this the total sufficiency of God's love and forgiveness to remedy man's problem.39 Second, Tournier appears, in his writings to blur the distinction between special grace necessary for saving the elect, and common grace, by which, for example, repentance can be experienced outside the Christian faith, and which, undistinguished from special grace, seems to become sufficient for the salvation of all.40 A third possible distortion of Calvin's views has to do with the extent of the atonement. Assuming Tournier took a particularist perspective earlier in life, he seems to have gone on to blur, not only the distinction between Christ's dying for the elect and his death for all men, but also the distinction between the efficacy of Christ's death for those who believe and its efficacy for the entire human race--regardless of how various individuals may respond to the gospel.41

Emil Brunner

This theologian was probably the most influential on Tournier's universalism, particularly in light of his association with him from his earlier years in the Oxford Group.42 Several concepts can be found in Brunner's works which also appear similarly in Tournier's writings. First, Brunner's emphasis on God's unconditional love43 and forgiveness44 is also prominent in Tournier's soteriology.45 Second, that Christ died for all men, as Tournier believes,46 is also present in Brunner's writings,47 though he never states that Christ's death is also effective for the salvation of all men. Third, when Tournier points out that man is both guilty and also forgiven,48 he could be echoing Brunner, who similarly notes: "To love means to accept . . . [a sinner] as he is, 'in Christ,' as one who has been judged in him and granted the grace of God, above whom there stands the word 'sinner,' 'fallen being,' but also the word 'justified,' or 'one who has been restored."'49 Fourth, Brunner's views on the reconciliation of all, and God's desire to save all50 are also reflected in Tournier's works.51 A final possible Brunnerian influence on Tournier could have been his ideas on the possibility of universal salvation. Brunner feels that no answer should be given to the question: "Is there such a thing as final loss or is there a universal salvation"? The basis of this view lies in his belief that "God does not belong to the realm of perceptible objects, but to that of speaking and being spoken to."52 Hence, Brunner refuses to answer the question. Tournier, however, possibly unaware of the basis of this paradox, the reasons for Brunner's refusal to answer it, and the implications of answering it, possibly chose to naively answer it: "Yes, there is such a thing as universal salvation."53

Martin Buber

Probably the biggest influence Buber had on Tournier's universalism has to do with the relationship of unbelievers to God. In reference to the interest aroused over the book, I and Thou,54 Tournier comments: "It was as if man's spiritual communion with others, which is peculiar to him, had been rediscovered after centuries of individualism."55 Elsewhere Tournier notes:

Martin Buber feels keenly the tragic solitude of modern man, and sees him in search of God, often without realizing it. 'In each Thou,' he says, 'we address the eternal Thou.'56
It would be only a short step from this last statement to accepting the view that whenever someone experiences a spiritual communion with others or with nature, they are also in communion with God. Or, expressed differently, whenever someone encounters a "thou," they also encounter the eternal "Thou"--God. Hence, God can be encountered in other religions and in non-religious contexts.57

Karl Barth

According to Gary Collins,

Tournier came to know Karl Barth and read some of his less difficult theological writings. 'I am not far from Barth's theology,' Tournier once remarked; 'we agree on many things.'58
Though some of Barth's ideas can possibly be detected in Tournier's writings, there is nothing in Tournier's works to suggest be was influenced by Barth's tendencies toward universalism with regard to his view of double predestination; Tournier's universalism appears independent of election; and his own references to election are quite rare. There are, however, a few of Tournier's ideas which may be a reflection of Barth's soteriology. First, Tournier's conviction that God's love is free and unconditional59 may be an echo of Barth's statement that God's grace "comes to us as a gift, and that without presupposition, reservation or condition."60 Second, Tournier's emphasis on the parallel between Adam and Christ--"'As in Adam all die . . . so also in Christ shall all be made alive' (I Cor. 15 22)"61 --may be a variation of Barth's views.62 Third, Barth's manner of evangelism, which appears more as an announcement of salvation in contrast to a call to repentance, seems to possibly appear in Tournier's works at one point where he states:

The order to His disciples to go 'into all the world', was simply to proc!aim the 'good news' (Mk. xvi. 15), to convince all men and to multiply the visible signs of God's grace by mighty works and healings . . . But this was not the procuring of salvation. Salvation was already there, offered and assured for all men.63
It should be noted here, that although the manner is similar, Barth never comes to this conclusion himself. It probably could be possible, however, that Tournier's conclusion here could be the logical deduction from reading parts of Barth's writings.

Other Influences

Probably the other primary influence on Tournier's universalism was his own personal study of the Bible, as well as his interpretation of various Scriptural passages. Many of the conclusions found in Tournier's universalism cannot be found in any of the major author's which would appear to have had the biggest impact on him; and even those which reflect the influence of another writer are still often supported with Scripture; hence, it is difficult to ascertain which influenced him most. At any rate, some of Tournier's views which seem to have been particularly influenced by Scripture are: God's unconditional love, the universality of the covenants, implications that all may be converted in the end; universal justification and reconciliation; and the extent of the atonement to all, which is also effectual for the salvation of all.64

Otherwise, thee are three other possible contributing influences to Tournier's universalism. First, Dr. Bovet's notion of the divinity in each person65 may have effected Tournier's views on the religious experiences of non-Christians. Second, Vittoz' belief that children belong to God before belonging to their parents might have contributed to Tournier's belief that God is the Father of believers and non-believers alike.66 Third, and lastly, Professor Karlfield yon Durkheim probably affected Tournier's views toward other religions and the religious experiences that all men have with his interest and descriptions of spiritual events which non-believers experience67 and his recognition of the religion beyond religions.68



Except for the decreasing emphasis on the importance of the conviction of sin, Tournier is to be applauded for his understanding of sin. He sees the depth of sin in man, not only in his disguised motives, but also in the effects of sin on people's lives, as only a Christian with spiritual insight and a penetrating understanding of depth psychology can envision. He further remains true to the Reformed tradition, both in his views on the universality of sin69 and with regard to the depth of sin that goes beyond man's actions to include his entire being, his state. Also noteworthy is the attention he gives to dealing with the relationship between sin, sickness, death and disease.


That man is not only sinful, but also aware of his guilt, as Tournier expresses, might be scripturally supported by some,70 though it would not be compatible with reformation teachings. Few writers have so exhaustively elaborated on the extent of guilt in everyone's lives as Tournier does in Guilt and Grace.71 Both his study and years of experience have broadened his understanding of guilt--that stemming, not only from the more obvious overt acts, but also the more subtle and complex--that from feelings of inferiority, sins of omission, unfaithfulness to one's self. His portrayal of man's universal need to expiate72 is also noteworthy. One question that might be raised has to do with man's thirst for salvation and pardon.73 If Tournier sees this as an expression of man's search for God, there may be a slight discordance with Scripture. If, however, he sees this as an expression of man's need to alleviate his guilt, thee would be no conflict with Scripture.

Search for God

Tournier is to be commended on his ability to sift man's motives, needs and aspirations when it comes to isolating that search for God found in many who have been prompted by God's special saving grace. It should be noted, however, that the special grace of God in which the Holy Spirit works to bring a person to God, to generalize from the experiences of many who do seek and who do find God, and to conclude that all men seek God, appears to be, not only an unwarranted generalization, but also a conclusion that is incompatible with Scripture. The picture that the Apostle Paul paints is that man, in his natural state, is sinful to the extent that "no one understands, no one seeks for God."74

That repentance should come from the prompting of the Spirit, and not the judgement of men, along with other explanations Tournier offers regarding a repentant attitude can be beneficial in understanding the nature of genuine repentance. One weakness would seem to be his lack of emphasis in his later works on the orientation of one repenting--from sin to God. Another, more serious shortcoming is Tournier's belief that repentance is not necessary for salvation, which is also related to a similar misunderstanding that repentance, as a condition, can never be completely fulfilled. The Bible assumes this possibility, both in imperatives given75 and in accounts of those who did repent.76 Similarly, a question may be raised regarding the experiences of repentance among non-believers. As long as Tournier is referring to the psychological aspect of repentance, then seeing it as a result of God's "common grace" would present no conflict with Scripture. But to link this with the procuring of salvation, which Tournier does not do, would have run against the grain of evangelical theology.


Tournier exhibits a remarkable understanding in his views of faith. He is able to screen authentic faith, and separate it from various kinds of faith. He should also be praised for his ability to see and stress the faith common to men of all denominations and theological persuasions, though he does seem to over-extend the idea somewhat in his reference to non-Christian believers. Only a Christian practicing psychology with the optimistic love that Tournier has could uncover the latent faith of atheists and others who rebel against God. The weakest point in his views here, however, is that he seems never to have developed any understanding of the importance and conditional nature of personal saving faith. The few times that he even links faith and salvation or justification,77 he does so with no elaboration, and often to support some other point. His reference to Luther discovering that salvation is not earned, but that it is sufficient to accept by faith seems to typify Tournier's view--faith is sufficient in accepting salvation, but not necessary for salvation per se.78

Religious Experience

One concern that has been raised concerning Tournier's appreciation of, and association with, men of other religions is

the Biblical sacrifice it may entail . . . If . . . he is espousing a theology of many ways to the same God, we must take serious issue . . . In the clear words of Jesus, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father, but by me (John 14:6)." That particularism must be honored.79
This fear of syncretism in Tournier's thought appears somewhat unwarranted. Though he newer goes into detail concerning the nature of the kind of experience one can have with God in other religions, which is a certain departure from Calvinism, when it comes to salvation, Tournier commendably keeps a distance from syncretism. For him Christianity is not just another religion or way to God; nor is it the best and most perfect way; Christianity is the only way--it is only by Christ's atoning sacrifice that reconciliation between God and man is made possible.

Credit is also due Tournier for his recognition of what there is to be gained from other religions, as long as he recognizes they are insights gained from natural revelation, and at best, are distorted perversions of the true revelation, which he fails to recognize. His studies of Jung and work with people who have religious problems make him markedly sensitive to the religious side of all people, though, in seeking to sympathize or identify with their struggles, he seems to overlook the fact that man, by his very nature as a sinner, will raise questions, not in search of answers, but in flight from the responsibility God demands of him. Rather than concluding that all men are religious per se, it would seem more appropriate to conclude that all are religious only in the sense that some are genuinely religious, while the majority are religious only in so far as they will live out their days avoiding God in an effort to maintain separation from him.

One final question here would have to do with the manner in which unbelievers can encounter God. Tournier does not explain what he mans, though he seems to be exploiting natural theology further, certainly, than Brunner would have.

God's Love

Tournier should be appreciated for his acknowledgement of the limitless depth of God's love and its manifestation among all men. He also eloquently expresses the personal nature of God's love for each individual, though many Calvinists may take issue, stating that God's love for all is true only in a general way, and specific and personal only for the elect.

The primary issue that would be raised here has to do with his belief that God's love is unconditional. It is easy to understand why Tournier would become some-what extreme on this point in his reactions against moralism, which attempts to make God's love conditional upon our obedience to Him, which Tournier rightly notes, is not only impossible for us, but also contrary to the nature of God's love.80 A distinction Tournier should have appealed to, rather than the supremacy of God's grace in contrast to the futility of our obedience or our works, is that which contrasts faith and works as a means of appropriating the grace of God. Faith is not a work; God's demand for faith as a means of appropriating this grace is not an oppressive demand which man cannot fulfill. Faith lies within the range of human possibilities; and it is faith that God demands as a pre-requisite to, and a condition for, the forgiveness and salvation found in Christ.


It is difficult to evaluate Tournier's views on adoption because they are never really developed. His statement concerning God being the Father of believers and unbelievers would be appropriate if understood in light of the universal Fatherhood of God via creation. If understood in a soteriological sense, however, such a statement would appear incompatible with Scripture. Assuming this is what Tournier had in mind, Gary Collins' evaluation of the particular expression includes the following comment:

Jesus clearly stated that only those who love Him can call God their Father. The non-believer, even when he is religious, has the devil as his father.81
It seems doubtful, however, in light of Tournier's statements related to adoption, that he views it in a strict soteriologlal sense.


There seem to be two points at which evangelicals might take issue with Tournier here. Though he accurately notes the extension of God's blessing from the Jews under the old covenant, to include all of humanity under the new covenant, he seems to make, as he does in reference to the extent of the atonement, an illogical jump from the availability of God's blessings to all, to the actual bestowal of these blessings to all in the form of universal salvation. The second point has to do with the "order of Melchizedek." It may be granted that perhaps the author of Hebrews did see him as a symbolic figure, but to conclude that he symbolizes the universality of salvation in Christ seems totally unwarranted from the passage.


Tournier has done an excellent job in his discussions of God's call. His understanding of the means through which God calls, God's call as it relates to vocation, and God's continual call to believers to conform to His will--all this merits special recognition. His understanding of God's call in the soteriological sense, however, seems under-developed--probably too much so to evaluate in terms of the extent to which God's call is effectual for all.


Tournier's views regeneration can be appreciated, not only for their strong concordance with Scripture, but also for the psychological dimensions he brings into focus often when discussing regeneration. The major defect, however, is the disjuncture of regeneration and salvation. Though being born again is necessary, according to Tournier, in order to appropriate eternal life here and now,82 one's failure to be born again in this life in no way prohibits him from receiving eternal life on the other side of the grave.83


As with other aspects of his soteriology, Tournier is to be congratulated for his ability to see the psychological factors common to Christian conversion and conversion in other spheres of experience.

There are, however, several points where he may be in discordance with Biblical teachings. One has to do with the temporal nature of conversion. Conversion, according to the verb tenses and their contexts in Scripture, is an experience that occurs at one point in time, not to be repeated. A second problem has to do with the dissociation of conversion from becoming a Christian. For most evangelicals conversion is seen as an integral part of becoming a Christian, but for Tournier, this is not the case. A third. definite point of friction between Tournier and evangelical views are his slight implications that all will ultimately be converted. Though this is compatible with his universalism, he seems to have misinterpreted the parable of the tares and the wheat, and would further find difficulty finding Scriptural support for such a position.


The major flaw in Tournier's views on forgiveness is its unconditional nature. Reducing repentance to a mere route or road to forgiveness seems to do an in-justice to Biblical passages where it is seen more as a necessary pre-requisite--a condition for forgiveness.84


Probably the most noteworthy element of Tournier's views on redemption is the global object of redemption, which stands in strong concordance with Scripture. His lack of discrimination, however, between the redeemed and the unredeemed, places him in the company of universalists.


The major shortcoming in Tournier's views here is in the way he takes part of Paul's words out of context in order to support his universalism. The full context of the verse quoted from Romans goes as follows:

21But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 they are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a expiation by his blood to be received by faith.85
One thing Tournier overlooks here is the element of faith. The "they" who are justified does not refer back to the "all" who have sinned, but to the "all" that believe. This is further supported in verse 26 by Paul's reference to God as the one Who "justifies him who has faith in Jesus," and in verse 28: "For we hold that a man is justified by faith."86


Tournier's understanding of the scope of reconciliation is commendable. His apparent belief that God's desire to reconcile means He will actually do it, however, seems unfounded. That God wanted to reconcile does not mean He actually did or will.


Tournier's emphasis on the centrality of the atonement for salvation is Biblically sound, as are his references to the nature of the atonement. With regard to the extent to which the atonement is applied, however, he parts company with Calvin when he sates that Christ died for all men and not just the elect; and in Guilt and Grace he parts company with evangelical theology when he contends that all men benefit from the atonement, even going beyond Barth and Brunner to arrive at his conclusions.

There seems little doubt that Tournier came to these conclusions from reading the Scriptures himself. It should be recognized that strong arguments can be developed from passages which support unrestricted universalism.87 It would be beyond the scope of this thesis, however, to deal with all of them in such a way as to do justice to the depth of the arguments involved.88 One passage to which Tournier refers, which is clearly taken out of context, is that from John 14. Jesus is not going to prepare a place for all, but for those who believe in Him; Christ is the only way to the Father.89


Tournier 's definition of salvation is unique and interesting. It culminates from, and is a summary of, views gained from years of studying psychology, theology, medicine; philosophy and the Scriptures as he molded a perspective to suit the needs of his calling. He is to be commended for his emphasis, not only on the salvation of individuals, but also on the salvation of man's social structures and all of creation.

When he concludes that the universality of salvation may be recognized, however, and when he states that it is not only offered but also assured for all, he clearly departs from evangelical theology. He goes beyond Brunner's and Barth's tendencies toward universalism. Whereas these two leave questions unanswered, and when asked, deny being universalists, Tournier is explicit: all are saved. The only questions left are those gathered from ambiguous statements which imply particularism.

Furthermore, commenting on Tournier's views on hell, Gary Collins notes:

According to Tournier, Jesus never describes a 'precise and definite reality' when He speaks about hell. If this is so, then why did Jesus refer to eternal punishment at least eight times (according to Tournier's count) when such repetition was sure to lead great numbers of people into apparent error? Why, furthermore, did the writers of the epistles refer to punishment in numerous passages that are clearly not parables? And if references to hell are in the Bible only to 'strike the imagination of men' and shake them from their spiritual lethargy, shouldn't modern witnesses for Christ refer to hell for the same purpose?

One can understand why it is not popular to believe in hell, and it is especially easy to appreciate how a sensitive parson like Tournier would want to shy away from a theological doctrine which stimulates despondency or fear in many troubled people. The idea of eternal punishment is disturbing and unpopular, but this does not mean that hell is nonexistent.90

Lastly, as has been expressed differently elsewhere,91 if, according to Tournier, no one will go to hell, and all will be resurrected, there is only one conclusion that can be drawn: all will go to heaven. This, too, is a clear departure from evangelical theology.

The Evangelical Response

In light of Tournier's acceptance of universalism, along with his departure from evangelical theology, the question should be raised concerning our response to him. Probably the best procedure for doing that would be to interact with responses that evangelicals have already given.

First, there are friends and fans of Tournier for whom this discovery would create, or has created, inner dissonance or a vague mixture of hurt and anger which might be directed at this author. "How can anyone who loves God, and whose life has been such a gift of self to others possible be, or be accused of being, a universalist"? they might ask. It would probably do well for persons feeling this way to realize that there is not necessarily a correlation between theological accuracy and Godly character: the right theology does not guarantee the right life; nor does a flaw in one's theology necessarily make him any less Godly. Granted, parts of his theology are not evangelical; these need to be recognized. Each person, however, must address himself to the matter of priorities: whether to attend more to theological differences and to withdraw from Tournier, or to attend more to that which is common: theological similarities, and more importantly, commonality of purpose in our love and service for God, and our unity in Christ. Our response to Tournier is not just one response to one person, but our response to all persons of different theological persuasions, many of whose lives are in stronger concordance with God's will than our own.

Second, much of what has just been written could also serve as a response to those who would condemn Tournier as a heretic. It should also be noted, however, that this sort of universalism is not heresy: it does not conflict with the early church creeds; it is not un-Christian; and it is not "un-protestant." It is just unevangelical, though some less conservative evangelicals might even debate that.

Third, there are those who, in response to Tournier's universalism, would comment: "Do you mean to tell me that someone as sinful as Hitler would make it to heaven as easily as I would"? The "I" is underscored for what it connotes. The "I" is a jealous "I": he's the laborer who worked hard all day and cannot, or does not want to, understand the master's scale of rewards and justice.92 Second, the "I" is also an "I" who lacks love. It's an "I" who, arriving in heaven, would not be overjoyed to discover that God's love was unconditional, that His grace was unlimited, and that His justice executed at the Cross--the suffering of the infinite for the finite--was sufficient for the salvation of all mankind. Lastly, the "I" is also a legalistic "I"--an "I" who is earning his salvation, and who would feel cheated to think that someone would get it without working for it, without making all the sacrifices that this "I" has made. Though this attitude is common among, and often typical of, evangelicals, it stands in direct contradiction to our theology. The basis of our salvation is not our works; nor is it our faith, as though it could be a sort of merit or work. Rather, the basis lies in the atoning sacrificial death of Christ for our sins on Calvary, which was solely a result of God's grace and nothing we deserved. All we do in appropriating this salvation is to accept it by faith; we are saved by Christ's perfect work, not by our own works.

Fourth and last, there are those who would raise the question, "Well, if everyone is saved, why should we evangelize?" It might be more enlightening to re-phrase and re-direct the question: "If Tournier believes that everyone is saved and no one is going to hell, then why is he so fervent in his evangelism? Is this not a contradiction of belief and behavior?" The answer is "NO" and what we have to gain from what we perceive to be a discrepancy could be richly rewarding. Tournier, unlike many of us who love people enough to save them from eternal hell, but not enough to help redeem them from their despair here and now, is concerned about the whole person. For him it matters little that all will be saved eventually; they still need to encounter God now. We need to bring all to a recognition of their sin and misery, to repentance, in order that they may be converted and their lives transformed, that they may begin to experience eternal life--the life that only Christ gives--here and now. Rare are the men like Tournier who are so assured of the healing power of the gospel that his views of the eventual "pie in the sky" for all never affects his passionate zeal to see people's lives transformed by a personal encounter with Christ.

A penetrating and exhaustive study into why Tournier evangelizes would probably produce one of the best apologetics to date for Christianity from a psychological perspective. For Paul Tournier, psychological findings only confirm Christianity rightly understood in Scripture; Christianity contains the best that psychology has to offer. Restoring relationships with God can bring about effective cures for the many psychosomatic problems confronting doctors daily.93 Fellowship with God is the answer to loneliness.94 It is only in being reborn that we can experience the fullness of life.95 We live in a broken world; only God can make us whole.96 Our ability to live with our strengths and weaknesses lies in our relationship to God.97 Only by living according to God's purposes and laws revealed in Scripture can we enjoy life as God would have us do.98 God's forgiveness in Christ is the answer to guilt stemming from our alienation from God.99 The greatest gift in our quest for gifts is the gift of Christ to us from God.100 To live a life directed by God is to live a life of adventure.101 To find our place in God's will is to discover our place in life.102 Only because of Christ's death for us can we hope for the resurrection and eternal life beyond the grave.103

Endnotes for Chapter 4

1See Introduction.
2See sections on justification, reconciliation, atonement and salvation in Chapter three.
3See preceding comments.
4From the files of Dr. Gary Collins, Trinity Seminary, Deerfield, Illinois.
6Hazel Goddard, Hope For Tomorrow(Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House, 1971).
7Hazel Goddard, telephone interview held on November 26, 1976 in the Wheaton-Warrenville area of Illinois.
8Charles Henry, interview at Wheaton College in the summer of 1975.
9From author's personal files.
10Gary Collins, interview at Trinity Seminary, Deerfield, Illinois, November 2, 1976.
11The first letter was translated into French before mailing, and the second is the English translation from French. Translation was done by Hubert Jurgensen, a Wheaton Graduate student from France.
12See appendix for copies of the actual letters.
13Implicit in the contrast in paragraph four.
14GG, 47.
15cf. MP, 52-53.
16See MRVP, 240-243.
17GG, 114; cf. 111-118.
18LGO, 214; LG, 6; NCC; MRVP, 242.
19EL, 163.
20AL, 194.
21PR, 225.
22PR, 205; MP, 169; RS, 15.
23PY, 133.
24MRVP, 245.
25FMS, 21.
26See the section in Chapter one on religious experience.
27This disjuncture is particularly noticeable in his first book, written after his encounter with God in the Oxford Group. In the Healing of Persons he cites more religious experiences than in any of his other works. He cites examples of persons who encounter Christ (pp. 59, 153; cf. 43, 213, 222, 249), offer or dedicate their lives to Christ or God (pp. 15, 24, 92; 145, 150, 155; 174-5, 231, 281), experience God's forgiveness (pp. 25, 150); experience a transformation of lives and attitudes (pp. 6, 119, 154; 220, 239; cf. 209-213, 222) and undergo conversion (pp. 108-109, 114, 130; 137, 174, 263, 277). Nowhere does he refer to anyone being saved, however, nor does he even use the term in the theological sense. Elsewhere in his writings one would be hard-pressed to find Tournier referring to anyone being saved, or to the personal experience of salvation.
28GG, 189.
29See MP, 160-162; FPSH, 15.
30GG, 209.
31WPBW, 11.
32WPBW, 23, 148; DCLB, 101.
33See PY, 38.
34See e.g., SW, 66; LGO, 220.
35GG, 189-197.
36MRVP, 258.
37See, e.g., GG, 111-118.
38See, e.g., PR, 105 PY, 30.
39See, e.g., GG, 187-8.
40See section on salvation in chapter three.
41See section on the atonement in chapter three.
42MRVP, 246.
43Heinrich Emil Brunner, The Christian Doctrine of the Church, Faith, and the Consummation, trans. Olive Wyon (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1962), p. 415 (hereafter cited as CDCFC).
44Brunner, The Mediator, trans. Olive Wyon (New York: McMillan Co., 1942), p. 422-3 (hereafter cited as Mediator).
45GG, 189-197.
46See atonement section in chapter three.
47See, e.g., M, 505.
48GG, 211.
49Mediator, 605.
50CDCFC, 415.
51TCA, 11; AL, 76, 237; GG, 206.
52CDCFC, 422.
53GG, 187.
54Martin Buber, I and Thou, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1970)·
55MP, 127·
56PY, 13.
57See the section on religious experience in chapter one.
58The Christian Psychology of Paul Tournier, p. 80.
59GG, 189-197.
60Karl Barth, God Here and Now, trans. Paul M. van Buren (New York: Harper & Row, 1964), p. 31; cf. pp. 28-44.
61DCLB, 28D.
62See, e.g., Karl Barth, Resurrection of the Dead, trans. H. J. Stenning (New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1933), p. 167.
63GG, 188.
64See respective sections in chapters one to three.
65EL, 44.
66NP, 51; PY, 47.
67PY, 203.
68AL, 81.
69Rom. 3:10-18.
70See, e.g., Rom. 1:18-2
71See chapters 1-6.
72GG, 174-80.
73GG, 133.
74Rom. 3:12 (RSV).
75See, e.g., Lk. 13:3, Acts 3:19.
76Matt. 12:41, Lk. 21:29.
77WPBW, 91; PR, 97; DCLB, 63, 232; GG, 194; LGO, 181, 227.
78GG, 194, 187.
79J. Daniel Bauman, "Reactions," Journal of Psychology and Theology1 (April 1973): 12.
80GG, 189-197.
81CPPT, 101.
82DCLB, 236.
83See section on salvation in chapter three.
84See, e.g., Lk. 13:5, Acts 2:38.
85Rom. 3:21-25 (RSV).
86Rom. 3:26, 28.
87E.g., Jn. 12:32; Rom. 5:18; 1 Tim. 2:6, 4:10; 2 Pet. 3:9.
88For a summary of the issues see Rienk B. Kuiper, For Whom did Christ Die? Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959).
89Vss. 1, 6.
90CPPT, 103.
91CPPT, 89.
92Matt. 20:1-16.


Author's Letter to Dr. Tournier.

Dr. Tournier's Letter to Author


Sources Consulted on Paul Tournier

Books by Tournier

A Doctor's Casebook in the Light of the Bible. Translated by Edwin Hudson. New York: Harper & Row, 1960; Perennial Library edition, 1976.

A Place for You Translated by Edwin Hudson. New York: Harper & Row, 1968.

Escape from Loneliness Translated by John S. Gilmour. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1974.

Fatigue in Modern Society. Translated by James H. Farley. Richmond, Va.: John Knox Press, 1965.

Guilt and Grace. Translated by Arthur W. Heathcote. New York: Harper & Row, 1962.

Learn to Grow Old. Translated by Edwin Hudson. London: SCM Press Ltd., 1972.

Secrets. Translated by Joe Embry. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1965; Pillar Books, 1976.

The Adventure of Living. Translated by Edwin Hudson. New York: Harper & Row, 1963; Paperback edition, 1976.

The Healing of Persons. Translated by Edwin Hudson. New York: Harper & Row, 1965.

The Meaning of Gifts. Translated by John S. Gilmour. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1963; Pillar Books, 1976.

The Meaning of Persons. Translated by Edwin Hudson. New York: Harper & Row, 1957; Perennial Library edition, 1973.

The Naming of Persons. Translated by Edwin Hudson. New York: Harper & Row, 1975.

The Person Reborn. Translated by Edwin Hudson. New York: Harper & Row, 1966; Jubilee edition, 1975.

The Seasons of Life. Translated by John S. Gilmour. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1963; Pillar Books, 1976.

The Strong and the Weak. Translated by Edwin Hudson. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1963.

The Whole Person in a Broken World. Translated by Helen and John Doberstein. New York: Harper & Row, 1964.

To Resist or to Surrender? Translated by John S. Gilmour. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1964; Pillar books, 1976.

To Understand Each Other. Translated by John S. Gitmour. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1974.

Books to Which Tournier Contributed

Forward to Hope for Tomorrow, by Hazel Goddard. Wheaton, Ill., Tyndale House, 1971.

Forward to Personal Living: An Introduction to Paul Tournier, by Monroe Peaston. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.

Forward to The Christian Psychology of Paul Tournier, by Gary Collins. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1973.

"My Religious Vocation as a Physician." Translated by William Brunand and Sue W. Cardwell. In Healer of the Mind: A Psychiatrist's Search for Faith, ed. Paul E. Johnson. Nashville: Abingdon press, 1972.

"The Person in an Age of Conformity," in Are You Nobody, ed. Paul Tournier. Richmond, Va.: John Knox Press; Chime Raperbacks, 1966.

Articles and Messages by Tournier

"A Dialogue Between Doctor and Patient." Paper presented at III International Congress of Christian Physicians, Oslo, Norway, July 16-20, Oslo Universitets-for-laget, 1969.

"Forgiveness and Mental Health." Translated by Marcel Weinreich. This Day 16 (May 1965): 6-9f.

"Listen to God." Translation. Faith at Work, June 1970, pp. 6-8.

Tape transcript from a conference address on "The Medicine of the Whole Person." North Carolina, November 24, 1973. From Gary Collins' files, Trinity Seminary, Deerfield, Illinois.

"The Doctor, the Senior Citizen, and the Meaning of Life." Translated by staff. Journal of Psychology and Theology 1 (April 1973): 4-9.

"The Frontier between Psychotherapy and Soul-Healing." Journal of Psychotherapy as a Religious Process 1 (January 1954): 12-21.

"The Meaning of Possessiveness." Taken from The Naming of Persons. Eternity, August 1975, pp. 16-18f.

"There's a New World Coming." Faith at Work, December 1971, pp. 1-6.

"Towards a Christian Anthropology." in The Service of the Christian Doctor in a Modern Society. Lectures held on the First International Congress of Christian Physicians, Amsterdam, July 15-18, 1963, pp. 2-11.

"What is Mental Health?" Translated by B. Edman. McCormick Quarterly 19 (November 1965): 39-46f.

When I Dared to Share Myself." Guideposts, January 1971, pp. 1-6.

Books about Tournier

Collins, Gary. The Christian Psychology of Paul Tournier. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1973.

Paul Tournier's Medicine of the Whole Person: 39 Essays Honoring the Founder of a School of Medical Practice Dedicated to Treating Each Patient as a Human Being. Waco, Texas: Word Books, Publishers, 1973.

Peaston, Monroe. Personal Living: An Introduction to Paul Tournier. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.

Sisterson, William D. "Paul Tournier's Concept of Man." Masters thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1969.

Articles and Papers about Tournier

Collins, Gary. "Introducing Paul Tournier." His, March 1973, pp. 15-16.

Collins, Gary. "Look at Life with Paul Tournier." Eternity, November 1973, pp. 66-67.

Collins, Gary. "Paul Tournier at 75." Christianity Today, 11 May 1973, pp. 7-9.

Collins, Gary. "Paul Tournier: Christian Man of Science." Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation 2 (June 1973): 79-82.

Harper, Kenneth· "The Original Genius of Paul Tournier." Paper presented to Gary Collins' "Psychology of Paul Tournier Seminar," Trinity Seminary, 28 May 1973.

"Paul Tournier: 75th Birthday." Journal of Psychology and Theology 1 (April 1973): 3 23. Contents: Narramore, Bruce, "A Dedication to Paul Tournier." Tournier, Paul, "The Doctor, the Senior Citizen, and the Meaning of Life." Baumann, J. Daniel, "Re-actions." Hyder, O. Quintin, "Reactions." Wang, Stanley, "Reactions·" Collins, Gary, "A Personal Look at Paul Tournier."

Rohrbach, H. C. "Paul Tournier's Synthesis of Spirit and Science." Pastoral Psychology 8 (November 1957): 47-54.

Reviews of Tournier's Books

Granberg, L. I. Review of Guilt and Grace. Eternity 14 (June 1963): 45-46.

Hofmann, Hans. Review of Guilt and Grace. Pastoral Psychology 13 (May 1962): 63-65.

Review of The Meaning of Gifts. Eternity, December 1974, pp. 9f.

Southard, S. Review of The Adventure of Living. Pastoral Psychology 17 (September 1966): 64-65.

Stobbe, L. H. Review of The Adventure of Living. Christian Life, November 1965, pp. 32-33f.


Collins, Gary. Tyndale House, Wheaton, Illinois. Inter-view, 8 October 1976.

Collins, Gary. Trinity Seminary, Deerfield, Illinois. Interview, 2 November 1976.

De Benoil, Lue. Interview by Gary Collins, 27 November 1971.

Goddard, Hazel. Wheaton and Warrenville, Illinois. Telephone interview, 26 October 1976.

Goddard, Hazel. Warreville, Illinois. Interview, 27 October 1976.

Goddard, Hazel. Wheaton and Warrenville, Illinois. Telephone interview, 4 November 1976.

Harnick, B. Interview by Gary Collins, 4 January 1972.

Henry, Charles. Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois. Interview, 18 October 1976·

Henry, Charles. Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois. Interview, 2 November 1976.

Plattner, Paul. Interview by Gary Collins, 11 January 1972.

Rochidren, Edmond. Interview by Gary Collins, 19 January 1972.

Schraag, Lyle. Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois. interview, 18 October 1976.

Tournier, Paul. Geneva, Switzerland. Interview by Gary Collins, 24 January 1972.


Collins, Gary. Personal file on Paul Tournier including interviews, notes, observations, correspondence and untranslated articles. Trinity Seminary, Deerfield, Illinois·

Tournier, Paul. Personal letter, 27 November 1976.

Related Bibliography

Barth, Karl. God Here and Now. Translated by Paul M. van Buren. New York: Harper & Row, 1964.

Barth, Karl. Resurrection of the Dead. Translated by H. J. Stenning. New York: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1933.

Brunner, H. Emil. The Christian Doctrine of the Church, Faith, and the Consummation. Translated by Olive Wyon. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1962.

Brunner, H. Emil. The Mediator. Translated by Olive Wyon. New York: McMillan Co., 1942.

Buber, Martin. I and Thou. Translated by Walter Kaufmann. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1970.

Horne, Charles. Salvation. Chicago: Moody Press, 1971.

Kuiper, Rienk B. For Whom Did Christ Die? Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959.

The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version. New York: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1952.

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