Should we emphasize the sovereignty of God at the cost of having to narrow the scope of his love and mercy and the freedom of human beings? Or should we instead emphasize the universal scope of God’s love as well as the freedom of human beings to resist grace at the cost of God’s sovereignty? Questions such as these seem to have been at the core of many theological controversies in the slipstream of the Reformation.
Central to James Relly, John and Judith Murray, was the idea, that it is not our faith that makes Jesus our savior, but rather that our faith is a recognition of the fact that he is our savior even before we believe. In his memoirs John Murray tells the story of how he was first presented to this argument when he met a young lady in his church, who was influenced by Relly.
“There can be no question of God’s giving up anything or anyone in the whole world, either today or in all eternity. The end has to be: Behold, everything is God’s!”
It might come as a surprise to some, that the doctrine of universal restitution or “apokatastasis”, let alone the belief that all human beings will be saved eventually, has never as such been condemned by any of the ancient ecumical church councils. Sometimes, however, it is claimed that the doctrine was condemned at the fifth … Continue reading Is “Origenism” heresy? On the fifth ecumenical council in 553
In this article, based on a lecture at the Centre for Baptist History and Heritage at Regent Park College in Oxford in 2011, Robin Parry in detail describes the life and theology of the important Universal Baptist preacher and abolitionist Elhanan Winchester.
Samuel Cox was an English Baptist minister and writer, born near London. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed at the London docks, where his father was employed. Having passed the exam at Stepney College he entered London University and in 1852 he became pastor of the Baptist chapel in St. Paul’s Square. From … Continue reading Samuel Cox (1826–1893)
The Everlasting Gospel was written by the German pastor Georg Klein-Nicolai (1671-1734). Klein-Nicolai’s theology is firmly grounded in the biblical belief that God is love and that no creatures can resist his will in the end.
Theologia Germanica or Deutsche Theologie, probably from the 14th century, was a major source of inspiration for adherents of the radical reformation, especially South German spiritualists such as the Anabaptist Hans Denck, and later Pietism.
“The “second death” therefore, so far from being, as some think, the hopeless shutting up of man for ever in the curse of disobedience, will, if I err not, be God’s way to free those who in no other way than by such a death can be delivered out of the dark world, whose life they live in.”–Andrew Jukes
“Look above, and hearken to the sweet voice in the region of love. What are the voices in heaven? they agree in one: no voice comes from heaven, but love, peace, and good will to man.”–Samuel Richardson
“Christ’s atonement was for all humankind and at Resurrection will irrevocably come to pass for all humankind; just as, irrevocably, Adam’s transgression earlier had condemned all to the sinful state of natural man.”
“In one word, a careful study of the early history of the Christian religion, will show that the doctrine of universal restoration was least prevalent in the darkest, and prevailed most in the most enlightened, of the earliest centuries–that it was the prevailing doctrine in the Primitive Christian Church.”–John Wesley Hanson
Johann Wilhelm Petersen was a German-Danish theologian and Lutheran pastor. With his wife he developed a radical form of pietism in which the belief in Universal Restitution came to play a central role.
“Justification and sanctification are inconceivable for anyone if that individual believer cannot be assured that God will embrace not only them but all those for whose sins they are responsible.”–Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“We shall all be happy, we were made for happiness: “God hath not created but to bless.” Happiness, however, is not designed for us in the present state; in the world we are taught to expect tribulation. But in the Saviour, blessed be his balmy name, in the Redeemer, we shall, yes, we shall have peace.”
Alexander Mack was the leader and first minister of the Schwarzenau Brethren (or German Baptists) in Schwarzenau, Germany.
“Our belief respecting the restoration of all things is not only founded upon the plainest letter of scripture (as all may see, who will be at the pains to read over the printed collection of texts) but is exactly according to the experience of every Christian.” – Elhanan Winchester
In this extensive work of scholarly literature Dr. Ilaria Ramelli goes into detail with the classical doctrine of universal restitution (apokatastasis) as it is found from the New Testament until the middle ages.
The words translated “eternal”, “eternity” or “forever” in traditional Bible translations do not, in fact, mean eternity or eternal in the sense of endless duration, but “age” or “age-enduring”.
“Am I a pessimist? Not at all. I am convinced that the history of the human race, no matter how tragic, will ultimately lead to the Kingdom of God.” – Jacques Ellul (1912-1994)
“I saw all this that day on the tram-car on Market street, Philadelphia –not only thought it, or hoped it, or even believed it–but knew it. It was a Divine fact.”–Hannah Whitall Smith in The Unselfishness of God and How I Discovered It
“St Paul would be wretched before the throne of God, if he thought there was one man beyond the pale of his mercy, and that as much for God’s glory as for the man’s sake.” – George MacDonald
“If others go to Hell, I will go too. But I do not believe that; on the contrary, I believe that all will be saved, myself with them—something which arouses my deepest amazement.” – Søren Kierkegaard in Journals and Papers, Vol. 6
“Christ Jesus will deliver all mankind out of bondage. This I see to be a truth by testimony of Scripture, as God is pleased to teach me. But this mystery of God is not to be done all at once, but in several dispensations, some whereof are past, some are in being, and some are yet to come” – Gerrard Winstanley (1649)
“God will be both all and in all. God’s nature will become all to us and will take the place of all, distributing itself in a way that will be suitable to the needs of that life.” – Gregory of Nyssa (335-395 AD)
”God’s punishments are saving and disciplinary, leading to conversion, and choosing rather the repentance than the death of a sinner”–Clement of Alexandria
“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” – Julian of Norwich. In this anthology edited by Gregory MacDonald, a variety of scholars present historical examples of the Christian belief in universal salvation.
“The mass of men (Christians) say there is to be an end to punishment and to those who are punished.” — St. Basil the Great “There are very many in our day, who though not denying the Holy Scriptures, do not believe in endless torments.” — Augustine (354-430 A.D.) “For the wicked there are punishments, … Continue reading Church Fathers on salvation
Eschatology in the Thought of Gregory of Nyssa and Karl Rahner From the book description: “For nearly two thousand years Paul’s suggestion at the end of 1 Corinthians 15 that God will be ‘all in all’ has appealed to those who hold a ‘wider hope’ that eventually no person will be lost from God’s love. … Continue reading Morwenna Ludlow: Universal Salvation
““Stronger than all the evils in the soul is the Word, and the healing power that dwells in him, and this healing He applies, according to the will of God, to everyman. The consummation of all things is the destruction of evil…”