Posts on Church history, especially quotations and biographical information on central theologians.

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Christoph Blumhardt (1842-1919)

Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt (1842-1919) was born at Möttlingen in 1842. Christoph Blumhardt, as his father, Johann Christoph Blumhardt, became known as a mass evangelist and faith healer. The preaching of the Blumhardt's was radically oriented toward the coming kingdom of God. For a time Christoph Blumhardt was involved with politics ...
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Is “Origenism” heresy? On the fifth ecumenical council in 553

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 ...
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Robin A. Parry: The Baptist Universalist: Elhanan Winchester (1751–97)

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. From the introduction: "Baptists are not known for ...
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Samuel Cox (1826–1893)

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 ...
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Georg Klein-Nicolai: The Everlasting Gospel (1705/1753)

The Everlasting Gospel was written by the German pastor Georg Klein-Nicolai (1671-1734) (sometimes spelled Klein-Nikolai) of Friessdorf, and published under the pseudonym “Paul Siegvolck” in 1705. The German title was Das von Jesu Christo dem Richter der Lebendigen und der Todten, aller Creatur zu predigen befohlene ewige Evangelium, etc. The ...
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Theologia Germanica (Deutsche Theologie) (14th century)

One of the major sources of inspiration for the early Martin Luther was the anonymous work Theologia Germanica or Deutsche Theologie, probably from the 14th century. Luther, who gave the writing its name (Eyn deutsch Theologia), produced a partly edition in 1516, and a more full edition in 1518. Luther ...
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Andrew Jukes (1815-1901)

Andrew John Jukes was an English theologian and minister. Having left school, in 1832 Jukes went to Poona, India, with the East India Company. In his letters he reports to have been converted while at the hospital in India, reading Scott's Bible. In 1837 he returned to England, and entered ...
"There is such a confused noise among men, of the grace and love of God, so many voices that we are in confusion, and know not what to make of it. 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 (1602-1658), early Particular Baptist, in A discourse of the torments of hell

Samuel Richardson (1602-1658)

Samuel Richardson was an English Baptist. Richardson was one of the formative leaders of the early Particular Baptists as he with eleven others signed the 1644 and the 1646 London Confessions of Faith. He defended Baptist practices and the reformed monergistic belief that justification and salvation are exclusively by the ...
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“It’s hell enough down here.” What does Primitive Baptist Universalists believe?

The Primitive Baptist Universalists are a small subdenomination of the so-called Primitive Baptists. Primitive Baptists adhere to a strictly reformed theology much like the English Particular Baptists of the 17th and 18th centuries. But where Primitive Baptists usually believe in a limited atonement, i.e. the belief that Christ only died ...
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John Wesley Hanson (1823–1901)

John Wesley Hanson was an American Universalist minister and historian. He was born in Boston. In 1845 he became a minister in Wentworth, New Hampshire. In the 1860s he was chaplain to the Sixth regiment of Massachusetts volunteers. In the 1870s he went as a missionary to Britain, becoming the ...
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Johann Wilhelm Petersen (1649-1727)

Johann Wilhelm Petersen was a German-Danish theologian, mystic and pastor at the Lutheran Church in Hanover, and later superintendent in Lübeck and Aue. Johann Wilhelm Petersen grew up in Lübeck where he also studied theology. Together with his wife Johanna Eleonora, he developed a mystic and chiliastic form of pietism ...
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Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident, and founding member of the Confessing Church. In his second dissertation Act and Being he argued that "not all roads appear blocked to the eschatology of apocatastasis.” In his Sanctorum Communio, Bonhoeffer made the stronger claim: "The strongest reason for ...
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John Murray (1741-1815)

John Murray was the founder of the Universalist denomination in the United States. He was born in Alton, Hampshire in England. His father was an Anglican and his mother a Presbyterian, both strict Calvinists. In 1770 he emigrated to America, and preached, as a Universalist minister in Good Luck, New ...
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Alexander Mack (1679-1735)

Alexander Mack was the leader and first minister of the Schwarzenau Brethren (or German Baptists) in Schwarzenau, Germany. Mack founded the Brethren along with seven other Radical Pietists in Schwarzenau in 1708. The Schwarzenau Brethren held to the rejection of any coercion in religion, infant baptism, and saw the New ...
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Elhanan Winchester (1751-1797)

Elhanan Winchester was born in Massachusetts, USA, in 1751. He was raised in a Congrationalist setting but after a conversion experience he joined a Free Will (General) Baptist church in which he became a preacher. Winchester seems to gradually have become convinced of a High Calvinist theology in the vein ...
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Ilaria Ramelli: The Christian Doctrine of Apokatastasis

The belief in universal salvation is as old as Christianity itself. 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 doctrine of apokatastasis, as is ...
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Ramelli & Konstan: Terms for Eternity: Aiônios and Aïdios in Classical and Christian Texts

An important element in the argument for biblical universalism is that the words translated "eternal", "eternity" or "forever" in traditional translations do not, in fact, mean eternity or eternal in the sense of endless duration, but "age" or "age-enduring". This new scholarly study explains in detail how this works. “Apart ...
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Jacques Ellul (1912-1994)

Jacques Ellul (1912 – 1994) was a French philosopher, law professor, sociologist, lay theologian, and Christian anarchist. Ellul was a longtime Professor of History and the Sociology of Institutions on the Faculty of Law and Economic Sciences at the University of Bordeaux. In his book What I Believe, Jacques Ellul ...
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Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911)

Hannah Tatum Whitall Smith (1832-1911) was a lay speaker and author in the Holiness movement in the United States and the Higher Life movement in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. She was also active in the Women's suffrage movement and the Temperance movement. In her book The ...
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George MacDonald: Love Thy Neighbour (1867)

George MacDonald (1824–1905) was a Scottish author, poet, and Congregationalist minister. He was a pioneer in the field of fantasy literature and the mentor of Lewis Carroll and C.S. Lewis. The following is a sermon from Unspoken Sermons (1867). Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. - Matthew 22:39. The ...
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Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855): “If the others are going to hell, then I am going along with them.”

"I do not pretend to be better than others. Therefore what the old Bishop once said to me is not true--namely, that I spoke as if the others were going to hell. No, if I can be said to speak at all of going to hell then I am saying ...
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Gerrard Winstanley (1609–1676)

Gerrard Winstanley was an English Protestant religious reformer, philosopher, and political activist during The Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. Winstanley was one of the founders of the English group known as the True Levellers or Diggers. "Christ Jesus will deliver all mankind out of bondage. This I see to be a ...
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Gregory of Nyssa (335-395 AD)

Gregory of Nyssa, also known as Gregory Nyssen (Greek: Γρηγόριος Νύσσης; c. 335 – c. 395), was bishop of Nyssa from 372 to 376 and from 378 until his death. He is venerated as a saint in Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, and Anglicanism. Gregory, his brother Basil ...
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Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD)

Titus Flavius Clemens (Greek: Κλήμης ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεύς; c. 150 – c. 215), known as Clement of Alexandria to distinguish him from the earlier Clement of Rome, was a Christian theologian who taught at the Catechetical School of Alexandria. “For all things are ordered both universally and in particular by the ...
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Anthology: “All Shall Be Well”

In this anthology edited by Gregory MacDonald, a variety of scholars present historical examples of the Christian belief in universal salvation. From the description of the book at amazon.com: "Universalism runs like a slender thread through the history of Christian theology. It has always been a minority report and has ...
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Church Fathers on 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 ...
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Morwenna Ludlow: Universal 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 ...
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Origen (184-253 AD): "God will be “all in all”"

Origen (184-253) was a scholar and early Christian theologian who was born and spent the first half of his career in Alexandria. He was a prolific writer in multiple branches of theology, including textual criticism, biblical exegesis and hermeneutics, philosophical theology, preaching, and spirituality. "when the Son is said to ...
 
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