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Universalism: The Prevailing Doctrine Of The Christian Church During Its First Five Hundred Years (1899) Paperback – September 10, 2010
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Universalism, the Prevailing Doctrine of the Christian Church During its First 500 Years
By: John Wesley Hanson;
Universalist Publishing House, 1899.
BiblioBazaar Reproduction Series; to preserve the legacy of literary history by reprinting and promoting “culturally important” literature.
According to the introduction of this classic book, John Wesley Hanson’s goal was to provide witnesses and testimonies of early church fathers as to the belief in universal salvation. It is not a presentation of scriptural evidence, but the “sole object is to show that those who obtained their religion almost directly from the lips of its author [Jesus Christ], understood it to teach the doctrine of universal salvation” (p.4).
Chapter 1 presents the earliest Christian creeds: The Apostles’ Creed (about 200 AD); Tertullian’s belief (160 AD); the Nicene Creed (325 AD); and the Niceo-Constantinopolitan Creed (that of the Roman Catholic Church). The author contends that none of these creeds even hint at a doctrine of “everlasting punishment” (p.6), “no thought of endless woe” (p.11), “no post-mortem woe of sinners” (p.13), and in fact “gave expression to no condemnation of universal restoration, though, as will be shown, the doctrine had been prevalent all along” (p.12). Even though Tertullian, born in 160 AD did believe in the eternally damned, his private beliefs were not put into any of the creeds. In fact he believed that there is a portion of God in everyone’s soul and that there is something good in the worst of us and something bad in the best of us. The author claims that at the time Tertullian had “not discovered that worst of dogmas relating to man, total depravity” (p.10).Read more ›