Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Universalism and Universal Salvation

i found this short observation in the July 9, 1896 issue of THE CHRISTIAN LEADER to be worth passing on - unsigned but maybe by George H. Emerson

Universalism is not exactly convertible with universal salvation. Universalism presents indeed the issue of the final salvation of all souls, but it includes this - it is not simply IT. Universalism is a system of truths; it has many parts with many applications to life and conduct. The being, character, supremacy of God; his relations to the world and particularly to the beings created in His image; the consequent relations of souls to Him and to one another; the claims of justice and humanity and the privilege of worship - there are particulars enough to give matter for octavos. But the salvation of all mankind, essential to keep the system intact, is but a principal point, There are we find, many believers in Universal Salvation; but there are not so many believers in full Universalism.

he also says later in the page:

Universalists are more doctrinal in their thought, temper and habitual speech as they get further from the Universalist centres. We note that our Pennsylvania Conventions and Associations emphasize the doctrines of Universalism far more than do the Conventions and Associations of New York and Massachusetts. The letters of Dr. Shinn and the reports that come from Texas are "full of the doctrine" and for the reason that the atmosphere of those places puts Universalists on the defence. It would do any of our young men just out of Theological School good to try a campaign in New Jersey and the South. It would "set them" for life and make them better preachers for Boston and New York.


Jeff Wilson said...

An "NC Universalist" here:

I really like that first G. Emerson quote. It seems to point toward something I was musing on at PeaceBang's site (where I first saw the quote): that Universalism isn't first and foremost about there being no hell. The non-existence of hell is really just an (important) by-product of the core Universalist vision of God's infinite love, which is the central theological issue. Thanks for posting that quote and the rest of the work you've done here.

SC Universalist said...

And that you Jeff for the good summary: the central theological issue of Universalism is God's infinite love.

and by the way, if you are ever speaking at an UU in NC (or even SC) let me know!

Jeff Wilson said...

Steven, I'm afraid that I probably won't be speaking at any churches in the Carolinas any time soon--my mobility is limited because I don't have a car, and even here in town I can't get to church because the buses don't run on Sundays (!). But maybe the ironic side is I'll be speaking every day for five weeks, starting in mid-May: I'm teaching a summer session course on liberal traditions in American religious history at UNC (I'm a PhD student in Religious Studies). Still putting my syllabus together, maybe I'll steal some primary source material from your site, I always like to keep things relevant to the students and Southern Universalism is obviously closer to home than Northern or Western.

SC Universalist said...

No car in the south??? Hmm...
we don't insist that you get a pickup or put in a gunrack - but carless in the south is like airconditionless in the south ---

sure, you're welcome to whatever you find here - For the Unitarian side, I assume you know about "Unitarianism in the Antebellum South" (2001). He doesnt have anything to say about the Charleston Universalists though. Reading a few contemporary newspspers shows me that Rev. T.Fisk raised quite a ruckus with his political speaches.....

Too bad the updated History of Univeralism in North Carolina won't be out yet.

There's actually quite abit of Liberal Religious Traditions in the south