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Author Topic: Did The Early Church Fathers Believe In Universalism  (Read 1577 times)

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Did The Early Church Fathers Believe In Universalism
« on: March 01, 2016, 12:51:46 AM »

Did the Ante-Nicene ECF's believe in universal reconciliation and if so is there literature that proves that they did?


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Re: Did The Early Church Fathers Believe In Universalism
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2016, 11:13:00 AM »

Some of them did, some of them didn't. Here are a few (whose authority I trust) that did:

John: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).

Peter: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9).

Paul: For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe (1 Tim. 4:10).

Things got pretty bad pretty quickly though. Ray writes in Part 8 of the Lake of Fire series about the persecutions, corruptions, perversions, and heresies that were already starting in Paul's day. I don't think there was ever a period with several thousand-member congregations who met and praised God for the salvation of all humankind, because that's not part of the plan. Only a few are chosen. 

There is a book called The Ancient History of Universalism by Hosea Ballou. I have not read it but I know Ray mentioned it in some of his writings. Here is the description from its Google Books page:

This treatise presents the history of universalism from the time of the apostles to its condemnation in the Fifth General Council, 553 AD, with an appendix tracing the doctrine down to the era of the Reformation. The attentive reader will discover that the ancient history of universalism is naturally distinguished, by certain peculiarities, into three successive periods: the first, extending to the year 190; the second running to the year 390 or 394; and the third, reaching to the Fifth General Council in 553 AD.



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Re: Did The Early Church Fathers Believe In Universalism
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2016, 10:36:58 PM »

  As far as the early church goes, look into the writings of Origen (c. 185) who believed and taught universal reconciliation. Jerome, who translated the scripture into Latin, is quoted as saying, "I know that most persons understand by the story of Nineveh and its king, the ultimate forgiveness of the devil and all rational creatures".  Wow.  And then I read about this quote in the Schaff Herzog Encyclopedia of Religous Knowledge, 1912, " In the first five or six centuries of Christianity there were six known theological schools, of which four were Universalist, one accepted conditional immortality, and one (Rome) taught endless punishment of the wicked."
 I've read that it took a long time before those who believed in UR were called heretic. I read that Universal Reconciliation, though often believed, was taught to the spiritually mature while punishment was taught to the immature. Some of the quotes I found seem to bear that out.
 I've written this before, but it bears repeating. When I first came to Ray's teaching all I really knew was that the old testament did not teach hell, that God is Love and Love never Fails, and that "every knee shall bow, every tongue confess Jesus as Lord". That really was it. And then I knew every verse you know that seems to teach hell. But it doesn't - it really doesn't.   :)  It does teach a difference between the elect and the non elect. Jesus is talking to Jews who are about to be left out of the Promise.  They thought they were all that, and they were about to find the promise excluding them who did not believe Him  and going to the Gentiles . Weeping and gnashing of teeth is an expression that means Great Regret, and that's how all those who thought they were God's Chosen will  feel when they are left out of His elect.
 I hope you continue to let us know how your studying is going and what your questions are.  :)
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