Tracing Universalist Thought Through Church History
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. Proverbs 4:18
The Didascalia (the Catechetical school of Alexandria)
|Clement of Alexandria|
|Athenasius, Archbishop of Alexandria|
|Didymus, the Blind|
|Gregory of Nyssa|
|Macrina, the younger|
|Basil the Great|
|Gregory of Nazianzus|
|Theodore of Mopsuestia (and the Nestorians)|
|Maximus of Turin|
|Clement of Ireland|
|John Scotus Erigena|
|Julian of Norwich|
|Peter Bohler (and the Moravians)|
|Sir. Isaac Newton|
|Johann Kasper Lavater|
|Lord and Lady Byron|
Robert and Elizabeth Browning
William King, Archbishop of Dublin
|Hannah Whitall Smith|
|Dr. George De Benneville|
|John Wesley Hanson|
|Judith Sargent Murray|
|Rev. Charles A. Pridgeon|
|Sadhu Sundar Singh|
Canon F.W. Farrar
|Hans Christian Anderson|
|Harriet Beecher Stowe|
|Henry Ward Beecher|
|John A.T. Robinson|
|Hans Urs Von Balthasar|
|J. Preston Eby|
|Ernest L. Martin|
Non-Universalists on this Subject
|Like a golden thread woven through the Bible, so runs the doctrine of the restoration of all things. While not immediately apparent, once visible, it stands out as a central doctrine of both Old and New Testaments.|
Just as our forefathers suffered and died martyr's deaths for truths that we take for granted today and that are universally accepted across Christendom, so today cries of heresy continue to arise against truths that we believe future generations of the church will hold to be evident. But so is the pattern of the ongoing Christian reformation!
A criticism that has sometimes been levied against Christian universalism is that it has never been accepted as a biblical doctrine by the majority of the church. While we think that the true measure of a doctrine should be Scripture itself, and not necessarily the majority, we nevertheless recognize the importance of apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelists who have been given to the church at large by the Lord Himself. There is much to learn from studying the lives and doctrines of those who have gone before us—and what may be surprising to some, is that there actually have been many respected leaders throughout the history of the church who have grappled with or embraced this idea. Indeed, every true Christian has struggled at some point with the idea of eternal torment for non-believers. However, because Scripture apparently teaches it emphatically and because the majority leadership have declared that ultimate reconciliation is heresy (and some go so far as to say that it is heresy even to study the idea), a typical believer is left with no option but to continue believing in eternal torment.
We hope that this page will help to change that. While we have much information on Tentmaker, proving from the original languages of the Bible that Christian Universalism is a solid biblical and historical doctrine, we hope this page will also be helpful for the person who needs to see others who have also studied or embraced this doctrine. We use the term "Christian Universalism in the article, but this glorious teaching is as old as the first book of the Bible and has been preached under many different names, just to mention a few: Universalism, Larger Hope, Greater Faith, No-Hellers, Ultimate Reconciliation, Universal Salvation, Universal Restitution, Universal Restoration, Doctrine of Inclusion, Glorious Gospel and more. I personally (Gary Amirault, founder of Tentmaker Ministries) have been calling in "The Victorious Gospel of Jesus Christ." I like the ring of that phrase. It is victory centered, Gospel centered and Christ centered. It is positive and bold. I am hoping more people in this message begin to use this term to describe Christ's victorious plan to save all mankind.
Please note that while not every person listed on this page would necessarily call themselves a universalist, all of these are people who grappled with the issue of salvation, redemption, Hell, and the fate of the unsaved. While some leaders merely expressed hope for the possibility of an ultimate reconciliation, or were sympathetic to the idea, others confidently asserted its truth, proving it from Scripture.
We include them on this page, in the hopes that some who have been afraid to study the subject of universal redemption for fear of heresy, will see that many of the great minds of the church have at least been open to the idea--while others have been strongly supportive of the doctrine.
May the boldness of thought represented on these pages encourage others to also think boldly, largely—and scripturally—of our God. Surely there is a great reformation on the horizon of the Christian church, and the doctrine of the restitution of all things is certainly a part of it!
May God bless and open the eyes and ears of all who read these pages.
Please note: This page is a work in progress and will be expanded considerably. The biographies are not extensive--rather they are mere brief introductions to these lives. There are many more names that need to be added, including many contemporary Christians. We will contine adding to and expanding this list in the days ahead. For a longer (but much less detailed) list of names, please click here.
These pages are being edited and compiled by Mercy Aiken, Gary Amiraul and others. If you have researched or studied any of these people, and you would like to share your writings and findings with us for use on this page, please contact me
For a longer list of writers, pastors, Bible scholars, humanitarians, statespeople who embraced the message of universalism, also known as Universal Salvation, Ultimate Reconciliation, Universal Restoration, The Larger Hope, The Greater Faith, apokatastatis, the Restoration of All Things, Doctrine of Inclusion, etc. see: