One of my primary areas of historical and theological interest in recent years has been the conflict between Universalism and Orthodoxy, especially in the 19th century. This was not the beginning of the controversy – that goes back into earliest church history – but it is the best documented and perhaps strongest period of controversy regarding the subject and finds its source in 17th and 18th century scuffles as well as continues with significant diminishment into the 20th century.
In any case, I have begun creating contemporary, annotated editions of some of the relevant texts on this subject – beginning with some by John Wesley Hanson, who seem to me, to be the best and most voluminous representative of the Universalist position in the 19th century.
I’ve also completed an edition of W.G.T. Shedd’s The Doctrine of Endless Punishment which argues for the orthodox position, though I was sadly disappointed in the quality of his argument – which seems far too dependent upon philosophical considerations.
I soon hope to add to this collection E.H. Plumptre’s The Spirits in Prison – which attempts to build bridges between the two camps while maintaining an orthodox position and I am looking for another orthodox work, as I have been disappointed by Shedd’s treatment.
Over time I expect to add more volumes – representative on thought from each side. There is an incredible amount of material available, so I will endeavor to focus not so much on an extensive representation of either side’s material but a representative sampling from some of each side’s best and brightest minds.
Contemporary, Annotated eBooks Available via Amazon
- John Wesley Hanson. Universalism in the Early Church: Universalism the Prevailing Doctrine of the Christian Church During Its First Five Hundred Years.
- John Wesley Hanson. The Leaven at Work: Or, Some of the Concessions of Orthodoxy in the Direction of Universalism.
- W.G.T. Shedd. The Doctrine of Endless Punishment.