by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year

Volume XXIII

May, 1944

Number 10

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.

In this story, "The Teaching" means the doctrine of the salvation of all mankind.  It is found in John 1:29; John 3:17; John 12:32; Rom.5:15-19; I Cor. 15:22-28; Col. 1:20; I Tim. 2:3-6; I Tim. 4:10; Phil. 2:9-11; Heb. 9:26; I John 2:2.  

In the days immediately following the apostles time, not a great deal was said on this topic, for, like the writers of the scriptures, they did not find the Teaching denied.  The Teaching was held by Clement of Alexandria, born A. D. 150.  He was a Greek theologian, educated under many teachers, and became head of the Catechetical School of Alexandria.  Origen, one of his pupils, became a greater teacher than Clement, and was one of the most celebrated exponents of the Teaching, of that day.  Titus, Bishop of Bostra, born 364, is famous for his saying that the fires of hell are remedial and salutary.  He believed that, in spite of "punishment for sin," all would finally be saved.  This doctrine was echoed by Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, born380, who added that "even the devil, himself, will be subdued and purified."  As with us, one of his favorite proof texts was I Cor. 15:22-28. 

Near the close of the fourth century the Origenists came into existence.  They held to the Teaching.  The famous Jerome held to the Teaching in his early ministry, but gave it up because of a personal quarrel.  Others of that period who are said to have held the Teaching included Evagrius, native of Pontus, and Diodurus, Bishop of Tarsus in Cilicia.  To these may be added Theodore, Bishop of Mopsuestia, and Fabius Manus Victorinus who wrote, "Christ will regenerate all thing; through Him all things will be purged and return to endless life.  And when the Son shall deliver the kingdom to the Father, all things will be God—that is, all things will still exist, but God will exist in them, and they will be full of Him."  The Teaching was strong in the East, but even in the Latin churches, where Pagan philosophy was powerful, some saints defended the blessed doctrine of the salvation of all.  

Before the close of the second century there was opposition to the Teaching, instigated largely by Tertullian, born 150.  He sowed in the Latin church, the seed of dissension, which continued to grow until it reached the East near the close of the fourth century.  In 394 a quarrel broke out against the Origenists, but even then the opposition did not object to the doctrine of the salvation of all mankind; they objected to the idea of the devil being saved.  In 399 some of the councils that were convened against the Origenists condemned the doctrine of "the salvation of the devil," but passed by without censure, the idea of the salvation of the human family.  Later some of the councils condemned the doctrine that promised salvation to all, and in 553 the Fifth General Council pronounced a curse on the Teaching, which could not be refuted by argument and appeal to scripture.  Only "force," such as the "church" know how to administer, could stop the mouths and still the pens of those who spread the Teaching.  

A period of decadence followed.  Spiritually was at a low ebb, and superstition prevailed.  It was in this period, when hatred instead of love prevailed in the "church," that the doctrines to which Christendom holds today were formed.  Perhaps "forged," would be the better word, for these doctrines were shackles on lovers of truth, and stopped research and progress.  True, some held to the Teaching, even in that dark time, but find few traces of it.  

The Reformation in the seventeenth century gave license for the Teaching to prevail again, and it did, to such an extent that it was found necessary for the English Church to condemn it, and, as this did not have the desired effect, the preachers persuaded the English parliament to pass a law, providing that al who held to the final salvation of all mankind should be imprisoned until they gave assurance that they would cease such teaching.  This was in 1648.  But even this harsh measure did not stop it.  Such men as Gerard Winstanley, William Everhard, William Earbury, Richard Coppin, and others stood faithful to the Lord and His glorious ultimate, in the face of this law, ready to suffer the consequences.  About this time Samuel Richardson publishes a book entitled "Eternal Hell Torments Overthrown."  This was followed by a book, "The Restoration of All Things," written by Jeremy White.  A short time thereafter, Dr. Henry Moore, Archbishop Tillotson, Dr. Thomas Burnett and William Whiston came out in favor of the Teaching.  Others who held to it included Sir Isaac Newton, Dr. George Cheyne, and Chevalier Ramsey, in England, and Paul Siegvolk and John William Petersen, in Germany.  The Teaching spread into Holland, Switzerland, Ireland and Scotland.  Names of dozens of men in Scotland and England who held to the Teaching, could be given, if space permitted.  In 1750 a congregation holding to the Teaching was organized in London, and in 1770 John Murray came to America and began to spread the glorious truth.  Elhanan Winchester was another exponent of the Teaching in America.  

The early teachers, Clement, Origen and others, quoted the same texts that we quote today, to establish the Teachings, and they used the original words from which we have the English "eternal" and "everlasting," to denote time periods—not endless duration.  That word is the Greek AIONION, which was transliterated into English in recent years, as EONIAN.  

The Teaching grew in America, and, finally, in 1803 those who held it drew up Articles of Faith.  They read as follows:

"We believe that the holy scriptures—contain a revelation of the character of God and the duty, interest and final destination of all mankind.  We believe there is one God, Whose nature is love, revealed in one Lord Jesus Christ, by one holy spirit of grace and happiness.  We believe that holiness and true happiness are inseparably connected; that believers ought to maintain order and practice good works, for these are good and profitable unto men."  

In 1840 Thomas Whittemore published a work in which he enlarged on the above articles of faith, and in two magnificent chapters, quoted scripture showing the truth concerning God and Christ; the efficacy of the blood of Christ; the fact that God is working toward a definite goal, which necessitates the final salvation of all mankind; and the abundant resources of grace that will enable Him to do His entire will.  

Dr. Adam Clark, Methodist, born about 1762, forms a very interesting part of this study.  He was in the good graces of Wesley, by whom he was sent out as a preacher in 1782, and was president of the conferences of 1806, 1814 and 1822.  This establishes him as a "good Methodist."  He wrote, "God could have made no intelligent creature, with the design to make it eternally miserable.  It is strange that a contrary supposition has ever entered into the heart of man; and it is high time that the benevolent nature of the supreme God should be fully vindicated from aspersions of this kind."  Writing on the text, "Knowing, therefore, the fear of the Lord," etc., he says, "Men who vindicate their constant declamations of hell and perdition, by quoting this text, know little of its meaning, and, what is worse, seem to know but little of the nature of man, and perhaps less of the spirit of the gospel of Christ."  

John Wesley believed the doctrine of the salvation of all mankind, though he seldom mentioned it.  If any reader doubts it, let him ask the local Methodist preacher for a copy of Wesley's writings, and read his comments on I Cor. 15:22-28.  

The Teach8ing came into greater prominence less than half a century ago, when the Concordant Version of the Sacred Scriptures was being complied.  The translator, A. E. Knoch, of Los Angeles, Calif., was forced to believe that all mankind will be saved, and the universe will be reconciled to God—forced to believe it when he found that AIONION dies not denote eternal, but merely a period belonging to the eons or ages.  Through the Version, the magazine, Unsearchable Riches, and various books and pamphlets, Brother Knoch has been used by the Lord, as a blessing to many thousands of people.  

The Teaching is not something new.  It has been held by people in all centuries, back to Paul's day.  Some prominent laymen have held it, not the least of them being the great philosopher, Benjamin Franklin.  He gore testimony to its efficacy for good, in the following language: "No system in the Christian world is so well calculated to promote the interest of society, as the doctrine which shows God reconciling a lapsed world.  

This story is far from complete.  My limited space forces me to stop.  But it is my intention to write on it again from time to time.. So, as the radio announcer says, "Keep tuned to this station."  

What a glorious outlook we have!  In the next issue I shall, perhaps, tell you of a man who said that after hearing one sermon on the Teaching, his entire future outlook was changed. 

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