Benjamin Rush Believed In Universal Reconcilliation

Jon Rowe

Jon Rowe is a full Professor of Business at Mercer County Community College, where he teaches business, law, and legal issues relating to politics. Of course, his views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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6 Responses

  1. Gadfly John says:

    Interesting. Gregory of Nyssa, who developed the Doctrine of the Trinity, may well have been a believer in universal reconciliation, or apocatastasis.Report

  2. Hmm. Universal atonement is not universal salvation. You seem to be confusing the two. Universalism (universal salvation) does not acknowledge “future punishment,” a condition which he accepts.Report

    • Jon Rowe in reply to Collin Brendemuehl says:


      You have to read what Rush said very carefully and also be aware of the theological dynamic of 18th Cen. Universalism. Granted not all who believe in the Arminian notion of a universal as opposed to the Calvinist limited atonement are theological universalists; but theological universalism stemmed from the idea of Christ’s universal as opposed to limited atonement. Indeed, Calvinists used (and to this day still use) universal atonement -> universal salvation as a “reductio” against the doctrine. (If Christ died for everyone, then everyone must be saved, unless some/much of Christ’s blood is wasted).

      The Universalists of Rush’s day did INDEED believe in a future state of punishment; they believed “unsaved” men were temporarily punished as Christ worked with them in Hell or purgatory. And “long duration” meant — to many of them — 1000 years!

      If you read up on the authorities that Rush cites in favor of universal salvation — this is exactly what they preached.Report

      • Then it appears Rush did not understand the Arminianism that he proclaimed. Such is the fate of many who call themselves Calvinists as well.Report

        • Jon Rowe in reply to Collin Brendemuehl says:


          I think the problem may be “Protestantism” in general. Without a top down authoritative “settling” agent (i.e., Rome’s Magisterium) notions like “Calvinism” and “Arminianism” — rooted in Sola Scriptura — are destined to “live” in an “evolving” sense.

          I know, Rome’s teachings have, in many ways, done the same. Such is life.Report