Bisbee's Why I Am A Universalist, part one

It has been so long since I added anything four-square Universalist that some of you might be wondering what I’m up to. I hope this helps. I found this pamphlet in my papers, and though it isn’t dated it has to be from before 1935, or else the profession within would be the Washington Avowal. Thus I hope it is out of copyright, and if it isn’t I hope the UUA (which would probably own the copyright) will forgive me. At least they don’t need to send out free copies this way.

Thus, the first installment of

Why I Am a Universalist

Frederick A. Bisbee

An address delivered at the South Congregational Society of Concord, N. H., in a symposium of all the Protestant ministers of the city on the general theme, �Why I Am What I Am.� This sermon, edited by Dean Lee S. McCollester, is reprinted, for free distribution, in response to a demand. Copies may be obtained by addressing Universalist Headquarters, 176 Newbury Street, Boston, Mass.

I come to you not with the desire or intention of making you Universalists, but to show you as best I may that the Church it is my honor to represent is trying to, in its own way, exactly the same work as every other Christian Church in saving men from sin and into righteousness, and it appears to me that with our common purpose, our different methods are to our credit rather than to our blame, in that they enable us to reach some whom other Churches do not, and thus increase the aggregate of the great army of the Lord.

My message is not of necessity largely personal. I am asked to tell why I am a Universalist. And yet I think it safe to say that I shall truly represent the Universalist Church in the statement and grounds of my belief.

It was not my fortune to come into Universalism through inheritance. I was born a Methodist, and my childhood and youth were spent in the bosom of that great Church, and I here gladly pay the tribute of my gratitude to it for its divine service to me as an individual and the glorious service it has rendered to the world. But in the early maturity of my life I left that Church and became a Universalist, and I am here to tell you why.

Primarily I am a Universalist because I am a Christian and believe in the ultimate complete success of Christianity − that Christ �shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied� that God �will have all men to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth.� (1 Tim. 2:4), and �having made known to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself, that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are in earth� (Eph. 1:9, 10). And to this end �God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through him, might be saved� (St. John 3:17) �Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father� (Phil 2:9, 10, 11).

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