Saturday, February 19, 2022

Primitive Baptist Universalism Is a Real Thing That Exists

My late father had limited church experience growing up, but on the rare occasion his family attended anywhere, it was a Primitive Baptist church. Early settlers in the Hurdland, Missouri area referred to them as 'Hardshell Baptists.' They were and remain strict about not using instruments in worship, keeping services simple, and preaching a Reformed understanding of God and salvation. So, it has intrigued me over the years to see references in books to a very different sort of Primitive Baptist. Rather than 'Hardshell,' these are frequently referred to as 'No-Hellers.' They are, in fact, universalists.

The video below is the first I have ever watched that includes these Primitive Baptist Universalists talking about their own faith. It sounds as though they are in line with the 'death-and-glory' universalists of the Restorationist Controversy that is part of the Universalist history that has come to be part of Unitarian Universalism. There is no actual hell. Rather, all are saved already, and any hell to be found is on this earth. This wouldn't have been terribly satisfying to me as a Christian, both on the grounds of what the New Testament says as well as a basic notion of justice. Still, it seems to work well enough for them, and it sounds like from what they're saying there's some room for difference on the matter. 

Frankly, I've always thought it was ridiculous that there ever was a Restorationist Controversy. People literally fought and split churches over what God supposedly would or would not do with people after they died. As if anyone had direct knowledge of that, or that it could make any material difference in the world now.

In any case, enjoy the video below.