Thursday, July 17, 2014

A recent email


I don't have permission to publish this with the writer's name, but the content made me happy so I'm sharing it with you:


I have recently discovered your site on History of the Watchtower. You and your associates have a wonderful site. It evidences your commitment to discovering historical insights and understanding.
As a “church historian” I am interested in the various Adventist groups that followed in the wake of the Millerite disappointment. My main interest is in tracking some of the doctrinal beliefs that appeared in some of these groups. For example, the conditionalist understanding of the mortality of the soul as expressed by George Storrs. Although clearly not a Millerite or Adventist, Charles Russell shared some ideas with those circles as well as meetings with Storrs and others, as you document.
One of the most intriguing issues for me is brought out in the White/Russell debate of 1908 in which the subject of a first opportunity for salvation being offered during the Millennium to those living at that time as well as the resurrected dead who had had no first chance of salvation. I understand the arguments Russell presents.
But I am very much interested in knowing who else in his earlier circles advocated this understanding of a future chance for salvation, including the idea that the vast majority of the world is now blinded, until the predestined elect are gathered and prepared.
This understanding presented in such a detailed and careful way is rare in church history, but I have glimpsed it in some few “Adventist” circles; but not before Russell.
Would you be so kind as to shed some light on the origins of this teachings for Charles Russell; as to when did he come into this view and from whom or with whom was it first discussed/formulated for Russell?
I look forward to your comments, and I value your research very much; and certainly intend to purchase your book(s) soon.

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