Rev. Thomas Allin, Anglican Universalist

I am currently preparing a lovely new edition of Thomas Allin's classic text, Universalism Asserted (1st ed., 1888).

Thomas Allin (1838–1909) was an Anglican clergyman from the west of Ireland. In 1877 he moved with his wife, Emily, to Weston-super-Mare on the Somerset coast—not too far from where I live. It was there that he wrote and published his impressive defense of universalism.

In preparing this new edition I have been struck again by how theologically astute Allin was. His work is a model of good Anglican theologizing, organized around the three theological sources of reason, tradition, and Scripture.  And he very carefully weaves the three together into an integrated and impressive case for universalism.

His first section offers some devastating philosophical critiques of the traditional notion of hell and of annihilationism. His second section is a very impressive survey of universalism in Christian history, showing just how prevalent it was among the orthodox of the early centuries. The final section opens with a consideration of how the whole of traditional Christian dogmatics fits together more coherently when set within a universalist framework. It then considers, albeit not with the exegetical rigor one may desire, a wide range of universalist texts, before showing how the so-called hell texts are not supports for the Augustinian tradition on hell at all.

Scholarship has moved forward in all of the areas Allin handles, but the advances, for the most part, are consistent with his basic instincts back in the nineteenth century.

I don't know much about this guy—not even what he looked like—but I'd love to have met him. I think he ranks as one of the great nineteenth-century writers on eschatology.

(More on the new edition in due course—it is a lot of blooming work, so I am not yet sure of the actual schedule, but I am hoping it'll be out this year. It'll be with our Wipf and Stock imprint.)


Christine H said…
That sounds like a great read....go you!
Juan C. Torres said…
Can I preorder? I love Great book!
Robin Parry said…
Alas, preorders are not possible. But I'll keep the site updated on dates, when we get to that stage.
Hans Bronkhorst said…
Dear Robin, I´m trying to get in contact with you but I haven´t been able to find an e-mail address. Could you drop me a line at so I can contact you directly?

Best regards,
Eric McCarty said…
Thanks for working on this, Robin. Christ Triumphant got me through some very difficult days. A couple of my favorite passages . . .

Evil in process of extinction, nay, in the divine plan already extinguished - is tolerable. Evil permitted for a time, in order that it may be more completely vanquished, and men thereby trained - that we can understand. But when evil, moral or physical, becomes perpetual; when it ceases to be a means and becomes an end; when it is no merely passing stain, but is wrought into the very tissue of the universe - enduring as God Himself: when God is taught as freely and deliberately permitting the entrance of evil, destined, as He knows, to be an eternal horror in His creation; then we are compelled to refuse assent, compelled by our very reverence for God, by the supreme voice within, which if God anywhere
speaks with man, is indeed His voice.

The undermining of conscience by ECT is a valid consideration. Allin states that well.

I am merely expressing the deepest and most mature, though often unspoken, convictions of millions of earnest Christian men and women, when I assert, that to reconcile the popular creed, or any similar belief in endless evil and pain, with the most elementary ideas of justice, equity, and goodness (not even to mention mercy), is wholly and absolutely impossible. Thus this belief destroys the only ground on which it is possible to erect any religion at all, for it sets aside the primary convictions of the moral sense; and thus paralyses that by which alone we are capable of religion. If human reason be incompetent to decide positively that certain acts assigned to God are evil and cruel, then it is equally incompetent to decide that certain acts of His are just and merciful. Therefore if God be not good, just, and true, in the human acceptation of these terms, then the whole basis of revelation vanishes. For if God be not good in our human sense of the word, I have no guarantee that He is true in our sense of truth. If that which the Bible calls goodness in God should prove to be that which we call badness in man, then how can I be assured that, what is called truth in God, may not really be that which in man is called falsehood?

Mike Watson said…
It sounds great - I can't wait to read it!
Grant said…
Delighted to find your sit, via Daily Beast article on topic of hell. Will be adding yours to my daily Feedly aggregator.

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