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What Is Heaven?

What Is Heaven?

As noted in my last blog, Sheshequin Universalist Society member O. H. P. Kinney was a regular contributor to the Elmira Sunday Telegram in the early 1880s.  His weekly “Short Sunday Sermons” were published under the pen name “Peter Klaus.” One of his more trenchant sermons about orthodox Christian doctrine appeared in the Aug. 15, […]

Who Was “Peter Klaus”?

Who Was “Peter Klaus”?

In the early 1880s, the Elmira Sunday Telegram featured a regular column entitled “Our Short Sunday Sermon” by “Peter Klaus.”  The “sermons” offered a liberal religious perspective – usually critical, sometimes to the point of ridicule – on orthodox Christian doctrines. The original Peter Klaus was a character in a German legend who was the […]

Far from the Tree

Far from the Tree

Children do not always adopt the faith of their parents, even when the parent is a minister. After he was converted to Universalism by Noah Murray in 1793, the Rev. Moses Park began preaching universal salvation to his Baptist congregation.  Sheshequin Universalist Society member W. H. H. Gore recalled: “[Park’s] congregation approved of the new […]

The Carrot, Not the Stick

The Carrot, Not the Stick

The Universalists’ belief that God would not condemn any of his children to endless suffering was viewed as heresy by their more orthodox Christian neighbors in the nineteenth century.  Many people thought that Universalists, fearing no divine punishment after death, would feel free to indulge in all sorts of licentiousness.  These people apparently only understood […]