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Primitive Baptist Universalist

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Historical Background
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General · Strict · Reformed

Doctrinal distinctives
Sola scriptura
Priesthood of all believers
Individual soul liberty
Separation of church and state

Pivotal figures
John Smyth · Thomas Helwys · Roger Williams · John Bunyan · Shubal Stearns · Andrew Fuller · Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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The Primitive Baptist Universalists (or PBUs) are a Calvinist Christian Universalist church based primarily in the central Appalachian region of the United States. They are popularly known as "No-Hellers" due to their belief (unlike most other Christian denominations) that there is no Hell per se, but that Hell is actually experienced in this life.[1][2]

Although they did not split as a denomination away from other Primitive Baptists until 1924, they have been theologically distinct as Universalists since at least 1907, when the minutes of the Washington District Primitive Baptist Association record a reproval:

Resolved, that whereas, we have been troubled with the doctrine of universalism that we advise the churches that if they have any elders preaching such heresies, or members arguing it, that they admonish them to quit preaching it or talking it, and if they fail to hear them to withdraw fellowship from such, and especially we admonish Hale Creek church to admonish Elder M. L. Compton to refrain from such doctrine.

Summary of theology

  • Universal reconciliation: Christ's atonement was for all humanity, and at Resurrection all humanity will be reunited with Christ for an eternity in Heaven.
  • Hell is a factor of the temporal world, where temporal sins will be punished by an increased separation from God.
  • Satan is an entity solely of the temporal world, existing only as "natural man" warring against "spiritual man."
  • Sin, punishment, and death are factors only of the temporal world, thus ceasing to exist after Resurrection, and sin is punished in the temporal world by a separation from God.
  • The joy of righteousness is its own reward, so retribution and reward are needed only for the here and now.[3]

Notable Primitive Baptist Universalists


  1. Nickels, Charles F. (1937?). Salvation of All Mankind; and Treatise on Predestination, the Resurrection of the Dead, and a Bequest. Nickelsville, Virginia: Published by the author. 
  2. Dorgan, Howard (1997). In the Hands of a Happy God: The "No-Hellers" of Central Appalachia. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press. ISBN 0-87049-962-9. 
  3. *"The Primitive Baptist Universalists of Central Appalachia, Known in the Mountains as the "No-Hellers"". Retrieved 2006-12-10. 

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