Essential Divine Principles
of the Christian Religion
For a True Christian Society
From the book
Practical Christian Socialism, A Conversationalist Exposition of the True
System of Human Society, Adin Ballou, 1854.
I. Principles of Theological Truth.
1. The existence of one
All-Perfect, Infinite God.
2. The mediatorial manifestation of God through Christ.
3. Divine revelations and inspirations given to men.
4. The immortal existence of human and angelic spirits.
5. The moral agency and religious obligation of mankind.
6. The certainty of a perfect divine retribution.
7. The necessity of man's spiritual regeneration
8. The final universal triumph of good over evil.
Principles of Personal Righteousness.
1. Reverence for the Divine and spiritual.
2. Self-denial for righteousness' sake.
3. Justice to all beings..
4. Truth in all manifestations of mind.
5. Love in all spiritual relations.
6. Purity in all things.
7. Patience in all right aims and pursuits.
8. Unceasing progress towards perfection.
Principles of Social Order.
1. The supreme Fatherhood of God.
2. The universal Brotherhood of Man.
3. The declared perfect love of God to Man.
4. The required perfect love of Man to God.
5. The required perfect love of Man to Man.
6. The required just reproof and disfellowship of evil doers.
7. The required non-resistance of evil doers with evil.
8. The designed unity of the righteous.
Here are twenty-four cardinal principles; eight of
Theological Truth, to be embraced by faith, or at least acknowledged as
undeniable; eight of Personal Righteousness, to be illustrated in practice; and
eight of Social Order, to be acknowledged and acted upon in the constitution,
organization and establishment of a true harmonic Society. These are the
essential divine principles of the Christian Religion. With their sub-principles
and indispensable cognates, they include all that is vital in that Religion.
Taken together in their blended interfusion and unity, they constitute its soul,
its spirit. Practical Christian Socialists hold these to be essential, eternal,
universal, divine principles; positively practical in their natural tendency,
and interior to all external
localisms, temporisms and
- Interior: The essential divine principles of the
Christian Religion, stated in the table above, are INTERIOR to all
temporisms and mere
incidentalisms. In so asserting, it does not mean to condemn and
discard all these as necessarily evil, or useless, nor to raise a quarrel
against them, but to affirm that the PRINCIPLES are absolutely essential to
the Christian Religion, as its vital, unchangable interiors; while
all these are, at best, non-essentials - mere changeable
exteriors of the Religion, every one of which may pass away, or be
modified, without impairing its inherent life.
- External Ceremonies: Things that are commonly
called the public ordinances of religion, such as water baptisms, the
Lord's supper, the several sacraments, etc.
- Formalities: All stated forms and observances
as to days, times and seasons, places, postures and modes of address, in
the professed worship of God, in fasting, prayer, thanksgiving, praise,
- Scholasticisms: The studied propositions
in which metaphysical doctrinaries of different ages, either individually
or in conclave, have artificially stated the articles of their faith, or
what they assumed to be the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, such as
the Trinity, Transubstantiation, Election and Reprobation,
Foreordination, Total Depravity, Vicarious Atonement, etc., etc.; which may
have more or less of truth as their original basis, but are not warranted
by the simplicity of Scripture, or its plain testimony as a whole.
- Ecclesiasticisms: Church Constitutions,
Confessions, Covenants, Clerical Orders, and all kinds of Ecclesiastical
Polity, Rules, Regulations and ussages; which may be good, bad or
indifferent, according to their nature, use or circumstances.
- Sectarianisms: Those peculiarities of faith
or practice which only appertain to a particular sect as such and
which merely distinguish it from other sects, but are not of the nature of
essential, universal principles of truth and righteousness.
- Localisms: Those peculiarities of religious
action or manner, observance or form, which obtain currency and become
customary in particular contries, cities, or localities, and are proper
enough there, but not necessary to be insisted on in other contries,
cities and localities.
- Temporisms: Peculiarities of religious action
or manner, observance or form, which, for any reason, become customary in a
particular age, or period of time, and may be proper, or even indispensable
then, but are neither necessary, nor useful at later periods
when circunstances have greately changed.
- Incidentalisms: All little peculiarites of
fashion, custom, habit, or of eccentricity, into which religious leaders
sometimes fall, as it were accidentally and without consideration,
certainly without intending to make them any way essential, or expecting
them to be insisted on by their followers; but which, nevertheless, through
human weakness, become sanctified, and magnified into great importance.