Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The doctrines of the Italian theologians Lælius Socinus (1525–62) and Faustus Socinus (1539–1604) and their followers. The term is in theological usage a general one, and includes a considerable variety of opinion. The Socinians believe that Christ was a man, miraculously conceived and divinely endowed, and thus entitled to honor and reverence, but not to divine worship; that the object of his death was to perfect and complete his example and to prepare the way for his resurrection, the necessary historical basis of Christianity; that baptism is a declarative rite merely, and the Lord's Supper merely commemorative; that divine grace is general and exerted through the means of grace, not special and personally efficacious; that the Holy Spirit is not a distinct person, but the divine energy; that the authority of Scripture is subordinate to that of the reason; that the soul is pure by nature, though contaminated by evil example and teaching from a very early age; and that salvation consists in accepting Christ's teaching and following his example. The Socinians thus occupy theologically a midway position between the Arians, who maintain the divinity of Jesus Christ, but deny that he is co-equal with the Father, and the Humanitarians, who deny his supernatural character altogether.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Eccl. Hist.) The tenets or doctrines of Faustus Socinus, an Italian theologian of the sixteenth century, who denied the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the personality of the Devil, the native and total depravity of man, the vicarious atonement, and the eternity of future punishment. His theory was, that Christ was a man divinely commissioned, who had no existence before he was conceived by the Virgin Mary; that human sin was the imitation of Adam's sin, and that human salvation was the imitation and adoption of Christ's virtue; that the Bible was to be interpreted by human reason; and that its language was metaphorical, and not to be taken literally.
“Cannot bear to hear Grotius accused of socinianism, 324”
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