Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia


1. Theol. system named after F. P. Sozzini (see Socinus, 2) and his followers. Has roots in 16th-c. Eur. anti-Trinitarians and Anabaptists (e.g., G. Blandrata,* F. Davidis,* J. Denk,* G. V. Gentile,* M. Gribaldi,* L. Hetzer,* J. Kautz,* B. Ochino,*C. Ostorodt,* M. Servetus,* L. F. M. Sozini [see Socinus, 1]), J. Völkel.* Some fled the Inquisition* to Switz., Transylvania, and Poland (where Unitarianism found favor among the ruling classes). F. P. Sozzini (see Socinus) unified and organized them. Rakow (Racow), Poland, became the cen. of the movement and seat of a flourishing school (see also Rakau Catechism). Leaders included V. Smalcius.*

2. RC reaction began under Sigismund III (see Poland, 3). The ch. at Lublin was destroyed 1627; the school at Rakow was suppressed 1638. All Socinians were banished from Poland 1658; some fled to Transylvania, others to Prussia and other parts of Ger. and to Holland and elsewhere, but without finding complete toleration. Socinians in Eng. found a kindred spirit in deism and included J. Biddle* and J. Priestley.* See also Unitarianism.

3. Socinianism as reflected, e.g., in the works of F. P. Sozzini and the Rakau Catechism, is super-naturalistic with the tendency toward increasing rationalism. The Bible is regarded as the revealed authority and source of religious truth, containing nothing contrary to reason; e.g., the deity of Christ, original sin, vicarious atonement of Christ, and resurrection of the body are denied; the ungodly, with the devil and his angels, shall be annihilated; Baptism and Communion are unnecessary; men save themselves, insofar as they need salvation.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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