E. W. Bullinger

E. W. Bullinger

Overview
Ethelbert William Bullinger AKC
Associate of King's College
The Associateship or Associate of King's College award has been the degree-equivalent qualification of King's College London since 1833. It is the original qualification that the College awarded to its students since, not being a university, it could not award a degree.Since 1909, only students...

 (December 15, 1837 – June 6, 1913) was an Anglican clergyman, Biblical scholar, and ultradispensationalist theologian.

He was born in Canterbury
Canterbury
Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour....

, Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, the youngest of five children of William and Mary (Bent) Bullinger. His family traced their ancestry back to Heinrich Bullinger
Heinrich Bullinger
Heinrich Bullinger was a Swiss reformer, the successor of Huldrych Zwingli as head of the Zurich church and pastor at Grossmünster...

, the Swiss Reformer.

His formal theological training was at King's College London
King's College London
King's College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and a constituent college of the federal University of London. King's has a claim to being the third oldest university in England, having been founded by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington in 1829, and...

 from 1860–1861, earning an Associate's degree.
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Ethelbert William Bullinger AKC
Associate of King's College
The Associateship or Associate of King's College award has been the degree-equivalent qualification of King's College London since 1833. It is the original qualification that the College awarded to its students since, not being a university, it could not award a degree.Since 1909, only students...

 (December 15, 1837 – June 6, 1913) was an Anglican clergyman, Biblical scholar, and ultradispensationalist theologian.

Life and work


He was born in Canterbury
Canterbury
Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour....

, Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, the youngest of five children of William and Mary (Bent) Bullinger. His family traced their ancestry back to Heinrich Bullinger
Heinrich Bullinger
Heinrich Bullinger was a Swiss reformer, the successor of Huldrych Zwingli as head of the Zurich church and pastor at Grossmünster...

, the Swiss Reformer.

His formal theological training was at King's College London
King's College London
King's College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and a constituent college of the federal University of London. King's has a claim to being the third oldest university in England, having been founded by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington in 1829, and...

 from 1860–1861, earning an Associate's degree. After graduation, on October 15, 1861, he married Emma Dobson, thirteen years his senior. He later received a Doctor of Divinity degree in 1881 from Archibald Campbell Tait
Archibald Campbell Tait
Archibald Campbell Tait was a priest in the Church of England and an Archbishop of Canterbury.-Life:Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Tait was educated at the Royal High School and at the Edinburgh Academy, where he was twice elected dux. His parents were Presbyterian but he early turned towards the...

, Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

 who cited Bullinger's "eminent service in the Church in the department of Biblical criticism."

Bullinger's career in the Church of England spanned 1861 until 1888. He began as associate curate
Curate
A curate is a person who is invested with the care or cure of souls of a parish. In this sense "curate" correctly means a parish priest but in English-speaking countries a curate is an assistant to the parish priest...

 in the parish
Parish
A parish is a territorial unit historically under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of one parish priest, who might be assisted in his pastoral duties by a curate or curates - also priests but not the parish priest - from a more or less central parish church with its associated organization...

 of St. Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey
Bermondsey
Bermondsey is an area in London on the south bank of the river Thames, and is part of the London Borough of Southwark. To the west lies Southwark, to the east Rotherhithe, and to the south, Walworth and Peckham.-Toponomy:...

 in 1861, and was ordained as a priest in the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 in 1862. He served as parish curate in Tittleshall
Tittleshall
Tittleshall is a village and civil parish in the English county of Norfolk.-Location:The village and parish of Tittleshall has an area of 1376 hectares or . The parish is bordered to the north with the parishes of Raynham and Colkirk, to the west with Wellingham All Saints, to the south with the...

 from 1863–1866; Notting Hill
Notting Hill
Notting Hill is an area in London, England, close to the north-western corner of Kensington Gardens, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea...

 from 1866–1869; Leytonstone
Leytonstone
Leytonstone is an area of east London and part of the London Borough of Waltham Forest. It is a high density suburban area, located seven miles north east of Charing Cross in the ceremonial county of Greater London and the historic county of Essex...

, 1869–1870; then Walthamstow
Walthamstow
Walthamstow is a district of northeast London, England, located in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. It is situated north-east of Charing Cross...

 until he became vicar
Vicar
In the broadest sense, a vicar is a representative, deputy or substitute; anyone acting "in the person of" or agent for a superior . In this sense, the title is comparable to lieutenant...

 of the newly established parish of St. Stephen's in 1874. He resigned his vicarage in 1888.

In the spring of 1867, Bullinger became clerical secretary of the Trinitarian Bible Society
Trinitarian Bible Society
The Trinitarian Bible Society was founded in 1831 "to promote the Glory of God and the salvation of men by circulating, both at home and abroad, in dependence on the Divine blessing, the Holy Scriptures, which are given by inspiration of God and are able to make men wise unto salvation through...

, a position he would hold till his death in 1913. Bullinger was editor of a monthly journal Things to Come subtitled A Journal of Biblical Literature, with Special Reference to Prophetic Truth. The Official Organ of Prophetic Conferences for over 20 years (1894–1915) and contributed many articles.

In the great Anglican debate of the Victorian era
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

, he was a Low Church
Low church
Low church is a term of distinction in the Church of England or other Anglican churches initially designed to be pejorative. During the series of doctrinal and ecclesiastic challenges to the established church in the 16th and 17th centuries, commentators and others began to refer to those groups...

man rather than High Church sacerdotalist
High church
The term "High Church" refers to beliefs and practices of ecclesiology, liturgy and theology, generally with an emphasis on formality, and resistance to "modernization." Although used in connection with various Christian traditions, the term has traditionally been principally associated with the...

.

His three major works were
  • A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament (1877) ISBN 0-8254-2096-2;
  • Figures of Speech Used in the Bible (1898) ISBN 0-8010-0559-0
  • Primary editor of The Companion Bible (published in 6 parts, 1909-1922) ISBN 0-8254-2177-2. It was completed after his death by his associates.

These works and many others remain in print (2007).

Bullinger's friends included well-known Zionist Dr. Theodore Herzl
Herzl
Herzl is originally a Yiddish given name.* Herzl Berger* Herzl Bodinger* Theodor Herzl Gaster* Cyrus Herzl Gordon* Yehudah Herzl Henkin* Herzl Rosenblum* Herzl Yankl Tsam- Family name :* Theodor Herzl, most famous "Herzl"** Herzl Award...

. This was a personal friendship, but accorded with Bullinger's belief in a Biblical distinction between the Church and the Jewish People.

Trinitarian Bible Society


In 1867, at age 29, Bullinger accepted the office of clerical secretary of the Trinitarian Bible Society
Trinitarian Bible Society
The Trinitarian Bible Society was founded in 1831 "to promote the Glory of God and the salvation of men by circulating, both at home and abroad, in dependence on the Divine blessing, the Holy Scriptures, which are given by inspiration of God and are able to make men wise unto salvation through...

 (TBS), an office which he exercised, with rare lapses due to illness in his later years, until his death. Accomplishments of TBS during his secretariat include:
  • Completion and publication of a Hebrew version of the New Testament under a TBS contract with Christian David Ginsburg
    Christian David Ginsburg
    Christian David Ginsburg was a Polish-born, British Bible scholar and student of the masoretic tradition in Judaism....

     after the demise of Isaac Salkinson.
  • Publication of Ginsburg's first edition of the Tanakh
    Tanakh
    The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

     (Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible).
  • Formation of the Brittany
    Brittany
    Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

     Evangelical Mission Society under Pasteur LeCoat and translation of the Bible into the Breton language
    Breton language
    Breton is a Celtic language spoken in Brittany , France. Breton is a Brythonic language, descended from the Celtic British language brought from Great Britain to Armorica by migrating Britons during the Early Middle Ages. Like the other Brythonic languages, Welsh and Cornish, it is classified as...

    .
  • First-ever Protestant Portuguese
    Portuguese language
    Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

     Reference Bible.
  • Distribution of Spanish language
    Spanish language
    Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

     Bibles in Spain after the Spanish Revolution of 1868
    Glorious Revolution (Spain)
    The Glorious Revolution took place in Spain in 1868, resulting in the deposition of Queen Isabella II.An 1866 rebellion led by General Juan Prim and a revolt of the sergeants at San Gil barracks, in Madrid, sent a signal to Spanish liberals and republicans that there was serious unrest with the...

    .


Bullinger was also a practiced musician. As part of his support for the Breton Mission, he collected and harmonized several previously untranscribed Breton hymns on his visits to Trémel
Trémel
Trémel is a commune in the Côtes-d'Armor department of the region of Brittany in northwestern France.-Population:Inhabitants of Trémel are called trémélois.-External links:*...

, Brittany.

Bullinger's TBS workload in his later years was reduced by the assistance of Henry Charles Bowker and Charles Welch
Charles Henry Welch
Charles Henry Welch was a Christian dispensational theologian, writer and speaker.During his lifetime he produced over 60 books, booklets and pamphlets, and more than 500 audio recordings. His most significant works are 56 bound volumes of the Berean Expositor, a Bible study magazine edited by Mr...

. Their assistance enabled him to focus on The Companion Bible in his final years. Bullinger and Ginsburg parted ways, and another edition of Tanakh was published by the British and Foreign Bible Society
British and Foreign Bible Society
The British and Foreign Bible Society, often known in England and Wales as simply as Bible Society, is a non-denominational Christian Bible society with charity status whose purpose is to make the Bible available throughout the world....

.

Theology


Bullinger's views were often unique, and sometimes controversial. He is so closely tied to what is now called "hyperdispensationalism
Hyperdispensationalism
Hyper-dispensationalism is a niche Protestant doctrine that views the teachings of the Apostle Paul both as unique from earlier apostles and as foundational for the church, a perspective sometimes characterized by proponents as the "Pauline Distinctive". E. W...

" that it is sometimes referred to as Bullingerism. Noted dispensationalist Harry A. Ironside
Harry A. Ironside
Henry Allen "Harry" Ironside was a Canadian-American Bible teacher, preacher, theologian, pastor, and author.-Biography:...

 (1876–1951) declared Bullingerism an "absolutely Satanic perversion of the truth"
Bullingerism differs from mainstream dispensationalism
Dispensationalism
Dispensationalism is a nineteenth-century evangelical development based on a futurist biblical hermeneutic that sees a series of chronologically successive "dispensations" or periods in history in which God relates to human beings in different ways under different Biblical covenants.As a system,...

 with regard to the beginning of the church. Mainstream dispensationalism
Dispensationalism
Dispensationalism is a nineteenth-century evangelical development based on a futurist biblical hermeneutic that sees a series of chronologically successive "dispensations" or periods in history in which God relates to human beings in different ways under different Biblical covenants.As a system,...

 holds that the Church began at Pentecost
Pentecost
Pentecost is a prominent feast in the calendar of Ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai, and also later in the Christian liturgical year commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ after the Resurrection of Jesus...

 as described early in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 book entitled "Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

". In stark contrast, Bullinger held that the Church, which the Apostle Paul revealed as the Body of Christ, began after the close of Acts, only revealed in the Prison Epistles of the Apostle Paul
Paul of Tarsus
Paul the Apostle , also known as Saul of Tarsus, is described in the Christian New Testament as one of the most influential early Christian missionaries, with the writings ascribed to him by the church forming a considerable portion of the New Testament...

. Other dispensationalists (often described as "mid-Acts" dispensationalists, i.e., Acts 9 or 13) hold that the Church, the Body of Christ, began at or shortly after Saul's conversion.

Bullinger described dispensations as divine "administrations" or "arrangements" wherein God deals at distinct time periods and with distinct groups of people "on distinct principles, and the doctrine relating to each must be kept distinct". He emphasizes that "Nothing but confusion can arise from reading into one dispensation that which relates to another.", and lists seven dispensations:
Dispensational Scheme of Bullinger
Edenic state of Innocence Period "without law" Period under the Law Period of Grace Epoch of Judgment Millennial Age The Eternal State of Glory
Genesis 1-3
ended with the expulsion from Eden
Genesis 4 to Exodus 19
ended with the flood and judgment on Babel
Exodus 20 to Acts 28
ended at the rejection by Israel of the grace of God
at the end of Acts
Church History
end at the Day of the Lord
Tribulation
end at the destruction of the Antichrist
Rev 20:4-6
end with the destruction of Satan
Rev 20-22 no end


Outside of ultradispensationalism, many other examples of Bullinger's unique views can be found. For example, Bullinger argues that Jesus was crucified with four, not just two, criminals. Bullinger argued for mortality of the soul, the cessation of the soul between death and resurrection. While Bullinger did not express any views concerning the final state of the lost, many of his followers did hold to annihilationism
Annihilationism
Annihilationism is a Christian belief that apart from salvation the death of human beings results in their total destruction rather than their everlasting torment. It is directly related to the doctrine of conditional immortality, the idea that a human soul is not immortal unless it is given...

. Purportedly, Bullinger was also a member of the Universal Zetetic Society.

See also

  • Harry A. Ironside
    Harry A. Ironside
    Henry Allen "Harry" Ironside was a Canadian-American Bible teacher, preacher, theologian, pastor, and author.-Biography:...

     — a dispensationalist who was a critic of ultra-dispensationalism.

External links



For more information on Bullinger's dispensationalism go here : E.W. Bullinger's "How to Enjoy the Bible - Rightly Dividing the Word as to its Times and Dispensations" and here : E.W. Bullinger's "How to Enjoy the Bible".