« Bornhaeuser, Karl Bernhard Bornholmers Borowski, Ludwig Ernst von »


BORNHOLMERS: Danish sect of the nineteenth century. During the first part of the century different parts of Sweden were permeated with sects which emphasized the gospel of the free and unmerited grace of God in Christ. About 1805 the Nya Läsare ("New Readers") originated in the congregation at Piteå in Norrbotten, deviating from the old Läsare, who adhered to the Lutheran doctrines, by asserting that saving faith may be found in those whose hearts are still attached to sin and the world, and by regarding the importance attributed to the law as a temptation to pharisaical self-righteousness. In the course of time this party, headed by a soldier named Erik Stalberg, broke with the State Church, and finally the "New Readers" declared that the ministers of the latter preached the doctrine of the devil. In the fifth decade of the century, the Finnish preacher Frederik Gabriel Hedberg, afterward provost and preacher at Kimito in the archbishopric of Abo, evolved similar views in a work on "Pietism and Christianity," in which he accused Spener and his followers of teaching that man must be holy and pure before he can rely on the unmerited grace in Christ, whereas Hedberg seems to have regarded man as a soul hungering for grace, but utterly unable to aid himself in the attainment of salvation. In 1846 a party of Hedbergians was formed at Stockholm and Helsingland which rejected all preaching of repentance. A like tendency was manifested by the sect headed by Karl Olof Rosenius (b. 1816; d. 1868), who had been greatly influenced by the Methodist George Scott, who labored in the Swedish capital. Rosenius, who sought to remain a true Lutheran throughout his life, emphasized the grace of God in Christ. His sermons and his magazine, which he entitled Pietisten, although he was opposed to the legalism of the Pietists, exercised an important influence on the religious life of Sweden. Hedbergianism and the writings of Rosenius gave rise between 1850 and 1870 to a new evangelical party in many parts of Sweden, whose sole dogma was the forgiveness of sins without merit of the sinner, and whose watchword, "the world is justified in Christ," won them many proselytes not only in Sweden and Norway, but also in the American Synod of Missouri.

The new evangelism found a fertile soil in the Danish island of Bornholm (in the Baltic Sea, 90 m. e. of Zealand), which became the center of propaganda for a part of Denmark. The movement was inaugurated by P. C. Trandberg, a powerful preacher of repentance, who had broken with the State Church, and by 1863 had gathered about him almost a thousand followers. Trandberg sent out laypreachers, and the "Bornholmers," as they were called, were soon found in North Zealand, Copenhagen, Lolland, Falster, and West Jutland. His adherents gradually lost confidence in him, however, and in 1877 he resigned. Later he became professor in the Dano-Norwegian department of Chicago Theological Seminary and died in 1896. As a rule, the Bornholmers are pious and earnest, and their antinomistic theory usually becomes nomistic, and even quasipietistic in practise, thus forming a bond of union between them and the "Inner Mission" in Denmark, and making them one of the means to awaken spiritual life in many of the Danish people.

F. Nielsen†.

« Bornhaeuser, Karl Bernhard Bornholmers Borowski, Ludwig Ernst von »
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