John William Colenso

(1814—1883) bishop of Natal

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Bp. of Natal from 1853. Storms of protest were aroused by his commentary on Romans (1861), with its denial of eternal punishment and rejection of much traditional sacramental theology, and by his papers on the Pentateuch and Joshua, which challenged the traditional authorship and the accuracy of these Books; in 1863 he was declared deposed by his Metropolitan, Robert Gray. Colenso appealed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which ruled in his favour (1865) on the ground that the Letters Patent appointing him preceded those appointing Gray. Hence, though solemnly excommunicated by Gray, who consecrated another bishop, Colenso maintained his position and by a series of judicial decisions obtained the cathedral and endowment of the see. The schism in Natal was formally ended only in 1911.

Subjects: Christianity.

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