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The Theology of Jonathan Edwards$
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Michael J. McClymond and Gerald R. McDermott

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199791606

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199791606.001.0001

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Selective Readings: Edwards and the New Divinity

Selective Readings: Edwards and the New Divinity

(p.601) 37 Selective Readings: Edwards and the New Divinity
The Theology of Jonathan Edwards

Michael J. McClymond

Gerald R. McDermott

Oxford University Press

Although there are numerous difficulties in identifying Edwards's theological legacy, the first distinct group of followers to emerge was referred to as the New Divinity. From the outset, there was significant opposition to Edwardsean theology from Arminians and from liberalizing Congregationalists (or Old Lights). Appropriating and adapting Edwards's theology proved to be problematic not only because of the complexity of ideas, but also because of a lack of access to his materials. Ultimately the New Divinity authors moved beyond Edwards by heightening human responsibility, rejecting imputation, and removing the distinction between moral inability and natural ability. Despite these changes, these Edwardseans venerated Edwards and believed that his legacy should endure. Edwardsean teaching underlay much of nineteenth-century evangelical expansion in missions, antislavery (abolitionism), education, and social reform.

Keywords:   New Divinity, Nathanial Taylor, Samuel Hopkins, Jonathan Edwards Jr, Joseph Bellamy, atonement, imputation, social reform, missions, antislavery, abolitionism

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