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The PuritansA Transatlantic History$
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David D. Hall

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151397

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151397.001.0001

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Change and Continuity

Change and Continuity

Theology and Social Practice, c. 1640–1660

(p.300) Chapter Nine Change and Continuity
The Puritans

David D. Hall

Princeton University Press

This chapter explains that by the mid-1640s, a Holy Spirit-centered understanding of conversion and assurance (nicknamed “Antinomianism”) had acquired a new group of advocates who hailed it as an alternative to the practical divinity. Orthodoxy had constantly spawned renegades and outliers who tested its boundaries. Now, however, originality was becoming more widespread and controversy more intense in response to a mixture of political and intellectual circumstances that included the collapse of censorship. How the practical divinity was being assailed and defended are topics that lead to the Antinomians of mid-century, the Westminster Confession, and the reasoning of ministers such as Samuel Rutherford on behalf of orthodoxy. The chapter then revisits the Antinomian controversy that roiled mid-1630s Massachusetts. Here, too, debate was prompted by criticism of the practical divinity. The chapter also describes change and continuity in institutional and cultural practices in the orthodox colonies in New England.

Keywords:   conversion, Antinomianism, practical divinity, orthodoxy, originality, Antinomians, Westminster Confession, Antinomian controversy, orthodox colonies, New England

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