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PredestinationThe American Career of a Contentious Doctrine$
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Peter J. Thuesen

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195174274

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195174274.001.0001

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From Methodists to Mormons

From Methodists to Mormons

Attacking Predestination in the Young Republic

(p.100) Chapter 4 From Methodists to Mormons

Peter J. Thuesen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In replacing monarchy with republicanism, the American Revolution set the stage for the growth of a variety of upstart groups united by their back‐to‐the‐Bible mentality and their conviction that scripture testified against Calvinist absolutism. This chapter examines this antebellum diversity, from the Universalists, who insisted that God would save all people in the end, to the Methodists, who taught that God granted prevenient grace enabling all people to choose or reject Christ. The chapter also surveys other groups driven by anti‐predestinarian zeal, including the founders of the Campbellites, Stoneites, Adventists, and Christian Scientists. The anti‐Calvinist backlash reached a dramatic culmination in Mormonism, which radically extended human free will into premortal and postmortal life. Yet the Mormon appeal to preexistence was not the era's only radical rebellion against Augustinianism. Opposition to predestination even led the era's most famous Protestant family, the Beecher clan, to reconsider the benefits of old heresies.

Keywords:   republicanism, Universalists, Methodists, prevenient, anti‐predestinarian, Campbellites, Mormonism, preexistence, Augustinianism, Beecher

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