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A Paradise of ReasonWilliam Bentley and Enlightenment Christianity in the Early Republic$
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J. Rixey Ruffin

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195326512

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326512.001.0001

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 The Revolution on the Corner of Main and Hardy

 The Revolution on the Corner of Main and Hardy

Chapter:
(p.31) 1 The Revolution on the Corner of Main and Hardy
Source:
A Paradise of Reason
Author(s):

J. Rixey Ruffin (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326512.003.0003

William Bentley began his tenure as assistant pastor of the East Church in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1783, and immediately came into conflict with the much older senior pastor. But within two years, the senior pastor was gone, driven out by the church he had served for half a century. That minister, James Diman, was a Calvinist, but Bentley believed in a theology of salvation called Arminianism—in the benevolence of God and the possibility of salvation through moral behavior. The church's members picked Bentley's Arminianism over Diman's Calvinism. How and why they did so sheds light on the power of the sacraments (Communion and baptism) in New England Christianity, on the unique relationships in Congregationalism between members, parishioners, and pew proprietors, and on the liberating potential of the American Revolution, particularly in the economic power gained from privateering.

Keywords:   East Church, Arminianism, Calvinism, sacraments, communion, baptism, privateering, Congregationalism, American Revolution

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