If Arminianism shaped his social ideology, Christian naturalism shaped his spiritual one. The removal of God from interfering in the natural realm allowed Bentley a new type and degree of religious toleration. He supported the freedom of religion both within and without Congregationalism, in fact dissolving the legal obligations of his own parish (the first Congregationalist to do so) and then publicly defending the rights of such dissenting views as the Gloucester Universalism. And he would open up the sacraments—Communion and, more importantly, baptism—beyond the range even of the most liberal of his peers. In short, he developed a unique theological libertarianism, sharing parts of the liberal, evangelical, and deist traditions but belonging to none of them.
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