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After Jonathan EdwardsThe Courses of the New England Theology$
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Oliver D. Crisp and Douglas A. Sweeney

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199756292

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756292.001.0001

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Samuel Hopkins and Hopkinsianism

Samuel Hopkins and Hopkinsianism

Chapter:
(p.106) (p.107) 7 Samuel Hopkins and Hopkinsianism
Source:
After Jonathan Edwards
Author(s):

Peter Jauhiainen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756292.003.0008

Samuel Hopkins was a chief expositor of Edwardsian theology, an innovative reformulation of Reformed doctrine that responded to the challenges of the Enlightenment. His appropriation of key Enlightenment concepts and his penchant for logical disputation gave his theology distinctive features that opponents derisively called “New Divinity” or “Hopkinsianism.” Arguing that divine activity is constrained by benevolence, he concluded that sin must be an “advantage” to the universe since God acts always to promote the highest good. Hopkins defined human holiness as “disinterested benevolence,” which entailed surrendering self-interest for the sake of the whole, including willingness to be damned for God’s glory. And countering charges that Reformed doctrines of election and grace were morally irresponsible, he asserted that sinners were blameworthy for their moral inability to repent—indeed the unrepentant, “awakened” sinners were guiltier than those who were ignorant because of their rejection of the gospel.

Keywords:   Samuel Hopkins, Hopkinsianism, New Divinity, disinterested benevolence, self-interest, moral inability

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