Winning the Battle, Losing the War

Ann Lee Bressler

in The Universalist Movement in America, 1770-1880

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195129861
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834013 | DOI:

Series: Religion in America

Winning the Battle, Losing the War

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When Hosea Ballou died in 1852, belief in the supernatural rule of God apparently held sway among most American Protestants, but the idea of universal salvation remained highly suspect. Twenty years later, supernatural rule had fallen under serious question, but except among outspoken theologians and conservative evangelicals, few appear to have considered universal salvation a particularly threatening or controversial issue. Such major shifts in outlook naturally had deep and complex cultural roots that resist generalization. Yet one general point seems inescapable: the traditional focus of religious attention on the hope of eternal redemption was becoming culturally irrelevant.

Keywords: American Universalism; free will; moral progress; necessitarianism; Neo-Calvinism; Protestantism; redemption; salvation; supernatural rule; universal redemption; universal salvation

Chapter.  11168 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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