Chapter

Samuel Hopkins and Hopkinsianism

Peter Jauhiainen

in After Jonathan Edwards

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199756292
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950379 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756292.003.0008
Samuel Hopkins and Hopkinsianism

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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

Chapter.  4985 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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