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New England theology, in the technical sense of these words, designates a special school of theology which grew up among the Congregationalists of New Englandmarker, originating in the year 1732, when Jonathan Edwards began his constructive theological work, culminating a little before the American Civil War, declining afterwards, and rapidly disappearing after the year 1880.

During this period it had become the dominant school among Congregationalists, had led to division among Presbyterians, resulting in the creation of a new religious denomination, the New School Presbyterian (1838-69), had founded all the seminaries of the Congregationalists and several of the Presbyterians, had furnished the vital forces from which had spring the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, had established a series of colleges from Amherstmarker in the East to Pacific Universitymarker in the West, and led in a great variety of practical efforts to extend the kingdom of Christ on earth.

It may be formally defined as the Calvinism of the Westminster Assembly and the Synod of Dort modified by a conception of God taken by its advocates to be more ethical; by a new emphasis upon the liberty, ability, and responsibility of man; by the restriction of moral quality to action in distinction from nature (cf. original sin and total depravity); and by the theory that the constitutive principle of virtue is benevolence.

The New England theology went through several stages, including the New Divinity espoused by Samuel Hopkins and the New Haven theology espoused by Nathaniel W. Taylor.

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