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antinomianism

antinomianism The belief that one's religious commitments or faith exempt one from the legal or moral codes of the wider society (hence ‘anti-norms’). Antinomianism has been a characteristic of particular sects throughout the history of Christianity. Most notably, certain radical Protestant sectarians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries extended the Calvinist doctrine of predestination in this way, arguing that those who possessed an inner certainty of their own election were no longer capable of sin and therefore freed from the restrictions of conventional conduct. More recent examples include the Oneida Community, in the nineteenth century, and the Children of God in the present day. Antinomianism is usually associated with unorthodox sexual or marital practices, such as plural marriage (the Oneida Community) or sexual activity outside marriage (the Children of God), the latter being justified on the grounds that it brings others to salvation.

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antinomianism

antinomianism (‘against the law’) held that the moral law was not a rule of life for believers, the opposition of matter and spirit implying the indifference of bodily functions. It was an occupational hazard of Lutheranism and Calvinism alike, lurking in the doctrine of justification by faith alone and the righteousness implied by such faith. Propounded during the Reformation by the Lutheran John Agricola, it was taken up by some anabaptists, and championed in England by Tobias Crisp (1600–43), flourishing in the 1650s. Its most egregious 18th-cent. representative was William Huntington, Sinner Saved (1745–1813), and its most telling refutation was Fletcher of Madeley's Checks to Antinomianism (1771).

Clyde Binfield

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antinomianism

antinomianism (ăntĬnō´mēənĬzəm) [Gr.,=against the law], the belief that Christians are not bound by the moral law, particularly that of the Old Testament. The idea was strong among the Gnostics, especially Marcion. Certain heretical sects in the Middle Ages practiced sexual license as an expression of Christian freedom. In the Protestant Reformation theoretical antinomian views were maintained by the Anabaptists and Johann Agricola, and in the 17th cent. Anne Hutchinson was persecuted for supposed antinomianism. Rom. 6 is the usual refutation for antinomianism.

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Antinomianism

Antinomianism (Gk., anti, ‘against’, + nomos, law) A tendency in all religions, for some among those who believe to regard themselves as so possessed of grace/salvation/enlightenment, etc., that existing laws are no longer applicable. It may also apply to an attitude which regards the keeping of rules and laws as an impediment on the way to freedom/release/salvation, etc., because it produces a legalistic understanding of actions and rewards.

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