Bushnell, Horace

Bushnell, Horace bo͝oshˈnəl [key], 1802–76, American Congregational minister, b. Bantam, Conn. Bushnell became (1833) pastor of the North Church, Hartford, Conn. He wrote Christian Nurture (1847) and God in Christ (1849). Because of certain views of the Trinity allegedly expressed in the latter, unsuccessful attempts were made to bring him to trial for heresy. Bushnell's dignified reply was made in Christ in Theology (1851). His repudiation of the austerity of Calvinism and his stress on the presence of the divine in humanity and nature had profound influence in shaping liberal Protestant thought. Ill health obliged him to retire from the active ministry in 1859, but he continued to write. His works include The Vicarious Sacrifice (1866), in which he developed the well-known “moral influence theory” of the atonement; Sermons on Living Subjects (1872); and Forgiveness and Law (1874).

See the Life and Letters, ed. by his daughter, Mrs. M. B. Cheney (1880, 1903; repr. 1969); biographies by T. T. Munger (1899) and W. R. Adamson (1966); studies by A. J. W. Myers (1937), B. M. Cross (1938), and William A. Johnson (1963).

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