The Economics of Conversion and Salvation: An Examination of Puritanism’s Halfway Covenant
Forum for Social Economics
doctrinal competition, economics of religion, product differentiation, Puritanism, witch trials
© 2016 The Association for Social Economics. Why would Colonial America’s Puritan theologians introduce a product differentiation-related doctrinal change—the Halfway Covenant—that would lower the price of eternal salvation to many of its potential congregants (believers)? Following Hébert, Tollison, and Mixon, this study argues that the Halfway Covenant can be viewed, at least in part, as a market response by Puritan theologians to doctrinal competition—one that would increase Puritan church membership and attendance. Among the church’s competitors were Quakers and Baptists, and vocal critics within the church, such as Anne Hutchinson. Secondary competition to church doctrine was represented by so-called counter-magic, or good magic, particularly during episodes of witchcraft hysteria.
Shaw Bridges, Robert and Mixon, Franklin G., "The Economics of Conversion and Salvation: An Examination of Puritanism’s Halfway Covenant" (2020). Faculty Bibliography. 2712.