Antinomianism is derived from the Greek anti, which means "against" and nomos, which means law. As a general principle, antinomianism teaches that moral laws are relative in meaning and application instead of fixed or universal.
As a Christian theological teaching, antinomianism is used to refer to the idea that the Gospel frees a Christians from obedience to any law, scriptural, civil, or moral, and hence that salvation is attained solely through faith and the gift of divine grace rather than through obedience to any rules.
A number of antinomian groups have developed in Christian history, always pushing the extreme boundaries of what might be allowed. One of the more infamous was the Ranters, who taught that nothing is sinful unless people believe it to be so.
Another antinomian controversy developed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony between 1636 and 1637. Anne Hutchinson was active in the colony, preaching doctrines which were acceptable within the Puritan tradition, but she skated the edge of acceptability due to the perception that she also preached that people who were saved were not obliged to obey the laws. This threat to law and order also threatened to tear the colony appart until Hutchinson was banished and her followers disarmed and disenfranchised.
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