Morisonianism a term which has been much used in Scotland since about the year 1841, and to some extent in the north of England, to designate a system of religious doctrine strongly opposed to the Calvinism of the Scottish Presbyterian churches, and exhibiting in the highest degree many distinctive features of Arminianism. It derives its name from a minister named JAMES MORISON, suspended from his office by one of the Scottish Presbyterian churches in 1841, and now a professor of theology in the academy of the Evangelical Union (q.v.). The doctrinal views stated by him prior to 1841 were far from having that complete development which they soon after received from himself and his followers. The point to which prominence was first given was the universal extent of the atonement that Christ died for the sins of all men equally; with which was naturally connected the opinion that saving faith consists simply in a man's belief that Christ died for him, inasmuch as he died for the sins of the whole world; this further leading to the opinion that a believer must know the reality of his own faith in Christ; and to the opinion that every man possesses a sufficient ability to believe the Gospel, without any aid of grace but what is vouchsafed to all who hear it, and in the very fact of its being preached or presented to them; and so verging on the tenets which have long received the designation Pelagian. The opposition to the standards of the Scottish Presbyterian churches is very complete regarding the fall of man, the work of the Holy Spirit, election, and kindred subjects; while on the subject of justification the doctrine of imputation stated in the standards is repudiated, and the atonement is represented as a satisfaction of "public justice," not securing the salvation of any man, but rendering the salvation of all men possible.
The following summary of the Morisonian views is taken from the tract of the Reverend F. Ferguson on the denomination (London and Glasgow, 1852), page 10: "That God the Father regarded mankind — sinners with an eye of compassion, and wished 'all men to be saved;' that God the Son became 'a propitiation for the sins of the whole world;' that God the Spirit has been 'poured out upon all flesh,' and 'strives' with all the irregenerate, and 'dwells' in all believers; that all those who, 'led by the Spirit,' 'yield themselves unto God,' are his chosen people, 'elect according to foreknowledge;' and that those who remain finally unsaved, and are thus the non-elect and reprobate, have themselves to blame for their infatuated 'resistance' of the Holy Ghost; that for the conversion of any soul all the glory is to be given to God, who 'quickens' the dead, while over every soul that perishes Jehovah complainingly cries, 'Why will ye die?' that although all men in their natural state are depraved and love sin, yet they possess the power to obey the command to believe the Gospel — a power bestowed by God, and not destroyed by the fall; that every sinner who believes the good news of salvation is conscious of the act, and, 'being justified by faith, has peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord;' that Christ is 'made' to every believer 'wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification and redemption;' and that before the finally impenitent and 'the faithful unto death' there lies, respectively, either a miserable or glorious immortality." The same paper adds that "a printing and publishing establishment was commenced by private parties connected with the movement in 1846, in Glasgow, and from it there are issued a weekly newspaper entitled The Christian News, which was commenced in 1846, and a small monthly magazine called The Day-Star, which was started the year preceding, and has a large circulation, besides other periodicals, and an immense number of tracts and minor treatises, exhibiting in various forms the distinctive tenets of the denomination."