Puritans

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Walls, Dec 23, 2003.

  1. Walls

    Walls
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    Who were the Puritans? Were they part of the reformation? What happened to them after coming to America?
     
  2. ChurchBoy

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  3. Walls

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    I have enjoyed the sites about the puritans. It seems to me that the puritans believed in a more separate state rather than adhering to the CofE. I tend to gather that they were more along the lines of 15/16th century Amish!
     
  4. Squire Robertsson

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    As narrator says on the "Lone Ranger" radio show, let us harken back to yesteryear:

    The time-the 16th and 17th Centuries.
    The place-the Kingdoms of England and Scotland (pre-18th cent Act of Union)
    The people involved-the nomenklatura of the Church of England, the Puritans (the purifing party of the C of E) and the Separatists.

    The Story:

    After Henry VII broke with Rome, he placed the Crown as the head of the Church of England. This does not mean he became a "Protestant". In fact his title "Defender of the Faith" came from an attack he wrote on Lutherenism. Good King Henry took as his model the way the Byzantine Emperors had managed the Greek Orthodox church.

    However, such a monolithic administration was not to be the future of the Church of England. Instead, a split developed between those who held to the traditional practices of the English Church save they gave their allegiance to the English Crown and those who had drank long and deep at the fountains of Geneva during their exile during the time of Queen Mary. For the next hundred or so years, the eccesliastical battles raged back and forth. The Puritans sought to "purify" the Church and do away with its "papist" trappings. They did not however seek to separate the Church from the State. In the early 1600s when their party was on the political outs Charles I (who sought to rule in the French manner) having come to the throne after James I&IV (who sought not to rock the boat), a group of Puritans established the Massachusettes Bay Colony. This colony must not be confused with the colony of Plymouth Plantation. Plymouth was established by Separatists who sought releif from both sides of the established church.

    Over the years, the Puritans in England morphed into the Low Church or Evangelical branch of the C of E (if they stayed in the Anglican Church at all). In America, they morphed in the Congregationalists.

    The Puritans of Massachusettes Bay Colony do have the distinction of exiling Roger Williams and beating a visiting Baptist preacher from Rhode Island for simply praying in the house of his Boston host.

    Bottom line, if you or I lived under their rule we would get very rough justice indeed.
     
  5. Walls

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    Hi Squire! [​IMG] That's a pretty good overview. What do you know about the Bible they used and if they had any part of the translation?
     
  6. Squire Robertsson

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    Their active period spanned the reigns of Mary I through Charles II. The Geneva Bible is the fruit of Scottish and English Calvinist exiles living in that city. (The Scots returned to Scotland as Presbyterians and the English to England as Puritans.) As such, the Geneva was their version of choice. However, the Geneva, due in the main to its marginal notes, was not acceptable to the Established Church of England. Hence, His Majesty, saw the need to bridge the gap between the Bishop's Bible and the Geneva. (Not that for any practical purposes there were any glaring differences. But, the translation committees contained men from both wings of the C of E. Thus at the end of the day, HM could decree and authorize a "neutral" version to be read in the churchs of C of E.) The Geneva survived as the version of choice amongst the more stiffnecked Puritans, especially those in the American Colonies until the late 1600s.
     
  7. Matt Black

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    Just to second what the good Squire wrote (apart from some very pedantic corrections of the ordinals of the kings - it was Henry VII I and James VI and I :D

    ....and to add my $0.02 - the vast majority of Puritans were not Separatists and had no desire to be so, although they gradually had that ecclesiology forced upon them. They primarily wanted to recreate Calvin's Geneva in England and more latterly in Massachusetts.

    Yours in Christ


    Matt
     
  8. Squire Robertsson

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    You're quite right about 'enry the eighth. Second verse same as the first.
    As for James, let's just say as a person of Cornish descent, I put his English serial number ahead of his Scottish. [​IMG]
     
  9. Walls

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    Why is this?
     
  10. Squire Robertsson

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    While yards of books (both pro and con) have been written on their reasoning, the simple 1st grade answer is that they identified "The Church" with Israel. And when they had the political power, they did their best to carry out that interpertation.
     
  11. Michael Wrenn

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    The Puritans/Congregationalists also hanged four Quakers on Boston Common.
     
  12. Walls

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    I am not sure I understand what you are saying. Did they believe Israel was the church? What does this have to do with the Geneva Bible?
     
  13. Squire Robertsson

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    I am not sure I understand what you are saying. Did they believe Israel was the church? What does this have to do with the Geneva Bible? </font>[/QUOTE]"Yards of books" refers to the shelf space books on this topic would take up in a library. In other words, I can only skim the surface of the subject at at best a second grade level. Yes, they believed Israel was the Church in the Old Testament and the Church Israel in the New. They were Theocrats. So, the Puritan leadership viewed themselves as the later day heirs to the duties and resposibilities of the judges of Israel.

    As for what does this have to do with the Geneva Bible, nothing that I know of. IIRC, the Geneva's marginal notes do have anti-episcopal/royalist flavor to them and ekklesia is consistantly translated as congregation.
     
  14. Lil Sister

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    The Puritans believed Covenant Theology, and the extreme version of that is occasionally seen today through the teachings of the late Greg Bahnson--theonomy! The Orthodox Presbyterian Church (Bahnson was ordained in), and the Presb. Church of America, as well as the Reformed Presbyterian denominations all have a strong strain of theonomists in their group.
    D. James Kennedy (PCA) is a theonomist, and in practice, so is Jerry Falwell, and all of those who practice a "take America back for God" theology, which means more political activism than it does prayer and preaching.
    This error is seen also in an even more preverted form in Pat Robertson's Regent University under the name of "Kingdom Now", I believe.
    Theonomy says that our nation should be ruled by the Scriptures, just as Israel was. Thus you could burn a witch at the stake (Salem Witch Trials), or put to death a "heretic" (anyone who didn't subscribe to the Westminster Standard of Faith).
    Baptist Roger Williams was driven out of the community in dead winter, because he wasn't "orthodox" enough for the Puritans. They expected him to die in the wilderness, but God in His providence sent friendly Indians to care for him. Williams was a Bible-believing, godly man, respected even by his enemies, but the "Law" required the Puritans to have no tolerance whatsoever in any small deviations, even.
    Despite the ugly side of Puritanism, there have been some great & godly men and women that are a real inheritance to believers today: Anne Bradstreet, Jonathan Edwards, John Owens and Matthew Henry, for a few examples.
     
  15. Matt Black

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    RE the New Jerusalem=theonomy/ theocracy point, the Puritans should not be confused with Separatists such as Anabaptists, at least not at the English level(? as to whether the American Puritans were Separatists); the Puritans wanted to purify (hence the name :D ) the Church of England and reform it along the lines of Calvin's Geneva, not abolish it or even leave it (although many were forced to, they initially believed this would be temporary and fully intended to return once the CofE had become fully Reformed) - in this way, they were no different from Calvin in believing in the concept of 'Christendom' based on coercion if necessary and should therefore be firmly distinguished from true Separatists such as Anabaptists and Baptists who believed not just that the CofE was incapable of reform but more significantly that the very concept of 'Christendom' was flawed and that in contradistinction the church should be the voluntarily 'gathered' community of true believers. However, as time went on, because of persecution from the CofE, many Puritans had Separatism thrust upon them in practice at an ecclesiological level, and the distinctions became more blurred; although it is clear that the Pilgrims still believed in coercion.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  16. Walls

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    I know that there are alot of parallels in the Bible; one being Israel-Church. So in a way, I can see how that may have said that the Church is the New Israel of the New Testament.

    And God did definetly ordain laws and gave direct instructions for breaking those laws. So I can see how the Puritans came to that conclusion as well.

    The thing I don't understand is, that if one is truly born of God they would want to follow God's commands. So it seems that the Puritans were forcing God's law on people who didn't belong to God. Once again another group who were go through the religious ceremonies and traditionalism of men, rather than following Christ with a pure heart.

    Just my thoughts and nothing more. ;)
     
  17. Matt Black

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    My explanation: too OT and not enough NT

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  18. DAVID P. BLACK

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    It must be said there is a BIG differance between a puritian and a pilgrim. The pilgrim would basicly be an ANABAPTIST and, before they arrived in Holland (from England)would have been called Sepratist ( They had been REbaptised by the Waterland mennonite church and in a some cases before this had REbaptised themselves,)no doubt they were practising ANABAPTIST. Some of this info can be documented at http://members.aol.com/calebj/bradford_journal4.html .And of course the "puritains" calvinist ,episcopalians that couldn't understand beleivers baptism nor could they keep there hands off of those that disagreed ( this attitude was handed down to them by there father calvin (poor MICHAEL SERVETUS ).
     
  19. Matt Black

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    &lt;&lt;Tangent&gt;&gt; Servetus was an anti-Trinitarian heretic...but he didn't deserve to be burnt...&lt;&lt;tangent off&gt;&gt;

    The early Puritans definitely did support the idea of a state church which encompassed all members of society - the concept of 'Christendom' that was so alien to our Baptist forbears - and had no wish to form any kind of 'gathered church' of true believers as per strict Separatism (which thier Calivinist soteriology would have made impossible anyway since they would have stated that it was not possible to know who was saved and thereby a true believer). What they did want to do was to radically change that state church - in this case the Church of England - to align not so much with their soteriology (as the Church of England up until the more Arminian Laudian era of the 1620s was thoroughly Calvinist too) but to get rid of 'Popish' ceremonies (eg the 'vestiarian' disputes of the 1560s) and, on the more radical wing, to change the ecclesiology from episcopal to presbyterian government. 'Puritan', then, in its original English context, refers to those wholly within the Church of England.

    The origins of the Separatists - Congregationalists, Baptists, Independents - are twofold. First, you have those Puritans who ultimately get fed up with waiting for the CofE to conform to their image, and who leave; they are helped in a large measure by period 'encouragement' (ie: persecution) by the state. They were essentially forced to become sectarians by there being no room for them in the CofE; their sectarian existence over time led to many adopting a more Separatist ecclesiology. Secondly, you have those who utterly rejected the concept of a state church and went staright for the Anabaptist model of the 'gathered church'. It is this bunch (who were not Puritans)whom we should really count as our 'spiritual ancestors', although many in the first group 'slipped sideways' into the second by the process described above.

    On the proto-American scene, the Pilgrim Fathers should not in my view be counted within the second group and possibly not even within the first; it is true that they did separate from the CofE, but that separation was more geographical than ecclesiological. They did not abandon the idea of a state church at all; they in fact set up their own version in Plymouth and Massachusetts, and part of the early history of those two colonies is to do with the idea of coercion and conformity to the Pilgrims' ecclesiology. They were Puritans, but not Separatists.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  20. Walls

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    Very interesting information. Do you know what Bible the seperatists used?
     

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