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Calvinism and Puritans. In 1534, the English Parliament ended all payments by the English clergy and laity to the Catholic Churh and gave King Henry VIII sole jurisdiction over high ecclesiastical appointments.

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calvinism and puritans

Calvinism and Puritans

In 1534, the English Parliament ended all payments by the English clergy and laity to the Catholic Churh and gave King Henry VIII sole jurisdiction over high ecclesiastical appointments.

Act of Succession (1534)--made Anne Boleyn’s children legitimate heirs to the throne of England

Act of Supremacy (1534)--declared Henry “the only supreme head in earth of the church of England”

slide2

The changes made in 1534 were important, but not drastic. Many thought that the changes were insufficient; they thought that the church needed to be “purified.” The Puritans were most concerned with the lack of distinction between devotion and ritual. They wanted to form a new church, but this was illegal.

  • Of the two early groups to travel to America, the first were Non-Separatists, wanting to maintain a unified front with the Church of England. The second were Separatists.
  • Mayflower--Non-Separatists
  • Plymouth--Separatists
mayflower massachusetts bay

Mayflower (Massachusetts Bay)

The Puritans who came to Massachusetts Bay were not Separatists; they identified themselves as bona fide members of the Church of England. Many of the pilgrims on the Mayflower were non-believers. Of 102 passengers, 62 were not religious people. Of the remainder, there was no ordained clergyman. From a religious perspective, the colony failed.

plymouth separatists

Plymouth--Separatists

The next group had stricter rules; some of the people believed they were Utopians.

essential doctrines of calvinism

Essential Doctrines of Calvinism

taken from A Handbook to Literature, Fourth Edition

i total depravity

I. Total Depravity

the natural inability of human beings to exercise free will, since they inherited corruption from Adam’s fall

ii unconditional election

II. Unconditional Election

God “elects” who is to be be saved, despite their inability to perform saving works

iii irresistable grace

III. Irresistable Grace

Grace is made available in advance, but only to the “elect.”

iv perseverance of the saints

IV. Perseverance of the Saints

The predetermined elect inevitably persevere in the path of holiness.

v limited atonement

V. Limited Atonement

Human corruption is partially atoned for by Christ. This atonement is provided to the elect through the Holy Spirit, giving them the power to attempt to obey God’s Will as it is revealed in the Bible.

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This system developed both zeal and intolerance on the part of the elect. It did, however, foster education, which in New England was regarded as religious duty. To this attitude of the Calvinistic Puritans may be traced much of the inspiration for

  • the founding of many colleges and universities. As early as 1636, Harvard was established. The people wanted to educate their own clergymen.
  • The creation of a system of public schools
  • the great activity of early printing presses in America
influence of climate

Influence of Climate

The cold climate and tough soil helped produce tough-minded Calvinists. Death was an ever-present possibility in Colonial life. As people’s view of God gets more remote, they get more comfortable.