prominent religious philosophies in early colonial america l.
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Prominent Religious Philosophies in Early Colonial America. Puritanism. Began in England in the 16 th century. King Henry VII formed the Church of England in 1534. controlled by Englishmen free of the pope and Roman Catholicism Henry sought to create religious independence religious unity.

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Prominent Religious Philosophies in Early Colonial America

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  • Began in England in the 16th century.
    • King Henry VII formed the Church of England in 1534.
      • controlled by Englishmen
      • free of the pope and Roman Catholicism
        • Henry sought to create religious independence
        • religious unity
  • There were some radical reformers whose disputes marked the Reformation.
    • Puritans & Pilgrims who settled in New England were extreme reformers.
      • They believed that the English church break away from Rome had not gone far enough.
      • They wanted to purify the English church even more.
  • Influenced by
    • John Calvin and his concept of predestination
    • Martin Luther and his attacks on the hierarchic structure and power of Roman Catholicism.
  • They believed that the Bible was revealed by God; therefore, the Word of God, not kings, popes or bishops, should rule the lives of people.
  • Hoped to restore the worship to “pure and unspotted”
  • Hoped to recover what William Bradford described as “Christianity in its primitive order, libertie, and bewtie.”
  • Zeal to “purify” their religion caused them to reject Queen Elizabeth’s religious settlements of 1560.
  • They were opposed not only to the doctrines and practices, but also to the organization.
    • English churches were controlled by
      • English monarchs
      • Hierarchy of priests, bishops, & abbots
  • They felt that the organization robbed people of their right to practice true religion.
puritan religious beliefs
Puritan Religious Beliefs
  • Puritans believed in predestination.
    • Individuals are either saved (saints or elect) or damned.
    • Neither faith nor good works insure salvation.
    • All features of salvation are determined by God’s sovereignty, including who will be saved and those who will receive God’s irresistible grace.
puritans opposed
Puritans opposed:
  • the pageantry of the church of England
  • the rituals that remained similar to those of Roman Catholicism
  • the required forms of prayer
  • the choir bells and the organ music
  • the robes
  • the veneration of images and relics
  • decorated vestments
  • the stained glass windows
puritan religious beliefs9
Puritan Religious Beliefs
  • Covenant Theology
    • Covenant of Works
      • Covenant God made with Adam
        • In return for Adam’s “good works” and obedience = Eternal Paradise
      • Once Adam broke the covenant of works, all his descendants were to live in a world of labor and misery and then die and suffer damnation in Hell.
      • Original Sin
        • Men inherit a fallen nature from Adam but also incur the legal penalty for his failure as their agent.
puritan religious beliefs10
Puritan Religious Beliefs
  • CovenantTheology
    • Covenant of Grace
      • After Adam broke the Covenant of Works, God made a new covenant with Abraham.
      • In this agreement, a special few are saved and allowed to go to Heaven. These special few were the Puritans.
      • Certainty of this covenant lead to the great unity of the Puritans and Separatists.
puritan religious beliefs11
Puritan Religious Beliefs
  • Only those who were saved could be admitted to full church membership and receive Holy Communion.
  • Those who were saved would “confess” to the congregation their mystical experience through which God informed them of their salvation.
  • Puritans were Biblical scholars fully aware of Biblical typology.
    • Puritans believed they were a chosen people as were the Israelites.
    • Like the OT Jews, they were sure they worshipped the one true God.
    • They had both fled from oppression and had suffered from their religious beliefs.
    • The migration to the New World was seen and compared to Moses leading the Israelites from slavery into Egypt.
  • The Geneva Bible:
    • Written by English scholars who lived in Geneva, Switzerland, the center of protestant learning and theology in Europe.
    • Published in 1560
    • Most widely read
    • Less ornate style than the King James version of 1611.
    • Came to America with the Pilgrims in 1620
  • The Bible was God’s direct communication to humans, should be read daily and its guidance followed by individuals.
    • Devout Pilgrims & Puritans used the Bible as a guide to religion, civil gov’t., business and commerce.
    • Bible gave them rules for courtship, marriage, and warfare.
    • What to do at births, how to cure the sick, curse the wicked, bury the dead.
    • Furnished rules how to dress and table etiquette.
contributions of puritanism
Contributions of Puritanism
  • The key contribution was faith; a faith so strong it withstood all types of persecution.
    • This faith laid the groundwork for the establishment of independence and freedom
    • It also contributed to the concept of preaching.
      • Preaching is today a tradition whose force is undeniable in America today.
  • Sermons were the foundation of two artistic achievements.
    • Sermons were the most popular literary form of the time. The written expression of the sermon became New England’s greatest contribution to American literature.
    • The dominating interest in sermons is also visible in the design of the New England churches, known as “meetinghouses.”
  • Devout Puritans believed that a sermon was:
  • “the chariot on which salvation came riding into the hearts of men.”
  • Wrote in what is called “plain style”
    • Straightforward, unadorned style is also reflected in other arts, furniture, architecture, dress, etc.
    • Frivolity and excess were detested.
  • Only literary forms found in the Bible were acceptable
    • All forms of fiction were despised.
  • The individual Puritan wrote a lot.
    • A diary was regarded as a tool helpful for self-examination.
  • Emphasized education.
    • Was a literate culture which regarded illiteracy as a kind of sin.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the early Puritans were not generally long-faced reformers.
    • They were intelligent, self-controlled, plainly-dressed citizens who advocated simplicity and democracy.
      • Only after they were harassed by rulers in England did they develop more extremely rigid views of behavior.
  • Doctrine originated by John Calvin in 1536
  • Made popular in Institutes of the Christian Religion
  • Calvinism
    • Total depravity
    • Unconditional election (Predestination)
    • Limited atonement
    • Irresistible grace
    • Perseverance of the saints
  • Free grace
    • idea of “inner light” which allowed a direct access to God for anyone who believed
  • This idea threatened the foundation of the Puritans’ social order.
    • Anne Hutchinson was excommunicated
      • called upon them to live by grace alone
  • Quakers
  • Man is by nature good.
    • Society has corrupted him.
  • There is a supreme power which is benevolent
  • A sovereign power must be worshipped.
  • The good disposition of man constitutes the principal part of his worship to that power.
  • All crimes/vices must be punished by that power
  • There are rewards & punishments after death.
  • God is the great “clock-winder” of the universe.
    • He sets the world in motion, then stepped back and will not interfere in the affairs of man.
  • Man’s best service to God is to serve man.
  • Believed that the importance of this present life is sharply contrasted with the Puritan’s and Calvinist’s view that man must struggle continually to live a good life in order to be happy in the next life.
  • Ben Franklin
    • Practiced humanism
    • Believed that church attendance was hypocritical and detrimental to the spiritual growth of man.
    • His debt to God was paid through his advice given to his fellow man in an effort to better society.