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Puritanism/ calvinism. How a Protestant Sect defined America. Puritanism is Calvinism. Who’s the guy with the beard?. John Calvin, French-born Swiss theologian 1509 – 1564 (this makes him a contemporary of Martin Luther and the beginning of the Protestant Reformation)

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puritanism calvinism


How a Protestant Sect defined America

who s the guy with the beard
Who’s the guy with the beard?
  • John Calvin, French-born Swiss theologian
  • 1509 – 1564 (this makes him a contemporary of Martin Luther and the beginning of the Protestant Reformation)
  • Wrote Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1536
  • Co-founder of Reformed Church that took a different route from Luther and Lutheranism
calvin s ideas
Calvin’s ideas
  • Total depravity
  • Unconditional election
  • Limited atonement
  • Irresistible grace
  • Perseverance of the saints
total depravity
Total depravity

Since we are descendents of the fallen Adam and Eve,

we are naturally very bad.

It’s called


unconditional election

God has chosen from eternity to extend mercy to those He has chosen and to withhold mercy from those not chosen. Those chosen receive salvation through Christ alone. Those not chosen receive the just wrath that is warranted for their sins against God.

Puritans see themselves as the CHOSEN ONES.

limited atonement

atonement (the forgiveness of sin by God) isn’t limited in its value or power, but rather that the atonement is limited in the sense that it is designed for some and not all

(God likes Puritans and the rest of us are out of luck.)

irresistible grace
Irresistible grace

God's Holy Spiritcannot be resisted, but that the Holy Spirit, "graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ.“

Puritans are Puritans because God likes them best, not because they chose to be Puritans.

perseverance of saints
Perseverance of saints
  • "saint" is used to refer to all who are set apart by God, and not of those who are exceptionally holy, canonized, or in heaven
  • those whom God has called will continue in faith until the end
  • Puritans watched each other to see that they were continuing in faith—to eject the riffraff
historical impact of the puritans
Historical impact of the puritans
  • Early Puritan Thomas Cromwell, advisor to Henry VIII from 1531-1540, encouraged the king to assert his prominence by assuming the leadership of the English church, making the Catholic church into the Church of England.
  • The Puritans grew in power in England, enduring isolation and persecution. (One could have one’s nose or elbow skin sliced off for practicing Puritanism under the Stuart kings.)
  • Puritan forces were responsible for the Parliamentary victory over Charles I (who lost his head in the English Revolution of 1649) and Oliver Cromwell, Puritan, ruled England until his death in 1660.
puritans in american history
Puritans in American history
  • First Puritan colony founded in America was Massachusetts , 1620. (Mayflower folk.) Note this is 13 years after the establishment of Virginia; Virginian colonists were NOT Puritans.
  • Non-Puritans were NOT welcome in Massachusetts ; Puritans saw themselves as creating God’s ideal society of chosen people so non-Puritans were expelled .
  • The Salem witch-trials of 1692 marked the beginning of a sharp decline of Puritanism. By 1740, Puritanism was no longer practiced as a denomination.
other puritan beliefs
Other puritan beliefs
  • Idle hands are the devil’s playthings; work keeps us pure.
  • The Church must be “purified” of centuries of Roman Catholic ritual and tradition. They were rid of:

Celebration of Easter and Christmas

Elaborate churches with stained glass windows

Clerical hierarchy and clerical abstinence

  • The Clergy is elected by the church members but then is the government of the community (theocracy).
  • They went to church all day on Sundays .
  • Puritans believed that God loved them best. Americans still tend to see themselves as God’s favorite people, right about everything, positioned to show the rest of the world how to live.

Even in politics, we tend to demonize our opposition.

  • Puritans believed to “persevere as saints” they had to be able to read and interpret the Bible for themselves, so they established public education in their colony and subsequent generations and colonies saw universal education as important for a democratic government
  • Puritans believed that hard work and applied science would make God happy with them; it has generated a “work ethic” that made this country economically strong. (And made us into a nation of workaholics.)