In the early years of what later became the United States, Christian religious groups played an influential role in each of the British colonies, and most attempted to enforce strict religious observance through both colony governments and local town rules.
NEXT Getting Puritan Faith was central to the Puritan experience, for it was the source from which all other aspects of their society and values emerged. The word "Puritan" was actually a term of ridicule devised by opponents of the lateth-century movement that arose in England.
The Puritans remained unsatisfied with the progress and extent of the Protestant Reformation that began in They resented the persistence of Catholic influence on Anglican doctrine and rituals, but beyond that, the movement split into a number of factions that disagreed over doctrine and strategy.
Separatists were a minority, and most Puritans, including the ones who later settled Massachusetts Bay Colony, sought to reform the Church from within.
How Pure Are You?
Puritans subscribed to their religion with varying degrees of fervor. Certain individuals attended church regularly and became full church members; others attended meetings but never underwent conversion.
However, everyone had to attend meetings, regardless of their status. Many towns functioned well because there was a great degree of consensus between members and nonmembers. Nonetheless, tensions abounded between the ministerial elite and the more secular centers along the coast, where inhabitants were primarily focused on their fishing or trading livelihoods than the question of their immortal souls.
The Doctrine Most Puritans thought of themselves as members of the Church of England who wanted to purge the church of its sins—they thought it was too political, permissive, and reminiscent of Catholicism in its liturgy and episcopal hierarchy. But Anglicans perceived Puritans as a heretical threat and persecuted them; the Puritans sought refuge first in the Netherlands and then in America.
They still believed that they could purge the sins of the Church, although the New England separatists at Plymouth were so-called because they thought Anglicanism was broken beyond repair and they separated from it entirely. Puritans believed in the concept of predestination: Only God knew the fate of each person—unlike the Roman Catholic Church, the Puritans rejected the concept of free will.
Why do all of this stuff if God has already written your ticket? Because leading a good life "good" meaning all the stuff mentioned above, like praying, working hard, etc. This ominous question of whether one was destined for heaven or hell on Judgment Day obviously produced a powerful mixture of hope and fear among Puritan believers, reflected in the sermons of their ministers.
John Cotton, one of the early New England Puritans and an immensely influential minister, thought that other ministers erred in emphasizing these superficial indicators. He was more concerned with the internal process of preparing for salvation by cultivating and embodying humility, love, and contrition.
InCotton sermonized that there were two types of "carnal men. Either way, Cotton argued that "the Law of God" is of use to both. On the other hand, the law of God simply gives the damned man no excuse: Whereas Catholicism would admit anyone who repented and accepted Jesus Christ as their savior after baptism and confirmationthe Puritans had a higher standard for full members and few believers reached the status of full membership in the church.
Anyone could worship at church, and the Puritans promised all congregants equal access to visible sainthood embodying the traits of someone who appeared to be saved. Dissent and Discontent In the spirit of the Protestant Reformation that had proposed an alternative to Catholicism a century before, the Puritans encouraged their members to read and interpret the Bible for themselves.
When Quakers emerged in Massachusetts during the s, they were fined, whipped, and banished by colonial officials. Because Quakers believed that there was no distinction between the "elect" and the rest of the population, that the Divine spirit dwelled within everyone, they were deemed heretical to Puritan doctrine.The Puritans were a group of people who grew discontent in the Church of England and worked towards religious, moral and societal reforms.
The writings and ideas of John Calvin, a leader in the Reformation, gave rise to Protestantism and were pivotal to the Christian revolt. The Puritans were a varied group of religious reformers who emerged within the Church of England during the middle of the sixteenth century.
They shared a common Calvinist theology and common criticisms of the Anglican Church and English society and government.
Their numbers and influence grew. In the 17th century, the word Puritan was a term applied to not just one group but many. There continues to be debate among historians over the definition of Puritanism.
Historically, the word Puritan was considered a pejorative term that characterized Protestant groups as extremists. According to Thomas Fuller in his Church History, the term dates to In the North East of England a small group were persecuted for refusing to integrate within the Church of England.
Their major complaint was that the Church had not sufficiently cleansed itself of the immoral features that characterized the Roman Catholic church.
Separatist groups were illegal in England, so the Pilgrims fled to America and settled in Plymouth. The Puritans were non-separatists who wished to adopt reforms to purify the Church of England.
They received a right to settle in the Massachusetts Bay area from the King of England. Puritanism, a religious reform movement in the late 16th and 17th centuries that sought to “purify” the Church of England of remnants of the Roman Catholic “popery” that the Puritans claimed had been retained after the religious settlement reached early in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.