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Source: (consider it) Thread: Historical Question: Were the Puritans persecuted?
Anglican_Brat
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Happy American Thanksgiving! An internet meme on the Facebook Page of Episcopal Church meme humorously states that Anglicans are responsible for kicking Puritans out of England that enabled Thanksgiving to be created.

The thing is, I don't recall an actual mass expulsion/persecution of Puritans by the established church of England in the time period. I do remember that William Laud's Star Chamber was rather nasty to a few Puritan critics, but perhaps my church history education was biased in this regard.

I learned that the Puritans left England because they disagreed with the established church of England's clinging to what they considered "Popish" customs such as Episcopacy and the Book of Common Prayer. It wasn't that they were "forced out" but they left voluntarily because they disagreed vehemently with the dominant high church theology of the established church.

Is the idea that they fled England due to persecution more myth to support the ideological depiction of them as beacons of religious freedom and conscience?

[ 23. November 2016, 05:52: Message edited by: Anglican_Brat ]

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Kwesi
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Thank goodness they took the witches with them!
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Arethosemyfeet
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My recollection was that the main way they were persecuted was by not being allowed to inflict their views on everyone else. Same way fundamentalist Christians in the US are convinced they're being persecuted to this day. Not being allowed to burn Catholics is persecution, don't you know.
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Golden Key
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AB--

You might take a look at the transcript for "The Pilgrims"--part of the "American Experience" documentary series on PBS. (You can also watch the video there, and access other resources.) It discusses the traditional story, and what really happened.

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Gamaliel
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The irony of course, is that the Puritans in New England subsequently 'persecuted' people who didn't conform to their particular views - three Quakers were executed there if I remember rightly.

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Gamaliel
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I think the whole idea of Puritans being persecuted by the Establishment derives from later 17th century developments - the clamp-down on Dissenters and 'Non-Conformists' during the reign of Charles II.

That and the violence in Scotland between the Covenanters and the Crown (and there was violence from both sides of course) created a filter through which earlier Puritan activity has been viewed.

Sure, Elizabeth I's government clamped down heavily on the authors of the anti-Episcopal 'Martin Marprelate' tracts so there were some instances of what could be construed as persecution.

It can't have been easy being a member of an independent congregation in the early 1600s. Thomas Helwys, one of the early English Baptists spent time in prison for his views.

No, there wasn't a mass expulsion of Puritans in the 1620s but neither was the political climate conducive for them.

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Net Spinster
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
The irony of course, is that the Puritans in New England subsequently 'persecuted' people who didn't conform to their particular views - three Quakers were executed there if I remember rightly.

Actually four Quakers were executed. Two initially, Marmaduke Stephenson and William Robinson, (1659) with Mary Dyer reprieved at the gallows foot and expelled. She later returned and was executed (June 1, 1660). William Leddra was executed in March 1661. In 1662 Charles II who had come to power in late 1660 and crowned at the beginning of 1661 sent an order to stop further executions or corporal punishment of Quakers in the colony (they could be sent back to England for trial if the colony thought their behavior warranted it); apparently the colony somewhat ignored the bit on corporal punishment though it ceased to execute Quakers. It also ignored the crowns orders in other matters and its charter was revoked in 1684.

Note Quakers weren't particularly quiet evangelists in those days. Baptists were also punished in the colony.

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Og, King of Bashan

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quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
My recollection was that the main way they were persecuted was by not being allowed to inflict their views on everyone else. Same way fundamentalist Christians in the US are convinced they're being persecuted to this day. Not being allowed to burn Catholics is persecution, don't you know.

The folks who eventually settled at Plymouth were imprisoned in England for their activities. In part, this is why they left England for the Netherlands, before coming to North America. To the extent that idea that the Separatists were "kicked out" of England is a myth that serves a particular viewpoint, the above statement is not much better.

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lilBuddha
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The biggest myth of the puritans in America is that they were for religious freedom. They were not. They were for the freedom of their own religion and persecuted other beliefs and variations.

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Albertus
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I think quite a lot of people were at that time, weren't they?

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
I think quite a lot of people were at that time, weren't they?

Yes. The point wasn't that they were unique in this,* but that the myth concerning them is incorrect.

*though not everyone was as bad as they, either.

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Jengie jon

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Firstly let us be clear. Anglicanism in England was not historically a tolerant religion of those who did not keep the status quo. If you want to check look up "Acts of Uniformity" "Five-mile Act" and others. Non-Conformists (those who refused to sign the acts of uniformity) were banned from public office, university education and so on. Indeed there were less tolerant of those that religiously differed from them than Oliver Cromwell.

However, big hint, that is later. The Pilgrim Fathers are not really Puritans, they did not really seek to Purify the Church of England. They are an earlier stream of people who were not driven out by the acts of Uniformity but separated from the Church of England following the advice of Robert Browne in his "Treatise of Reformation without Tarying for Anie" to form an Independent congregation separate from the Established Church. They would not be Brownist in the sense of adopting his wider theology.

New England Puritans strike me as largely drawing on lineage and melding it onto the Pilgrim Father's story.

How far persecuted? You may care to read an account of Scrooby Separatists. You might care for a more dramatic account of the flight to Holland.

As for the tolerance of the Pilgrim Fathers, you may care to read their pastor John Robinson sermon when they left Leiden. Don't worry only a summary of a couple of important points survive.

Jengie

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
The biggest myth of the puritans in America is that they were for religious freedom. They were not. They were for the freedom of their own religion and persecuted other beliefs and variations.

Both yes and no in England. Under the Commonwealth, all Christian churches were tolerated with the exception of the Church of England. Its services and liturgy were proscribed, to the extent that Charles I was denied both an Anglican priest and prayer book in his imprisonment.

Let's not forget that John Bunyan, of Pilgrim's Progress fame, spent much time in prison after the Restoration for his Puritan opinions.

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Gamaliel
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Roman Catholicism was also proscribed during the Commonwealth as far as I know.

Jengie Jon has picked up on a point I made earlier. We look at the Pilgrim Fathers and people like Thomas Helwys through the lens of what happened later, during the reign of Charles II.

Although some of that was foreshadowed by Establishment reactions to dissenting groups earlier in the century.

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
The Pilgrim Fathers are not really Puritans

New England Puritans strike me as largely drawing on lineage and melding it onto the Pilgrim Father's story.

Exactly.

The 1620 Pilgrim Fathers were in the separatist/congregational "restoratinist" stream, whereas the Puritan influx after 1630 was strictly speaking non-separatist, "reformationist", and proceeded to set up a repressive theocracy based on church membership for only the converted, political office only for church members, compulsory church attendance for all, and freedom of conscience for those consciences were in accordance with the truth as decreed by the theocracy (as John Cotton put it, anyone who opposed the "clear...Word of God.. is not persecuted for cause of conscience, but for sinning against his own conscience").

[ 23. November 2016, 22:17: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]

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Gee D
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My recollection is that provided Roman Catholics paid an extra tax (if demanded, and the extra was not very large) their worship was permitted. I have no access at work to either Trevor-Roper or Veronica Wedgwood, if I have time I shall check this evening.

Socinians etc were in real trouble of course.

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I understood that the Puritans were the persecutors and slaughterers of Indians.

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Og, King of Bashan

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I understood that the Puritans were the persecutors and slaughterers of Indians.

Yeah, this was hardly a trait that was unique to the Puritains...

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Gamaliel
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Indeed, as the Conquistadors demonstrated in Latin America ...

On the issue of RCs during the Commonwealth, my understanding is that they were permitted to worship provided they kept this to themselves and also they were barred, or at least not encouraged to hold office.

But then, despite Charles 1st's Queen being a Catholic and there still being prominent RC aristocrats in the North, RCs kept a low profile whoever was in power.

Visiting an old parish church in the southern Midlands once, I came across a fascinating display of letters, diaries and reports written by the vicar in the mid-1700s. It seems he was expected even then to keep an eye on his RC neighbours, and there was a Catholic enclave thereabouts, and to report anything suspicious to the local magistrates. He seems to have regarded this as superfluous as the local RCs were well-behaved and 'integrated' in today's parlance.

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Gee D
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Gamaliel, I've been giving Trevor-Roper's book Catholics, Anglicans and Puritans a very rapid read. From memory, what I quoted is in the long essay on the Great Tew Circle in that book, but in the time available I can't find it. We may be at some cross-purposes, the clue being in your last post. Catholicism was not exactly the Commonwealth's favourite tradition and the restrictions on Catholics continued to apply - no civil office, the payment of the extra tax and so forth. But the use of Catholic liturgy itself (and indeed the liturgy of every other Trinitarian church) was not barred while Anglican liturgy was. And Anglicanism remained the church of the great majority of the population.

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L'organist
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What I've always loved about the nonsense talked about the 'persecution' that drove the Puritans from these shores is that at no time does anyone who pushes that line ever look at what those same Puritans did to the inhabitants of new England when they arrived.

The Puritans were only persecuted to the extent that the state endeavoured to keep a lid on their activities: not a bad aim when you consider the chaos and unhappiness they caused during the time of the Commonwealth. As for their intolerance, one only has to look at Drogheda or their treatment of native Americans.

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Og, King of Bashan

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
What I've always loved about the nonsense talked about the 'persecution' that drove the Puritans from these shores is that at no time does anyone who pushes that line ever look at what those same Puritans did to the inhabitants of new England when they arrived.

We are really setting up some straw men in this thread. We have had a lot of thoughtful discussion above about actual bad treatment of religious minorities in England, and about their subsequent bad treatment of others when they became a majority over here.

Throw in a reference to how the Puritans treated the Indians (never mind the fact that the Indians got roundly screwed throughout this hemisphere) and we can really start feeling smug for not worshiping them as perfect heroes, unlike those people.

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Kwesi
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l'organist
quote:
As for their intolerance, one only has to look at Drogheda
I fail to see what Drogheda has to do with the question being discussed here. Whatever might be the criticisms of Cromwell at Drogheda, by the lights of his times, as an independent, he tolerated a wide degree of religious tolerance- certainly more than the Scottish Presbyterians who sought to impose their uniformity on England.
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Gramps49
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Someone commented above that the Puritans took the witches with them. I take it you are referring to the Salem witches. There can be a lot said about them, but one aspect I found interesting was that the women could have been under the influence of a fungus that infected their rye flour, ergot. Timothy Leary, the developer of LSD had experimented with ergot.

BTW--there were similar outbreaks in Europe in the 14th and 17th century. Those outbreaks were called the Dancing Disease.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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quote:
Originally posted by Og, King of Bashan:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I understood that the Puritans were the persecutors and slaughterers of Indians.

Yeah, this was hardly a trait that was unique to the Puritains...
Yes of course. But this is a thread about Puritans being persecuted. Isn't it interesting that they are perfectly capable of doing exactly the same, or worse, with no learning, no historical memory?

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Og, King of Bashan

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I don't know where you get the no memory part, given the universal acknowledgment on this thread of the fate of the Indians.

I see this thread as being about self serving mythology. And focusing on the sins of someone else to the exclusion of your own sins is certainly an exercise in self serving mythology.

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Kelly Alves

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I think NP&c was talking about the actual Pilgrims, but even still I don't see how their behavior isn't anything but depressingly predictable, ie human. All of Europe at the time preceding Plymoth Rock was either suffering oppression or celebrating their freedom from oppression by oppressing others. The Pilgrims simply brought that dynamic with them.

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fausto
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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
Firstly let us be clear. Anglicanism in England was not historically a tolerant religion of those who did not keep the status quo. If you want to check look up "Acts of Uniformity" "Five-mile Act" and others. Non-Conformists (those who refused to sign the acts of uniformity) were banned from public office, university education and so on. Indeed there were less tolerant of those that religiously differed from them than Oliver Cromwell.

However, big hint, that is later. The Pilgrim Fathers are not really Puritans, they did not really seek to Purify the Church of England. They are an earlier stream of people who were not driven out by the acts of Uniformity but separated from the Church of England following the advice of Robert Browne in his "Treatise of Reformation without Tarying for Anie" to form an Independent congregation separate from the Established Church. They would not be Brownist in the sense of adopting his wider theology.

New England Puritans strike me as largely drawing on lineage and melding it onto the Pilgrim Father's story.

How far persecuted? You may care to read an account of Scrooby Separatists. You might care for a more dramatic account of the flight to Holland.

As for the tolerance of the Pilgrim Fathers, you may care to read their pastor John Robinson sermon when they left Leiden. Don't worry only a summary of a couple of important points survive.

Jengie

Helwys and Smyth and the folks who were later to call themselves "Baptists" were originally members of the same Independent congregation in Gainsborough as John Robinson and some of the folks who would later emigrate to the New World as "Pilgrims". In 1606, the Gainsborough congregation divided to form a second congregation that met in secret in Scrooby, both for convenience of travel and to avoid detection. The members of both congregations did indeed flee to Holland in several waves to avoid persecution (up to and including charges of treason), and re-assembled their religious community in Holland where the religious milieu was more diverse and permissive. There they were influenced by continental Anabaptists, which led the Helwys/Smyth faction to form a new "Baptist" community. After about a decade, the remaining members of Robinson's congregation in Leyden began to fear that their children were growing up more Dutch than English, and were being exposed to too many diverse (and to their minds heretical) religious views. Strictly speaking, though, the members of Robinson's congregation who emigrated from Holland to Plymouth in 1620 were not escaping persecution in Holland, but rather were seeking a place where they could function as an autonomous English community without the interference of English religious politics that would still have awaited them back at home.

All of the early Calvinist settlers of New England tend to get lumped together in the popular American mind as "Pilgrims" or "Puritans", but the American sense of "Puritan" is not quite the same as the English sense. The first "Pilgrims" who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620 and settled Plymouth as well as others who arrived in the following decade should more accurately be described as Separatists, since their aim was to form autonomous congregational churches entirely separate form the CofE, which they deemed irreparably corrupt. A larger wave that began arriving to the north in Boston and Salem beginning in 1630 were Puritans in the English sense, who shared the Separatists' Calvinist theology but retained a nominal allegiance to the CofE and believed it could be reformed from within. In practice, though, after a very few years, the exigencies of church governance while trying to build a new society from scratch in the remote wilderness forged the nominal Puritans into practical Separatists. In 1648 the Separatist model of autonomous self-governing congregations affiliated through ecumenical association rather than subject to superior authority was formalized and formally adopted by Puritan and Separatist churches alike in the Cambridge Platform.

The First Church in Plymouth remains an active congregation to this day, and considers itself the unbroken continuation of the Scrooby congregation. They date their founding not to 1620 but to 1606. (Few of the original Scrooby founders, however, would approve of how their theology has evolved over the centuries.)

[ 24. November 2016, 21:51: Message edited by: fausto ]

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fausto
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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:

Is the idea that they fled England due to persecution more myth to support the ideological depiction of them as beacons of religious freedom and conscience?

I don't think so. They did indeed flee England for Holland, and thence eventually to America, to escape persecution and freely practice religion as they thought it should be practiced. However, it is well known that they themselves considered themselves sole possessors of religious Truth and were harshly intolerant of alternative views. The tradition of religious tolerance in what is now the United States actually began in the 1630's with Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, who were banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for advocating freedom of conscience. In 1636 Williams founded a new colony to the south, present-day Rhode Island, as well as the first Baptist church in America. His colony guaranteed religious liberty to all inhabitants and became a haven for religious minorities and dissenters, including Baptists, Quakers, and Jews. It was Williams who first articulated the principle of a "wall of separation" between Church and State that eventually found its way into the US Bill of Rights.

[ 24. November 2016, 22:28: Message edited by: fausto ]

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Og, King of Bashan

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quote:
Originally posted by Kelly Alves:
I think NP&c was talking about the actual Pilgrims

Yeah, I realized that after posting.

Still, we seem to have a lot of folks who want to grant exclusive blame for the Indian genocide to folks who are different from them, which is pretty dishonest.

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Gee D
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Thanks Fausto for all that information. I'd imagine that a lot of the dangerous doctrine to which the children were exposed stemmed ultimately from Arminius, Grotius and their followers,

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fausto
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Thanks Fausto for all that information. I'd imagine that a lot of the dangerous doctrine to which the children were exposed stemmed ultimately from Arminius, Grotius and their followers,

Them but not only them. There was also a lot of other religious ferment going on in Holland at the same time.

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"Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way." Gospel of Philip, Logion 72

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Kelly Alves

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quote:
Originally posted by fausto:
The tradition of religious tolerance in what is now the United States actually began in the 1630's with Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, who were banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for advocating freedom of conscience. In 1636 Williams founded a new colony to the south, present-day Rhode Island, as well as the first Baptist church in America. His colony guaranteed religious liberty to all inhabitants and became a haven for religious minorities and dissenters, including Baptists, Quakers, and Jews. It was Williams who first articulated the principle of a "wall of separation" between Church and State that eventually found its way into the US Bill of Rights.

Williams and Hutchinson are very mych underrated heroes in terms of what they contributed to religious freedom in America.

Pennsylvania has a Similar history to Rhode Island in terms of its founder making religious freedom a central tenant of the colony's charter. It also distinguished itself as being one of the few colonies that worked cooperatively with regional tribes.

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Jengie jon

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quote:
Originally posted by fausto:

The First Church in Plymouth remains an active congregation to this day, and considers itself the unbroken continuation of the Scrooby congregation. They date their founding not to 1620 but to 1606. (Few of the original Scrooby founders, however, would approve of how their theology has evolved over the centuries.)

Well it has a a competing claim this side of the pond.

Perhaps more important is that it is hard to say that Separatists were Calvinist, they drew on a variety of streams from the Continental Reformation which no doubt included Calvinism and Lutheranism but having dealt with their heritage I would say also has strong Anabaptist and such tendencies.

Jengie

[ 25. November 2016, 11:08: Message edited by: Jengie jon ]

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
quote:
Originally posted by fausto:

The First Church in Plymouth remains an active congregation to this day, and considers itself the unbroken continuation of the Scrooby congregation. They date their founding not to 1620 but to 1606. (Few of the original Scrooby founders, however, would approve of how their theology has evolved over the centuries.)

Well it has a a competing claim this side of the pond.

Perhaps more important is that it is hard to say that Separatists were Calvinist, they drew on a variety of streams from the Continental Reformation which no doubt included Calvinism and Lutheranism but having dealt with their heritage I would say also has strong Anabaptist and such tendencies.

Jengie

It's curious that both seem eventually to have drifted into Unitarianism, though presumably the Gainsborough URC, to be URC, has at some stage returned to orthodoxy.

This is not an area I know much about, but would I be right in thinking that the sort of C18-19 Unitarianism that Harriet Martineau, Mrs Gaskell and others followed was Arian but was not quite the same as modern Unitarianism as we know it in the UK - where, incidentally, so far as my experience is concerned, as a denomination it has almost died out.

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Jengie jon

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The URC is almost certainly drawing a veil over the fall out of the Subscription controversy at Savoy Hall. I have found Christ and Controversy by Alan Sell online and read part of chapter 4. It gives an idea of what was going on. Basically splits were occuring all over Non-Conformity with respect to whether to be a member you had to subscribe to a statement about the nature of the Trinity. Gainsborough is basically the people who were expelled from the Union chapel* went it wanted to admit people without subscription to the Trinity.

Jengie

*Union Chapels existed until 1972 when Non-Conformist chapels would accept people of more than one tradition into membership commonly Baptist and Congregational but in the late 17th and early 18th quite often were Presbyterian, Congregational and Baptist.

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"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

Walking 18 miles to help Refugees get an education.

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fausto
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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
quote:
Originally posted by fausto:

The First Church in Plymouth remains an active congregation to this day, and considers itself the unbroken continuation of the Scrooby congregation. They date their founding not to 1620 but to 1606. (Few of the original Scrooby founders, however, would approve of how their theology has evolved over the centuries.)

Well it has a a competing claim this side of the pond.

Perhaps more important is that it is hard to say that Separatists were Calvinist, they drew on a variety of streams from the Continental Reformation which no doubt included Calvinism and Lutheranism but having dealt with their heritage I would say also has strong Anabaptist and such tendencies.

Jengie

Ha! Did not know that the Gainsborough congregation still exists. I wouldn't say that it is a competing claim, though, because if I understand the history correctly, Scrooby was a daughter congregation of Gainsborough. For a couple of years in the 16-aughts, the Gainsborough and Scrooby congregations met independently. I guess they still do!

About Anabaptist and other influences, you probably know more than I do, but that's certainly what happened when Helwys and Smyth arrived in Holland. Robinson was one of the principal opponents of Arminius in the academic debates at Leyden that provoked the Synod of Dort, so I would describe his followers as primariliy Calvinists -- and it was Dort and Westminster theology that the New England churches professed. However, when Robinson preached his farewell sermon to the departing Pilgrims, he said a few disparaging words about the rigidity of the Calvinists, and also warned them not to let anyone call them Brownists. His chief admonition to them (according to Winslow's recollection) was that "the Lord had more truth and light yet to break forth from his holy word". Those words are emblazoned across the front of the Plymouth sanctuary today -- and probably go a long way toward explaining the increasingly liberal theology that the Plymouth church has followed over the course of nearly four centuries since.

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"Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way." Gospel of Philip, Logion 72

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by fausto:
However, when Robinson preached his farewell sermon to the departing Pilgrims, he said a few disparaging words about the rigidity of the Calvinists, and also warned them not to let anyone call them Brownists. His chief admonition to them (according to Winslow's recollection) was that "the Lord had more truth and light yet to break forth from his holy word". Those words are emblazoned across the front of the Plymouth sanctuary today -- and probably go a long way toward explaining the increasingly liberal theology that the Plymouth church has followed over the course of nearly four centuries since.

Those words have also taken root outside the UCC and Unitarian descendants of the New England Separatists.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Gamaliel
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The links between non-conformist Arianism across the various Dissenting groups and the Unitarians as a denomination isn't something I know a lot about either, Jengie Jon, but I suspect your surmise is correct.

My guess would be that there were gradations of such a tendency - most of which would be tolerated in churches which, although largely orthodox (small o) didn't nail their creedal colours so firmly to the mast. Once you got beyond a particular tipping point, which may have varied from place to place and according to various factors, you then toppled over into full-on Unitarianism.

Perhaps there's a thesis waiting to be written there, if someone hasn't done it already.

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fausto
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quote:
Originally posted by fausto:
quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
quote:
Originally posted by fausto:

The First Church in Plymouth remains an active congregation to this day, and considers itself the unbroken continuation of the Scrooby congregation. They date their founding not to 1620 but to 1606. (Few of the original Scrooby founders, however, would approve of how their theology has evolved over the centuries.)

Well it has a a competing claim this side of the pond.

Perhaps more important is that it is hard to say that Separatists were Calvinist, they drew on a variety of streams from the Continental Reformation which no doubt included Calvinism and Lutheranism but having dealt with their heritage I would say also has strong Anabaptist and such tendencies.

Jengie

Ha! Did not know that the Gainsborough congregation still exists. I wouldn't say that it is a competing claim, though, because if I understand the history correctly, Scrooby was a daughter congregation of Gainsborough. For a couple of years in the 16-aughts, the Gainsborough and Scrooby congregations met independently. I guess they still do!
On further research, I wonder whether this Gainsborough URC church is an authentic descendant of the original Separatist church in Gainsborough. I have found references to a Unitarian congregation that moved from a chapel on Beaumont Street to one on Trinity Street (O the irony!) in 1928, but I cannot find more recent traces. If that was the original Separatist congregation, it may have finally gone extinct during the 20th century. Too, a different page on the Gainsborough URC church's website seems to suggest that its congregation first gathered in 1773. Does anyone know whether they were two different Gainsborough congregations or one continuous one?

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"Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way." Gospel of Philip, Logion 72

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Moo

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In New England, all residents of a town were automatically considered members of the church. When Unitarianism took off in the early nineteenth century, people who rarely attended church showed up and voted to go Unitarian. There was nothing the regular church-goers could do about it.

In Wilton Center, New Hampshire, across the street from the old Unitarian church building is a Baptist church which proclaims, "Preaching Christ in Wilton since 1819."

Moo

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fausto
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quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
In New England, all residents of a town were automatically considered members of the church. When Unitarianism took off in the early nineteenth century, people who rarely attended church showed up and voted to go Unitarian. There was nothing the regular church-goers could do about it.

In Wilton Center, New Hampshire, across the street from the old Unitarian church building is a Baptist church which proclaims, "Preaching Christ in Wilton since 1819."

Moo

All adults in the town were members of the parish, but only those who had given a testimony of conversion and been accepted into the church covenant were members of the church. As a result, the church as a body-within-a-body was usually more orthodox theologically than the broader parish. A schism between Unitarians and orthodox Calvinists might be precipitated when the entire parish met to call a new minister, since the minister was supported by taxes levied on the entire parish. If he (always a he in those days) was a theological liberal, the orthodox church members might split off to form a second congregation. If he was an orthodox Calvinist, the liberals in the parish might likewise split off to form a second congregation. By the second half of the 19th century, many New England town greens sported both a "First Parish" Unitarian church and a "First Church" Congregational church.

In Plymouth, this schism happened early, with the Calvinists departing in 1800, but in 2006 both churches teamed up to celebrate jointly the 400th anniversary of the Scrooby congregation.

[ 26. November 2016, 00:15: Message edited by: fausto ]

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"Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way." Gospel of Philip, Logion 72

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Anglican_Brat
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
AB--

You might take a look at the transcript for "The Pilgrims"--part of the "American Experience" documentary series on PBS. (You can also watch the video there, and access other resources.) It discusses the traditional story, and what really happened.

I watched the documentary today on Youtube, thank you. It was very enlightening, especially because I often confuse the Plymouth colony with New Boston, particularly thinking erroneously that John Winthrop was on the Mayflower.

The documentary also helped me understand why many American indigenous people dislike Thanksgiving, considering that the Pilgrims by in large, considered them heathen and inferior.

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Horseman Bree
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quote:
Originally posted by Og, King of Bashan:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I understood that the Puritans were the persecutors and slaughterers of Indians.

Yeah, this was hardly a trait that was unique to the Puritains...
Just look up "Doctrine of Discovery", which was specifically promulgated to allow for the subjugation, enslavement or killing of natives by Good Christian Men. This Doctrine formalised the general feeling that "I/we don't trust anyone who is not like me/us" and is part of the basis for the continuing mistreatment of Blacks and natives in most parts of the Christian world.

Once the Church had preached the Doctrine for long enough, it became a form of tribal memory, rather than continuing formal policy.

Useful collection and summary here

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It's Not That Simple

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Jengie jon

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There seems an illogical thought going on here. There is no reason why people who once were persecuted will not when they have the power turn persecutors. Equally, no reason why the persecutors can't if they fall from power then be persecuted.

What slight evidence there is the brutalism of being persecuted quite often seems to leave a level of acceptance of violence that would not otherwise be there.

The victims are not innocent, good or exceptionally moral so much as lacking power. They are likely to be much the same as any other random population of the times.

Jengie

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Kelly Alves

Bunny with an axe
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Yeah, like I was saying upthread, the Mayflower settlers were only a few generations removed from the Reformation. Their recent history has taught them that religious and cultural survival depended on being the people who had the power to purge all traces of competing religions and cultures. Add to that the excuse of "Christianizing" the New World was promoted by every European ruler that sent a boat over anywhere.

[ 27. November 2016, 09:05: Message edited by: Kelly Alves ]

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Fr Weber
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They weren't allowed to unilaterally revise the Prayer Book according to their preferences. And following the restoration of the Stuart dynasty, ministers who refused to use the BCP or to submit to episcopal authority were removed from their offices.

They were, in essence, the spiritual ancestors of those who think the "war on Christmas" is persecution.

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Steve Langton
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by Fr Weber;
quote:
They were, in essence, the spiritual ancestors of those who think the "war on Christmas" is persecution.
That seems an odd way of putting it, given that many of the Puritans had their own "war on Christmas". Indeed with much Puritan sympathy myself, I would quite happily lose the modern "Christmas" (and especially that Santa character!).

The simple fact is that 'Puritans' encompassed a diverse range all the way from those who wanted a state church but 'purer' and 'less compromised' than Elizabeth I's creation, to various groups including some Independents and many Baptists who thoroughly disagreed with the state church idea.

In a turbulent time many held all kinds of inconsistent halfways between those extremes, and even some of those opposed to a state church had still not fully worked out the appropriate attitudes to take to non-Christians whether in the UK or those like native Americans. And at the other end an RCC still running a heretic-burning Inquisition was another factor creating all kinds of attitudes...

Reality is that where a state church is believed in, that church and its political supporters will generally make life difficult for dissenters (there was significant discrimination even in the UK until last century); how difficult depended on how troublesome the dissenters were perceived to be and how threatened the authorities felt. The same people, it seems, might be persecuted considerably on mainland UK but not as 'planters' in Ulster where their Puritanism was a weapon against the Catholic Irish....

And yes, some Puritans if they got the upper hand might become persecutors themselves - like I said, it was a confused period....

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Gamaliel
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There's never been a time when things weren't 'confused'.

Dissent would be just as difficult in an Amish or Hutterite commune as it would be in the Puritan settlement of Plymouth or in Anglican Old England.

People who gain any form of hegemony tend to take a dim view of dissent. That's human nature and I don't see 'regenerate' human nature acting any differently by and large.

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
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quote:
Originally posted by Fr Weber:
They weren't allowed to unilaterally revise the Prayer Book according to their preferences. And following the restoration of the Stuart dynasty, ministers who refused to use the BCP or to submit to episcopal authority were removed from their offices.

They were, in essence, the spiritual ancestors of those who think the "war on Christmas" is persecution.

Yeah chucked out of your benefice the day before pay day isn't persecution. Not being allowed to preach within five miles of your previous benefice ain't persecution or any major centre of population. Not being able to go to University or hold a professional position ain't persecution. Not being allowed to marry or bury your own people ain't persecution.


Go on.

Jengie

[ 29. November 2016, 14:54: Message edited by: Jengie jon ]

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"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

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