Paul's Passing Thoughts

Susan Dohse: Colonial Puritanism; TANC 2014 Sessions 1-3

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 10, 2015

Video Link

SUSAN 2014 SESSION 1

Do any of you remember the popular show Myth Busters? Well, Myth Busters was a popular show at our house, and the goal of that team of men was to disprove popular myths by using a scientific, investigative approach. And often, they would take legend, superstition, or even a stunt that had been re-done on television to see if it could really happen without the effects of Hollywood. And they would break it up into a scientific investigative approach and then determine if the myth was definitely a myth, could probably happen or that it would occur all the time.

Now I would like to provoke you to take on the role of a myth buster and rather than accept what’s in our textbooks or what you read on your online blog spots and what you hear from the pulpit, rather than accept that as factual, biblical or true. And this is why we call TANC a discernment ministry. It’s a ministry that encourages believers to become Bereans, searching the Scripture daily to verify what is taught from the authority of God’s word.

Well, the topic that I have chosen to present to you is based on a historical research approach, and I have selected three myths that I would like to try to bust. And I assure you that I could have and should have delved deeper into my topic, but I allowed time restraints to hinder me–cooking, cleaning, playing with the grandbaby. But I did read eight books and twelve inches of material that I printed from online resources. But what I want to do really is just to plant a seed. I want to plant a seed and hopefully provoke you to germinate that seed. You take my point of view, you look at my references, and then you go and research for yourself and see if you come up with the same or similar conclusions that I have.

Well, there’s a plethora of myth surrounding the early history of America, some from secular humanist research, many from the Christian historians, but you have to be careful. You have to be careful when you elevate historical figures to the rank of hero and you begin hero-worshiping historical figures without knowledge. Or you hold a group of people in such high regard that we are encouraged or we are told to encourage our children to emulate them. So therefore, it was important for me to frame any research that I did with dependable historical records, direct quotes from personal writings, sermons and speeches. Now the word “dependable” is – I glean that from a colonial historian who wrote the book The Times of Their Lives: The Life, Love, and Death in Plymouth Colony by James Deetz – Now he said that if three or more historical documentations from firsthand accounts–court and church records, personal diaries, pamphlets and books–if three or more of those documentations agree fully or mostly, then the assumption can be made that that source is probably reliable, more reliable than not reliable. So I try to do the same as Mr. Deetz in preparation for this talk. I tried to look at historical documents, church and court records, personal diaries, pamphlets and books.

There is a resurgence of interest and emphasis on the Puritans today–their beliefs and their practices. In our Christian schools, heavy in the homeschool movement, and in our churches, there is a push to pattern how we study the Bible, their theology and how to contend for the truth from the Puritans in order to make significant changes that will reap eternal results. I quote from a professor at Southern Baptist Seminary, “No greater tribute to them could be made than to follow their example in this regard.” And “in this regard” is referring to how to study the Bible, their theology and how to contend for the truth. Well, that emphasis is causing me to have some grave concern, because there is a lack of foundation based on fact and true historical perspective. Myths are being presented as facts, and the same criticism that’s heaped upon those secular humanists who want to shape America’s history by eliminating and covering its Christian roots need to apply to those who try to shape America’s history by eliminating and covering its Calvinist roots.

Here are the three myths that I would like to bust. And if I don’t bust them, at least poke a hole in the balloon.  Myth number one: “The Puritans came to New England because of religious persecution and a desire for religious freedom.” Myth number two: “God could make any people his chosen.” And myth number three: “The Puritans have a biblical worldview.” These are three key foundational truths to what the Puritans believed. They believe they – why they came to New England, that God could make them his chosen, and what their worldview was.

Well, myth number one, the Puritans came to the New World because of religious persecution and a desire for religious freedom. The Puritans immigrated to establish God’s commonwealth on earth, a community of visible saints following the Bible and to found churches on a congregational model. The king gave permission for the migration in order for England to acquire new materials, to check the power of Spain, to find a new route to the Orient, and to convert the Indians. It’s very important to remember what was in their charter, the Massachusetts charter that was given to those colonial-minded people. Acquire new materials, particularly gold and silver, to check the power of Spain, to find a new route to the Orient, and to convert the Indians.

Now English history reports that the Puritans back in England wanted to purify the Church, the Church of England. And that’s how they got that nickname “Puritans.” The pilgrims, who were called separatists, chose to break away from the Church of England and many even left England for Holland. The pilgrims of Plymouth are not the same as the Puritans of Massachusetts. Both were Calvinists, but they were not the same. The pilgrims of Plymouth were Puritans, seeking to reform their church, and the Puritans of Massachusetts were innocent pilgrims who moved to this land because of religious conviction, not persecution. The name Puritan, it was initially an insulting moniker, very much like when the believers in the New Testament were first called Christians. It was really not a praiseworthy title. It was to make fun of them. Well, the same was the title Puritans. That title was to poke fun at them. (more…)

%d bloggers like this: