Puritanism PowerPoint



1500s to 1730ish at its strongest

Move to “purify” the church: too much power in church hierarchy, rituals corrupted, church/government too wedded, etc.

Led to sect (the “separatists” or pilgrims) that separated from the church who came to America to establish the “city of God on earth” in 1600s.

Key Theological Tenets

“Original depravity”—a blemish on the soul inherited from Adam when he broke the

“covenant of works.”

“Salvation” –the “covenant of redemption.”

Covenant of Grace

God’s promise to send the Holy Spirit to repair or “convert” the fallen sons and daughters of

Adam out of their “natural” state—i.e. “save” them from themselves.

Grace is the opportunity to believe, to repent, and to have life everlasting.

Grace is God’s gift.

“Predestination”—the elect and the master plan.

Some would never have God’s grace. Those who had it didn’t earn it but could lose it.

By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every person. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation. (

Institutes of the Christian Religion



Providence: God governs everything in the natural world, the affairs of people, and individual lives through second causes.

Free Will vs. Fate

God as author of evil?

So how do you know if you’re in the club?

A highly-subjective “conversion” experience and testimony.

Resulted in self-righteousness (“I’m one of

God’s chosen”)

And uncertainty (“Am I one of God’s chosen?”)

And let’s not forget providence…

Nothing is an accident or coincidental or meaningless.

• If God controls everything and you’re part of God’s plan

(as one of his “elect”), then God is working through you—i.e. you’re on a mission from God.

The Bible is a “living” document (Puritans=modern-day

Israelites) and it tells “your story.”

God also communicates to you through the natural world


Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

Who is God angry at?

Why is God angry?

How angry is He?

How can God’s anger be appeased?

What does it mean “to believe?”

Why hasn’t God struck down non-believers?

There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God. By the mere pleasure of God, I mean His sovereign pleasure,

His arbitrary will, restrained by no obligation, hindered in no manner of difficulty….(426)

Assuming this reflects beliefs and attitudes of the people…

What were the features of their god?

How is he similar to/different from the gods in

Native American stories? From trickster stories?

What might they have feared?

And how might these fears (and the belief in their inherently flawed nature) have shaped the experience of their lives?

But that was so long ago…

"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.“ --George Herbert Walker Bush, Former

U. S. President, 1988.

"I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you, This is not a message of hate -- this is a message of redemption. But a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It'll bring about terrorist bombs; it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor." –Pat Robertson, on "gay days" at Disneyworld

"The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because

God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'" –Jerry Falwell on the 9/11 attacks.