Puritans was a typical name given to extreme Protestants in the Church of England who strongly believed that the English Reformation had failed to reform some doctrines and the entire structure of the church. As a matter of fact, puritans though it was ideal for them to cleans the church by completely doing away with any form of Catholic influence. With this agenda at hand, the puritans massively migrated to the new world and formed a holy commonwealth that became a strong force from the 16th to the 19th century. This paper seeks to explore puritan’s thoughts and ideologies.
Thoughts and Ideology
Puritanism was associated with no specific theology and stood strongly against several religious compromises committed in the church. Puritans encouraged a direct religious experience, simple worship service, and a sincere moral conduct in and outside of the church. For them, the church had failed in several key areas but worship was an area that needed immediate reforms (Bowden). Puritanism held a strong belief in the absolute sovereignty of God, complete dependence of divine grace by humans to attain absolute salvation, the total depravity of man, and stronger personal religious experience. They held a strong belief that being Gods elects, they had the duty to directly and indirectly direct national affairs as expected by God.
For puritans to fully drive for total church reformation the puritan’s structured four convictions that entirely defined their movement. The first conviction was that personal salvation was purely from God, followed by a strong belief that the bible was an undisputable guide to human life. Third conviction was the mandate that the church should adhere to the biblical teachings, and finally, have a unified society (Bowden). Consequently, the church was supposedly meant to stand utterly depended on God to achieve salvation. The church had compromised a lot and Puritans saw it ideal to lobby for leadership that pointed openly the broad way of destruction and emphasize more on how to enter the narrow gates of heaven.
The doctrine of total depravity as per the Puritans was typically meant to allow Christians to glorify God while at the same level before him. Ideally, every single person to have lived in the history of mankind had fallen short of Gods glory (Holubová 15). Not even a single soul being righteous before God allowed God to condemn all flesh before him and be glorified for the fact that he was impartial. Additionally, the doctrine of total depravity glorifies God for his sovereign just curse bestowed against all humankind. After Adam and Eve sinned humans were cursed to toil and moil through hardships and literally no man was exempted from this curse.
As a matter of fact, God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to represent man and when they sinned all men sinned. More so, the doctrine of total depravity sought to give all glory to God by typically placing men at His mercy in order to attain absolute salvation (Maltby). Technically, Puritans held strongly to the idea that salvation was given to man through God’s grace. The salvation received from God’s grace typically gave Christians a stronger ability to continually have faith in Christ.
In conclusion, puritans placed a stronger emphasis on conversion. For them, God had a painful process that he used to bring those who rebelled to become obedient. Salvation typically became a covenant whereby God gave life to all those who exercised complete faithfulness based on Christ’s sacrificial death in the cross. With a strong belief in the authority of the Bible, they did everything possible to ensure that whatever was written was the embodiment of the church.
Bowden, Henry. “What is Puritanism.” The History, and Differences, of English and American Puritanism. Retrieved April 8 (2017).
Holubová, Petra. “The Puritan view of death: attitudes toward death and dying in Puritan New England.” (2011), 2-45.
Maltby, John. “Obsessional personality traits: The association with attitudes toward Christianity and religious puritanism.” The Journal of psychology 131.6 (1997): 675-677.
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