Daniels, the Puritans were "[o]ne of the most literate groups in the early modern world", with about 60 percent of New England able to read. InMassachusetts required heads of households to teach their wives, children and servants basic reading and writing so that they could read the Bible and understand colonial laws.
Calvinism Puritanism broadly refers to a diverse religious reform movement in Britain committed to the continental Reformed tradition.
They believed that all of their beliefs should be based on the Biblewhich they considered to be divinely inspired. As sinners, every person deserved damnation. Therefore, being a Christian could never be reduced to simple "intellectual acknowledgment" of the truth of Christianity.
Over time, however, Puritan theologians developed a framework for authentic religious experience based on their own experiences as well as those of their parishioners. It began with a preparatory phase designed to produce contrition for sin through introspectionBible study and listening to preaching.
This was followed by humiliationwhen the sinner realized that he or she was helpless to break free from sin and that their good works could never earn forgiveness.
For some Puritans, this was a dramatic experience and they referred to it as being born again. Historian Perry Miller wrote that the Puritans "liberated men from the treadmill of indulgences and penancesbut cast them on the iron couch of introspection".
Puritan clergy wrote many spiritual guides to help their parishioners pursue personal piety and sanctification. Many Puritans relied on both personal religious experience and self-examination to assess their spiritual condition.
They rejected confirmation as unnecessary. Most Puritans practiced infant baptismbut a minority held credobaptist beliefs. In "A Discourse on the Nature of Regeneration", Stephen Charnock distinguished regeneration from "external baptism" writing that baptism "confers not grace" but rather is a means of conveying the grace of regeneration only "when the [Holy] Spirit is pleased to operate with it".
Therefore, one cannot assume that baptism produces regeneration. The Westminster Confession states that the grace of baptism is only effective for those who are among the elect; however, its effects are not tied to the moment of baptism but lies dormant until one experiences conversion later in life.
In agreement with Thomas Cranmerthe Puritans stressed "that Christ comes down to us in the sacrament by His Word and Spirit, offering Himself as our spiritual food and drink".
The episcopalians known as the prelatical party were conservatives who supported retaining bishops if those leaders supported reform and agreed to share power with local churches.
In addition, these Puritans called for a renewal of preaching, pastoral care and Christian discipline within the Church of England. The Westminster Assembly proposed the creation of a presbyterian system, but the Long Parliament left implementation to local authorities.
As a result, the Church of England never developed a complete presbyterian hierarchy. Furthermore, the sacraments would only be administered to those in the church covenant. The New England Congregationalists were also adamant that they were not separating from the Church of England.
However, some Puritans equated the Church of England with the Roman Catholic Church, and therefore considered it no Christian church at all. These groups, such as the Brownistswould split from the established church and become known as Separatists.
Puritan husbands commanded authority through family direction and prayer. The female relationship to her husband and to God was marked by submissiveness and humility.
I had eight birds hatched in one nest; Four cocks there were, and hens the rest. I nursed them up with pain and care, Nor cost nor labour I did spare. Bradstreet alludes to the temporality of motherhood by comparing her children to a flock of birds on the precipice of leaving home.
While Puritans praised the obedience of young children, they also believed that, by separating children from their mothers at adolescence, children could better sustain a superior relationship with God. The pinnacle of achievement for children in Puritan society, however, occurred with the conversion process.
Just as parents were expected to uphold Puritan religious values in the home, masters assumed the parental responsibility of housing and educating young servants. Older servants also dwelt with masters and were cared for in the event of illness or injury.
African-American and Indian servants were likely excluded from such benefits. Christian demonology Like most Christians in the early modern periodPuritans believed in the active existence of the devil and demons as evil forces that could possess and cause harm to men and women.
There was also widespread belief in witchcraft and witches—persons in league with the devil. However, Harsnett was in the minority, and many clergy, not only Puritans, believed in witchcraft and possession.Puritan Beliefs Essay Examples. The Description of Puritans Beliefs in The Westminster Confession of Faith.
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The name Independent Fundamental Baptist Church is used traditionally by churches which pattern themselves strictly after the example of the early church, as found in the New Testament.