Puritanism: A great heritage – ridiculed

Puritanism: A great heritage – ridiculed

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William DeArteaga

The Puritans were the first major renewal group within the English Reformation. [1] Puritan pastors, writers and theologians recovered much of the Hebraic “earthy” perspective on life. This was not their conscious goal, but rather the natural result of reading the Old Testament without the allegorical traditions that were dominant since the 4th Century. They made Reformed theology into a practical, and biblically centered way of life that looked heavenward while valuing of life on earth. A recent book by the noted Christian scholar, Leland Ryken, calls the Puritans “worldly saints” because of their concerns with practical living.[2] All this is contrary to their current caricature, which paints them as glum killjoys focused on avoiding earthly temptations.

The Puritans were originally a faction within the Church of England (Anglican) who wanted their church “purified” and to be more like Calvin’s church in Geneva – and less like the Church of Rome. Most Puritans stayed within the Anglican Church and worked for reform from within. Among these were some of Puritanism’s greatest theologian/pastors such as John Owens, Richard Baxter and William Perkins. A minority were “separatists” who could not tolerate the “papists” ways of Anglicanism (such as vestments and fixed liturgy) and chose to separate from Anglicanism – often at considerable cost.

The Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock fame were Puritan Separatists, but the majority of America’s Puritans came to New England a decade later, during the “Great Migration” of the 1630s, and were technically Anglicans. However, since there were no Anglican bishops in America they functioned as separatists, developed a “congregational” type of church government where the local church was governed by its members, and ultimately separated from the Anglican Church.

Puritan ministers were highly educated and well read in the classics of Greece and Rome, the Early Church Fathers and the Reformers. Among the first things the Puritans did in the New World was found Harvard College as a place to educate their clergy (1636). However, the Bible was always the final word on theology or church practice. In fact, one might say that Puritanism, Colonial or English, was primarily a biblical renewal movement.[3]


The Puritans reject supersessionism:


The Puritans read the Bible literally and without the allegorical traditions of Catholicism. This interpretive shift, begun by both Luther and Calvin, became central to Puritan understanding of the Bible. It greatly increased their appreciation of the Old Testament. Supersessionism, the idea that the Church totally the Jew from the Old Testament covenant or promises, melted away as the Puritans discerned that much of the Old Testament was a good and practical guide to the everyday life and spirituality. One of the fruits of this biblical recovery was that Puritan writers came to appreciate Paul’s understanding of the Jews’ continuous importance and future reincorporation into the Church.

Some Puritan theologians even developed a Jewish-centered understanding of the end times that predicted a restored Jewish state. In that view, Jews would resettle Palestine and then would attack and destroy the Ottoman Empire (the most powerful Islamic entity at the times). After this, the Jews would convert to Christianity and the usher in the millennium.[4] That the Jews would be restored again to Palestine was new to Christian thought, and certainly a valid prophetic insight – even if it did not happen as soon or in the way they expected.

Oliver Cromwell, who ruled Great Britain as a Puritan commonwealth (1645-1658) believed in this early form of Jewish Zionism. He attempted to further Jewish interests by inviting the Jews back to England, and providing them with legal rights.[5] (The Jews had been expelled from England in the 1200s, as in most of Europe, after being blamed for spread of the bubonic plague.)


Puritan Sabbataranism:[6]


The most noticeable aspect of the Puritans’ renewed appreciation of the Old Testament was their desire to observe the Sabbeth according to biblical mandates. That is, the Sabbath was to be reserved as a day of worship and rest. Catholic Europe had a few long-standing restrictions on Sunday activities, as in forbidding hard labor. Luther and Calvin were reluctant to go much further than the Catholics, as they were especially weary of legalism.

However, the Puritans believed that a strict observance of the Sabbath was not just an Old Testament issue, but an eternal mandate for Christians. In fact, one of the “hot bottom” issues for the Puritans in England was their irritation at the proclamation of the king, Charles I, read in all churches, that it was all right to play sports after Sunday church service. The Puritans felt sports and recreations were good and necessary, but not on the Sabbath.

The Puritan attitude to the Sabbath was one of the legacies that endured in the United States, and made American Protestantism different from it European cousins. Whither or not contemporary Christians agree with the Puritan’s on Sabbath observances, it is important to note that they understood that the Old Testament regulations a Sabbath of rest and worship was truly for our good, and not just as an historical oddity of the Old Testament.[7]


Covenant Theology:[8]


Puritan theologians noticed how important covenants were in the Old Testament, as for instance, the Covenant with Noah (Gen 9) and the covenant with Abraham (Gen 17). John Calvin had already made revolutionary steps towards understanding the Old Testament covenants as significant in Christian life, and not just precursors to the Christian sacraments.[9] Puritan writes and pastors went further and noticed that Old Testament revivals were often sealed with services that renewed the covenant between God and his people. They understood the Old Testament descriptions of repentance and covenant renewal as pertinent to Christian life (especially 2 Chron. 34-35).

English Puritans saw covenant theology as one means of bringing revival to Anglicanism. Additionally, Puritan theologians got into a debate with Anabaptists Reformers who held a low opinion of the Old Testament. For many Puritans, affirming the importance of Old Testament covenants was a way of reaffirming the eternal validity of the Old Testament.[10] In practical terms, Puritan writers and pastors urged their congregations to write out their obligations to God in the form of legal covenants or contracts. These contracts, often phrased in elegant legal language, would promise faithful conduct, attentiveness to Bible reading, and suppression of personal sins, etc.

Initially, these contracts were personal, that is, every Christian, depending on his or her spiritual state, promised specific standards of action for the coming year. But as time progressed some Puritan pastors had entire congregations involved in such covenants. The classic work of this cooperate genre, was edited by Richard Alleine (1611-1681), and incorporated a public covenant service modeled after the Old Testament revivals.[11] This covenant service was later adopted by early Methodism and played a part in the amazing success of that movement.


Puritans Sexuality: Recovering the Biblical Perspective:[12]


Ironically and contrary to the caricatures about them, the Puritans were reformers, indeed revolutionaries, against the Medieval Catholic distortions of Biblical sexuality. Both Luther and Calvin had ended monasticism and celibacy as central Christian ideals. But the Reformers were quickly overwhelmed with the responsibilities of establishing Protestant life in face of immediate contention and warfare. It was the Puritans, a century later, who had the time to elaborate a new and Biblically centered theology of sexuality.

Puritans reversed the Catholic understanding of marriage as intended for procreation only, to an understanding of marriage for companionship and friendship, plus procreation. Puritans cited the fact that in Genesis the first reason for the creation of Eve was companionship for Adam, after which came the command to procreate (Gen. 2).[13]

Puritans writers also helped create a revolution in the Western ideal of romantic love. In the Middle Ages, the theme of romantic love, or “courtly love” as it was called, was invariably associated with adulterous relationships. This was due mostly to the prevalence of arranged marriages (recall the plot of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliette). But English Puritan writers, and other Anglicans, served at the forefront of refocusing the romantic love ideal to “eligible singles” and between husband and wife.[14]

The greatest Puritan poet of all, John Milton, author of Paradise Lost, rightly understood that traditional Catholic suspicion of sexuality and the allegorical (and de-sexed) interpretation Song of Solomon were wrong.[15] In Paradise Lost he presented the sexuality and love between Adam and Eve as representing God’s original intention and a model for Christian marriage:

Hail wedded love, mysterious law,…

Founded in reason, loyal, just and pure,

Far be it, that I should write thee sin or blame,

Or think thee unbefitting holiest place,

Perpetual fountain of domestic sweets,

Whose bed is undefiled and chaste Pronounced[16]

Thomas Hooker, (1586-1647) New England Puritan pastor and founder of the Colony of Connecticut, wrote about the love between husband and wife in terms no Catholic cleric would dare.

The man whose heart is endeared to the woman he loves…dreams of her in the night, hath her in his eye and apprehension when he awakes, museth on her as he sits at the table…She lies in his bosom. And his heart trusts in her, which forceth all to confess that the stream of his affection, like a mighty current, runs with full tide and strength.[17]


All this points to the fact that Puritans celebrated love and marital sex in a way that was Hebraic and biblical. They even encouraged remarriage after the loss of a spouse. They did, however, draw biblical bounds around sexuality, and, for instance, abhorred any type of public display of sexuality. For this belief in modesty modern writers continue to berate them as prudes and anti-sex.


Puritanism and the Biblical Work Ethic: [18]


John Calvin made major contributions to the recovery of a biblical work ethic for the Christian layperson –the very thing absent in the Medieval tradition of spirituality. The model community he established in Geneva was controversial, but it was a success in an area Calvin did not imagine. Its biblically centered theology of work began to disperse the anti-commerce prejudices of traditional theology and established the pattern for the coming prosperous Europe. Christians could pursue the devout life and labor in any lawful business without guilt that they had missed the “way of perfection” of celibate, monastic life.

Just as with the theology of sexuality, what the Reformers began, the Puritans elaborated. An early example is the pioneer work of the merchant John Browne, who specialized in trade with Spain. In 1591 he published a textbook for aspiring merchants. It included practical advice on dealing with foreign merchants, rates of exchange and the like, all interspersed with a biblical perspective:

The Godly and diligent man shall have prosperitie in all his wayes: but he that followeth pleasure and voluptuousnesse, shall have much sorrow before he die… If thou wilt prosper well pray: if thou wilt have blessings, restore what thou hast evil gotten: if thou wilt have joy of thy labors, be single in thy tongue and eye, use no lying, nor deceit….[19]

What is noticeable of Browne is that he took the promises of the Book of Proverbs literally and seriously, as operating in everyday life for earthy goals – no allegories here. Compare this with what St. Augustine thought of merchants as inherently dangerous.

Let traders hear and change their life; and if they have been such, be not such; … let them not approve, not praise [trading]; let them disapprove, condemn, be changed, if trading is a sin. For on this account, O thou trader, because of a certain eagerness for getting, whenever you shall have suffered loss, you will blaspheme; … But whenever for the price of the goods which you are selling, thou not only liest, but even falsely swearest; how in your mouth all the day long is there the praise of God?[20] 


Browne had rediscovered the literal meaning of the Hebraic precepts and advised their use as principles of successful business. Similarly, John Norden, another lay writer, wrote A Pensive Man’s Practice, which was a prayer book filled with model prayers for such occasions as safe voyage and successful living in everyday life. It was reprinted forty times between 1584 and 1640.[21] Significantly, opposition to the new layman’s prayer books and manuals came from the clergy who believed these works were too “worldly” and not sufficiently concerned with theological matters – a touch of Phariseeism to be sure.[22]

In fact many Puritan ministers held on to the traditional (Medieval) view that a mercantile life was ungodly. The early Puritan pastors of New England often railed against the merchants in their communities and contrasted them to the “honest” farmer. It took a generation of more biblically attuned Puritan theologians to see this attitude was unbiblical.[23]

Among them was William Perkins (1558-1603), Puritan theologian and Cambridge professor. He became the most influential and widely read of Elizabethan theologians. In his work A Treatise of the Vocation or Calling of Men, written about 1600, there would be no Christian hidalgos, such as Don Quixote, who did not work. Honest labor, including merchant’s work, was essential to righteousness, and idleness was a sin:

Sloth and negligence in the duties of our callings are a disorder against the comely order which God hath set in the societies of mankind, both in church and commonwealth. And, indeed idleness and sloth are the causes of many damnable sins. The idle body and the idle brain is [sic] the shop of the devil.[24]

Unlike the Catholic tradition which saw a hierarchy of vocations with the celebate, monastic life as the highest calling, Perkins proclaimed that man could please God perfectly by living in faith in whatever honest occupation he was called, “And the action of the shepherd in keeping sheep, performed as I said in his kind, is as good a work before God, as is the action of a judge in giving sentence, or a magistrate in ruling, or a minister in preaching.[25]

The writings of William Perkins were among the most often imported for the personal and pastoral libraries of the colonies. His and other works like it established the work ethic for the American colonies. (The exception being the South, where slavery distorted the work ethic back to a feudal pattern with the slaves instead of peasants.) Cotton Mather, one of the most influential Puritan pastors in America, repeated Perkins’s themes a century later in Two Brief Discourses, One Directing a Christian in His General Calling; Another Directing Him in His Personal Calling.

Mather reworked Perkins’s idea that every Christian has a general calling on his life to worship and serve the Lord, but in addition, a calling from God for a specific, useful livelihood. The Rev. Mather believed it was the individual’s duty to seek God for specific direction as to which business, trade or profession to follow. Once the Christian has discerned the heavenly directive, he could trust in God’s promises to give him success, provided that daily he commend his work to the Lord in prayer, “Would a man Rise by his Business? I say, then let him Rise to his Business. It was foretold. Prov. 22.29, Seest thou a man Diligint in his Business? He shall stand before Kings; He shall come to preferment.”[26]

The net result of Puritan theology on work was revolutionary. For the first time in Christendom since the Fall of Rome, a merchant was given a “pass” as an honorable profession. Further, they were given specific guidance as to honorable behavior in commerce that overrode the Medieval suspicion of profit. This had immediate revolutionary results in bringing about the expansion of the economies of England, New England and the Netherlands (where Puritan influence was strong) and later the rest of Northern Europe.[27]

Secular Temptations: Ben Franklin

In his famous Autobiography Ben Franklin described how another of Mather’s books, Essays to Do Good, influenced him. Franklin accepted the ethical teachings of Puritanism while rejecting, like other Enlightenment intellectuals, many of the core doctrines of Christianity. Franklin was a deist who labored like a Puritan, a pattern that became common in the United States. Franklin’s Autobiography at times reads like the famous journal of Jonathan Edwards, the great theologian of revival, as both had long lists of things to do for self-improvement. The critical distinction was that Edwards always closed his lists by saying “with God’s help.” Franklin trusted in his willpower and self-discipline.

In the nations influenced by Reformation theology an era of economic expansion, innovation and scientific progress developed that was to be called the industrial revolution. The German sociologist Max Weber was the first to understand that this economic revolution was indeed sparked by Reformation theology. Weber’s masterwork, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, also showed that the traditional, “other worldly” aspects of Catholic theology, aside from its inadequate work ethic, had delayed Europe’s economic growth.[28]

As Franklin’s autobiography showed, the danger with the “Protestant ethic” is that it can become pure materialism when Christian faith is absent. A successful man or woman can work diligently, acquire the admiration of his or her colleagues, and this fulfills the basic human need for self-esteem – all without a spiritual motive or concern about true godliness.


Great theologians, bad politicians:


The English Civil War (1642-1645) pitted King Charles I against the parliamentary forces. The parliamentary army was composed mainly of Puritans and other devout Protestants. Under the brilliant military leadership of Oliver Cromwell, who was strongly Puritan, the parliamentary army won and ultimately beheaded Charles.

Oliver Cromwell wished to rule in conjunction with parliament, but lost patience with its political bickering and incompetence. He became “Lord Proctor” – king without the title. Cromwell divided Great Britain into military districts. His army helped enforce the laws, including many restraints on public conduct, such as violations of the Sabbath.

Cromwell closed the theatres, and Englishmen could not publicly see their beloved Shakespearean plays. Cromwell and other Puritans were not against staged drama per say. In fact, John Milton, perhaps the greatest Puritan writer of all, wrote several dramas (masques) himself.[29] The real issue was the after-theater “jigs.” These were B-grade skits, invariably filled with ribald humor and suggestive dancing (think: “Saturday Night Live”).[30] The jigs were performed after the serious dramas preformed at the theatres. But Cromwell made no distinction between serious play and jig, and closed them all down.

When Cromwell died the Protectorate was overthrown, and in 1660 the monarchy was reestablished. Most Englishmen breathed a sigh of relief, partied, and reopened their theaters. The restored monarchy of Charles II was known for its corruption and loose morals, but for many that was more acceptable for daily life than the Puritan government, and that judgment has been normative to most historians since.


The Witchcraft Trials:


The incident that ultimately discredited Puritanism, both English and American, in modern eyes was the Salem, Massachusetts, witchcraft trials that took place in 1692. Like all the witchcraft trials and investigations of the time, the courts attempted to deal with the demonic without knowledge about, or the use of the gifts of the Spirit – most especially discernment of spirits. Even within that Spirit-deficient context, the trials were bungled and carried out in contradiction to the standard rules of evidence of the times. In the long run the trials were used as a bludgeon to discredit the Puritans and anything to do with Puritanism.


The Devil’s Victory in Salem:


For the average American, Puritanism is synonymous with the Salem witchcraft trials. The most popular account of the Salem witch trials is the 1952 play by Arthur Miller, The Crucible, which was also made into a movie that was seen by millions. The reality is that The Crucible is a distorted and historically inaccurate account of the trials. In it Miller presents the liberal, materialist perspective – that nothing supernatural took place in Salem. For Miller, the young girl accusers faked their torment for various reasons, as in attention or sexual longings. Miller took the liberty to make one of the thirteen-year-old accusers into a seventeen year old in order to play out more credibly his hypothesis of sexual longings. Miller’s presentation represents the view of most text-book histories (and sadly many Christians). [31]

A few things must be noted to put the trials in proper perspective. All Christian of 17th Century believed that witchcraft was real and deserving of capital punishment. The procedures used in English courts and the Puritans were much superior to many European nations, were often mob rule disposed of the accused before any sort of trial.[32] The horror movie motif of a mob attacking a vampire and driving a stake through his heart represents a vague remembrance of this. The European mob vs. witch scenario parallels the current situation in much of Africa, where persons accused of witchcraft are often lynched by angry mobs.[33]

In the 1950s, when Miller researched and wrote his play, only a few scholars took witchcraft seriously, or had studied it extensively. But since the 1960’s, when Wicca and other witches “came out,” and the whole occult scene blossomed, there has developed a much better understanding of witchcraft and its history.[34]

It is now clear that witchcraft and witch covens were common in Europe from the earliest days of Christianity. The covens were derived from the “left over” Paganism from the incomplete and haphazard way in which various European peoples were evangelized. The most extreme example of this being the Gypsy peoples, the Romani, who were never evangelized at all, and to this day regularly practice witchcraft and occultism.

The early monk missionaries of Northern Europe often focused on converting local kings and tribal leaders, who then forced all their subjects to be baptized. This seemed like a good policy, and it certainly produced great numbers of baptized “Christians.” But it left resentful Pagan followers in place, baptized but unconverted, to go underground and continue their rites and religion.[35]

Unfortunately, the Catholic Church for the most part allowed this situation to go on uncorrected for centuries. As a result, Medieval Catholics were often quite open to all sorts of divination, occult, and superstitious practices that blended with their more orthodox Sunday practices. Most churchmen looked upon witchcraft as delusion and something that could be lived with – a curious resonance with modern secular views. This parallels Catholic practice in Latin America, where the Church there often allows indigenous rites and worship to go on without much opposition – as long as the people show up for Sunday services.

In Europe, the Church’s tolerance of witchcraft began to change under the medieval papacy of John XXII. He had a true discernment that witchcraft was serious, and believed that its rites were “demonic sacraments” capable of real spiritual effectiveness and harm. In 1320 set up a commission to make witchcraft a “heresy’ that could be dealt with by the Inquisition.[36] The local inquisitors then attacked the problem with all of their rational, legal and investigative tools that they had used against heretics (including, of course, interrogation by torture). But nothing in the theology or practice of the Church could be a substitute for the gift of discernment of spirits that was no longer practiced.

By 1484 the famous textbook guide witch hunting, the Malleus Maleficiarum, had been compiled and published. Thus began the witch-hunting period of late medieval Europe. No one noticed that the New Testament pattern of countering witchcraft and sorcery with the power of the Spirit by temporary immobilization, as modeled by Paul (Acts 13:6-12). More correctly, no one imagined that such a thing was possible in the Church Age. Many innocent persons died as a result of this spiritual incapacity (and some real witches too). In recent decades a mythology has arisen via the radical feminists, who often have no concern for the truth, that up to nine million witches were burned from the Middle Ages to modern times.[37] This is a ridiculous and fantastic number, the real number being in the thousands – not counting mob vigilantism.

In regard to the Salem witch trials, we can now appreciate the tremendous work done by the Chadwick Hansen in his work Witchcraft in Salem.[38] Building on the new scholarship that took witchcraft seriously, he meticulously researched the Salem trials from the manuscript evidence of the trials, and new archeological findings. Yes, archeological investigations had found witchcraft paraphernalia in Salem such as voodoo like dolls stuffed with goat’s hair. His analysis showed that there was indeed true witchcraft in Salem, and that some of the executed were indeed guilty.

Hansen’s landmark work comes short only in not affirming that supernatural events really did happen at Salem. Rather he still believed that witchcraft worked because it victims had “faith” in the power of witchcraft and responded psychosomatically to the claims of local witches. This is a step forward from the traditional 18th and 19th Century views that it was all fake, and that Cotton Mather, the judge, was a cruel fanatic, and the judicial system ridiculous.

But even Hansen admits that the documents reported certain events that are hard to reduce to psychosomatic behavior. The victims were often forced by unseen hands into bodily contortions not humanly possible. This is a far cry from “The Crucible,” where faked gasping and shouting signifies the victims’ torments. In fact, unnatural contortions have been a constant sign of demonic activity. The film “The Exorcists” shows this dramatically when the inhabiting demon twists the possessed person’s head 360° – an unforgettable scene in the picture. At Salem there were records of victim levitations, and inexplicable marks on the victim’s bodies, again, as pictured in “The Exorcist.” All of this is truly representative of paranormal events that happens during severe possession or demonic attack and exorcisms.[39]

Perhaps Hansen was reluctant to call the witches at Salem demonically empowered out of prudence. Doing so would have discredited his fine work from academic circles and much of the public. As it is, his work has revolutionized the understanding of the Salem trials, and has influenced subsequent scholarship.[40]

A major factor that made the Salem trials so awful was the breakdown of proper rules of evidence. Both Catholic and Protestant witch investigators of the period understood that “spectral evidence” was inadmissible evidence. Specifically, at Salem the girl victims claimed that their attacks began and were continued by ghost-like apparitions of real persons in the locality. Churchmen had long known that Satan can disguise himself as an “Angel of Light” ( 2 Cor. 11:14) and of any person. Thus, that a ghost looking just like “Mrs. A” who attacks the victim does not prove that Mrs. A is really behind the attack. It might be just an attempt by the demonic to create confusion and accuse a totally innocent person.

Cotton Mather, the leading cleric of the area wrote to Judge John Richards, one of the judges of the trials that spectral evidence was deceitful and treacherous, and admissible evidence must be from other sources, as in the physical evidence of witch paraphernalia or especially confessions.


And yet I most humbly beg you that in the management of the affair in your worthy hands, you do not lay more stress upon pure specter testimony than it will bear. When you are satisfied or have good plain legal evidence that the Demons which molest our poor neighbors do indeed represent such and such people to the sufferers. Thought this be a presumption, yet I suppose you will not reckon it is conviction that people so represented are witches to be immediately exterminated. It is very certain that the Devils have sometimes represented the shapes of persons not only innocent but very virtuous…[41]


Unfortunately, in the course of the trials, and in the very court room, the young victims were constantly attacked, forced into contortions, etc., and the authorities panicked. The victims’ piteous cries seemed too hideous to disregard, and several persons were convicted by spectral evidence alone.[42]

But even if all of the wisdom of Catholic and Protestant anti-witch procedures had been followed, the trials would have all fallen short of New Testament standards. Paul’s modeled in Acts 13 how the Holy Spirit’s power can bind and stop witchcraft without trial or civil court intervention. But with the stealth heresy of cessationism in place, and the gifts of the Spirit absent, especially discernment of spirits, that was all beyond the pale of consideration.

The Salem witch trials were a triumph for the Satanic Kingdom. The Church was powerless to discern the true origins of the witchcraft assaults, and seemed bumbling and incompetent, and several innocent persons were executed. More importantly the concept of true witchcraft was cast in doubt. This was a major element in the coming secularization and Sadduceeic drift of Christian theology where the supernatural was relegated to either the biblical past, or mystical never.


[1] On the Puritans, a good introduction is J. I Packer, Quest for Godliness The Puritan Vision of the ChristianLlife (Wheaton: Crossway, 1990), and Leland Ryken’s Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were (Grand Rapids; Zondervan; 1986). See also the following issues of Church History: #41, “The American Puritans,”, and “Jonathan Edwards: Puritan pastor and theologian,” #77, “Richard Baxter and the English Puritans.” #89

[2] Ryken, Worldly Saints.

[3] J.I Packer. A Quest for Godliness, chapter six, “The Puritans as Interpreters of Scripture.”

[4] For this view, and a wide variety of pro-Jewish, prot-Zionest views of Puritan theologians and writers see: Richard W. Cogley, “The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Restoration of Israel in the “Judo-Centric” Strand of Puritan Millenarianism,” Church History, 72:2 (June 2003), 304-332. It may well be that the Jewish state will have a major role in overthrowing Islam, which would make the Puritan writers acutely prophetic.

[5] On Cromwell’s view of the Jews see: George Drake, “The Ideology of Oliver Cromwell,” Church History, 35:3 (Summer, 1966), 259-272.

[6] On this topic see: Keith l Sprunger, “English and Dutch Sabbataranism and the Development of Puritan Social Theology (1600-1660), Church History, 51:1 (March 1982), 24-38. For a contemporary view of why Sabbath rest is a “good” that should not be skipped see: Judith Shulovitz, The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time (New York: Random House: 2010).

[7] See Amy Julia Becker, “Secular People Need Sabbath, too.” Her Meneutics, Nov. 18, 2010. Becker cites secular articles and books that laud different forms of Sabbath rest.

[8]On Puritan covenant theology see especially, Brooks E. Holifield, The Covenant Sealed: The Development of Puritan Sacramental Theology in Old and New England (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974). Also, Michael McGiffet, “Grace and Works: The Rise and Divisions of Covenant Divinity in Elizabethan Puritanism,” Harvard Theological Review, 75:4 (October, 1982), 463-502.

[9] On Calvin’s appreciation of Old Testament covenants see: Institutes: II, xiv, 4.

[10] McGiffet, “Grace and Work,” 467.

[11] Richard Alleine, Vindicie Pietatis: or, A Vindication of Godliness… (London: n.p., 1664), the actual example covenant of this work was written by his son in law, Joseph Alleine.

[12] On this issue see Leland Ryken’s Worldly Saints: chapter 3, “Marriage and Sex,” and Daniel M. Doriani, “The Puritan, Sex, and Pleasure,” Westminster Theological Journal, 53:1 (Spring 1991), 125-43. See also, Edmond S. Morgan, The Puritan Family: Religious and Domestic Relations in Seventeenth-Century New England, rev. ed . (New York: Harper & Row, 1966), chapter 2 “Husband and Wife.”

[13] Ryken, Worldy Saints, 47.

[14] See: C. S Lewis, The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition (Oxford: the Clarendon Press, 1936), and Ryken, Worldly Saints. 50-51

[15] John Milton, Tetrachardon 2:597

[16] John Milton, Paradise Lost, Bk 4, lines 741ff.

[17] Cited in Morgan, Puritan Family, 61-62.

[18] This section is mostly derived from the excellent study by Louis b. Wright, “The Whole Duty of the Citizen,” in: Middle-Class Culture in Elizabethan England (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1935.). See Also Perry Mill, “The Protestant Ethic,” in: Michael McGiffert, Puritanism and the American Experience (Reading: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.1996).

[19]Wright, “Whole Duty,” 161-162.

[20] St. Augustine, Exposition of the Psalms, Psalm 71, v14-15, available online at multiple sites.

[21] Ibid., 246.

[22] Ibid., 247.

[23] On how Puritan theology morphed from Medieval anti-merchant to pro-merchant see: Mark Valeri, Heavenly Merchandise: How Religion Shaped Commerce in Puritan America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010).

[24] William Perkins, A Treatise of the Vocations or Callings of Man, in: The Works of William Perkins, ed.., Ian Breward (Applefond: The Sutton Courtney Press, 1970), 450.

[25] Ibid., 458.

[26] Whitney A Griswold, “Three Puritans on Prosperity,” The New England Quarterly 7 (Sept., 1934). 458.

[27]Deirdre N. Mccloskey, Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economists Can’t Explain the Modern World (Chicago; University of Chicago Press, 2010).

[28] Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (London, n.p., 1930). The “Weber thesis” on the origins of European/American prosperity first appeared as articles during 1904 and 1905. The volume of commentaries and other works generated by Weber’s insights is enormous.

[29] Masques were theatre that had much spectacle and scenery, and less dialogue than normal plays.

[30] Lucie Skeeping, “The Jig,” History Today, 60:2 (Feb., 2010), 1824.

[31] See the discussion of Miller’s distorted analysis fully described in: David C. Downing’s excellent articles, “The Mystery of Spirit Possession” parts 1 and 2, Books and Culture, Jan. 1, 1997.

[32] Jeffrey Burton Russell, “Witch Craze: Terror and Fantasy in Baroque Germany,” Church History, 76:2 (June, 2007), 411-413.

[33] Peter Jenkins, “Notes From the Global Church,” Christian Century, 125 (Dec. 2, 2008), 45.

[34] See the multiple works by Jeffrey Burtan Russell, especially his Witchcraft in the Middle Ages (Ithica: Cornell University Press, 1972).

[35] Russell , Witchcraft

[36] Isabel Iribarren, “From Black Magic to Heresy: A doctrinal leap in the pontificate of John XXII,” Church History, 75 (March 2007), 32-60.

[37] Irving Hexham, “The Invention of Modern Witchcraft,” Books and Culture (Jan./Feb. 2004).

[38] Chadwick Hansen, Witchcraft in Salem (New York: G. Braziller, 1969). Available in paperback.

[39]“The Exorcist” was not just an imaginary “horror” picture, even though it is shelved as such at video stores, but a carefully researched work based on real cases. All of what was shown in the movie can be documented clearly in the history of Catholic exorcisms. See: William Peter Blatty, I’ll Tell Them I Remember You (New York: W.W. Norton, 1973). On the reality of demonic spiritual phenomenon really happening in the Salem Witchcraft trials see the more recent study: Larry Gragg’s, The Salem Witch Crisis (New York: Prager, 1992), Chapter 1, “Mists of Darkness.”

[40]On the central role of Hansen’s work see: R.D. Stock, “Salem Witchcraft and Spiritual Evil: A Century of Non-Whig Revisionism,” Christianity and Literature, 42:1 (Autumn 1992), 141-156.

[41] Cited in Hanse, p.132.

[42] For a details discussion of this misuse of spectral evidence see: Dean George Lampros, “Season of Anguish: The formal Proceedings conducted During the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692,” Westminster Theological Journal, 56 (1994), 303-327

William DeArteaga

William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include, Quenching the Spirit (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), and Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He and his wife Carolyn continue in their healing, teaching and writing ministries. He is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations.

1 Comment

  • Reply October 15, 2019

    Varnel Watson


    Click the link to go to the actual article
    then SHARE it on your choice social media

    We need to spread the word out
    Cant thank Dr. William DeArteaga enough for this

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