Puritans Essay Examples & Outline
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Puritans was a subgroup of the English Protestants that came into play in the 16th and 17th centuries. The group comprised of deviant clergy members of the Church of England that perceived the church to be tolerant of Catholicism doctrines. English religious laws were adverse constraints in the development and advancement of puritanism. However, emigration of the puritanism congregations to Netherlands, New England, Ireland and Wales led to the development of the movement. The English laws were restricting change of the Church of England from within eventually failed since the puritanism movement was rife in the surrounding lands (George and Walker, 476).
The term “puritan” was derogatorily used to refer to those that disagreed with the Elizabethan religious settlement. They were also referred by the third parties as precisionists. The references came from the outside parties since they did not have a standard name that they used to refer to themselves. Tow broad categories of Puritans were separationists and non-separationists. The two groups agreed on the need for change. However, they disagreed on the extent and ways of effecting the change.
The name of the Puritans originated from the desire of the group to come up with a pure church and model of Protestantism (Gunther, 235-240). The group perceived the Church of England as a shadow of Catholicism. This perception led to the belief that the clamor for inclusion of Protestant denomination was vain. Their standpoint of the episcopal system of worship conducted by the Church of England spilled over to the dress code of the clergy. Episcopalian church and its associated tenets were linking factors between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church. The Puritans wanted to rid the church of the Catholic rituals hence purify it. Hence, they were perceived to be Puritans. Pejoratively, the word indicates extremist tendencies that the group upheld.
Human nature of abhorrence to change worked with the group and it mission. English culture did not accommodate the extreme changes advocated by the Puritans. The society was built on the teachings of the English church, and the ruling elite wanted a single religion that would be easily manipulated. Government that insisted on the inclusion of the religion in the government also increased the rejection of the Puritanism in England.
The insistence of the government on the development of a single church to cater for all the people also worked against the Puritans. In response to the rise of the puritanism risk to the Church of England, the government passed legislations barring the Puritans from changing the Church of England from within. The move barred the only channel that the Puritans could exploit in the development of their agenda since the option of developing another church could not be tolerated. The closure of all channels translated into the ultimate rejection of the Puritans (Waller, 142).
However, various pockets of Christians were sympathetic to the cause. They formed congregations seeking to advance the cause of puritanism. When the tolerance of the government waned, the congregations of Puritans in England migrated to other countries in the region as mentioned before and worked for the cause from there. The main leaders of the movement were William Bridge, Thomas Gouge, Thomas Manton, Stephen Charnock, Richard Baxter, John Owen and John Flavel (George and Walker, 476). These leaders led the development of the Puritan doctrine. However, the main founder of the sect was John Calvin. The fact that the Puritans technically originated from the Calvinists explains the similarities in creed purpose and execution of their cause.
The Puritans managed to initiate the first wave of the modern Protestantism. They developed their attire and rituals that were divergent from the Episcopal practices. They also focused on the development of a new perception of Christianity that was characterized by the improved freedom of worship. The beliefs propagated by the group were increasingly accommodated in the rest of the world more so in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and New England. The teachings of the Puritans were also adopted by the first settler in the United States of American. The settlers from the regions were mainly from the Protestant society. New England was the landing place of the Puritans.
However, they spread to the rest of the new world such that the impact of the Puritans was widely acknowledged. The definition of the religion was diversified to include the personal beliefs of the followers. There was also a clamor for the separation of the government from the church could be traced to the first Puritan theologies arguments (George and Walker, 476). The success of the Puritans in other parts of the world led to the need of the Roman Catholic Church to accommodate some of the views that were proposed by the leftwing groups.
The Puritan and other affiliated congregations became the benchmark of the American version of Christianity with the Catholics giving up on winning the new world. The foundation laid by the Puritans led to a new read of Christianity that accommodated the diversity. Puritanism views were the foundations of the American democracy.
The pursuance of the moral purity in the individual to the ecclesiastical levels was highly encouraged. The Puritans focused on the development of the new brand of religion that was encompassed in the direct observation of the biblical teachings to the least detail. They also brought in a new brand of religion that emphasized on the individual interpretation of the Bible. Adherence of the followers to the biblical teaching and doing God’s will defined the happiness that a person received in the future.
George, C. H., and Eric C. Walker. 'Elizabethan Puritanism.'. Renaissance Quarterly 25.4 (1972): 476. Web.
Gunther, Karl. 'The Origins Of English Puritanism'. History Compass 4.2 (2006): 235-240. Web.
Trinterud, Leonard J. 'The Origins Of Puritanism'. Church Hist 20.01 (1951): 37. Web.
Waller, George M. Puritanism In Early America. Boston: Heath, 1950. Print.