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Thread: Calvinist Founders of America

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    Calvinist Founders of America

    I read this essay today and found it fairly interesting. I have wondered to just what degree the earliest settlers of what is now the U.S.A. were calvinist. This essay gives a little glimpse of that.


    http://reformed-theology.org/html/issue06/calvin.htm


    I especially think the following quote is interesting!

    "Never in the world's history had a nation been founded by such people as these. Furthermore these people came to America not primarily for commercial gain or advantage, but because of deep religious convictions. It seems that the religious persecutions in various European countries had been providentially used to select out the most progressive and enlightened people for the colonization of America."

    Does anyone else have any information that would expand on this?

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    Re: Calvinist Founders of America

    I tend to believe that Boettner stated only a partial truth on this matter as he often did regarding many things. The statement certainly smacks of historical revisionism if it is to be interpreted as a comprehensive summary of the early republic and all that was involved with it. The Calvinistic influence in the formative views of the early American republic should not be underestimated. However, it may certainly also be overestimated. 'Calvinism' as used by Boettner would also include Arminianism (remember, Arminianism and Wesleyan Methodism are NOT one and the same). Arminianism was originally Calvinist by profession. Very few predestinarians without compromise have been born and bred in the U.S.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Calvinist Founders of America

    I think it is important to evaluate individual propositions espoused by Boettner:

    The United States of America owes much to that oldest of American Republics, the Presbyterian Church. It is, of course, not claimed that the Presbyterian Church was the only source from which sprang the principles upon which this republic is founded, but it is claimed that the principles found in the Westminster Standards were the chief basis for the republic, and that "The Presbyterian Church taught, practiced, and maintained in fulness, first in this land that form of government in accordance with which the Republic has been organized." (Roberts). The opening of the Revolutionary struggle found the Presbyterian ministers and churches lined up solidly onthe side of the colonists, and Bancroft accredits them with having made the first bold move toward independence.9 The synod which assembled in Philadelphia in 1775 was the first religious body to declare openly and publicly for a separation from England. It urged the people under its jurisdiction to leave nothing undone that would promote the end in view, and called upon them to pray for the Congress which was then in session.
    The Episcopalian Church was then still united with the Church of England, and it opposed the Revolution. A considerable number of individuals within that Church, however, labored earnestly for independence and gave of their wealth and influence to secure it. It is to be remembered also that the Commander-in-Chief of the American armies, "the father of our country," was a member of her household. Washington himself attended, and ordered all of his men to attend the services of his chaplains, who were clergymen from the various churches. He gave forty thousand dollars to establish a Presbyterian College in his native state, which took his name in honor of the gift and became Washington College.



    It is this over-exoneration of Presbyterian state-church theocracy that has distorted the real history of the American republic. It was the constitution of Rhode Island, founded by the Baptist Roger Williams--who is still intensely disliked by both theocrats and anabaptists for his views of government, that most influenced the constitution of the United States. NOT the ridiculous persecuting government of the 'Calvinist' Massachusetts Bay colony who exiled Williams and his family to die in the middle of winter. Fortunately, the Indians were there to save him!


    The emergence of the American free-state cannot be compared to a Presbyterian versus Anglican church battle. That is ridiculous. It is true that the Scotch-Irish are the largely ignored people in the history of the American republic and their contribution to the cause of independence. But that cannot be explained or limited by the categories of polarization enumerated by Boettner.


    By the way, I respect Boettner more than almost all ordained teachers who call themselves Calvinist! He was the 'farmer theologian' who wrote independently and lacked the recognition and ordination of the established church. I can certainly identify with that big time!










    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Calvinist Founders of America

    One thing is for sure...the dudes dressed like fairies!


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    Re: Calvinist Founders of America

    Quote Originally Posted by Mickey View Post
    One thing is for sure...the dudes dressed like fairies!
    Yep.
    Isaiah 45:7, (KJV), I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

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    Re: Calvinist Founders of America

    Quote Originally Posted by Mickey View Post
    One thing is for sure...the dudes dressed like fairies!
    Read these people last will and testaments. It amazes me how much of God they spoke about and His providence.
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
    GALATIANS 5:22

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    Re: Calvinist Founders of America

    Quote Originally Posted by Dans la Musique View Post
    I read this essay today and found it fairly interesting. I have wondered to just what degree the earliest settlers of what is now the U.S.A. were calvinist. This essay gives a little glimpse of that.


    http://reformed-theology.org/html/issue06/calvin.htm


    I especially think the following quote is interesting!

    \"Never in the world's history had a nation been founded by such people as these. Furthermore these people came to America not primarily for commercial gain or advantage, but because of deep religious convictions. It seems that the religious persecutions in various European countries had been providentially used to select out the most progressive and enlightened people for the colonization of America.\"

    Does anyone else have any information that would expand on this?
    Peter Marshall's "Restoring America"; I just listened to it on Pilgrim Radio.

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