Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Other Side of the History of Jamestown

Here is a nice summary of one side of Jamestown.

It is filled with much detail, tracing the crucial years of its establishment in 1607 until, by God's all-encompassing providence, it reached critical mass, destined to be a part of America's great religious past.

Well, more precisely America's Protestant religious past. They certainly were not Roman Catholics.

In fact they were Anglicans. The Anglican church's 39 Articles (in the Book of Common Prayer) describe a theology foreign to most Christians.

The Articles affirm the bondage of the will:

X. Of Free-Will.
The condition of Man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith; and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.

They affirm predestination:

XVII. Of Predestination and Election.
Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour.

Lastly, the Articles teach baptism of infants:

XXVII. Of Baptism.

The Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.

They honored the Christian Sabbath: morning and evening worship with catechism time as well. They even catechized.

Furthermore, these colonists used the Geneva Bible, which included Calvinistic notes.

Dear reader, this is not written to be as offensive as possible. I write this because it is true. In fact, I was reminded of this problem while studying the history of homeschooling. The leading homeschoolers remind their detractors that the schools are using outdated history books that not only lie through commission (making stuff up) but, more insidiously, the books lie through omission. Think about how much the public schools teach about the Christian origins of America? the Founders? the Constitution? Exactly. You get the point.

So, we ought not omit these important truths of the pre-Revolutionary American culture. There were theological difference, yet from Jamestown to Boston, from English Anglicans to French Huguenots, from laymen to clergy, the culture was substantially Reformed.

That is what is missing in many Christians' history lessons.
That is the other side of Jamestown.


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