Tuesday, October 28, 2008

History Evangelicals Won't Like

Many conservative Christians would like to go "back to the old days." You know: when America was an explicitly Christian nation. When many state constitutions explicitly identified with Protestant Christianity. When Congress held national days of prayer and fasting. And laws were simpler. Marriage was upheld. The Bible fearlessly taught.

Remember? When the Sabbath laws were actually enforced. Blasphemy laws were upheld. And state-sponsored churches existed.

It was a time, you may recall in your Christian history books, when the vast majority of Americans baptized infants. The Congregationalists of New England, Presbyterians of the Middle & Southern areas, Anglicans of the South and all the Germans, Dutch and French in between all baptized infants according to their respective creeds.

Education and religion were intimately tied back then as well. Most children were catechized (question and answer), especially through the New England Primer school book, many of which included Mather's catechism and/or the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Ministers ran or taught in many of the schools. Weekly lectures (bible studies) were common as well as morning and evening worship on Sunday.

Perhaps you recollect that 60-80% of the churches by 1787 were Calvinistic. Remember what Calvinism is? Refresh your memory by looking up the 39 Articles of the Anglican church or the Westminster Shorter Catechism (that one in the New England Primer) or any of the creeds of the various groups: man is totally depraved such that he never even seeks after God, his will being totally bound by sin; God is the only author of salvation, saving his foreordained people.

Naturally, many Evangelicals were not taught that the Geneva Bible (with Calvinistic notes) was mostly used in the early days and not the KJV. Popular writers included Whitefield, Edwards and Mather--all Calvinists. Many political leaders (especially at the local levels) were Calvinists as well: Witherspoon, Patrick Henry, John Jay and Roger Sherman for instance.

Or, perhaps, when such facts make it back to the Evangelical think-tanks, churches and leaders, they might want to reconsider.

SDG

2 comments:

Nel said...
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Nel said...
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