Thoughts on the Puritans' Worldview
by Jay Banks
Just as I would say there were (and are) sinners and misguided people in the South I know, I've been around them all my life I'm sure the same holds true for the Puritans. The Puritans did, however, have a remarkable Christian worldview that played heavily into making our country what it was...or at least what it was right up until the North messed things up in 1861.*
Two of the most impressive things about the Puritans' worldview was their view of the civil magistrate and their view of man's total depravity. Though often termed a theocracy, the Puritan/Calvinist view of church and state was (is), basically, one that the church doesn't answer to the state and the state doesn't answer to the church; but both the church and the state have to answer to God. I believe this to be the correct Biblical view, too. The notion that we can let the Bible guide us in our daily lives in all areas except politics is misguided. What this position is really saying is that God is okay on Sunday, but we know much better than Him when it comes to politics.
I believe the Puritan/Calvinist view of man's total depravity is absolutely correct. Without this view, constitutional government is basically meaningless. If man is basically good which he isn't then there is no need to bind him down with the chains of a constitution. It's going to be very hard to return to our constitutionally limited government if our churches do not get back to teaching theologically sound doctrine, in my humble opinion.
* We can all rejoice over the demise of slavery in this country. But the war of 1861 resulted only in the formal abolition of the institution. The enduring legacy of that war is not the abolition of slavery, but the creation of an unconstitutional, unrestrained, leviathan-like central government which has effectively destroyed our liberties and enslaved us all.
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