On Religious Liberty: Selections from the Works of Roger by James Calvin Davis

By James Calvin Davis

Banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his refusal to comply to Puritan non secular and social criteria, Roger Williams validated a haven in Rhode Island for these persecuted within the identify of the non secular institution. He performed a lifelong debate over non secular freedom with exclusive figures of the 17th century, together with Puritan minister John Cotton, Massachusetts governor John Endicott, and the English Parliament. James Calvin Davis gathers jointly very important choices from Williams's private and non-private writings on spiritual liberty, illustrating how this renegade Puritan notably reinterpreted Christian ethical theology and the occasions of his day in a robust argument for freedom of judgment of right and wrong and the separation of church and nation. For Williams, the enforcement of non secular uniformity violated the fundamental values of Calvinist Christianity and presumed upon God's authority to talk to the person judgment of right and wrong. He argued that country coercion used to be hardly ever powerful, usually inflicting extra damage to the church and strife to the social order than did non secular pluralism. this can be the 1st choice of Williams's writings in 40 years attaining past his significant paintings, The Bloody Tenent, to incorporate different decisions from his private and non-private writings. This conscientiously annotated publication introduces Williams to a brand new iteration of readers.

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Additional info for On Religious Liberty: Selections from the Works of Roger Williams (John Harvard Library)

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The second half of The Bloody Tenent of Persecution is an equally detailed response to a document entitled “A Model of Church and Civil Power,” which elaborates on the cooperative powers of church and state to which Williams had such strong objections. Williams claimed that this document was prepared by the Bay Colony ministers and sent to the church in Salem as a chastisement for their delinquency and their support of Williams, but Cotton denied both his role in it and that it was ever sent to Salem.

Even Adam, the first son, was understood as a type for the “second Adam,” Jesus Christ. While the Puritans did not ignore the literal meanings of these Old Testament texts, they be- Introduction 27 lieved their real benefit lay in how they prefigured the New Testament of Christ. Not all passages in the Bible were to be read typologically, however, so Puritan theologians were challenged to distinguish those places in the Old Testament where the literal meaning held primary force from those whose significance was gleaned typologically.

Richard Baxter, A Holy Commonwealth, ed. William Lamont (1659; reprint, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 29–30. 17. Letter from John Cotton to John Hall, The Correspondence of John Cotton, 194. Sargent Bush identifies the recipient of this letter by Williams’s version of the events surrounding Cotton’s acquisition of An Humble Supplication, namely, Williams’s contention that it was not he but a “Master Hall of Roxbury” who sent the text to Cotton for his reaction. However Cotton came to possess An Humble Supplication, he seems to have sent at least a copy of his response (that is, this letter) to Williams, whether or not Williams was the principal addressee.

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