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6 - The creation of a sacred Christian society

The gospel of reformation: the creation of holy Christian fellowships

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2009

Avihu Zakai
Affiliation:
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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Summary

The idea of society is a powerful image. It is potent in its own right to control or to stir men to action. This image has form; it has external boundaries, margins, internal structure. Its outlines contain power to reward conformity and repulse attack. There is energy in its margins and unstructured areas.

Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger, 1979

ENGLAND: “SPUED OUT OF CHRIST MOUTH”

At the turn of the sixteenth century it was all too evident for some Puritans that God had “A controversy with the inhabitants of this land,” because of England's continuous failure to execute the true reformation. William Perkins, one of the most influential Puritan theologians of his age and fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, powerfully depicted the gloomy state of religion in England. Pointing to the period between Elizabeth's accession to the throne when Protestantism was established in England in 1558 and the middle of the 1590s, he declared

Religion hath been amongst us this thirty-five years, but the more it is published, the more it it is contemned and reproached of many, etc. Thus not profaneness nor wickedness but religion itself is a byword, a mockingstock, and a matter of reproach; so that in England at this day the man and woman that begins to profess religion and to serve God, must resolve with himself to sustain mocks and injuries even as though he lived amongst the enemies of Religion.

Type
Chapter
Information
Exile and Kingdom
History and Apocalypse in the Puritan Migration to America
, pp. 207 - 230
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1991

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