Revolution and Religion: American Revolutionary War and the Reformed Clergy

Revolution and Religion: American Revolutionary War and the Reformed Clergy

Revolution and Religion: American Revolutionary War and the Reformed Clergy

Revolution and Religion: American Revolutionary War and the Reformed Clergy

Excerpt

What the ordained middle colony Reformed clergy preached and wrote in support of war against foreign aggressors or revolution against domestic tyrants forms the central subject matter of this monograph. It will examine the conditions under which the middle colony Reformed ministers thought it necessary and sufficient for Christians to take up arms against an oppressor. The middle colony Reformed clergy's arguments for revolution against the British Crown in the eighteenth century can be seen better as an extension of the theological heritage of Reformed Protestantism rather than as an abrupt shift from that tradition's arguments to reliance on contemporary political ideology.

Demonstration of that extension into the thought and preaching of the middle colony Reformed clergy requires an overview of the earlier Reformed resistance statements, for, though Reformed theology varied in the finer points, it remained remarkably consistent throughout the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. Within that time span, there arose numerous instances in which Reformed ministers were challenged to respond to the same question of whether or not they and their congregations should resist oppressive rulers, or repel aggressive invaders.

Though the biblical position of obedience to the ruling authorities remained the starting point of the political ethics of Reformed ministers throughout the centuries, Reformed theology in general retained a potential for justifying violent resistance to oppression and aggression. Reformed theologians never condoned offensive war, but their justifications of defensive war . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.