Christians and the American Revolution

Christians and the American Revolution

by Mark A. Noll



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ISBN-13: 9780802817068
Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
Publication date: 01/28/1978
Pages: 195

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Christians and the American Revolution 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
cbl_tn on LibraryThing 5 months ago
In this brief study, the author discusses four ways Christians responded to the American Revolution. Many Christians in denominations with Puritan roots (identified by the author as Congregational, Presbyterian, Baptist, and German and Dutch Reformed) melded their religious beliefs with Whig political views. Noll calls this the "Patriotic response".Some Christians, while sympathetic to the Patriotic cause, viewed themselves as Christians first and Patriots second. They used the occasion of the Revolution to call for reformation and repentance, pointing out, for example, the hypocrisy of Patriots who championed freedom for themselves while keeping slaves in bondage. This group also had its roots in the Puritan tradition. Noll calls it the "reforming response." What Noll calls the "Loyalist response" was largely, but not exclusively, an Anglican response to the War. Anglican clergy had taken an oath not to harm the King, and the Anglican liturgy included prayers for the King. Many Anglican clergymen could not violate their oaths or change the church's liturgy without violating their own consciences. Many Methodists followed John Wesley's example in siding with the Loyalists. Many Catholics also sided with Loyalists, viewing Great Britain as more tolerant of their religious practices than were American Protestants.Pacifism was an integral part of the theology of several religious groups, including Quakers, Mennonites, the Church of the Brethren, and Moravians. There were some differences of expression between these denominations. For example, many Quakers refused to pay taxes levied in support of the war or to pay fines in lieu of military service. On the other hand, Moravians distinguished between personal violence and state action in self-defense; although Moravians didn't participate in the war as combatants, their beliefs allowed them to pay military taxes and pay for substitutes.This is a well-researched book, but the writing is dry and academic. I recommend it for those with an academic interest in the topic.