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America's Christian Leaders: Anne Hutchinson

By Jay Rogers
Published April 4, 2008

n 1636, Anne Hutchinson, the wife of one of Boston’s leading citizens, was charged with heresy and banished from Massachusetts Colony. A woman of learning and great religious conviction, Hutchinson challenged the Puritan clergy and asserted her view of the “Covenant of Grace” – that moral conduct and piety should not be the primary qualifications for “visible sanctification.”

Her preachings were unjustly labeled “antinomianism” by the Puritans – a heresy – since the Christian leaders of that day held to a strong “Covenant of Works” teaching which dictated the need for outward signs of God’s grace. The question of “works versus grace” is a very old one; it goes on forever in a certain type of mind. Both are true doctrines, however, the “Covenant of Grace” is true in a higher sense.

Anne Hutchinson’s teaching can be summed up in a simple phrase which she taught the women who met in her home: “As I do understand it, laws, commands, rules and edicts are for those who have not the light which makes plain the pathway. He who has God’s grace in his heart cannot go astray.”

Actually, what Anne Hutchinson was preaching was not antithetical to what the Puritans believed at all. What began as quibbling over fine points of Christian doctrine ended as a confrontation over the role of authority in the colony. Threatened by meetings she held in her Boston home, the clergy charged Hutchinson with blasphemy. An outspoken female in a male hierarchy, Hutchinson had little hope that many would speak in her defense, and she was being tried by the General Court.

After being sentenced, she went with her family to what is now Rhode Island. Several years later she moved to New York where she and some of her family were massacred by Indians. One of her descendants, Thomas Hutchinson, later became governor of Massachusetts.

Anne Hutchinson pioneered the principles of civil liberty and religious freedom which were written into the Constitution of the United States. The spirit of Anne Hutchinson, the first woman preacher and fearless defender of freedom in New England, survived her persecution and death and it survives even until this day.

See also: The Boston Awakening


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Your comments are welcome!

A point of disagreement with your article is that the arguement is “grace vs. works”; both are necessary, works must flow out of faith and give evidence of it. In that sense Anne H. was incorrect and antithetical to the church. “Faith without works is dead.” Works are governed by God’s laws as outlined in scripture, that makes them a requirement. Without that it leaves every man to do what is right in his own sight antithetical to God’s sight. This leads to the disasters written of in the book of Judges.

Incidentally, FYI and not to be snooty, please spell check the “YOU COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!” bar above this comment window.
Thanks much for the interesting article.

Posted by William on 11/06/2008 10:58 AM #

Gov.Winthrop is alive and well! (re the posting by“William,“11-06-08.) Before he charges Anne Hutchinson with “incorrectness,” he might review the horrors of this bigotry through the ages, and remember that the ‘Judges“of the Old Testament had their own struggles with hatred and violence. (Also, and as a postscript to his “FYI”) I find his concern for a missing letter of the alphabet, not “snooty” as he puts it, but rather a somewhat amusing example of what was facing Ms.Hutchinson. especially in light of the sweeping dictates within his preceding comments.

Posted by andrea on 03/02/2009 10:56 AM #

I am so proud of my G-Grandmothers, Anne Marbury and Mary DYER
Both were strong women
and indeed gave there self for religious freedom.

Posted by sandy dyer on 08/22/2010 11:48 PM #

Although I don’t know all the Ann’s Hutchinson’s theology she is entirely correct to denounce the Puritan’s Covenant of Works as heretical. Faith WILL bring forth good works by the Holy Spirit, not by keeping the laws of Scripture otherwise as Ann says, those who are sanctified by the works of the law are also cursed by them and not saved by grace yet.
In Christ,
Gilda Thury
P.S. The modern day church still suffers from the same false doctrines, namely that they think that by the works of the law shall man be justified.
Either justified by the Law or sanctified by the law.

Posted by Gilda Thury on 01/14/2011 02:03 PM #

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Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.

The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

Welcome to the Second American Revolution!

This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.

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The Abortion Matrix: Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death (DVD)

Download the free Study Guide!

Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?

This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.

Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.

The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?

As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).

Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.

Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!

Running Time: 195 minutes

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In The Days of These Kings (Book)

Perfect-bound Paperback — 740 pages

The Book of Daniel in Preterist Perspective

“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44).

The overarching message of Daniel is that Jesus the Messiah is even now ruling over the nations. He is the King of kings. Daniel tells us that Messiah’s kingdom will advance in the whole world from “generation to generation” (Daniel 4:4,34). Christ’s dominion is “given to the people of the saints of the most High” (Daniel 7:22). Our purpose then is to see “all people, nations, and languages … serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:14,27).

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!

Running Time: 130 minutes

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God's Law and SocietyGod's Law and Society (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.

Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!

Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:

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2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?

Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.

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Running Time: 240 minutes

Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.

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