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The Forerunner

Anne Hutchinson's Role Debated

By Editorial Staff
Published April 4, 2008

I have been a subscriber to The Forerunner for several years now and it seems that secular viewpoints have been creeping into some of the articles. I suspect that your research may not be as thorough as it should be.

Case in point: Anne Hutchinson “Champion of Tolerance” (April 1991). This word picture of Anne Hutchinson as one who “pioneered the principles of civil liberty and religious freedom which were written into the Constitution of the United States” does not match with the written picture of her found in Faith and Freedom – The Christian Roots of American Liberty by Benjamin Hart. The Forerunner’s account matches with secular encyclopedia sketches.

In Faith and Freedom (chapter 8), Hart states that the complaint of Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson “was that Massachusetts, too, had fallen short of the church model provided in the Book of Acts. Both thought that Massachusetts was not Christian enough, that it had failed in its mission to establish a “City on a Hill – a beacon for all the world to follow.”

Williams arrived in 1631 and wanted the churches in Massachusetts to sever ties with the Church of England which he though to be “beyond repair because of its commitment to be all inclusive and permit the unregenerate to worship alongside the saved.”

On page 117 is an account of how Anne “got herself into difficulty when she launched a campaign against the minister of the Boston Church, John Wilson, whom she despised because she thought his preaching was not at all compelling … according to her count there were only two truly Christian – ‘sealed’ – preachers in all of Massachusetts. They were John Cotton, whom she called the ‘voice of the beloved,’ and her brother-in-law John Wheelright. The rest were hypocrites, liars and on their way to perdition.”

The chapter gives many more details too numerous to quote in a letter, the clashing of the two accounts regarding Anne Hutchinson and her views is loud and clear.

Whoever wrote the report calling Anne Hutchinson, “Champion of Tolerance” should do more research and Faith and Freedom is a good starting place. If Hart is correct in stating that “she was expelled because she was a religious fanatic who spent much of her time slandering the reputations of good and honorable men” and “had violated both the laws of the Bible and of acceptable conduct needed to hold society together” then further study and an article addressing this needs to be printed in your publication. I will be watching for just such an article.

Marie Dinsmore
Sixes, Oregon

Editor’s Note:

In our research on Anne Hutchinson, The Forerunner used accounts written by both Christian and secular sources. The purpose of placing the article on Anne Hutchinson next to the article on “Spiritually Correct Thinking” was to plant the seeds of faith and hope into the current generation. The purpose was to challenge the secular worldview which is now dictating “politically correct thinking” to our nation’s college students by comparing this type of intolerance to what happened in Anne Hutchinson’s day.

See also: The Boston Awakening


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