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Models for Reformation: John Winthrop, Massachusetts (1588-1649)

By Jay Rogers
Published March 31, 2008

Long before becoming the governor of Massachusetts, John Winthrop had a deep understanding of God’s divine purposes for the colony. “We shall be a city set on a hill,” he said of Boston – where the church was the center of life during those early years of the city’s history.

While en route to the New World on board the Arbella, Winthrop wrote a sermon entitled “A Model of Christian Charity,” in which he outlined the purposes of God for New England. He described a harmonious Christian community whose laws and government would logically proceed from a godly and purposeful arrangement.

John Winthrop recognized the plans and purposes that Jesus Christ had for our nation. “A New Order of the Ages” was to be set up in which the individual was free to act and choose according to his free will; yet be dedicated to a lawful social order.

But Winthrop also gave a warning: “The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause us to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world.

These and many other ideas are contained in “A Model of Christian Charity” a sermon which Winthrop delivered somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on the Arbella. He set out clearly the revealed purposes of God and warned that the success or failure of their endeavors would depend on their dedication to the ideal of selfless community.

History shows us that this ideal was never realized. However, Winthrop himself was a man of unquestionable integrity and deep humanity. He laid the foundation for generations yet to come. Today, the youth of America are helping others more than ever, as they donate car parts, donate food, donate money, and donate time to causes they believe in. God Himself will shortly raise up a new generation of young people who will be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

CHRISTIAN CHARITIE: A Modell hereof By John Winthrop

A MODEL OF CHRISTIAN CHARITY: The modern language version

See also: The Boston Awakening

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Your comments are welcome!

Are you a Congregationalist?! What do you make of the Cambridge Platform of 1648, bringing the Plymouth and Boston
Colonies Religious order into more or less one following-just wondering!-Cathy

Posted by Cathy on 12/02/2008 07:33 PM #

We remember Anne Hutchinson. Where was Winthrop’s understanding of God’s divine purposes when he banished a faithful servant of God for speaking the truth.

Posted by Anne Lives on 11/14/2009 11:11 PM #

Real heroes are the people who in the face of adversity, refuse to betray their ideals or ethics, no matter what the cost. Sounds to me as if Anne was the real hero and Winthrop was a tyrant and an oppressor.

Posted by Jennifer Gray on 01/16/2011 01:53 PM #

I just happened to come accross this website while doing research on Anne Hutchinson. If you take a look at the diaries of John Winthrop you can see that he had already formed an oppinion of her before the trial, and that all he needed to do was stroke the male egos of the men on the jury. Plain and simple, she was a women, and unlike Winthrop’s wife, Hutchinson had a mind of her own, shaped by her father and mother. The thinking of the men in the 1500’s was that women should be silent in the church, however, if you read your bible, as Anne so justly pointed out, the book of Titus, states that women should fellowship with other women and also be teachers. Since we did not live in the colony days, we cannot attest to the characters of the people who lived back then. We can, however, read the diaries and transcrips left behind. I think that these are a testaments to the true nature of the people that lived back then.My oppinion is that Winthrop was threatened by Hutchinson and others who thought like she did. The fact that she was a mere woman made it easier for him to “win” his case against her. He was anything, but a great man.

Posted by Nicole Lose on 09/15/2011 03:27 PM #

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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.

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Running Time: 130 minutes

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - How Should We Then Live? (DVD)

Special Two-Disc Set!

After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.

Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.

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The United States of America 2.0: The Great Reset (Book)

High Quality Paperback — 40 pages of dynamite!

Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification

In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.

By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).

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The Beast of Revelation IdentifiedThe Beast of Revelation: Identified (DVD)

Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?

Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!

Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.

Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)

Running Time: 145 minutes

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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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