Roger Williams: Separatist, Baptist, “Seeker.”

In my assigned chapter, Roger Williams: Separatist, Baptist, “Seeker,” we’re presented with an example very similar to the case of Anne Hutchinson. Williams spoke out for how he felt the church should be run and was persecuted for it, with threats of exile. He left and started his own group in another area to avoid a colony that he simply could not change.

This chapter fits well with Puritanical history, but not so much with the overall worldview. While areas of Winthrop’s account outline the common theme of deviating from England and “the standard Puritan distinction between “spiritual” and “temporal spheres,” he takes his arguments to the next level, more often than not (206). Williams is an example of a radical Puritan – while “his conception of conscience did not differ significantly in most respects from that of orthodox Puritans,” Williams was adamant about the separation of church and state, as he “deconstructed the argument for civil jurisdiction over religious matters” (206). This part of his stance helps draw relevance between this passage and the rest of Puritan theological view simply because it links he and John Cotton in a display of diverse viewpoints versus synonymous acceptance of the same ideas.

The section that best displays his different point of view is the scene in which Wintrhop explains the Boston government’s dissatisfaction with WIlliams’s proposed treatise: “There were three passages chiefly whereat they were much offended. 1: for that he chargeth King James to have told a solemn public lie: because in his patent he blessed God that he was the first Christian prince that had discovered this land. 2: for that he chargeth him and others with blasphemy for calling Europe Christendom or the Christian world. 3: for that he did personally apply to our present King Charles these three: places in the Revelation viz” (208). Following this, the government would ask Williams to discontinue spreading his opinions for fear of being exiled; however, almost a year later, they catch wind that he has not done so. Like Bradstreet, there is talk of his exile and he ultimately leaves of his own accord.

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