In 1630, John Winthrop led a fleet of 17 ships and a thousand puritans from England to the Massachusetts Bay. With a new place to call home, John Winthrop and the puritans hoped for a fresh start in the new world. The main reason for this new beginning was due to the fact that they had broken apart from England’s Church and had declared to start their own church. They believed that starting a new church was ordained by God and that the Massachusetts Bay area was given to them by God in order to start the Church. With a plan to start a new Church, John Winthrop created, “A Model of Christian Charity” to help set guidelines. These guidelines were a mix of logic and Biblical teachings that would be used to help start the new Church. Without these guidelines the new Church surely would have not been very successful. Winthrop was essential to the foundation of the new Church, and without him, the Church would have surely failed.
John Winthrop’s writing gives a foundation in which the puritans can build the Church. A main point that John Winthrop wrote is that Christians need to start serving the Lord with all of their heart and try to increase the body of Christ. Increasing the body of Christ meaning that the puritans would influence others to trust in Christ and grow the population of Christ followers. The body of Christ means the community of those who follow Christ, and the doctrine that Winthrop wrote told the puritans that they need to profess themselves as followers of Christ. They need to be able to show others the Christ in them. Winthrop says that Christians are bound together by the love of Christ, and that love is unbreakable.
Another main point that Winthrop mentions is that they need to go against the crowd, the crowd meaning the English Church. Since the puritans are breaking away from the English Church, then it would be wrong to copy the English Church. That would be too easy, instead they need to do what they feel is right and go against the English Church entirely. These main points of Winthrop’s covenant were vital to the foundation of the new Church.
At the end of his covenant, Winthrop discusses what will happen if the puritans were to break the covenant. If the puritans were to break the covenant then the Lord will strike them down for not keeping the covenant. Winthrop explains that Massachusetts would be a city on a hill in which people would admire and look up to. Not one that breaks the covenant and disobeys God, rather one that praises him. The puritans need to be a beacon of light to the world and show others the way to Christ. After the puritans had landed in Massachusetts, they began the new Church and succeeded in doing so. Later in history, people use Winthrop’s ideas to say that God had chosen the United States as a beacon of democracy and freedom for others to follow, just like people followed the puritans.
Courtney from Study Moose
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