Wow, lots of words there.
As it relates to the
American Founding, I've noted the Quakers, Christian-Deists &
Unitarians, and perhaps some of the orthodox Christians had an affinity
for "Primitive Christianity." What it means is that Christianity before
it was corrupted by the clerical class. The Roman Catholic Church were
the biggest villains. But Anglicans, Calvinists and others -- especially
if they were "fundamentalist" on their churches' doctrines and creeds
-- were suspect.
All sincere believers wish to "get it
right." And they all agreed it was "right" when Jesus existed and
instructed His followers. So to the extent that others have it wrong, everyone
wants to "restore" the original teachings and practices of Jesus to
correct other people's errors (or at least not be personally subject to
To the extent that things went wrong, it came shortly thereafter.
research shows however, that those who endorsed "Primitive
Christianity" thought that by the time the Council of Nicea occurred
(325 AD) the Church was already "corrupted." Martin Luther wouldn't be a
good "primitive Christian." He thought that the early church during
this period was doing the right thing in "filling out" the faith with
doctrine. Ditto with Calvin.
They were "reformers" who
wished to "reform" the "catholic" (universal) church into something
layered with sophisticated doctrine, just correct Rome's errors.
"the Bible" as a canon was not fully settled until around the late 4th
Century. Believers always had books of scripture they thought inspired.
But the Early Church Fathers dickered on the exact details. And even
when they "settled" it by writing the Vulgate,
disputes continued and continue to this day regarding which exact books
belong. (The Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Bibles all
contain different numbers of books.)
So to a
primitive Christian, what we think of as "The Bible" would have been
compiled by a corrupted church. We should thus see how this could
inspire the Christian-Deists and Unitarians to continue to "edit" the
canon, with Thomas Jefferson as the most notorious example.
But because primitive Christians took their
faith seriously, there would still be certain essentials of the faith
that were non-negotiable. They wouldn't include orthodox Trinitarian
doctrine or belief in the divine inspiration of every word "the Bible"
(whichever canon one adheres to).
This is essentially (if I understand him right) what John Locke taught in "The Reasonableness of Christianity."
Finally, those anathematized by the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds have
incentive to look before to a golden era of "primitive Christianity" in
order to justify their beliefs. This would include not just
Christian-Deists and Unitarians, but also today's Mormons and Jehovah's
Witnesses. And the Quakers who don't believe in creeds.