Saturday, August 7, 2010

Conditions of Orthodoxy at Founding Era Colleges

Another repost to my new group blog here.

I'll throw in a money quote:

These men, Harvard alum preaching “Arminianism, Arianism, Pelagianism, Socinianism, and Deism” from the pulpit, disproportionately were patriot Whig preachers arguing on behalf of Revolution — notable among them, Jonathan Mayhew, Charles Chauncy, Simeon Howard, and Samuel West. The orthodox failed to root out infidelity from Harvard. In 1747, they unsuccessfully attempted to boycott unitarian Jonathan Mayhew’s ordination. And by 1805 Unitarian Henry Ware was elected to head Harvard’s Divinity studies. Starting with John Thornton Kirkland, “[f]rom 1810 until 1933 all of the presidents of Harvard University were Unitarians.”

1 comment:

Tom Van Dyke said...

I'm fascinated at how the unitarians used intramural politics to seize control of the Congregationalist institutions. The Harvard victory was followed by the takeover of many Boston-area churches. The Trinitarians left rather than fight.

By the mid-19th century, the victorious unitarians were losing interest in "Unitarian Christianity": Jesus, the Bible, whathaveyou, in favor of "free inquiry."

These Founding-era churches are fairly empty these days, rented out in the off-hours to various groups by the Unitarian Universalist Church, which controls the buildings but has only a few hundred thousand followers left. Even a belief in God is optional.

Of the Congregationalist-Unitarian split, it's still said in New England that the Congregationalists kept the faith; the unitarians got the furniture.

Dare we call these unitarians the progenitors of today's "Northeastern liberals" who use the power of politics instead of persuasion and consensus to get their way?

Nah, that would be starting a fight on current politics.

Heh heh.