Spiritual Adviser and Religious Reformer

Topics: Anne Hutchinson

In 1626 King Charles I led the persecution of Protestants by the Anglican Church of England. Puritans fled in large numbers, fleeing from the Anglican religious views because they felt as if the religion followed the same guidelines as the Roman Catholic faith. John Winthrop was one of the first few to flee from England to Boston. While still in England John didn’t know he would be the future governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

John Cotton, a Puritan minister preached that mercy is preordained by God, but Damnation is determined by earthly behavior.

Cotton was questioned about his preaching by the British courts on his views of church reform. Cotton fled to the Boston area in 1633 alongside many other Puritans. British authorities closed its borders so that fleeing emigrants could not leave under the threats of prosecution. The king viewed the Massachusetts colony as in opposition to his rule. It was the year 1634, Anne Hutchins, along with her husband and ten children arrived in a “New World” from England which was known as the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Fleeing from the persecution by the Anglican Church of England.

Anne became affiliated with a group of other women who worked in the same field of interest assisting with childbirth, treating illnesses, and healing individuals. It was not until she became more with the healing group, that Anne established an interest in religious philosophy that became a huge part of her love for spreading the gospel of American Preaching. Meanwhile, Anne started having weekly meetings in her home preaching to other women of the colony.

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Eventually, the wife’s husbands started attending the meetings also. Anne was a firm believer in whoever worshiped God through a personal relationship, would have eternal life. Anne’s preaching of her views was that she believed that heaven was attainable to everyone who worshipped god directly through a personal connection. She also believed that behavior and sin did not affect the destination of Heaven. Anne’s beliefs were a direct violation of the Puritan rules. A little after one year of preaching, Anne started receiving negative criticism from the Puritan leadership, the ones who only believed that only men were to preach. They also believed that Anne’s preaching was too dangerous for the Puritans to hear. Anne’s preaching was challenging the male-dominated religious authorities of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Living in Massachusetts Bay Colony you had to abide by the Puritan guidelines or suffer the penalties of being a delinquent to the colony. Travelers who settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony were required to attend Puritan church. Even though, if you are a non-Puritan member you had no voting rights in the church elections or civil elections. There was no chance of becoming a Puritan member with full rights unless born into the faith either.

Anne and her husband were already Puritan members, once they were moved and established in their new territory, they immediately started attending church. Once venturing out on her own to preach, the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony John Winthrop caught wind of what she was doing and insisted on her being tried for not abiding by the Puritan laws, trying to expand out on her own after receiving permission from John Cotton. John was Anne’s main influence with the American preaching in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Upon arrival in the Boston area, John made his mark on engineering the congregational structure of the church in the “New World”. Cotton had Anne in his inner circle for spreading the preaching. While helping the healing group, Anne discovered her religious views. These views were seen as highly inappropriate by the re-elected governor John Winthrop and the magistrates of the colony. Anne’s preaching was thought of as promoting dissension in the colony. It was believed that Anne was encouraging people to act against the church and the colonies’ rule. John Winthrop accused Anne of multiple rules broken by her actions. The magistrates saw a woman preaching faith while harboring, giving comfort to a faction that was dangerous to the colony and its rule of order. John Winthrop and John cotton both rose in opposition fearing that Anne was becoming a church separatist. Cotton gathered with the colony clergy to come to a resolution designed to end religious dissidence. Apart from Cotton and the clergy resolved that meetings in Anne’s home were forbidden.

Anne ignored the rule of the court and continued to preach to her followers. While pregnant in 1637 Anne was called to court on the religious rules she broke. John Cotton and John Winthrop both were in general court testifying against Anne. While in court Anne proved to the men that her Biblical prowess was up to par. Anne’s statement of history and her philosophy sealed the court’s decision on her fate with the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In her statement she spoke directly to God concluded with a prophecy of the failure of the court and colony. The men of the colony saw that Anne made a challenge to their authority. With the court’s discussion, Anne and her family were banished from the colony along with thirty other families that continued to follow Anne and her preaching. Anne was sentenced to house arrest through the winter months, In March 1638, thirty families plus the whole Hutchinson household left the island of Aquidneck and founded Portsmouth. After her stillbirth in June, the men of Massachusetts keep trying to harm Anne and her family. The ministries of the colony included John Cotton would preach on how her stillbirth was her punishment by God for her actions within the colony. Other preachers would claim that she never gave birth to a normal child in general. Some would also give descriptions of this child as demons, clawed like creatures. In 1642 Anne’s husband passed away, and the ministers of the Massachusetts colony set out to force Anne to renounce her beliefs on religion and that the Massachusetts colony would soon take over the territory. Anne and her remaining children moved shortly after to Long Island Sound, a part of the Dutch Colony of New Amsterdam. On a late afternoon in 1643, Anne’s family was attacked by a pack of Siwanoy warriors at their home. Anne and fourteen other people were killed by ax and burned. John Winthrop kept a check on Anne’s movements after being banished. He held his grudge after her death and even prayed strongly in his prayers that the devil was dealt with justice the way the event unfolded. During the time of the attack, Anne’s nine-year-old daughter was captured by the Siwanoy tribe and later on adopted by the chief. The chief renamed her “Anne-Hoeck”. She stayed with the tribe for the next nine years to later returned to Boston and marry a settler.

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Spiritual Adviser and Religious Reformer. (2022, May 08). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/spiritual-adviser-and-religious-reformer/

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