Jefferson on Congregationalism

A familiar attack that non-denominational nicolaitans are using against the New Testament Congregational exemplar is to accuse the congregational men of adopting an American form of government, rather than Biblical. Of course, only a cursory knowledge of dates of history should be enough to rebuff such a non-starter. Dr. AH Strong addresses this weak an ineffectual calumny in his systematic theology text. He quotes from a book entitled The religious denominations in the United States, by Belcher:

Is congregationalism based on American Democracy?


2 thoughts on “Jefferson on Congregationalism

  1. The thing I find humorous about the relationship between church and American government is that the Baptists claim America modeled the democratic aspect of American government after them, while the presbyterian Reformed claim their federal form of government provided a model for American federalism.

    Consider the following quote from a 2009 post of mine, in which I excerpt Presbyterians: Their History and Beliefs by Walter L. Lingle (1950, John Knox Press):

    “We in America are more indebted to John Calvin than most people realize. The doctrines and principles which he released have made a large contribution to our representative form of government and the human freedom which we enjoy. Ranke, the German historian, says: “John Calvin was the virtual founder of America.” D’Aubigne, the French historian, says: “Calvin was the founder of the greatest of republics,” referring to the United States. Bancroft, the American historian, says: “He that will not honor the memory and respect the influence of Calvin knows but little of the origin of American liberty.” Presbyterians should at least know the outline of the life of the man to whom they are so deeply indebted.”

    I guess the Episcopalians can also take credit for indirectly provoking the American Revolution by supporting the monarchy (just kidding).

    • It’s always an honor to have you stop by, Cap’n.

      I have no doubts that Calvinism and the republican form of government modeled in Presbyterianism was a strong influence on the early fathers of the American government.

      I am not one of those folks that goes about trying to re-model the American framework, however. My primary goal in these few posts and a few ones that are forthcoming is to explore the role of the layman in the government of the church in light of the John MacArthur/mega-church “exclusive elders-only” government, which denies the priesthood of the believer, makes church membership a meaningless joke, overturns pretty much all Protestant Biblical exegesis, and establishes a very strong and unhealthy divide between the sheep and the ‘reverends’.

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