Precious Puritans

Why we white heirs to the Puritans need to listen to this critique?

This video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiQMYsKa8Sw  is creating a stir in the blogosphere and for good reason.  Propaganda raises some important questions and attacks a sacred cow for white evangelicals, he attacks our beloved Puritans. I have followed the discussion on the blogs and I really appreciate Thabiti Anyabwile’s blog entry on the Gospel Coalition web site http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabitianyabwile/2012/10/02/the-puritans-are-not-that-precious/.  I am not going to repeat his arguments you can read that for yourself, but I would like to enter into this discussion.

I must preface that I appreciate Puritan theology but I agree with Propaganda in this song. I think we white evangelicals have to take this hit dished out by Propaganda.  Our history of race relations is awful and we need to just own up to that.  I think we white evangelicals need to remember the line, “it must be nice not to have to ponder race.”  The reality is, we whites, in America do not have to consider race and we never have.  Before we run to defend our precious Puritans we must remember that they had the same privilege we have and they were blind to the sin of racism and in many ways American evangelicals still wrestle with this blindness.  Perhaps if we listen to Propaganda and are disconcerted we are really concerned about ourselves because we know that we suffer from the same blinders as our precious Puritans.

To better understand Propaganda we whites need to stop thinking like whites.  We need to try to put ourselves in the shoes of our black brothers.  We must attempt to hear the quotes of Puritans in our churches as they hear it.  When they hear Puritan after Puritan and abolitionists after abolitionist quoted in our churches they also hear the sound the whips and chains that many Puritans condoned.  What is so alarming is that we would be hard pressed to find ANY evangelical forefather that truly was not a racist on some level and that includes the abolitionists. I know some people will throw Samuel Hopkins at me and I agree he was a pioneer but he still had racist blinders.

I don’t think we need to throw the Puritans under the bus, but I do think we white evangelicals need to be mindful that our black brothers do not have the same church history story as we do. We need to be mindful when we hold up Jonathan Edwards or Samuel Hopkins that they could not see the sin of racism. We need to listen to this song and ponder its meaning and begin to reevaluate our heroes and reevaluate if we heirs of the Puritans have learned anything from our racist past.

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One Comment on “Precious Puritans”

  1. andrewcenci Says:

    Very thought provoking song.


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