More Non-Conformists

Puritans had two basic options: get on board with the program of a vigorously enforced Anglican conformity, or face the consequences of losing status and property, and quite possibly jail. Many chose the latter option, with men like John Bunyan and Richard Baxter being only the most high-profile men to suffer imprisonment for their stands against the Establishment. Then there were the decades of social marginalization—decades that turned into centuries—where English non-conformists were prevented from attending university, sitting in Parliament, or holding civil service positions. Indeed, if Catholics were legislated to the margins of society until the early nineteenth century, the same went for Baptists, Independents, Quakers, Presbyterians, and anyone who refused to conform.
On these grounds alone, I think we can generally assume that the typical post-1662 Puritan knew more about suffering and marginalization than the typical 2010 professor, with tenure and a full benefits package, in a bog-standard Lit. Crit. or Minority Studies Department at a common or garden University. What makes the difference, it seems to me, is not that these men did not know about suffering and about being on the wrong end of terrible abuse of power; it is rather that they did not see the need constantly to refer to their sufferings in their public ministries, whether from the pulpit or on the printed page.

Carl Trueman, “Minority Report: Not in the Public Interest” In , in Themelios: Volume 35, No. 2, July 2010 (United Kingdom: The Gospel Coalition, 2010), 195-96.

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