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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-02 > 0886559974

From: Edward Andrews <>
Subject: Re: Aceticism?
Date: Wed, 04 Feb 1998 02:39:34 +0000

> Dorothy Chance wrote:
> When, then, dear Edward, did this severity arise? I gather there
> are a number of us around here who could/would attest to the reality
> of it when the faith came to us! Also, how did these great, devoted
> Biblicists come to think that the juice of the grape, unattended,
> should not ferment?
These are perfectly valid questions.
There was always a severely acetic tradition in Christianity. The
idea being that the abstinence from pleasure would enable one to
attain holiness.
In the Reformed faith, because Salvation is a function of faith
and/or God's grace, responded to in faith (I am simplifying some very
difficult ideas) it is clear that salvation is not a function of what
you do.
There were those who went over the top on this, and fell for an idea
- antinomianism, where the behaviour of the elect or whatever you want
to call Christians was immaterial for salvation.
This idea clearly was wrong, and therefore the idea of by their
fruits ye shall know them developed into the idea that people could
know that they were Christians because they behaved in certain ways.
This developed into the idea that the only way that a Christian cold
behave is not go to dances.
I did part of my undergraduate studies is an Irish Presbyterian
Seminary/Liberal Arts College. There every kind of Puritanism was in
place. Personally I can't dance, (I was brought up far too strictly
for that) but I felt that the position which they were taking was
wrong. When I did dome work on the topic I could find no proof of the
claims about the miserableness of Knox or Calvin.
Subsequently a friend was writing a book on Knox, and I did some
checking for him. (The Swordbearer Steward Lamont, Hodder).
I couldn't find any signs of this attitude (he was more concerned
with the Mass than dancing).
As far as the temperance movement is concerned, It seems that it was
the Methodists who were dry, reacting to the misery caused by drink in
the homes of the working class. This then was developed in many
branches of the Church.
Unfortunately this developed from social responsibility to a kill joy
attitude. (the Catholics had a later parallel with Father Matthew.)
Those of us who have suffered from the misplaced misery with which
people kept us from dancing, or drinking, or whatever the community's
particular phobia was, can not be blamed for feeling sore about it.
It is all the sadder in that we did not have to go through all this
man made restriction.
I hope that this helps
Edward Andrews
St Nicholas Buccleuch Parish Church Dalkeith
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