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Hartford PuritanismThomas Hooker, Samuel Stone, and Their Terrifying God$
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Baird Tipson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190212520

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190212520.001.0001

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Hooker and Stone Preach Conversion

Hooker and Stone Preach Conversion

(p.305) 10 Hooker and Stone Preach Conversion
Hartford Puritanism

Baird Tipson

Oxford University Press

Despite a long interpretive tradition that sees Hooker as encouraging human initiative in conversion; close attention to his preaching discovers the opposite: humans were “passive” in the initial stages of conversion. “Preparation” was a divine initiative, mediated through sermons that functioned like sacraments, sermons that broke the resisting will. Sorrow and shame—“contrition” and “humiliation”—were its components, and Hooker demanded a degree of humiliation that shocked contemporaries even as it remained consistent with the terrifying God he preached. He saw it as his task to terrify hearers out of their security and was skeptical of those who depicted God as nurturing and loving to his human creatures. Recognizing one’s depravity—and one’s helplessness to change it—led to the sort of humble submission to God’s exacting demands that marked one as part of the “godly” fellowship.

Keywords:   preparation, contrition, humiliation, submission, terrifying God

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