How did the Puritans feel about the Church of England?

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boomer-sooner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Puritans were opposed to the teachings of the Church of England. The writings of John Calvin, a Reformation leader, were of central importance to the Puritans and helped lead the Protestant movement. The Puritans believed the Church had grown corrupt in the matter of salvation. They charged the Church with distorting the salvation plan established in the Bible and accused the Church leadership of heresy by "selling" salvation to wealthy patrons.

Puritan belief held the Old Testament sacred, although they did accept the New Testament. They attempted to regain the "traditions" of Christianity by strictly observing the Sabbath, which most felt was Sunday. Other social norms ranged in acceptance depending on the Puritan leader. Such actions as drinking alcohol and dancing were tolerated to different levels, but none allowed in excess.

The Puritans ultimately left England for two reasons. First, they were heavily persecuted by the Church of England for their refusal to accept to the Catholic traditions or the Anglican Communion via the Archbishop of Canterbury. They were considered less than British subjects because of their refusal to bow to the Church which enjoyed the support of the Crown. Additionally, the Puritans left to form their own religious community where they could re-establish what they felt were the proper methods for achieve salvation. The idea was not religious freedom, but another religious autocracy headed by Puritan leaders via the Church of England.