What was the controversy surrounding Anne Hutchinson, and what does it reveal about Puritan religious and social beliefs?

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samson98 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Anne Hutchinson was a Massachusetts resident who began to teach what Puritan religious leaders believed to be heretical beliefs. Hutchinson espoused antinomian theology, which emphasized the free grace of God and the role of the Holy Spirit in salvation. Hutchinson opposed mainstream Puritan teachings, which she considered to be legalistic. Because her teaching conflicted with orthodox Puritan teachings, Hutchinson was excommunicated from the church and banished from the Massachusetts colony.

The controversy surrounding Hutchinson reveals that the Puritans saw no distinction between church and state. They had settled Massachusetts to they could practice their religion freely, but they did not intend to allow complete religious freedom. They believed heretical practices had corrupted the Anglican Church, so they intended to guard their churches against unorthodox teachers such as Hutchinson.

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