Anne Hutchinson: Do Not Fear
Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts, sanctify Christ as Lord (I Peter 3:14).
In 1634, a woman named Anne Hutchinson left England for the Massachusetts Bay Colony soon after the birth of her fourteenth child. She and her family settled in the growing city of Boston. A midwife who gradually gained a reputation for profound biblical literacy and great religious insight, she hosted large numbers of women who became increasingly swayed by her perspectives. Men, too, liked what she said and her reputation spread.
Like her father, a pastor in England, she was increasingly concerned about ill-prepared preachers whose sermons reflected, not the Bible or the teachings of Jesus, but their own personal prejudices and biased perspectives. By confronting some, she got herself into trouble.
Her courage, convictions and ability to clearly articulate her faith made her America’s first female minister. She soon stood against the Puritan leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony as an early advocate for religious freedom. Freedom of thought, speech, and worship are gifts we enjoy thanks to people like her and many others who boldly stood up to the intimidating majority of religious and political authorities. In her case, these male leaders were convinced she was a heretic. They had her arrested.
At her trial in 1637, her prosecutors were important, well-spoken preachers and political leaders. They openly ridiculed her, laughed at her, and belittled her ideas of grace, religious freedom, and God’s desire to speak to all people. They scoffed that a woman could teach, or preach, or lead in worship.
Using only the Bible to defend herself, she stood before these men, forty-nine in all, and did not fear. She was not intimidated. And she continued to sanctify Christ as Lord.
Imagine what it would have been like in that courtroom – the taunting, belittling, patronizing treatment. Now consider your own situation. You, too can be strong in your convictions and stand for what you believe in. You will find that you are not alone. So do not fear … do not be intimated; and in your heart, sanctify Christ as Lord.
QUOTE FOR TODAY:
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”