2017 Conference Talk

Errands into the Moral Wilderness

Forms of Christian Family Witness & Renewal
by Allan C. Carlson

This paper originally given at the 2017 Touchstone conference. Subscribers can log in to hear all of the talks. Don't miss the 2018 conference in Deerfield, IL!

In 1670, Samuel Danforth preached an "election sermon" in Boston, with the title, "A Brief Recognitionof New England's Errand into the Wilderness." Like others of its kind, this sermon was a frank appraisal of how well the Puritan commonwealth in Massachusetts and Connecticut was performing.

The word "errand" is central here. As historian Perry Miller notes, the term then had two meanings: (1) a short journey on which an inferior is sent to perform . . .

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Allan C. Carlson is the John Howard Distinguished Senior Fellow at the International Organization for the Family. His most recent book is Family Cycles: Strength, Decline & Renewal in American Domestic Life, 1630-2000 (Transaction, 2016). He and his wife have four grown children and nine grandchildren. A "cradle Lutheran," he worships in a congregation of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. He is a senior editor for Touchstone.

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