Exploded doctrines

God loves us "with an everlasting love."

ON a hot, windy July day in Plymouth, Massachusetts, a curious crowd gathers on the dim lower deck of a pilgrim ship. An earnest, bearded man in heavy clothing perches on the edge of a wooden sleeping berth that looks uncomfortably short for him. In sermontoned seventeenth-century English, he answers questions about his religious beliefs and the persecution that compelled him to leave England for America.

Sounding perfectly resigned to the facts, he explains to the circle of children and adults that before their birth God had determined which people would be saved and which damned. We cannot know why this is so, he says. It is enough that God in His infinite wisdom knows.

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November 29, 1999
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