The fact is, the Puritans were the forerunners of today’s Kingdom/Dominion/Reconstructionist teaching. The Puritans believed that they were carrying to America true Christianity as decreed by God, especially as written in the Old Testament. They believed too that they were on a divine mission to America, a place specially appointed by God to be the “New Israel,” a theocratic “city upon a hill.”
John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts Bay, assumed that he could transfer the principles of nationhood found in ancient Israel to the Massachusetts Bay Company with no need for explanation. This led the Puritans to interpret Scripture in an ultimately pretentious way that gave their own state and society the exalted status of a New Israel. Old Testament law was directly, if not exclusively, incorporated into the legal systems of New England. The Massachusetts “Body of Liberties” of 1641 stated that “if any man after legal conviction shall have or worship any other god, but the lord god, he shall be put to death.” Death was also prescribed for witchcraft, blasphemy, murder, sodomy, homosexuality, adultery, and kidnapping. Old Testament texts were copied directly into the New England law books. The most notorious cases of major miscarriage of justice in New England were the Salem witchcraft executions.
The Puritans viewed themselves as God’s special people, replacing national Israel. The American Indians were the “new Canaanites” in America’s “Promised Land.” The fruit of Puritan theology was brutal. They saw their mission as convert these “Canaanites” to Christianity; failing that, it was acceptable to slaughter them in the name of Christ.