Roger Williams & the Creation of the American Soul

In Books by cwfeldmann

I have just finished reading John Barry’s remarkable book about Roger Williams, the American Soul, and religious liberty. It was difficult to put it down. My esteem for Williams, already huge, is now immense. The attached review by a Rhode Island church historian is positive but less so than the book deserves. However, it is better than the ones I have seen in major newspapers. Roger Williams’ work on behalf of separation of church and state has timeless relevance, but it is also timely in the world right now. His rivals in early New England days, chiefly John Winthrop and his vision of a city set on a hill, saw the separation of church and state as very much the opposite of what they envisioned. They made Williams suffer harshly for his views and might have killed him. Williams’ views are also relevant to current views of Islam and other religions. In Norway, four hundred years after Roger Williams, the state is still the nursing father (or mother) of the church, and the clergy of the state church is salaried by the government. I highly recommend this book.


Dr. Sigve Tonstad