Skip to main content

This webinar was recorded February 4, 2015

Synod 2016 is scheduled to receive a report on the Doctrine of Discovery (DoD).  As the Doctrine of Discovery Task force, we're looking below the surface to learn more of our story as a church in North America.  We're particularly interested in how the DoD may have shaped our relationships with Indigenous Peoples. Join us in struggling with key questions:  What is the DoD?  Why is it important? And what does it have to do with ministry today? Register for this event.
Mike Hogeterp is Chair of the Doctrine of Discovery Task Force (DoDTF) and staffs the Centre for Public Dialogue - a Justice and Reconciliation ministry of the CRC and RCA in Canada.  Mark Charles is a member of DoDTF and a member the Navajo Nation. Mark leads  Five Small Loaves, a grass-roots ministry dedicated to racial reconciliation through honest education, conversation and action. 

For additional information see Task Force to Study 'Doctrine of Discovery' and Doctrine of Discovery Task Force

Attached Media
Remote video URL



That is a great question. The short answer is yes. And the longer answer is that the link between the Doctrine of Discovery and Manifest Destiny is a progression.  I attempted to address this question a few months ago on my blog. Following is a paragraph from that post that most directly addresses your question.  Below I will post a link to the blog post the paragraph comes from as well as a link to another more in-depth article I wrote regarding the Doctrine of Discovery.

"Over the years the centuries, the Protestant church also adopted the Doctrine of Discovery and began to use it for its own benefit.  In 1630, in the colony of Boston, John Winthrop preached a sermon in which he referred to the colony as a “City on a Hill” and reminded them that they must be obedient to God so that "the Lord our God may blesse us in the land whether wee goe to possesse it."  Through the lens of the Doctrine of Discovery, the colonies beginning to see their presence in North America as a God-blessed, even a God-ordained, event out of which comparisons to Old Testament Israel and their journey to a "Promised Land" could be drawn. Over the next hundred years or so this thinking matured into an understanding that not only was this new nation a "City on a Hill" but it also had a “Manifest Destiny” to discover, occupy, and rule this continent from "sea to shining sea."

Here is a link to the article - "2015 New Year's Reflection: American Exceptionalism and an Invitation to Lament"​ 

And here is a link to another more in-depth article I wrote regarding the Doctrine of Discovery:
"The Doctrine of Discovery- A Buried Apology and an Empty Chair"

Mark Charles

Thank you for your response. The change to Manifest Destiny (to my thinking) was economic greed driven primarily.  i.e. Seemingly endless resources 'just laying around' not valued by Indigenous People. The drive to industrialize the eastern states created land grabs, violence and immigrant populations moving west.

Manifest Destiny (God's Will) assuaged the Conciouses of people seeking better lives away from resource poor Europe.


Let's Discuss

We love your comments! Thank you for helping us uphold the Community Guidelines to make this an encouraging and respectful community for everyone.

Login or Register to Comment

We want to hear from you.

Connect to The Network and add your own question, blog, resource, or job.

Add Your Post