Even though Puritan life was strict, debate and dissent were tolerated in the community to an extent. Cohesion in the community meant conformity, but Puritan leader John Winthrop recognized that people had differing opinions.
The name Puritan described those within the Church of England who wanted to purge all forms of ceremony and hierarchy that resembled Catholicism. Puritans sought to reform and purify the Church of England without leaving the faith, but there was a sect of Puritans, known as the Separatists, who believed that the Church of England had become corrupt.
When the Puritans established the Massachusetts Bay Colony, later known as Boston, they worshiped as they pleased. Their church services were basic and without embellishments. Musical instruments were not allowed. The Bible was their sole source of reference, and they only sang a cappella.
The Puritans were strict followers of John Calvin, who believed that God had chosen only a few people to inherit salvation, and everyone else was damned for eternity. Puritans also believed in the covenant of grace, a doctrine which held that faith triumphed over good deeds. This is in contrast with the covenant of works, which maintained that good works and behavior were necessary for achieving salvation. Puritan life stressed individual and community spirituality, since it was the community that upheld the covenant.