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God's IrishmenTheological Debates in Cromwellian Ireland$
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Crawford Gribben

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195325317

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195325317.001.0001

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 Church Government and Social Control

 Church Government and Social Control

(p.99) 4 Church Government and Social Control
God's Irishmen

Crawford Gribben (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter documents Irish Cromwellian debates about church government. Quakers and Seekers denied any locus of authority beyond the “inner light.” Baptists and Independents argued that the proper basis of authority lay within the leadership of the local congregation. Presbyterians argued instead for a hierarchy of church courts, from the local elders to the General Assembly, while Episcopalians argued for a hierarchy of individuals in church offices. These debates were conducted alongside the pressing need to implement social control, local attempts to establish a clerical hegemony, and the civil administration's construction of the Civil List, which cut the link between preachers and congregations and put many clergy under government control. The debate about social control acted as a catalyst for emerging associations of clergy and early denominational structures.

Keywords:   church government, congregation, authority, hegemony, Civil List, associations, denomination

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