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The Dissenters Volume IIIThe Crisis and Conscience of Nonconformity$
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Michael R. Watts

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198229698

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198229698.001.0001

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‘Diversity of opinion … no bar to Christian communion’

‘Diversity of opinion … no bar to Christian communion’

The Relaxation of Discipline

(p.142) 7 ‘Diversity of opinion … no bar to Christian communion’
The Dissenters Volume III

Michael R. Watts

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses how in the second half of the nineteenth century, Nonconformist denominations began to make it easier to join their churches. They also dispensed with the strict rules of conduct which had hitherto been used to discipline and exclude members who broke their moral code. However, the Nonconformist practice retained and indeed increased its severity was with regards to alcohol. Nonconformist denominations with the highest proportion of low-paid working-class members — the Primitive Methodists, the Independent Methodists, and the Bible Christians — were the first to embrace the temperance movement and endorse total abstinence.

Keywords:   Nonconformists, church membership, alcohol consumption, Methodists, Christian, temperance movement

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