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The Oxford History of Protestant Dissenting Traditions, Volume IIThe Long Eighteenth Century c. 1689-c. 1828$
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Andrew Thompson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198702245

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198702245.001.0001

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(p.30) 2 Congregationalists
The Oxford History of Protestant Dissenting Traditions, Volume II

Stephen Orchard

Oxford University Press

Like Presbyterians, Congregationalists drew on a broadly Calvinist heritage, which found expression in both the Westminster Confession and the Savoy Declaration. While Presbyterians emphasized the importance of the Presbytery for governing the church, Congregationalists were independently minded and tended to privilege the community of gathered believers itself. However, in practice Congregationalism was more of an ethos and philosophy than a reflection of how all local congregations operated and the boundaries between different strands of dissent could be porous. Disputes and divisions between Dissenters at a local and national level gradually led to the need for increased denominational infrastructure and organization, although the Congregational Union of England and Wales was not founded until 1831. Associations of local ministers became, following the growth of revivalism, springboards for mission at home and abroad.

Keywords:   Calvinism, Congregationalism, Congregational Union of England and Wales, denominationalism, Philip Doddridge, Presbyterianism, Isaac Watts

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