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Appears in Collections:History and Politics eTheses
Title: Congregational Polity and Associational Authority: The Evolution of Nonconformity in Britain, 1765-1865
Author(s): Clark, Cullen T
Supervisor(s): Bebbington, David W
Keywords: Nonconformity
Churches of Christ
Church History
Scotch Baptists
Issue Date: 31-Jul-2015
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Following the Evangelical Awakening, many of the Nonconformist traditions experienced an evolution in their ecclesiastical structure, resulting in the formation of new associations that frequently acted to establish pragmatic agencies like missionary societies, educational boards and social charities. The transition required new expressions of authority. Understanding the nature of this authority is the chief objective of this study. Chapter One introduces the various themes and goals of the study. Chapter Two explores the Hampshire Congregational Union. In addition to the Union’s structure, David Bogue and the Gosport Academy were central to this group’s identity. Chapter Three focuses on the Lancashire Congregational Union in the North West of England, home to William Roby, the central figure within Lancashire Congregationalism. Chapter Four covers the Lancashire and Yorkshire Baptist Association and the later Lancashire and Cheshire Baptist Association, where John Fawcett was the primary influence. The New Connexion of General Baptists, Chapter Five, was under the authoritative direction of Dan Taylor, a former Methodist and a zealous evangelist. Chapter Six analyses the Scotch Baptists. Peculiar among Baptists, it was created under the leadership of Archibald McLean. The British Churches of Christ, Chapter Seven, closely resembled the Scotch Baptists but were different in some fundamental ways. Finally, in Chapter Eight, patterns of associational authority among these associations will be compared and assessed. Authority among Nonconformist associations, particularly those denominations practising congregational polity, was exercised on the grounds of doctrinal purity and evangelistic expansion. As the nineteenth century continued, the organisational structures grew more complex. In turn, increased control was voluntarily granted to the organisations’ governing bodies so they might more efficiently minister. Following the Awakening, these voluntary bodies found new life as a pragmatic expression of Evangelical zeal.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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