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date: 28 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of Congregational government and discipline at work in the Bedford church from its foundation in 1650 to the 1720s, and of Bunyan’s role as its minister. It uses as evidence the church’s surviving minutes, a manuscript volume entitled ‘A Booke Containing a Record of the Acts of a Congregation of Christ, in, and about Bedford’. It focuses on the definition of a Congregational church, the gathering of a congregation, the admission and excommunication of its members, as well as the role of elected officers and the question of baptism. Questions are addressed relating to Dissenting identity and the tensions that appear between the duties of men and women within a fellowship of believers, and also between what they came to regard as their own domestic, social, and spiritual interests.

Keywords: Bedford church, Congregational, baptism, discipline, government, officers

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