Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The seventeenth century marked a high point in the Presbyterian experiment. A variety of models were tested internationally, and apologists for its polity offered a rigorous defense against Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Erastians. The Westminster Assembly offered Presbyterians the first opportunity since the Reformation to model a fully Reformed church in England, and the gathering looked closely not only at the teachings of Scripture on ecclesial governance, but also at historical and contemporary models of connectional, nonhierarchical government to guide their formulations on church polity. The century also saw some of the worst persecution of Presbyterians, especially in France and Scotland, but also in England and central Europe. During their seasons of suffering, some Presbyterians found subtle ways to articulate their polity or identify essential elements of Presbyterianism. Others fought or fled hostile authorities, supplying a legacy of martyr narratives and missionary impulses for later Presbyterians.

Keywords: presbytery, local church, synod, discipline, ordination, excommunication, Westminster Assembly, ecclesiology, polity

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.