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date: 30 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Baptist ecclesiology shows a substantial heritage from the English Separatist tradition, while its debt to the continental Anabaptist tradition is contested. Both sources are antecedents to a Baptist ecclesiology that has played a prominent part in dissent and nonconformity in England and Wales since the early seventeenth century. This chapter thus aims to bring Anabaptist, Separatist, and Baptist ecclesiologies into conversation with each other. A covenant ecclesiology envisages the local congregation as existing under the direct rule of Christ who gathers its members together, so that covenant is made simultaneously with each other and God. Two tensions are consequently typical of such an ecclesiology: first, a fluidity of oversight between congregation and officers within the local church; and second, a sharing of authority between local and wider manifestations of the church.

Keywords: Anabaptist, association, baptism, Baptist, catholicity, church discipline, congregation, covenant, ecclesiology, free church

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