Presbyterian ecclesiologies at the Westminster assembly
in Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic world, c. 1635–66
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This chapter explores the development of differing strands of presbyterian ecclesiology at the Westminster assembly of divines in the mid-1640s. It explores the varying concerns of the clergy who would advance presbyterian positions at the Westminster assembly to demonstrate how the assembly’s presbyterianism emerged as a coherent programme for the further reformation of the British churches. While some theologians would seek to stress the rights of individual congregations, others wished to preserve the integrity of the Church Catholic and others still wished to build a broad alliance of Reformed ministers. Together these voices managed to marshal their differences in a single platform. The chapter then explores the thought of George Gillespie, one of the leading presbyterian theorists at the assembly, in light of these differing presbyterian ecclesiologies.

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