Polity and peacemaking
To what extent was Richard Baxter a congregationalist?
in Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic world, c. 1635–66
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This chapter looks at Richard Baxter’s efforts at peacemaking by analysing that part of his work that seems to hold out congregationalist ideas. It is argued that this aspect of Baxter’s work reveals his attempts to reduce the distances between competing interregnum positions on church polity with the goal of achieving Christian concord. Using theoretical work drawn from the field of religious studies, the chapter shows how Baxter attempted to erode the boundary markers of mid-seventeenth-century confessional identity in order to convince his opponents and friends that they shared more common ground than difference. The success and failure of Baxter’s efforts are assessed in the context of the late interregnum and early Restoration debates on religion.

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