Browse

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 2,255 items for :

  • Refine by access: All content x
Clear All
Peter Lake

This chapter analyses three collections of sermons, preached during the reign of Charles I in 1636/37 in prominent pulpits by Daniel Featley, Griffith Williams, and John Prideaux as powerful statements on the pre-Laudian status quo ante, a version of Jacobean Reformed orthodoxy. Their publication coincided with the renewed prospect of Charles I re-entering the Thirty Years War. If war forced Charles to seek parliamentary supply, then in order to appease parliament a new ecclesiastical establishment might very well be required. Since Williams was very close to his kinsman Bishop John Williams, who had been positioning himself as the moderate Calvinist alternative to Laud since the late 1620s, and Featley had been George Abbot’s chaplain and a long-standing adversary of Arminianism, and Prideaux was the Regius Professor of Divinity and Rector of Exeter College, Oxford, their three volumes of sermons can be read as advertisements for what such an establishment might look like. All three were explicitly anti-Catholic, apologists for iure divino episcopacy and the Prayer Book, and employed the hypothetical universalist position on predestination to oppose what they termed Pelagian or Arminian error. They were also resolutely anti-puritan, although on terms very different from those espoused by the Laudians. Aggressively conformist, all three nevertheless distanced themselves from the Laudian ideal of the beauty of holiness. These massive tomes thus represent a detailed evocation of what had passed for Reformed orthodoxy under James I, an account now rendered newly relevant by the shifting political circumstances of the later 1630s.

in Reformed identity and conformity in England, 1559–1714
Alice J. Soulieux-Evans

This chapter examines the attitude of Reformed churchmen – both conformist and puritan – towards cathedrals during the reign of Elizabeth. Although various historians, following Patrick Collinson, have demonstrated the strength of a Reformed position on episcopacy in this period, there has been little interest in Reformed engagement with cathedrals. Current scholarship on Elizabethan cathedrals, although highlighting a Protestant cathedral ideal, unwittingly propagates an older view of religious identity, which pits conformist churchmen against puritan opponents. This chapter approaches these Elizabethan debates through a specifically Reformed lens in order to nuance this conformist/puritan dichotomy and demonstrate the Reformed paradigm in which these debates took place. While acknowledging differences, this chapter focuses on this shared Reformed tradition to draw out similarities between conformist churchmen and their puritan counterparts in their engagement with cathedrals; and how such similarities arose from shared Reformed priorities: the centrality of preaching and teaching, godly church government, and a learned ministry. Using John Whitgift’s contributions to the Elizabethan Admonition Controversy in the 1570s as a starting point, it explores how his arguments in defence of cathedrals permeated English Reformed culture more broadly, including in puritan petitions to parliament in the mid-1580s.

in Reformed identity and conformity in England, 1559–1714
Jacqueline Rose

This chapter explores disputes over adiaphora or ‘matters indifferent’ to reflect on several paradoxical aspects of conformity in English Protestantism. These practices of worship, left unspecified in the Bible, seemed to operate in an area of potential compromise and contact between Reformed groups, and yet proved intractable, causing bitter conflicts over the right to exercise authority over these matters and the content of what was imposed. Yet the topic also linked to wider debates in which Protestants participated, and a core theme of the chapter is the revealing parallels between apparently dissociated quarrels, religious and temporal. Considering first the comparable and sometimes interwoven disputes over academic dress in mid-seventeenth-century Oxford, it shows both how such conflicts were impossible to avoid in daily life and how they became ensnared in issues of authority. Second, it turns to an example of how commentaries on Catholicism could also become entangled with the question of Reformed conformity. Finally, the chapter reflects on the complexities of the relationship between the theory and practice of religious co-existence. The interplay of official orders about how to worship, attempts to negotiate flexibility formally, and daily forbearance meant that Reformed conformity in early modern England had constantly fluctuating and porous boundaries.

in Reformed identity and conformity in England, 1559–1714
Christy Wang

Edward Reynolds (1599–1676), once vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford (1648–50) and later Bishop of Norwich (1661–76), has been largely neglected by scholarship and, consequently, is often misunderstood. Due to Reynolds’s conformity, some have labelled him a Laudian, a description he would have found absurd. Others, as early as the ultra-royalist historian Anthony Wood, have portrayed Reynolds as an opportunistic presbyterian and his return to episcopacy in 1660 as a self-seeking pursuit of power. The reality is, Reynolds’s career defies the old puritan or conformist dichotomy and instead demonstrates how godly sentiments and advocacy for presbyterianism did not necessarily make individuals anti-episcopalian or anti-royalist. Reynolds’s conscious pursuit of moderation neither fitted the political climate of his day nor satisfies the scholarly urge to taxonomise clear ideological divides in early modern England. This chapter explores Reynolds’s career leading up to his acceptance of the bishopric of Norwich. It starts with his puritan leadership in Northamptonshire before 1642, focusing on how his godly concerns and criticisms of the Laudian reform are frequently misread by scholars. The chapter then demonstrates how Reynolds’s support of iure divino presbyterianism in the 1640s, his accommodation of independent concerns, and even his political alliance with conservative Cromwellians in the late 1650s all foreshadowed his return to episcopacy in 1660. Reynolds’s tactics and changes of alliance revealed a consistent and distinctively English presbyterian commitment to a national, unified government that maintained mainstream Protestant beliefs, which eventually enabled him to re-embrace the Stuart monarchy and episcopacy.

in Reformed identity and conformity in England, 1559–1714
Abstract only
Jake Griesel
and
Esther Counsell

The sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Church of England fused Reformed Protestant doctrine and liturgy with an ecclesial structure and church court system that was more in continuity with pre-Reformation norms. This chapter introduces the complex nature of the early modern English Church’s Reformed identity, and how this informed or was reflected in recurring contests across the vicissitudes of England’s ‘long Reformation’. It traverses religious and political history from the Elizabethan Settlement to the Hanoverian Succession (1559–1714), illustrating the continual way in which questions of the English Church’s Reformed identity invaded both secular and spiritual spheres, whether at a personal, local, or national level. It situates the present volume within existing historical scholarship, emphasising that while conformity has previously been examined as a prime leitmotif through which to appraise the ramifications of England’s ‘long Reformation’, it was a commitment to Reformed Protestantism in particular, however that was interpreted and practised, which especially drove wider perceptions of conformity or nonconformity across both civil and ecclesiastical spheres. This volume therefore contributes two emerging findings in keeping with recent scholarship, one which impresses the provisional nature of the Tudor settlements of religion, in rejection of the ‘Anglican’ via media myth and in reconsideration of pre-Civil War puritan nonconformity as both moderate and mainstream, and one which establishes the abiding Reformed identity of the English Church, which continued to shape understandings of conformity in the Caroline and later Stuart Churches, against previous scholarly notions that by then the English Church’s earlier Reformed identity had largely disappeared.

in Reformed identity and conformity in England, 1559–1714
Torrance Kirby

Like many of his contemporaries among the magisterial reformers, both in England and on the continent, Richard Hooker’s moral theology is inseparable from his theology of grace. Justifying grace is for Hooker the source of the theological virtues, without which there can be no attainment to moral fulfilment – beatitude. The chief theological concern of the Reformation is the formulation of the principles of soteriology, and it is within the frame of this task that discussion of the virtues is undertaken by the reformers. While Hooker emphatically embraces ‘virtue ethics’ he none the less does so in a manner comparable to other magisterial reformers, and consistently with Article XII of the Articles of Religion (1563/71). This chapter will attempt to distinguish between ‘justifying faith’ and ‘faith as a theological virtue’ in the thought of Richard Hooker with a view to demonstrating his adherence to the Reformed mainstream.

in Reformed identity and conformity in England, 1559–1714
Esther Counsell

This chapter reassesses Elizabethan puritan arguments against subscription and ecclesiastical oath-taking, paying particular attention to the political fallout attended by Archbishop John Whitgift’s introduction of a new threefold test in October 1583. It challenges previous historiographical narratives of Elizabethan puritan nonconformity which have exalted the agency of the puritan conscience in eschewing popish rites and ceremonies, or else have attributed the phenomenon of puritan nonconformity to the staying power of proto-presbyterian platforms following the Admonition Controversy (1572–78). These explanations have served to portray Elizabethan puritans as intrinsically at odds with a more magisterial and Erastian interpretation of the Elizabethan Settlement of Religion (1559). However, through close analysis of the mainstream Elizabethan puritan response to Whitgift’s extra-parliamentary reforms, particularly against the revived use of ex officio proceedings in church courts, spearheaded by the leading English civilian thinkers William Stoughton and Robert Beale, this chapter reveals a conservative, juridical, and long-standing intellectual movement, which placed pivotal significance on adherence to, and proper implementation of, a truly lay and civil form of national ecclesiastical government. Stoughton and Beale were inspired by the wider European ius commune tradition as much as by English statute and common law, envisioning a more thoroughly Erastian reconstitution of English church government. Whitgift’s extra-parliamentary subscription test, emerging from an exclusively episcopal model of the royal supremacy, proved anathema to this jurisdictionalist approach to church governance, and provides a stark contrast by which to better understand the true nature of Elizabethan puritan nonconformity.

in Reformed identity and conformity in England, 1559–1714
Anthony Milton

Since Patrick Collinson’s 1982 Religion of Protestants historians have tended to see the Jacobean church as witnessing the apogee of the ‘Reformed conformist’ tradition, before it was swamped by the Laudianism of the 1630s and the puritan counter-reaction which spelt the doom of the middle ground that Reformed conformist bishops had occupied. They were left with nowhere to go (it tends to be assumed) except to a royalism that was increasingly dominated by hardline conformists and Arminians. The study of ‘Reformed’ or ‘Calvinist’ conformity in England thus tends to disappear for the period 1640-1660. But this chapter suggests instead that in many ways the 1640s and 1650s were in fact the vital moment when ‘Reformed conformity’ played a key role in religious politics and doctrinal debates. Beginning with the ‘abortive reformation’ of 1640-41 and the newly enhanced political role that anti-Laudian episcopalians played in the Williams Committee and elsewhere in trying to facilitate a negotiated settlement with puritan critics, the chapter notes some of the tensions and ambiguities in the balance between the ‘Reformed’ and ‘conformist’ aspects of these divines as the political situation deteriorated. But it also highlights how many of the precepts and tropes of ‘Reformed conformity’ tended to dominate the official royalist negotiating position in the 1640s, while the 1650s and early 1660s were times when there was a veritable cult of figures such as James Ussher, Ralph Brownrigg, and John Prideaux among episcopalians and Presbyterians alike, for a variety of motives.

in Reformed identity and conformity in England, 1559–1714

This volume is the first collection of essays to focus specifically on how Reformed theology and ecclesiology related to one of the most consequential issues between the Elizabethan Settlement (1559) and the Hanoverian Succession (1714), namely conformity to the Church of England. This volume enriches scholarly understandings of how Reformed identity was understood in the Tudor and Stuart periods, and how it influenced both clerical and lay attitudes towards the English Church’s government, liturgy and doctrine. In a reflection of how established religion pervaded all aspects of civic life in the early modern world and was sharply contested within both ecclesiastical and political spheres, this volume includes chapters that focus variously on the ecclesio-political, liturgical, and doctrinal aspects of conformity.

Jake Griesel

In the scholarly literature on the post-Restoration period, ‘conformity’ typically denotes membership of the established Church and adherence to its liturgy, rites, and episcopal polity. Post-Restoration conformity is thus depicted primarily in ecclesiological and liturgical terms, rather than denoting doctrinal conformity to the Church of England’s Thirty-Nine Articles, and particularly its soteriological articles, which define doctrines such as justification by faith alone and eternal predestination. After all, many post-Restoration clergy desired to shed the Reformed soteriology which the Church had inherited from the Edwardian, Elizabethan, and early Stuart periods. Yet there remained many post-Restoration clergy who regarded the Thirty-nine Articles as authoritative articles of faith, and as stipulating the Church’s officially established orthodoxy. Many of these churchmen considered subscription to the Articles as including a confessional commitment to Reformed soteriological orthodoxy on the doctrines of grace, election, and justification. For these post-Restoration Reformed conformists, Reformed orthodoxy was integral to their notion of conformity to the established Church, and a number of them were quite troubled by what they perceived as the nonconformity to the Church’s soteriological articles among many of their clerical brethren. Along with ecclesiology, liturgy, and church polity, another dimension of conformity can therefore be identified in the writings of many post-Restoration churchmen, namely doctrinal conformity, which took the form of adherence to Reformed orthodoxy and the Church of England’s Reformation heritage. This chapter will explore how post-Restoration Reformed conformists understood Reformed orthodoxy to be synonymous with doctrinal conformity to the Church of England.

in Reformed identity and conformity in England, 1559–1714