Twenty years ago I published a history
of the Restoration ChurchofEngland that was intended to provide a
comprehensive picture of the established church in the reigns of Charles II
and James II, one that took account of preaching, piety, and theology as
well as politics and preferment, and one that did not rely on the categories
of the Augustan era or the Oxford Movement. 1 That book was prompted by a simple thought
4035 The debate.qxd:-
The ChurchofEngland in crisis:
the Reformation heritage
In the nineteenth century the debate on the English Reformation
took place not among members of an academic historical profession (as in the twenty-first century) but among men who were
partisan in the struggles about the nature of the ChurchofEngland. They were often university men but they were not historians per se and they did not make a conscious contribution to the
development of history as a discipline. Nineteenth-century Britain
formalised in the Restoration, the debates concerning the
relationship of Protestant dissent to the ChurchofEngland continued. The
Restoration church and dissent might thus continue to be conceptualised, in
terms used by Collinson of the earlier church and Puritanism, as two halves
‘of a stressful relationship’, defining and shaping each other. 4 What follows is an attempt
to probe the nature of this relationship.
for peace similar to that used by Erastians, this polemic also stressed
that episcopal rule must be absolute if it were to bring order. A bishop
should not be challenged in his diocese, either by the people worshipping
there or by anyone outside – and this included the bishops of other
dioceses. Taken together, this case provided a defence of the ChurchofEngland. The establishment had had a right to defy the pope (the bishop of
The later Stuart church inherited many of the problems that had been faced by its antecedents at institutional, social, and intellectual levels, but was also rocked by several new and profound challenges. It is important, therefore, to locate the established church within a long-term framework of gradual developments and sharp disjunctures. This book offers an account of how clerics and laymen experienced the events of the period between the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 and the Hanoverian succession of 1714. Politics and religion under the later Stuarts were powerfully intermingled, rather than sharply differentiated categories. Some clerics exercised considerable secular power, whilst many laymen dictated the terms of the church's position at local and national levels. Indeed it could hardly have been otherwise when religious beliefs were made into a shibboleth for holding public office and clerics expounded political maxims from pulpits across the land. Having sketched in the basic framework of relevant events in the later Stuart period, and their historical and geographical contexts, it remains to conclude by drawing them together. Three themes emerge as paramount because of their capacity to ignite contemporary discussion in the light of past experience. These include: the conflicting sources of authority for the Church of England, the relations between clergy and laymen, and the question of how successfully the church exercised its pastoral function.
Augustus Toplady’s ‘Calvinism’ and the Anglican
This article analyses the theological development of the eighteenth-century
Church of England priest Augustus Montague Toplady through two manuscript
collections. The first of these is a copy of John Wesley’s
Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament that Toplady heavily
annotated during his time as a university student in 1758. This book is held in
the Methodist Archives and Research Centre at the John Rylands Library.
Toplady’s handwritten notes total approximately 6,000 words and provide
additional information regarding the development of his views of John Wesley and
Methodism, ones which he would not put into print until 1769. Toplady’s
notes demonstrate how he was significantly influenced by the works of certain
Dutch, German and Swiss Reformed theologians. The second is a collection of
Toplady’s papers held by Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Together,
these sources enable Toplady’s own theology and his controversies with
Methodists to be viewed from a new perspective. Moreover, these sources provide
new insights into Toplady’s conceptualisation of
‘Calvinism’ and changes in the broader Anglican Reformed tradition
during the eighteenth century.
Each age has used the debate about the English Reformation in its own way and for its own ends. This book is about the changing nature of the debate on the English Reformation, and is a study of Reformation historiography. It focuses the historiography of the Reformation as seen through the eyes of men who were contemporaries of the English Reformation, and examines the work of certain later writers from Thomas Fuller to John Strype. The book discusses the history of the sixteenth-century Reformation as written by modernist professional historians of the later nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. All through the Tudor times the tide of Reformation ebbed and flowed as the monarch willed. The book sets out modern debates concerning the role of Henry VIII, or his ministers, the Reformation and the people of England, and the relative strength of Protestantism or Catholicism. Catholics and Protestants alike openly used the historical past to support their contemporary political arguments. Additionally, the nature of religious identities, and the changes which occurred in the Church of England as a result of the Reformation are also explained. The history of the Reformation in the 1990s and 2000s has to be viewed within the context of research assessment and peer review. The book shows how persistent the threat of postmodernist theory is to the discipline of history, even as leading academic authorities on the Reformation have rejected it out of hand.
There are now two orders of ministry in the Methodist Church, the Order of
Presbyters and the Order of Deacons. The latter developed out of the previously
existing Deaconess Order but now enjoys the same status and privileges as the
former. A study of the Order of Presbyters was completed in 2007, but it was
thought that a similar study of the Order of Deacons would be of value in
shedding light on the present task they are asked to do, their work experience
in the circuits, and the various stresses and demands to which they are subject.
The data for this survey was collected by a questionnaire put to the 119 deacons
of the Order then active in the circuits. Evidence from analysis showed that
their congregations did not fully understand the nature of a deacons ministry,
complicated by the fact that, unfortunately, deacons were often employed to ease
a shortage of presbyters in the circuits.
This book explores the religious, political and cultural implications of a collision of highly charged polemic prompted by the mass ejection of Puritan ministers from the Church of England in 1662, providing an in-depth study of this heated exchange centring on the departing ministers' farewell sermons. Many of these valedictions, delivered by hundreds of dissenting preachers in the weeks before Bartholomew's Day, would be illegally printed and widely distributed, provoking a furious response from government officials, magistrates and bishops. The book re-interprets the political significance of ostensibly moderate Puritan clergy, arguing that their preaching posed a credible threat to the restored political order.