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Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution - Revisited$
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Christopher Hill

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206682

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206682.001.0001

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Secularization and Other Influences

Secularization and Other Influences

Chapter:
(p.343) 14 Secularization and Other Influences
Source:
Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution - Revisited
Author(s):

Christopher Hill

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206682.003.0014

William Tyndale's emphasis on the supremacy of the congregation made two important points: the local congregation is the significant religious body, not the national church; the congregation and its ‘sense of the meeting’ integrates the individualism lurking in the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. Emphasis on the parish contributed to its autonomy. When Presbyterian ministers tried to restrict church membership — and so rule of the parish — to ‘visible saints’, this might have led to the re-establishment of oligarchy in local government. The battle against clerical rule led to separation and so ultimately to religious toleration, hence to political democracy. The émigré churches in the Netherlands represented a half-way stage — self-governing within strict limits. So economic problems drove lower-class members of congregations into separatism, to election of ministers, to real congregational control: the rich naturally preferred ministers nominated from above and a consistorial discipline.

Keywords:   William Tyndale, supremacy, congregation, body, church, individualism, parish, oligarchy, democracy, Netherlands

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