Halvvejspagt

Halvvejspagt

Da den første generation af Massachusetts Bay-nybyggere begyndte at dø i midten af ​​1600-tallet, stod menighedskirkerne over for en medlemskrise. Fuld deltagelse havde været begrænset til de "synlige hellige" - dem, der havde bekræftet deres tro offentligt og var blevet accepteret til medlemskab ved en afstemning i menigheden. Overbevisningens brande brændte ikke lige så stærkt i den anden hjerter - og tredje generations puritanere. Flere kvinder end mænd gjorde det, hvilket førte til en stigende feminisering af kirkemedlemskab-også et spørgsmål om dyb bekymring i et mandsdomineret samfund. Kirkerne havde i en årrække givet en begrænset form for medlemskab, som gjorde det muligt for mennesker at være døbt, men forhindrede dem i at deltage i nadver eller stemme om kirkelige spørgsmål. I 1662 mødtes flere menigheder og godkendte "Half-Way Covenant", et skridt, der havde til formål at liberalisere medlemsreglerne og styrke kirkens position i samfundet. Fremover kunne børn af delvise medlemmer døbes og med bevis for en konverteringsoplevelse stræbe efter fuldt medlemskab. Dette kompromis blev kun accepteret af nogle New England -menigheder. I midten af ​​århundredet blev mange fremtrædende stiftende familier udelukket fra lederstillinger, hvilket ansporede dem til at støtte ændringer i standarder. Den væsentlige solidaritet mellem de tidlige puritanske samfund var faldet væk. Der var udviklet en splittelse mellem fundamentalisterne, der for enhver pris ønskede at bevare religiøs renhed, og de mere liberale tænkere, der mente, at et stærkere samfund kunne bygges ved at inkludere flere mennesker.


Se: Puritanisme og Massachusetts Bay Colony.


The Half-Way Covenant & amp Helhjertet ungdomsministerium

Baptister og presbyterianere kan blive enige om en anvendelse af barnedåb i kirkehistorien. Det, der blev kendt som halvvejspagten, var en dårlig idé. Alligevel kan vi få en værdifuld lektion om kirkens evangeliske pligt over for unge mennesker.

Jonathan Edwards var præst under kolonial Amerika til Congregational Church i Northampton, Massachusetts. Hans forkyndelse i midten af ​​1700’erne var et af de midler, Gud brugte til at skabe den store opvågnen, hvor mange mennesker henvendte sig til Herren. Alligevel midt i denne store frugtbarhed opstod der en vanskelighed som følge af en praksis i kirken etableret af Edwards bedstefar, Solomon Stoddard, der gik forud for Edwards som minister i Northampton.

Børn var blevet døbt i Northampton -menigheden, vokset og havde ikke klart bekendt sig til Kristus. Alligevel blev deres navne efterladt på listen som døbt medlemmer. Så begyndte de at få børn. Stodddard, i håbet om at påvirke denne senere generation med evangeliet, lod barnebørn til troende medlemmer døbe. Da et medlemskab af kirken dengang var socialt ønskeligt, var mange forældre, der ikke havde frelsende tro på Kristus, hurtigt enige om at få deres børn døbt. Denne halvvejs-pagt, som den blev kaldt, hilste effektivt vantro velkommen i kirken. Til sidst lod Stoddard endda disse døbte kirkemedlemmer tage fællesskab, hvis de blot levede moralsk og gav samtykke til grundlæggende kristne lærdomme.

Da Edwards erstattede sin bedstefar i pastoratet der, begyndte han til sidst at insistere på, at fællesskab kun var for dem, der udførte en sand trosbekendelse, og som oplevede og vidnede om dens frugter. For Edwards var det mere end kun et teologisk spørgsmål, men også et pastoralt spørgsmål. Unge i kirken dengang, som ikke virkelig var i Kristus, var ganske verdslige. For eksempel begyndte flere unge mænd, der havde fået fat i en bog om kvindelig seksualitet, at bruge dens udtryk til at håne pigerne i kirken med vulgære kommentarer, der ville blive betragtet som seksuel chikane i dag. Edwards begyndte at insistere på, at for at komme til Herrens bord havde ungdommen brug for at omvende sig fra deres synder, udtrykke klar tro på Kristus og demonstrere et niveau af hellighed. Alligevel blev denne holdning hurtigt et flammepunkt i menigheden.

Edwards var ikke perfekt i sin pastorale håndtering af dette spørgsmål. Alan Strange sagde i en artikel "Jonathan Edwards on Visible Sainthood: Communion Controversy in Northampton", at Edwards "tog hele situationen ganske alvorligt (og) i forsøget på at vedtage kirkedisciplin læste han en liste med navne fra prædikestolen" (af unge mennesker til at komme til hans kontor for at diskutere dette spørgsmål), men undlod at "skelne mellem anklagede og vidner." I stedet for at tilgive en pastoral fejl og komme til kernen i det virkelige spørgsmål, førte urolighederne i kirken over denne sag til hans afskedigelse fra kirken i 1750. Ganske en ubetydelig afgang for en mand, Herren havde brugt så mægtigt.

Jonathan Edwards kamp med halvvejspagten minder os om behovet for unge til at omfavne Kristus inderligt for at blive bevidste om deres behov for vital forening med Kristus. Som Strange konkluderede, havde Edwards ret - i tråd med Skriften, skriften og den historiske calvinisme - ved at hævde, at en synlig helgen er en, der virkelig vidner om gudsfrygt, og det er sådanne, der er behørigt kvalificerede til at komme til Herrens bord. & Quot Hvad Edvards mistede sin pastorat burde være målet for at tjene kirkens unge. Men i vores sekulære alder gør mange menigheder et halvhjertet stykke arbejde med at passe deres ungdom. De tilbyder en time eller mindre søndagsskoleklasse hver uge, giver en ungdomsgruppe, der fokuserer på at have det sjovt, og spekulerer senere på, hvorfor så mange børn i kirken forlader troen i deres unge voksne år.

I stedet for en halvvejs indsats burde kirken helhjertet være dedikeret til at oplære deres unge mennesker i kristent discipelskab. Præster skulle doggedigt forfølge deres unge mennesker som Edwards gjorde, appellere fra prædikestolen til at stole på Kristus, mødes med dem for at besvare spørgsmål og opmuntre dem til at samles for at studere de dybere sandheder i Guds ord. Dem, der arbejder med unge, bør være ædruelige om denne tjeneste og arbejde for at bygge Guds rige ind i hjerterne ved at undervise ungdommen i bibelske grundlæggende principper, uselvisk tjeneste og mission. Unge mennesker bør udfordres til at læse og studere teologi. Jeg er taknemmelig for et program i vores kirke kaldet Theological Foundations for Youth (klik på linket for at se en forklarende video), der beder eleverne på vej ind i deres gymnasium om at give tre uger af deres sommer til at studere på Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary , interagere seriøst med andre vedrørende deres tro og tjene lokale menigheder i vital tjeneste. Ja, i hver af disse sysler og andre som dem kan du bruge lidt tid på at lege med de unge, men det er tid til at stoppe med at lege med vores ungdom.

For vi skulle se, at Edwards ikke kun mistede pastoratet over sin overbevisning om at tjene unge. I hans skrifter er det klart, at han så Guds arbejde blandt de unge som det, der i første omgang var med til at udløse den store opvågnen. I sit arbejde _On the Great Awakening udgivet i _1743, skrev han:

_I år 1740, i foråret, før Mr. Whitefield kom til denne by, var der en synlig ændring. Der var mere alvor og religiøs samtale, især blandt unge... I midten af ​​december dukkede et meget betydningsfuldt Guds værk op _ blandt dem, der var meget unge ... _om foråret an engageret ånd om ting ved religion blev meget generel blandt unge og børn, og religiøse emner tog næsten helt op til deres samtale, da de var sammen ... ”
Må det være sådan igen.

Barry York

Sinner by Nature - Reddet af Grace. Mand til Miriam - taknemmelig for privilegiet. Far til seks - velsignet af Gud. Præsident for RPTS - Server med taknemmelighed. Forfatter - Hitting the Marks.


HALV-PAGT

En vigtig doktrinal udvikling i New England Congregationalism i det 17. og 18. århundrede. Ifølge de første New England Congregationalists var en sand kirke sammensat af dem, der havde en erfaring med frelse, blev bundet sammen af ​​en pagt. For at deltage i kirkemedlemskab fortalte ansøgeren offentligt historien og arten af ​​sin oplevelse. Alle sådanne medlemmer havde ret til at præsentere deres sønner og døtre til dåb som pagtens børn. Spørgsmålet opstod (c. 1650) om, hvorvidt pagtens børn, selvom de ikke kunne relatere en personlig oplevelse af omvendelse, også kunne præsentere deres børn til dåb. Mange kirker tillod dem at gøre det, hvis de havde oprigtig karakter, gav deres intellektuelle samtykke til evangeliets principper, udtrykte deres vilje til at underkaste sig disciplinen og lovede at fremme kirkens velfærd, men de blev ikke optaget i nadver og kunne hverken varetage eller stemme på kirkeofficerer. Denne praksis, der normalt kaldes halvvejspagten, blev et varmt debatteret emne. Et flertal, der repræsenterede kirkerne i konventionerne fra 1657 og 1662, godkendte praksis, men et mindretal var uenigt og holdt fast i de oprindelige krav. Til sidst administrerede mange kirker dåb til børn af forældre til et værdigt liv. Tidligt i 1700 -tallet spredte praksis sig med at optage alle døbte voksne, der ikke førte skandaløse liv til nadveren, i håb om, at de ved at komme til nadveren ville opleve omvendelse. Solomon Stoddard, længe præsten for kirken i Northampton, Mass., Og svigerfar til Jonathan edwards, fulgte denne procedure, og fra ham spredte skikken sig bredt i det vestlige Massachusetts og Connecticut Valley. Den store opvågnen i New England, hvoraf Jonathan Edwards var den fremragende figur, førte i mange kirker til afvisning af halvvejspagten og fornyelse af en oplevelse af konvertering som en forudsætning for kirkemedlemskab. Her opstod der igen splittelser mellem dem, der holdt fast i den nye teologi, som den, der stammede fra Edwards, blev kaldt, og den praksis, der var forbundet med halvvejspagten.

Bibliografi: w. rollator, Kongregationskirkernes historie i Amerikas Forenede Stater (New York 1894) 170 – 182.


Lederressource 1: A History of Covenant

Den frikirketradition, som vi er en del af, giver ikke en trosbekendelse, et bestemt sæt overbevisninger, som alle skal acceptere for at tilhøre fællesskabet. I stedet er grænserne for vores samfund bestemt af engagement og deltagelse. Vores centrale spørgsmål er ikke "Hvad tror vi på?" men snarere "Hvilke værdier vil vi opretholde, og hvordan gør vi dette sammen?" Vores pagt, de løfter vi giver hinanden om, hvordan vi skal være et trossamfund, er kernen i, hvad det vil sige at være Unitarian Universalist.

Begrebet pagt er en ældgammel. Det er et centralt tema for både de hebraiske og kristne skrifter. Da de tidlige puritanere kom til Amerika for at danne en ny type kirke, valgte de at samle deres kirker ved hjælp af den gamle form for pagt. Disse første kirker i Amerika blev skabt ved gensidig accept til gensidig fordel i en tid og et sted, hvor overlevelse var afhængig af gensidigt samarbejde, men de blev ikke udelukkende dannet ud fra behov. De var også en reaktion på en form for kirkelig organisation, der ikke kun krævede, at alle abonnerede på et bestemt sæt overbevisninger og også lagde al magt og kontrol i hænderne på et kirkehierarki. Det er vigtigt at huske på, at vores trosfrihed er tæt knyttet til vores frihed til selvstyre eller menighedspolitik (Se Workshop 8, forsigtigt ned ad strømmen-Polity).

Ved dagens definitioner ville hverken pilgrimene i Plymouth -kolonien eller puritanerne i Massachusetts Bay -kolonien forstås som enten demokratisk styret eller teologisk forskelligartet af nutidens definitioner. De lagde imidlertid grundlaget for værdierne for menighedspolitik og teologisk mangfoldighed, der grundlagde vores samtidige trossamfund. Cambridge Platform of Church Discipline skrevet af New England Puritans i 1648 i Cambridge, Massachusetts, beskriver den form, denne nye kirkestyrelse skulle have. I Den amerikanske trosbekendelse, Forrest Church omskriver puritanernes væsentlige pagt som denne:

Vi lover at gå sammen

På sandhedens og kærlighedens måder,

Eller kan lære dem i de kommende dage,

At vi og vores børn kan blive opfyldt

Og at vi må tale til verden

Cambridge -platformen definerer i detaljer nogle detaljer, hvad der udgør en kirke. Alligevel er dette, et simpelt løfte om at gå sammen i sandhedens og kærlighedens veje, grundlaget for dokumentet.

Puritanerne havde en calvinistisk teologi, de mente, at nogle mennesker blev valgt til frelse af Gud. For puritanerne skulle en kirke være en frivillig samling af udvalgte individer, der ved deres "personlige og offentlige bekendelse" om en trosomvendelse og "fejlfri lydighed mod ordet" formodes at være blandt dem, der er valgt til frelse, " Hellige ved at ringe. "

Mens alle, der boede i sognet, forventedes til gudstjenester og sammenkomster, var det kun dem, der var sande medlemmer af kirken, de hellige ved at kalde, blev optaget i fællesskab, havde indflydelse på kirkens anliggender eller fik døbt deres børn . Dette førte til problemer, men i tredje generation faldt offentlige erhverv inden for religiøs konvertering. I 1662 vedtog en synode af kirker Half-Way Covenant for at håndtere problemet med faldende medlemskab. Halvvejspagten tillod ikke kun dåb af de helliges børn, som Cambridge-platformen havde, men også dåb af børn af de helliges børn. Dette var designet til at holde børnene inden for kirkens fællesskab med håb om, at de en dag ville modtage personlig omvendelse. Halvvejspagten var kontroversiel, men løste i sidste ende ikke problemerne med faldende konverteringsoplevelser og faldende medlemskab. Forskellene mellem valg og helbred faldt væk med årene, men Cambridge -platformens væsentlige kerne forblev. Kirker, der stadig er samlet ved pagt, et frivilligt og gensidigt løfte om at vandre i sandhedens og kærlighedens veje, så godt de var kendt. Over tid vedtog menighederne en ny ordlyd for at afspejle deres egne pagter.

Omkring 1880 skrev pastor Charles Gordon Ames, minister for Spring Garden Unitarian Society i Philadelphia, en pagt for sin menighed. En tilpasning kan findes som Reading 472 in Syng den levende tradition. I 1894 vedtog Unitarian Church of Evanston, Illinois, pagten skrevet af dens minister, pastor James Vila Blake. Også denne pagt findes i den nuværende salmebog, Syng den levende tradition som læsning 473.

En undersøgelse foretaget af 459 Unitariske kirker ved begyndelsen af ​​det tyvende århundrede viste, at 90 kirker brugte en vis variation af Ames 'formulering, mens 111 andre brugte lokalt udformede formuleringer. I bogen, Menighedspolitik, Conrad Wright rapporterer om disse pagter, at "nogle var stærkt teologiske, andre rent forretningsmæssige uden at have noget åndeligt formål, og at andre åbenbart genopstod fra glemselens grav til glæde for (undersøgelsen)." "

En nyere undersøgelse foretaget af UUA's Commission on Appraisal for deres rapport fra 2005 Engagerer vores teologiske mangfoldighed, spurgte menighederne, om de regelmæssigt brugte pagtord i tilbedelse. Svar fra 370 menigheder viste, at 42 brugte pagtens ord, skrevet af L. Griswold Williams eller en tilpasning af dem. 41 menigheder rapporterede om brug af pagten skrevet af Blake eller en tilpasning. Ni menigheder sagde, at de brugte en pagt, der kombinerer ordene fra både Williams og Blake og fire menigheder, der blev rapporteret ved hjælp af en tilpasning af Ames -pagten.


HALFWAY PAGT

HALFWAY PAGT. Da anden generation af puritanere begyndte at bevæge sig væk fra deres forældres yderst strenge definition af helgen, stod kirkens ældste over for et alvorligt problem. Hvis børn af grundlæggerne af Massachusetts og Connecticut, da de nåede voksenalderen, ikke gav noget acceptabelt bevis på den åndelige oplevelse kaldet regenerering, skulle de så få fuldt medlemskab af kirken? I juni 1657 forsøgte en interkolonial ministerkonference i Boston at besvare gennem Halfway Covenant, hvorved medlemskab blev givet til de børn, hvis forældre havde oplevet genfødsel, men i afventning af deres egen genopbygning, deltagelse i Herrens nadver og afstemning i kirken blev tilbageholdt . Selvom en Massachusetts -synode proklamerede det for alle Massachusetts -kirker (1662), fortsatte kontroversen i mere end et århundrede.


Halvvejspagten og presbyterianismen

Nyheder: Webstedet for Vanguard Presbytery (www.vanguardpresbytery.com), har nu passeret 50.000 visninger. Det indikerer mere interesse for det, vi laver, end nogle mennesker er villige til at indrømme. Vi har ikke og rekrutterer ikke folk. De kommer til os. De opsøger os. Det er på samme måde med vores websted. Hver uge modtager jeg e -mails fra folk, der vil sige sådan noget: “En ven fortalte mig om Vanguard, så jeg gik til dit websted og læste mange af artiklerne. Skriv mig venligst på din e -mail -liste. ”

Den følgende artikel handler om et syn på nådepagten, som pastor Solomon Stoddard, bedstefar til Jonathan Edwards, havde. Jeg havde oprindeligt til hensigt at skrive en anden artikel for i dag, men de næste 4-5 artikler vil vedrøre denne og kan bedst forstås ved at placere denne først.

Halvvejspagten og presbyterianismen

'Halvvejspagten' var et syn på Guds pagtløfter til troende og deres børn, der stammer fra Solomon Stoddard (1643-1729). I en alder af 18 fremsatte Stoddard sine ideer om nadveren, mens han var medlem af kirken i Northampton, Massachusetts. [1] Pastor Eleazar Mather, en oldefar til Cotton Mather, var puritansk minister i den menighed og mente (ligesom andre puritanere), at før børn kunne blive optaget på Herrens bord, skulle de give troværdige beviser for en åndelig omvendelse til Kristus . "Tidligere var det blevet forstået, at for at tro på Kristus indgik bekendtgørelse om sin oplevelse af Kristus, erklærede en kommunikant ikke blot objektive sandheder, men også den gudfrygtighed, som disse sandheder indebærer." [2] Stoddard, i et forsøg på at øge kirkens medlemskab. , ønskede at lempe disse standarder, så det ikke længere var nødvendigt at bekende sin oplevelse af Kristus. Han foreslog, at enhver, der blev døbt i barndommen, og som levede et moralsk liv, skulle have lov til at komme til Herrens bord. Han udvidede også pagtsløfterne til børnebørnene om troende bedsteforældre i det tilfælde, hvor forældrene til sådanne børn ikke var medlemmer af kirken. Kommunion, troede Stoddard, ville give sådanne nåde til de blotte professorer, at de en dag ville komme til sand frelse. Således var hans plan adskillelsen af ​​objektiv sandhed fra den subjektive oplevelse af disse sandheder. Stoddards plan blev vedtaget af New England Congregationalists i 1662, men effekten af ​​denne opfattelse kunne først mærkes først i de første år af det attende århundrede. På det tidspunkt var der en stor tilbagegang for sand gudfrygtighed i Amerika, som blev beskrevet af Cotton Mather:

Det tilstås af alle, der ved noget om sagen. . . at der er et generelt og frygteligt forfald af kristendommen blandt professorer i det. . . Den moderne kristendom er for generelt en spøgelse, knappe skygge af det gamle. . . Så berygtet er dette forfald af kristendommen, at hele bøger endda nu og da er skrevet for at undersøge det. [3]

Halvvejspagten spillede en stor rolle i den begivenhed, der førte til afskedigelse af Stoddards berømte barnebarn, Jonathan Edwards, fra den samme Northampton prædikestol i sommeren 1750 ved en stemme på 220 mod 23. Den kirke havde oplevet en bemærkelsesværdig opvågning under Edwards 'forkyndelse i 1734, men problemet med for mange uomvendte medlemmer af denne menighed, mange af dem endda Edwards' slægtninge, førte til det sørgelige resultat. Edwards adskilte sig fra sin bedstefar og pressede evangeliets krav til medlemmerne af denne menighed.

Hverken Edwards eller hans bedstefar, Solomon Stoddard, var presbyterianere. Edwards blev næsten en presbyteriansk minister på opfordring af Samuel Davies, men det er en historie for en anden dag. Alligevel er dette spørgsmål om 'Halvvejspagten' relevant for presbyterianismen. I for mange år har presbyterianere opereret mere på siden af ​​'Half-way Covenant'-opfattelsen af ​​tingene. Børn døbt i barndommen er rutinemæssigt blevet bragt ind i kirken som kommunikative medlemmer i en alder af 12 år efter en kommunikants klasse uden ringe eller ingen undersøgelse af deres oplevelse af nåde. Heldigvis er politikken i de fleste presbyterianske trossamfund bedre end teologien hos de fleste præster og ældste på dette punkt. Vanguard Presbytery, som de fleste andre presbyterianske politikerbøger, som jeg har konsulteret, har et kapitel med titlen: Disciplinen af ​​ikke-kommunikerende medlemmer. Det er kapitel 30 i vores forslag Bog om kirkeorden. Selve eksistensen af ​​et sådant kapitel er et vidnesbyrd om, at ikke alle mennesker, der er døbt i barndommen, kan forventes at være medlem af kirken før voksenalderen. BCO 30-4 siger: “Voksne medlemmer, der ikke kommunikerer, og som med ydmyghed og påskønnelse modtager kirkens tilsyn og undervisning, har ret til særlig opmærksomhed.” I kraft af at være født af kristne forældre er de medlemmer af den synlige kirke. De døbes som spædbørn på grundlag af det medlemskab af den synlige kirke og Guds pagtsløfter til de troendes børn. Men de bør ikke modtages som kommunikerende medlemmer af kirken, før de udfører et så troværdigt erhverv både for den kristne tros sandheder og deres egen oplevelse af Guds forløsende nåde.

Det er bestemt rigtigt, at vi aldrig perfekt kan undersøge en anden persons åndelige tilstand. Kun Gud kender hjertet. Alligevel er der mange tilfælde, hvor det er vigtigt for os at foretage en vurdering af deres sande åndelige tilstand. Ægteskab er en sådan lejlighed. Medlemskab af kirken er en anden. Vi skal gå lige ned af barbermaskinens kant i denne sag. Vi skal undgå farerne ved enten at være for strenge eller for løse. Selv den store skotske teolog, James Bannerman, der skrev Kristi Kirke, havde svært på dette tidspunkt efter min mening. Jeg mener, at hans opfattelse er for løs med hensyn til medlemskab. Han opsummerede forskellen mellem det uafhængige syn på kirkemedlemskab og det presbyterianske syn på det samme på denne måde:

I første omgang, er det uafhængige system for kirkemedlemskab baseret på en benægtelse af sondringen mellem den usynlige og den synlige Kristi Kirke. . . På tredjepladsen, synes der at være meget mere end blot en analogi at samle fra Bibelen til fordel for en synlig kirke, der består af ydre eller bekender kristne, og ikke udelukkende sande troende. [4]

Bannerman henviser derefter til flere af rigets lignelser (hvede og ukrudt, draget net fuld af fisk osv.) Som bevis på, at bekendende kristne skulle have lov til at blive i den synlige kirke indtil dommedagen. I lignelsen om hvede og ukrudt rådgiver Jesus om, at begge skal have lov til at vokse sammen indtil høsten. Alligevel lærer Bibelen også, at der er nogle bekendende kirkemedlemmer, der skal disciplineres og endda ekskommuniseres, hvis det er nødvendigt. I Mattæus 18: 15-18 giver Kristus os skridt, der skal tages for at genvinde en fejlende bror. Hvis han nægter at lytte til os, nægter at lytte til et eller to vidner med os og endelig nægter at lytte selv til kirken, så skal han blive som en hedning for os. Det vil sige, at han skal sættes ud af kirken. Manden i kirken i Korinth er et eksempel på en, der måtte overgives til Satan for ødelæggelsen af ​​hans kød (1 Korinther 5: 3-5). Achan (Josua 7: 16-27) syndede ved at tage kappen i Jeriko, der var under forbuddet, og han blev stenet til døde af Israel, så Guds dom over nationen ville blive trukket tilbage. Der er mange flere eksempler i Bibelen på, at det undertiden er nødvendigt at fjerne syndere fra Kristi synlige legeme. Indhegningen af ​​nadveren og advarslerne til de vanhellige eller angrende er andre eksempler på, at kirken ikke bare må lade tingene vokse sammen uden at udøve disciplin (Jf. 1 Korinther 11: 27-32). Jesu lignelser fortolkes forkert, hvis de forstås at se bort fra rigets nøgler i de bindende og tabte forpligtelser, som Kristus har givet hende (Jf. Mattæus 16:19 18:18 Johannes 20:23). Både hoveddøren og kirkens bagdør skal bevogtes. Kirken skal være omhyggelig med kun at modtage de medlemmer, der giver troværdige beviser for, at de er kristne, og også skal fjerne dem, hvis liv ser ud til at være uoverensstemmende med evangeliet. Det første ansvar er den bindende forpligtelse og vedrører modtagelse af medlemmer i kirken. Det andet ansvar er den tabende forpligtelse og vedrører fjernelse af medlemmer fra kirken gennem disciplin.

Efter min mening tager Bannerman (og mange presbyterianere med ham) fejl, når han gør sondringen mellem den synlige og usynlige kirke til det primære spørgsmål. Spørgsmålet, når en kandidat døbt i barndommen præsenterer sig selv for kommunikativt medlemskab, er ikke sondringen mellem den synlige kirke og den usynlige kirke. Det virkelige problem er tæt forbundet med det, men det er lidt anderledes. Det virkelige problem er det samme, som når en voksen, der aldrig er blevet døbt, præsenterer sig selv for medlemskab. Det virkelige spørgsmål er, at kirken skal vurdere, om denne person både bekender sig til den sande tro eller ikke og giver troværdige beviser for, at de har oplevet Kristi frelsende nåde. Det er det samme spørgsmål, som en session skal overveje, når man undersøger mænd til embeder som ældste og diakon, eller som et Præstegård skal overveje, når man modtager en kandidat til ministeriet. En simpel erkendelse af de korrekte lærdomme i Skriften er ikke tilstrækkelig i nogen af ​​disse tilfælde. Det, der ønskes, er nogle beviser for dommen af ​​kristen næstekærlighed, at sådan en person er en sand troende fra hjertet. Det er ønsket om, at enhver sådan person, der slutter sig til kirken eller bliver officer eller går ind i tjenesten, er en sund konvertit i henhold til, hvad Paulus siger i Romerbrevet 2:28, 29 (erstattet kristen for jøde og dåb for omskæring, og du har en smuk definition af en kristen). Vi kan på ingen måde garantere, at alle sådanne personer vil være sande konvertitter, men vi skal gøre vores bedste for at fastholde det mål. Der vil blive fanget både gode og dårlige fisk. Der vil være både hvede og ukrudt. Der vil være dem, der engang gik med os, men som ikke længere gør det. Nogle, der engang var i kirken, vender tilbage til verden som en hund vender tilbage til sit opkast.

Disse spørgsmål er vigtige for os af flere årsager. For det første var Stoddards holdning til nadveren tættere på katolicismens position end protestantismen. Hans opfattelse gjorde fællesskabet til en ordinance, der kunne give frelsende nåde. Den protestantiske holdning er, at sakramenterne er underdanige Helligåndens arbejde og ikke giver frelsende nåde i sig selv. Stoddards position er tættere på Federal Vision's kætteri i dag end evangelisering.

For det andet har jeg ofte hørt presbyterianere prale af, at vi i modsætning til reformerede baptister ikke tror på en ren kirke. Jeg håber bestemt, at vi stræber efter at holde kirken så ren som muligt. Kun Herren kender hjertet, men vi er nødt til at udvise vores bedste dømmekraft for at modtage medlemmer i fællesskab. Vi ønsker, at vores menigheder hovedsageligt består af sande troende. En menighed fuld af uomvendte mennesker er en vanskelig kirke for enhver præst.

For det tredje forekommer det mig at tale med mange præster om, at det er en af ​​grundene til, at de er i fred med at blive i trossamfund, der tillader kætteri. Det vil sige, at en uren kirke eller et kirkesamfund ikke generer dem. De er kommet til at forvente sådan. Faktisk fortalte en præst mig endda, at han med glæde ville forsvare, hvorfor han forbliver i et kirkesamfund, der tillader kætteri. Men hvor fortæller Bibelen os, at det er acceptabelt at tage imod kætteri? Hvor fortæller Bibelen os, at vi ikke skal generes af at være ulige åg? 2 Korinther 6:14, 15 siger: ”Bliv ikke bundet sammen med vantro for hvilket partnerskab der har retfærdighed og lovløshed, eller hvilket fællesskab har lys med mørke? Eller hvilken harmoni har Kristus med Belial, eller hvad har en troende tilfælles med en vantro? ” En sand troende kendes ved, hvad han tror, ​​og hvad han gør. En sand troende er kendt ved sit erhverv og sine frugter. Vi skal være forsigtige ifølge Skriften for ikke at blive bundet sammen med vantro.

Dewey Roberts, præst i Cornerstone Presbyterian Church i Destin, FL og moderator for Vanguard Presbytery. (You may mail contributions to Vanguard Presbytery to: PO Box 1862, Destin, FL 32540).

[1] Church Record Book MS., Church of Christ Congregational, Northampton MA (H G Swanhart: 1929), 50.

[2] Iain H. Murray, Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography (Edinburgh, Scotland and Carlisle, Pennsylvania: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1987), 89.

[3] Thomas Prince, The Christian History, Containing Accounts of the Revival and Propagation of Religion in Great-Britain and America, For the year 1743 (Boston: S. Kneeland and T. Green, 1744), 104.

[4] James Bannerman, The Church of Christ, Volume I (Edinburgh, Scotland and Carlisle, Pennsylvania: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1974), 74, 76.


The Half-way Covenant

At the church meeting mentioned above, "it was unanimously agreed and ordered, that some of the brethren should be chosen to unite with the pastor in preparing adult church children connected with this church, for publickly owning their Lord, and renewing the covenant made with them, in and by their parents." This preparation was to be made by questioning, instructing and exhorting them. It was further agreed without a dissenting voice, that in cases of erring adult church children--that is, those who were twenty years old, or upwards--they should be dealt with as other members, for scandals, or clear breaches of the moral law. In two or three weeks from that time, five young men owned the covenant, and two weeks later, five others. In the course of a year, more than thirty persons owned the covenant, while a very few were admitted to full communion.

Mr. Cotton continued in the work of the ministry till his labors were terminated by his death, which occurred very suddenly on Tuesday, April 20, 1686, when he was in the fifty-third year of his age. His funeral took place the next Friday. On the following Sabbath, Rev. Samuel Phillips, of Rowley, Mass., preached to the bereaved people.


The German Reformed Church

While the independent Congregationalists had been struggling in New England to recover and maintain biblical faithful ness, a stream of German and German-Swiss settlers-farmers laborers, trade and craftpersons, many “redemptioners” who had sold their future time and services to pay for passage, flowed into Pennsylvania and the Middle Atlantic region. Refugees from the waste of European wars, their concerns were pragmatic. They did not bring pastors with them. People of Reformed biblical faith, at first sustained only by family worship at home, they were informed by the Bible and the Heidelberg Catechism.

Strong relationships developed between Lutheran and Reformed congregations many union churches shared buildings. At first, there were no buildings and laymen often led worship. In 1710, a Dutch Reformed minister, Paul Van Vlecq, assisted a German congregation gathered at Skippack, Pennsylvania. At nearby White Marsh, Van Vlecq established a congregation in the house of elder William Dewees, who held the congregation together until the church was reestablished in 1725.

Another layman, tailor Conrad Templeman, conducted services in Lancaster county, ministering to seven congregations during the 1720s. Schoolmaster John Philip Boehm had maintained a ministry for five years without compensation. Responsible for the regular organization of 12 German Reformed congregations in Pennsylvania, although not regularly ordained, he reluctantly was persuaded to celebrate the sacraments for the first time on October 15, 1725, at Falkner Swamp, with 40 members present. Boehm — orderly, well educated, devout — spent the ensuing years traveling the country on horseback, 25,000 miles in all, preparing Reformed Church constitutions.

Meanwhile, the Heidelberg-educated and regularly ordained pastor George Michael Weiss arrived from Germany in 1727 to minister to the Philadelphia church founded by Boehm. He carried the Word and the Lord’s Supper to communities surrounding Philadelphia. Weiss’ strong objections to Boehm’s irregular ministry caused Boehm to seek and receive ordination by the Dutch Reformed Church by 1729. Funds for American churches were still coming from Europe, and Weiss went abroad to Holland in pursuit of support for his congregations. Successful, he returned in 1731 to minister among German Reformed people in New York. Before 1746, when Michael Schlatter, a Swiss-born and Dutch-educated young pastor from Heidelberg, arrived in America, congregations of German settlers were scattered throughout Pennsylvania and New York. German immigrants had followed natural routes along rivers and mountain valleys, and Reformed congregations had emerged in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. The spiritual and financial health of these 40 congregations were watched over by the Dutch Reformed Church in Holland, assisted by the German Reformed center at Heidelberg, Germany.

Support came from the Classis (“association”) of Amsterdam that sent Michael Schlatter to America to “organize the ministers and congregations into a Coetus (synod).” Schlatter did this within a year of his arrival in Pennsylvania. With the cooperation of Boehm, Weiss, John Bartholomew Rieger, and 28 elders, the Coetus of the Reformed Ministerium of the Congregations in Pennsylvania came to life on September 24, 1747 and the Coetus adopted in 1748 the Kirchen-Ordnung that Boehm had prepared in 1725. The Kirchen-Ordnung placed discipline and care of the local church in the hands of a consistory of elders, deacons, and the minister, elected by the congregation. Members were charged with “fraternal correction and mutual edification.” The minister was to preach “the pure doctrine of the Reformed Church according to the Word of God and to administer the holy seals of the Covenant … : always to adhere to the Heidelberg Catechism … to hold catechetical instruction … [and] give special attention to church discipline, together with those who have oversight of the congregation.”

In light of the multiplicity of German sects, such as Moravians, Mennonites and Dunkards, who competed for the attention and allegiance of German immigrants, the authority of the Coetus, organized according to the same structure and discipline as the local church, was welcome. The German Reformed Churches felt protected from “unscrupulous proselytizers. They achieved a mutual identity and respect, and established authority for faith and practice. Among pastor and people, shared responsibility was carried out within a community faith, under the Lordship of Christ. The leadership of Micha Schlatter and his colleagues prepared the congregations to endure the upheaval of the American Revolution and to maintain their identity in the ethnic and religious pluralism that characterized William Penn’s colony.

Many German Reformed settlers served in the Revolutionary armies, 20 percent of Reformed pastors as chaplains, though Continental Congress Chaplain John Joachim Zu1 was labeled a Tory for his anti-war stand. During the Brit siege of Philadelphia in 1777, farmers wrapped the Liberty Bell and the bells of Christ Church in potato sacks and hauled them to Allentown, Pennsylvania, where pastor Abraham Blumer hid them under the floor of Zion Reformed Church for safekeeping. Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, a Reformed layman, disciplined Washington’s troops during the bitter Valley Forge winter.

The Coetus strengthened the churches and prepared t] for self-government in the early years of the United States 1793, European ties were broken. A Reformed Church Constitution was adopted, a Synodal Ordnung an official name taken, The Synod of the German Reformed Church in United States of America, and a hymnbook committee appointed. There were in that year, 178 German-speaking congregations and 15,000 communicant members.

Revival theology was antithetical to the German Reformed tradition. However, pietistic influences within the German Reformed Church responded to the warm-hearted moral virtue of the revival. On the frontier, people found its emphasis on the individual compatible with their needs. The newly independent German Reformed Church, short of pastors and threatened by a revivalist gospel, established a seminary in 1825, at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, that moved in 1829 to York, in 1837 to Mercersburg and finally to Lancaster in 1871, where it became Lancaster Theological Seminary. Franklin College (1787) of Lancaster, jointly supported by the Lutherans and the Reformed, in 1853 merged with German Reformed Marshall College to form Franklin and Marshall College.

As ministers arrived in America from the pietist centers in Europe, pietistic rather than confessional patterns appeared in Reformed congregations, and the guiding light of the catechism was dimmed. Missionary zeal abounded. People were highly susceptible to the leadership of charismatic frontier preachers. Church leaders were concerned that young and old be instructed in Reformed Christian doctrine. In 1806, the first German Reformed Sunday schools appeared. In the midst of it all, and in reaction to revivalist sectarianism, a controversial movement at the seminary at Mercersburg set off a re-examination of the doctrines of Christ and of the church — not just in the German Reformed Church, but among all American Protestants.

First, however, there would be years of ferment when the Synod would endure turmoil and defection that would test and eventually strengthen its essential stability. Pietist minister Philip William Otterbein, a Reformed Church pastor, later founded the United Brethren Church, today a part of the United Methodist Church. Harrisburg’s pastor, John Winebrenner, locked out of his church by the consistory, met with his followers in private homes to form a new denomination, The Churches of God.

As the Reformed Church grew, continuing use of the German language became an issue. Although German congregations were divided between the use of German or English, the Synod itself conducted meetings and issued minutes in German until 1825. By 1824, the Ohio Synod separated from the parent synod in order to ordain its own ministers and in 1850 organized Heidelberg College and Seminary in Tiffin.

The controversial Mercersburg movement would shake the church. With the arrival at the Mercersburg seminary of John W. Nevin and Swiss-German professor of historical and exegetical theology, Philip Schaff, Mercersburg became a center of concern that the revivalism of the Awakening was inauthentic. Schaff was the most outstanding church historian in 19thcentury America and the primary mediator of German theology to America.

The Mercersburg movement, counter to the sectarian trend of the time, called for a “true revival” centered in the life of the church, guided by the catechetical system, and in particular, the Heidelberg Catechism. The movement’s leaders called for a recognition of the church as one, catholic, and holy. They acknowledged the error to which the church in all ages had been subject, urged an end to sectarianism and pretensions to the one true church and called for cessation of anti-Catholicism which had been pervasive for some time. Schaff’s charitable attitude was seen by some in the Philadelphia Classis, the “Old Reformed” and loyal to Zwingli’s Reformation, as heresy. Nevin, Schaff, and their followers sought to go back to the creeds and to make the mystical presence of Christ, mediated by word and sacrament, the essence of the church. Reverence for the creeds, catechism, and liturgy, they believed, would unify the church and combat sectarianism. In liturgy, the Mercersburg people favored an altar as the center for worship with formal litanies, chants, prayers and clerical garb, while “Old Reformed” pastors preferred a central pulpit, free prayer and informal worship.

The “Old Reformed” were caught up in the American revival and clung to their German sectarian identities. Schaff maintained that Reformed theology’s contribution to the New World lay in the supremacy of the scriptures, absolute sovereignty of divine grace, and radical moral reform on the basis of both. A former member of The Evangelical Church of The Prussian Union, Schaff later cultivated warm relationships with Evangelicals in the West.

The Mercersburg Review, the movement’s chief literary medium, which began publication at Marshall College in 1848, was greatly responsible for effecting changed attitudes. Its challenge would call other denominations to self-examination as well. It was the German Reformed Church’s initial contribution to the movement toward unity and ecumenism that would take shape in the next century.

The low church “Old Reformed” minority in the East, after a long struggle against a revised liturgy, called a convention in Myerstown, Pennsylvania, in 1867 to prevent its use. In January 1868, the Reformed Church Quarterly began and in 1870, Ursinus College opened its doors, supported by the “Old Reformed.”


Half-Way Covenant

Det Half-Way Covenant was a form of partial church membership created by New England in 1662. It was promoted in particular by the Reverend Solomon Stoddard, who felt that the people of the English colonies were drifting away from their original religious purpose. First-generation settlers were beginning to die out, while their children and grandchildren often expressed less religious piety, and more desire for material wealth.

Full membership in the tax-supported Puritan church required an account of a conversion experience, and only persons in full membership could have their own children baptized. Second and third generations, and later immigrants, did not have the same conversion experiences. These individuals were thus not accepted as members despite leading otherwise pious and upright Christian lives.

In response, the Half-Way Covenant provided a partial church membership for the children and grandchildren of church members. Those who accepted the Covenant and agreed to follow the creed within the church could participate in the Lord's supper. Crucially, the half-way covenant provided that the children of holders of the covenant could be baptized in the church. These partial members, however, couldn't accept communion or vote.

Puritan preachers hoped that this plan would maintain some of the church's influence in society, and that these 'half-way members' would see the benefits of full membership, be exposed to teachings and piety which would lead to the "born again" experience, and eventually take the full oath of allegiance. [ citat nødvendig ] Many of the more religious members of Puritan society rejected this plan as they felt it did not fully adhere to the church's guidelines, and many of the target members opted to wait for a true conversion experience instead of taking what they viewed as a short cut.

Response to the Half-Way Covenant may have sown the seeds for the First Great Awakening in the 1730s, launched by Stoddard's grandson Jonathan Edwards. Along with Calvinist evangelist George Whitefield, Edwards preached that God is "in the now" and that there must be an "urgent call for languid will," in response to the half-hearted will that the Half-Way Covenant allows.


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The Half-Way Covenant

Since seventeenth-century New England Puritans found is so difficult to determine who was truly converted, they were never able to settle entirely the questions of who should have access to the sacraments or be regarded as part of the church (29).

The question became known as the “half-way covenant”.[1] The issue of the half-way covenant is stated thus:

What happened fi those baptized children grew to adulthood were never certifiably converted, even though they might be upstanding in other respects? Should the children of these half-way (baptized) church members be baptized? If God’s covenant, as the Old Testament clearly said, extended to many generations, how could the grandchildren of the regenerate be denied the sacrament? After much debate, a synod of clergy declared in 1662 that children of the half-way members could be baptized [yet practice did vary from congregation to congregation, since the synod had no authority over individual congregations) (Mardsen, 30).

Hodge provides the following details of the synod:

This is also the theory which was known in New England as the “Half-Way Covenant.” Many were recognized as entitled to present their children for baptism, who were not prepared for admission to the Lord’s Supper. The controversy on this subject began in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1654, 1655. Several councils were called, which failed to produce unanimity. The question was referred to a Synod of divines to meet in Boston. The Synod met and sat two or three weeks. “As to the case of such baptized persons as, without being prepared to come to the Lord’s Supper, were of blameless character, and would own for themselves their baptismal obligations, it decided that they ought to be allowed to present their children for baptism. This assuming of baptismal obligations was called by opponents, taking the Half-way Covenant.”12

The Synod decided in favour of the following propositions:

“1. They that, according to Scripture, are members of the visible Church, are the subjects of baptism.

“2. The members of the visible Church, according to Scripture, are confederate visible believers, in particular churches, and their infant seed, i.e., children in minority, whose next parents, one or both, are in covenant.

“3. The infant seed of confederate visible believers, are members of the same Church with their parents, and when grown up are personally under the watch, discipline, and government of that church.

“4. These adult persons are not, therefore, to be admitted to full communion, merely because they are, and continue members, without such further qualifications as the Word of God requireth thereunto.

“5. Church-members who were admitted in minority, understanding the doctrine of faith, and publicly professing their assent thereto, not scandalous in life, and solemnly owning the covenant before the Church, wherein they give up themselves and their children to the Lord, and subject themselves to the government of Christ in the Church, their children are to be baptized.

“6. Such church-members, who either by death, or some other extraordinary providence, have been inevitably hindered from publicly acting as aforesaid, yet have given the Church cause, in judgment of charity, to look at them as so qualified, and such as, had they been called thereunto, would have so acted, their children are to be baptized.

“7. The members of orthodox churches, being sound in the faith and not scandalous in life, and presenting due testimony thereof these occasionally coming from one church to another may have their children baptized in the church, whither they come, by virtue of communion of churches. But if they remove their habitation they ought orderly to covenant and subject themselves to the government of Christ in the church where they settle their abode, and so their children to be baptized. It being the church’s duty to receive such into communion, so far as they are regularly fit for the same.”13

These propositions are founded on the following principles:

1. That as under the old economy the Temple was one, it had its outer and inner courts, and those who had access to the former were not thereby entitled to enter the latter so under the new dispensation the visible Church is one, but it includes two classes of members baptized professors of the true religion, and those who, giving evidence of regeneration, are admitted to the Lord’s Supper.

2. That the qualifications for baptism and for full communion are not identical. Many may properly be admitted to the former, who are not prepared for the latter.

3. That baptism being a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, all who are baptized, whether adults or infants, are properly designated “foederati,” members of the visible Church, believers, saints, Christians.

4. That those baptized in infancy remain members of the visible Church until they are “discovenanted,” as the Congregationalists express it or, separated from it by a regular act of discipline.

5. That being members of the Church, if free from scandal and continuing their profession, they are entitled to present their children for baptism.

The decision of this Synod did not put an end to the controversy. It was, however, in accordance with the views of the majority of the New England churches. Its chief opponents were found among “the more conservative class of laymen. Its advocates among the clergy were from the first a majority, which went on increasing from generation to generation and the Halfway Covenant, as it was opprobriously called, came to be approved by the general practice of the Congregational churches of New England.”14 Such, also, it is believed, although on somewhat different principles, was the general practice of the Presbyterian Church in this country until within a comparatively recent period of its history.

Charles Hodge, vol. 3, Systematic Theology (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 567-69.
At Solomon Stoddard’s [grandfather to Jonathan Edwards Edwards would eventually pastor this congregation] church[2], the question was as to whom could take Communion. Stoddard opened it to those whose lives were free of scandal on the grounds: (1) it was difficult to know who was truly converted and (2) the Lord’s Supper was “a converting ordinance” (31). This entire matter would become of tremendous importance in the career and life of Jonathan Edwards as the implications of knowing a true conversion and the right of access to the baptism and communion played out.
Augustus Strong has the following note about Edwards, the halfway covenant and Stoddardism:

“It has been often intimated that President Edwards opposed and destroyed the Halfway Covenant. He did oppose Stoddardism, or the doctrine that the Lord’s Supper is a converting ordinance, and that unconverted men, because they are such, should be encouraged to partake of it.” The tendency of his system was adverse to it but, for all that appears in his published writings, he could have approved and administered that form of the Halfway Covenant then current among the churches. John Fiske says of Jonathan Edwards’s preaching: “The prominence he gave to spiritual conversion, or what was called ‘change of heart,’ brought about the overthrow of the doctrine of the Halfway Covenant. It also weakened the logical basis of infant baptism, and led to the winning of hosts of converts by the Baptists.”

Augustus Hopkins Strong, Systematic Theology (Bellingham, Wa.: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2004), 952-53.

The reasons for the breakdown of faith throughout this dismal era were manifold, but undoubtedly one of the greatest influences was the historic “Halfway Covenant,” established at the Synod of 1662. Briefly stated, this agreement granted church membership to unregenerate persons, baptized in infancy, who demonstrated

… understanding [in] the doctrine of faith, and publicly professing their assent thereunto not scandalous in life, and solemnly owning the covenant before the church wherein they give up themselves and their children to the Lord, and subject themselves to the government of Christ in the church, their children are to be baptized….

Therefore, under the instruction of this doctrine, reasonably civil, baptized, but unconverted adults were denied nothing within the church except participation in holy communion, which was still reserved strictly for the converted. Tragically, it was Solomon Stoddard, grandfather of Jonathan Edwards, who later led a crusade to eliminate

this one last precious distinction and permit unconverted church members to join the regenerate around the Lord’s table because, in his words, “… sanctification is not a necessary qualification to partaking of the Lord’s Supper,” and “the Lord’s Supper is a converting ordinance.”60 This clear apostasy, although violently opposed by Mather and numerous others, soon became a common practice throughout much of New England. So established did this procedure become in future years that clergymen who refused the Lord’s Supper to baptized unconverted members of a local church could be taken to civil court and duly prosecuted!61 The result, according to one historian, was that within the church at large “the unconverted soon outnumbered the converted.”62

Reformation and Revival Volume 8, 2 (Carol Stream, Illinois: Reformation and Revival Ministries, 1999), 79-80.

One of the most influential leaders in American Protestantism from the settlement of Massachusetts (1630) to the colonial Great Awakening (ca. 1740). From his pulpit in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he served from 1672 to 1729, Stoddard’s ideas exerted a powerful influence, not only in the Connecticut River valley, but in Boston and in New England as a whole.

“Pope” Stoddard, as his opponents called him, was best known for his innovations in church discipline. By his day many New England Congregational churches had adopted the Halfway Covenant. This allowed baptized members who had not made a personal profession of faith to bring their infants for baptism even as it kept all except those who could personally confess their faith from participating in the Lord’s Supper. Stoddard proposed that all who lived outwardly decent lives should be allowed to take Communion. At the same time he also urged the churches of Massachusetts to develop a “connectional” or “presbyterian” plan of oversight in order to ensure the orthodoxy of local churches and ministers. These different aspects of Stoddard’s thought have led some historians to praise him for his democratic principles (in opening up the Lord’s Supper) and others to condemn him as autocratic (for proposing tighter outside control of local churches).

Walter A. Elwell and Walter A. Elwell, vol. 1, Biographical Entries from Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, electronic ed., Baker reference library Logos Library System (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1998).