In episcopacy the supreme authority is a diocesan bishop; in congregationalism it is the members of the congregation assembled in church meeting; in Presbyterianism it is a church council composed of representative presbyters.
In episcopacy the control of church affairs is almost entirely withdrawn from the people; in congregationalism it is almost entirely exercised by the people; in Presbyterianism it rests with a council composed of duly appointed office-bearers chosen by the people.
The ecclesiastical unit in episcopacy is a diocese, comprising many churches and ruled by a prelate; in congregationalism it is a single church, self-governed and entirely independent of all others; in Presbyterianism it is a presbytery or council composed of ministers and elders representing all the churches within a specified district.
It may be said broadly, therefore, that in .episcopacy the government is monarchical; in congregationalism, democratic; and in Presbyterianism, aristocratic or representative.
But, in contrast with Congregationalism, when they elect and "call" a minister their action has to be sustained by the presbytery, which judges of his fitness for that particular sphere, of the measure of the congregation's unanimity, and of the adequacy of financial support.
Episcopatus, the office of a bishop, episcopus), the general term technically applied to that system of church organization in which the chief ecclesiastical authority within a defined district, or diocese, is vested in a bishop. As such it is distinguished on the one hand from Presbyterianism, government by elders, and Congregationalism, in which the individual church or community of worshippers is autonomous, and on the other from Papalism.
The confession of faith issued by the London-Amsterdam church (the original of the Pilgrim Fathers' churches) in 1596 declares that the Christian congregation having power to elect its minister has also power to excommunicate him if the case so require (Walker, Creeds and Platforms of Congregationalism, p. 66).
Calamy was an active member in the Westminster assembly of divines, and, refusing to advance to Congregationalism, found in Presbyterianism the middle course which best suited his views of theology and church government.
CONGREGATIONALISM, the name given to that type of church organization in which the autonomy of the local church, or body of persons wont to assemble in Christian fellowship, is fundamental.
In contrast to both of these, which in different ways express the principle of clerical or official authority, Congregationalism represents the principle of democracy in religion.
So viewed, Congregationalism is essentially a " high church" theory, as distinct from a high clerical one.
The Congregationalism of the Apostolic Church was, to begin with, part of its heritage from Judaism.
These, the two senses recognized by Congregationalism, remained the only ones known to primitive Christianity.
Yet the momentous change which finally crushed out Congregationalism, by substitution of legal coercion for moral suasion as the final means of securing unity, came relatively late in the history of the ancient Catholic Church.
In such a Catholic atmosphere Congregationalism could have no being, save among little groups of men who protested against the existing order.
Still, a good deal of semi-congregationalism probably did exist in obscure circles which preluded the wider Reformation and were merged in it.
This, while far short of theoretic Congregationalism, was a prophecy of it.
Congregationalism proper, as a theory of the organized Christian life contemplated in the New Testament, re-emerges only at the Reformation, with its wide recovery of such aspects of evangelic experience as acceptance with God and constant access' to Him through the sole mediation of Christ.
But Anabaptism was not to remain an abiding force on the continent; and though colonies of its exiles settled in England, they did not produce the Congregationalism which sprang up there under Elizabeth.
Here we have essential Congregationalism, formulated for the first time in England as the original and genuine Christian polity, and as such binding on those loyal to the Head of the Church.
Such were the leading features of Browne's Congregationalism, as a polity distinct from both Episcopacy and Presbyterianism.
Between 1580 and 1581, when Browne formed in Norwich the first known church of this order on definite scriptural theory, and October 1585, when, being convinced that the times were not yet ripe for the realization of the perfect polity, and taking a more charitable view of the established Church, he yielded to the pressure brought to bear on him by his kinsman Lord Burghley, so far as partially to conform to parochial public worship as defined by law (see Browne, Robert), the history of Congregationalism is mainly that of Browne and of his writings.
The permanent issues of the Gainsborough-Amsterdam church are connected with the origins of the Baptist wing of Congregationalism, through John Smyth and Thomas Helwys.
Separatism was now passing into Congregationalism, 2 both in sentiment and in language.
The majority, indeed, even of determined opponents of personal rule in state and church favoured Presbyterianism, particularly before 1641, when Henry Burton's Protestation Protested brought before educated men generally the principles of Congregationalism, as distinct from Puritanism, by applying them to a matter of practical politics.
But besides this telling pamphlet and the controversy which ensued, the experience of New England as to the practicability of Congregationalism, at least in that modified form known as the " New England Way," produced a growing impression, especially on parliament.
Dale, p. 374 ff.) of moment for the Commonwealth era, between " Independency " as a principle and " Congregationalism " as an ideal of church polity.
Congregationalism, however, " denotes a positive theory of the organization and powers of Christian churches," having as corollary independency of external control, whether civil or ecclesiastical.
During the Civil War Congregationalism broadened out into reciprocal relations with the national life and history.
Mackennal, The Evolution of Congregationalism (1901), pp. 43 ff.
To sketch even in outline " The Evolution of Congregationalism " in correspondence with so complex an environment is here impossible.
During the Protectorate, with its practical establishment of Presbyterians, Independents and Baptists, the position of Congregationalism was really anomalous, in so far as any of its pastors became parish ministers,' and so received " public mainfenance " and were expected to administer the sacraments to all and sundry.
Both had given up the strict jure divino theory of their polity as apostolic. The Congregationalism of the Savoy Declaration (Oct.
Hence when, after the Toleration Act of 1689, a serious attempt was made to draw the two types together on the basis of Heads of Agreement assented to by the United Ministers in and about London, formerly called Presbyterian and Congregational, the basis partook of both (much after the fashion of the New England Way), though on the whole it favoured Congregationalism (see Dale, pp. 474 ff.).
A parallel is afforded by the history of Congregationalism in Scotland, which arose early in the 19th century through the evangelistic fervour of the Haldanes in an era of " moderatism "; also by the rise of the kindred Evangelical Union, shortly before the Disruption in 1843.
For underneath obvious differences, like the Arminian theology of the Wesleys and the Presbyterian type of their organization, there was latent affinity between a " methodist society " and the original congregational idea of a church; and in practice Methodism, outside the actual control of the Wesleys, in various ways worked out into Congregationalism (see Mackennal, op. cit.
But whilst Congregationalism grew thereby in numbers and in a sense of mission to all sorts and conditions of men - lack of which was one of the disabilities' due in part to its sectarian position before the law (see Mackennal, pp. 142 ff.) - it modified not only its Calvinism but also its old church ideal' in the process.
Dale of Birmingham, the most influential Congregationalist in the closing decades of the 19th century, in whom lived afresh the high Congregationalism of the early Separatists.
Modern Congregationalism, as highly sensitive to the Zeitgeist and its solvent influence on dogma, shared for a time the critical and negative attitude produced by the first impact of a culture determined by the conception of development as applying to the whole realm of experience.
Among topics which have exercised the collective mind of modern Congregationalism, and still exercise it, are church-aid and home missions, church extension in the colonies, the conditions of entry into the ministry and sustentation therein, Sunday school work, the social and economic condition of the people (issuing in social settlements and institutional churches), and, last but not least, foreign missions.
Apart from these, however, and some 150,000 communicants in its foreign missions, British and American " Congregationalism " reckons more than a million and a quarter church members; while, including those known as Baptists (q.v.), the total amounts to several millions more.
In the first place it fostered the growth of Congregationalism in British colonies.
Dale's History of English Congregationalism (1907), the most authoritative work at present available.
Dexter's Congregationalism of the Last Three Hundred Years, as seen in its Literature (New York, 1880), supplemented by bibliographies in the first vols.
Important documents for Congregational Faith and Order, with historical introductions, are printed in Williston Walker's Creeds and Platforms of Congregationalism (New York, 1893).
- The history of American Congregationalism during its early years is practically that of the origin of New England.
Of far greater importance not only to Congregationalism but also to the future of the American colonies was the care taken by the settlers to provide adequate training for their ministers.
When the excitement caused by the Revolution had subsided, Congregationalism entered upon a new period of energy.
In the early days of this expansion Congregationalism and Presbyterianism worked hand in hand, but the so-called "Plan of Union" (1801) was successively abandoned by the Conservative Presbyterians in 1837 and by the Congregationalists through the "Albany Convention" in 1852.
The English Congregational Year Book for 1908 said, in reference to the United States: "In spite of phenomenal increase of population Congregationalism in the states, as here in London, is only marking time.