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date: 20 September 2019


The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
F. L. CrossF. L. Cross, E. A. LivingstoneE. A. Livingstone

Congregationalism is that form of Church polity which rests on the independence and autonomy of each local church. It professes to represent the principle of democracy in Church government, a polity which is held to follow from its fundamental belief in Christ as the sole head of His Church. All the members of the Church, being Christians, are ‘priests unto God’. Where two or three such meet in Christ's name He is in their midst guiding their thoughts and inspiring their actions, and each such community, duly constituted with its officers, is regarded as an outcrop and representative of the Church Universal. It has been held that the system is primitive in that it represents the earliest form of Church order. It requires a very high standard of Christian devotion to maintain it, though it is admitted that in practice it has fallen sometimes sadly below that ideal.... ...

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