Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia


Term in use since ca. the middle 1560s; designates a faction in the Angl. Ch. (see also England, B 7) that sought continued purification of the ch. to the point of perfection. The movement began with J. Hooper* and the Vestiarian* controversy 1550. When the Angl. Ch. renewed emphasis on vestments 1559, the movement responded by objecting to episcopacy and opted for Presbyterianism. But assemblies could not operate effectively under est. nat. policy. In the 1580s some Puritans advocated independency or congregationalism (see also Conventicle; Dissenter; Nonconformist; United Church of Christ, I A 1). Finally royal supremacy in the ch. came under attack, intensified by pol. enemies of the royal policy of the “divine* right of kings.” Puritanism became practically a pol. party; for a time Puritans were in majority in the House of Commons.

Puritans did not want to separate from the est. ch. But oppression under James* I and Charles I (see Presbyterian Confessions, 1) led many to flee, esp. to Holland, whence the Pilgrim Fathers (see United Church of Christ, I A 1 and 2) came to Am. 1620 (see also United States, Religious History of the, 4). TH

See also Calamy, Edmund.

W. Haller, The Rise of Puritanism (New York, 1938); M. M. Knappen, Tudor Puritanism (Chicago, 1939); D. C. Neal, The History of the Puritans, 5 vols. (Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1816–17); The Presbyterian Movement in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, ed. R. G. Usher (London, 1905); R. G. Usher, The Reconstruction of the English Church, I (New York, 1910); T. Hoyer, “The Historical Background of the Westminster Assembly,” CTM, XVIII (1947), 572–591.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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