Sources of unity or disruption? a reflection on some mid-sixteenth century refugee churches

Jackson, Robert (2016)

CITATION: Jackson, R. 2016. Sources of unity or disruption? a reflection on some mid-sixteenth century refugee churches. Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae, 42(3):161–177, doi:10.17159/2412-4265/2016/2083.

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Article

The sixteenth century refugee churches in “Germany” show a near universal tendency towards disputation and discord. While this rather depressing picture can be placed at the door of Lutheran hostility, it is sad to record that the refugee churches themselves were not without fault in heightening the conflict between Lutheran and Reformed – making unity between the two confessions increasingly unlikely. The refugee churches were also a product of the circumstances in which they lived, the intimacy of which often gave rise to tension and argument. From these churches can be traced the seeds of congregationalism that took root in the following century. The London Stranger churches present a somewhat different picture. While not free from internal dispute, the social work of their consistories played a large part in the integration of refugee communities into late sixteenth century London. This can be counted as one of the more positive aspects of the sixteenth century refugee church.

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