English Dissenters

English Dissenters

English Dissenters were Christians who separated from the Church of England. [^ The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church by F. L. Cross (Editor), E. A. Livingstone (Editor) Oxford University Press, USA; 3 edition p.490 (March 13, 1997) ] They opposed State interference in religious matters, and founded their own communities in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. Having hoped for a more Protestant Reformation in the Church of England, many individuals were disappointed that political decisions were made by the monarchs in order to control the Established Church.

The Dissenters triumphed for a time under Oliver Cromwell. King James I had said "No bishop, no king" [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/james_i_king.shtml BBC - History - James I, King of England, VI of Scotland (1566 - 1625) ] ] ; Cromwell made good on that, abolishing both.

After the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 the episcopacy was reinstalled and the rights of the Dissenters were limited. The Act of Uniformity 1662 required Anglican ordination for all ministers. Many clergymen instead withdrew from the state church, the Church of England.

These Dissenters were also known as Nonconformists, though originally this term referred to refusal to use certain vestments and ceremonies of the Church of England, rather than separation from it.

Rational Dissenters

In the eighteenth century, one group of Dissenters became known as "Rational Dissenters". In many respects they were closer to the Anglicanism of their day than other Dissenting sects; however, they believed that state religions impinged on the freedom of conscience. They were fiercely opposed to the hierarchical structure of the Established Church and the financial ties between it and the government. Like moderate Anglicans, they desired an educated ministry and an orderly church, but they based their opinions on reason and the Bible rather than on appeals to tradition and authority. They rejected doctrines such as the Trinity and original sin, arguing that they were irrational. Rational Dissenters believed that Christianity and faith could be dissected and evaluated using the newly emerging discipline of science, and that a stronger belief in God would be the result. [Philip, 36.]

List of Dissenting groups

Historical Dissenting groups

In existence during the English Interregnum (1649 - 1660):
*Anabaptists - those of continental origin are still flourishing.
*Diggers (1649–1651) - not a conventional dissenting group, but based their politics on the Bible.
*Fifth Monarchists
*Levellers - not a religious group, but they supported religious freedom for dissenters.

Present-day Dissenting groups

*Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion

ee also

*Christian anarchism
*Freedom of religion
*Religion in the United Kingdom
*17th century denominations in England
*English Independents



*Fitzpatrick, Martin. "Heretical Religion and Radical Political Ideas in Late Eighteenth-Century England." "The Transformation of Political Culture: England and Germany in the Late Eighteenth Century". Ed. Eckhart Hellmuth. Oxford: Oxford University Press; London: German Historical Institute, 1990. ISBN 0199205019.
*Philip, Mark. "Rational Religion and Political Radicalism." "Enlightenment and Dissent" 4 (1985): 35–46.

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