Nonconformity

The restoration of the English King, Charles II, in 1660 brought back into power all those spiritual influences which the Puritans had stood against prior to the English Civil War. Episcopacy (rule of the church by the clergy), compulsory liturgy, and uniformity in worship practices were again to be the state religion.

A meeting at the Savoy Castle in 1661 between Episcopalians and Presbyterians indicated the futility of any hope of accommodation, and rather than comply with the terms of the Act of Conformity, which was imposed upon all churches the following year, some 2,000 Puritans gave up their churches and livings by becoming nonconformists. This Great Ejection of 1662 was one of the most decisive events in the history of English Protestantism. The Great Ejection, the birth of nonconformity, was the beginning of Congregationalism (and of Presbyterianism).

However, I am not a Christian nonconformist for merely historical reasons. There is today another similar push to impose a kind of uniformity upon churches. It is not a formal writ or decree, but it is a movement that makes popular values and beliefs the mainstay in many churches. It is a kind of populism that is generated by mass media and advertising. The media industry is interested in generating sales, so it caters to the lowest common denominator in order to guarantee as much commerce as possible. Thus the media tends to both generate and to deliver this lowest common denominator mindset far and wide. For many years the churches have flirted with it, but of late they have practically surrendered to it.

This website chooses not to conform to the standards of such popular media, which are so prevalent in today’s churches. Yet, Christian nonconformity is not simply being different for the sake of being different. Nor is it a contrarianism that stands against everything that anyone else says. Rather, nonconformity celebrates the tradition of the historic, classic Protestant Reformed churches by not conforming to the world or to neoworldliness that is dressed in Christian garb.

Rather, all Christians should conform to the things of God.

Nonconformist

Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, and those less organized, were considered Non-conformists at the time of the 1662 Act of Uniformity. Later, as other groups formed, they were also considered nonconformists. These included Methodists, Quakers, Unitarians, and members of the Salvation Army.

The religious census of 1851 revealed that total nonconformist attendance was very close to that of Anglicans.

Nowadays, churches independent of the Anglican Church of England or the Presbyterian Church of Scotland are often called Free Churches. In Scotland, the Anglican Scottish Episcopal Church is considered nonconformist (despite its English counterpart’s status) and in England, the Presbyterian United Reformed Church is in a similar position.

Members of noncomformist churches dissented, and often substantially, from established churches. It has, however, been frequently noted that, within the church, the required degree of conformity was quite high, and that members who refused to conform to common standards, conventions, rules, traditions or laws of the nonconformist church were dealt with far more severely than the established church dealt with its members.

from Wikipedia

zv7qrnb

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *