Congregational church, music of the
- Nicholas Temperley
Congregationalism is a Protestant Christian denomination found chiefly in English-speaking countries. Its beliefs and practices are derived from the Reformed tradition of Jean Calvin (see Reformed and Presbyterian church music).
The theology of early Congregationalists, who were more usually known as Independents or Separatists, differed in no important respect from that of the Church of England (as expressed in the Thirty-Nine Articles) or from that of Puritans or Presbyterians. Like the latter, they disliked forms and ceremonies in worship, especially those that had survived from Catholic tradition, and wished for a more complete Reformation.
Their distinctive belief was in the matter of church polity. They insisted that each congregation of true believers should be the master of its own destiny, choosing its minister, controlling admission of members to full communion and deciding on forms of worship. They deferred only to God, and to his laws as revealed in the Bible. They rejected all interference from outside authorities, whether imposed from above, as in the Church of England, or elected by participating ministers, as in the Presbyterian system. This is the meaning of Independency. They shared it with Baptists (...