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The Heavenly Pattern of the Church

Trinitarian and Covenantal Themes in Richard Baxter’s ‘Association Ecclesiology’

Simon J. G. Burton

The ecclesiology of Richard Baxter (1615–91) has long been a matter of dispute. In particular, his role in the Restoration debates over the settlement of the Church of England from 1660–2 and as a leader of the Nonconformist party thereafter has been a source of considerable confusion. In this article it is argued that from at least the 1650s onwards Baxter was motivated by an ‘Association ecclesiology’ – a desire to comprehend as many confessions as possible around the fundamentals of the Gospel – which displays marked affinities to Archbishop James Ussher’s system of reduced episcopacy. In this the twin themes of unity and discipline become rooted within a distinctive Trinitarian and covenantal framework, which unfolds in his mature ecclesiology into a moving vision of the universal Church reunited in bonds of love towards God and one another.

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Simon J.G. Burton

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Simon J.G. Burton

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Simon J.G. Burton

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Simon J.G. Burton

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Series:

Simon J.G. Burton