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Religion and National IdentityGoverning Scottish Presbyterianism in the Eighteenth Century$
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Alistair Mutch

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748699155

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748699155.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

The Emergence of a Governance System

The Emergence of a Governance System

Chapter:
(p.24) Chapter 2 The Emergence of a Governance System
Source:
Religion and National Identity
Author(s):

Alistair Mutch

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748699155.003.0002

The structure of the Church of Scotland is outlined, with a particular focus on material factors, such as the large size of parishes and problems of moving round them. This forms an important context to the practicalities of running the church. As the most complete instantiation of the Reformed Protestant tradition in Europe, Scots paid particular attention to ecclesiology, that is, the theory of the church as an organization of the faithful. This was an emergent process subject to change over time, but one which had a distinctive focus on printed guidance manuals. The tumultuous affairs of the sixteenth and seventeenth century are outlined, but with a focus on the consistency of the local organizing model. The confirmation of this Presbyterian system of church governance in 1690 was followed by a determined attempt to codify organizing principles, most notably in the work of the devout elder Walter Steuart of Pardovan. Although this effort was not a complete success, its pursuit tells us much about the desire for order on the part of Scottish Presbyterians.

Keywords:   Church of Scotland structure, Kirk sessions, Ecclesiology, Guidance manuals, Steuart of Pardovan, Discipline

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