- The term free church was initially used to refer to those Protestant Christian churches that separated themselves from the state governments of Europe. Free Churches originally emerged in strength at the time of the Protestant Reformation when leaders of the Swiss Brethren called for a more Radical Reformation of the church than that being asked for by Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and later John Calvin. They wanted a pure church consisting of adults who had been converted to Christianity and who made a conscious decision to affiliate with it. By definition, such a church could not align with the state nor include all of the nation's citizens. In the Free Churches, ecclesiastical discipline operated only among church members, the most extreme discipline being the expulsion of a member from the church's fellowship.Free Churches practiced adult baptism. State churches (including the Lutheran, Reformed, and Anglican) baptized the children of members soon after their birth. The Free Churches waited to baptize persons only after they had reached an age at which they could make a personal confession of faith. Free Church members previously baptized in one of the state churches as an infant were as a matter of course rebaptized. Concern for the true exercise of baptism led to a secondary concern about the proper mode of baptism, with many following the lead of the Baptists in opting for immersion. A few, including the Church of the Brethren, advocated triune immersion. Free Churches also divided over the necessity of the act of baptism for individual salvation, a concept called baptismal regeneration.Today, Free Churches include in Europe the Mennonites, Baptists, Quakers, the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden, the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church of Norway, and the Free Church of Scotland. In North America, the churches of the Restoration movement (i.e., the Churches of Christ, the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, and the Christian Church [Disciples of Christ]) are among the most prominent of Free Church groups.The idea of a Free Church also came to mean being free of creeds (other than the Bible) or lacking various forms of ecclesiastical hierarchy. Most Free Churches have adopted a modified congregational polity. Groups such as the Churches of Christ and the Primitive Baptists have adopted an ultracongregational polity that limits any governance functions by structures above the local congregations. Other Free Churches, such as the Southern Baptist Convention and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), grant denominational structures considerable power to build and control programs operated for the denomination as a whole.Further reading:■ Horton Davies, The English Free Churches, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963)■ Paul M. Harrison, Authority and Power in the Free Church Tradition (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1959)■ Franklin H. Littell, The Free Church (Boston: Starr King Press, 1957)■ Earnest A. Payne, The Free Church Tradition in the Life of England (London: SCM Press, 1951)■ Gunnar Westin, The Free Church through the Ages (Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman Press, 1958).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.
Look at other dictionaries:
free churches — Свободные церкви … Вестминстерский словарь теологических терминов
Mülheim Association of Free Churches and Evangelical Communities — (in German: Mülheimer Verband Freikirchlich Evangelischer Gemeinden, formerly Christlicher Gemeinschaftsverband Mülheim adRuhr/CGV) is a German Pentecostal fellowship. Contents 1 History 2 Organization 3 Beliefs and Praxis … Wikipedia
United Methodist Free Churches — was an English nonconformist community which merged into the United Methodist Church in 1907. The organization was itself formed in 1857 by the amalgamation of the Wesleyan Association (which had in 1836 largely absorbed the Protestant Methodists … Wikipedia
United Methodist Free Churches — United Methodist Free Churches, s. Methodisten, S. 711 … Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon
Free Christian — Free Christians, sometimes known as Non Subscribing Protestants or Non Creedal Dissenters [ cite book |title= Studies In English Dissent |last= Nuttall|first= Geoffrey F.|year= 2002|publisher= Quinta Press|location= |isbn= 1 897856 14 8|pages= ;… … Wikipedia
Churches Together in England — (CTE) is an ecumenical organisation and the national instrument for the Christian church in England. It helps the different Churches to work together instead of separately so that they can be more effective and credible. It works through a… … Wikipedia
Free Church Federation — is a voluntary association of British Nonconformist churches for cooperation in religious social work. It was the outcome of a unifying tendency displayed during the latter part of the 19th century. About 1890 the proposal that there should be a… … Wikipedia
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland — (CTBI) ist eine ökumenische Organisation. Zu den Mitgliedern gehören die großen Kirchen in England, Schottland, Wales und Irland. Zuvor war die Organisation bekannt unter Council of Churches of Britain and Ireland. Die Organisation entstand am 1 … Deutsch Wikipedia
Free Church — any of the Protestant religious groups in the UK that are not part of the Church of England. The Free Churches include the Baptists, the Methodists, the United Reformed Church and the Church of Scotland … Dictionary of contemporary English
Free church — The free church movement was one created to do away with the system of pew rents, wherein persons or families rented or bought the title to a particular church pew. At times they actually built the pews or modified them, at others, they rented… … Wikipedia