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Title: The pan-Evangelical impulse in Britain, 1795-1830 : with special reference to four London societies
Author: Martin, Roger H.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3620 1865
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1974
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The thesis is presented in five books each with a number of subdivisions or chapters. The first is composed of two chapters: chapter one deals with pan-evangelical developments from the early Evangelical revival to 1789. It examines the centripetal and centrifugal forces that served to unite but also to separate like-minded evangelicals. It briefly describee several early institutional attempts at church union, the proto-types of the great pan-evangelical organizations studied in the body of the thesis, Chapter two examines the more immediate forces between 1789 and 1795 that gave rise to the first major experiment in pan-evangelical cooperation - the London Missionary Society. It focuses on the ambivalent effects of the French Revolution on church union, initially separating evangelical Dissenters from churchmen, but later bringing them back together again. It also looks briefly at the role millennial prophecy played in drawing evangelicals closer together before the anticipated Second Coming. Book two examines the London Missionary Society in three chapters. Chapter three traces the largely abortive attempt to found an institution that was intended to unite all evangelical denominations, examining why this attempt ultimately failed. Chapter four studies inter-societal relations between the L.M.S. and other foreign missionary societies following this failure, and the continuing, though largely unsuccessful attempts to recreate a pan-evangelical union or federation in the mission world. Chapter five describes the state of internal relations within the Society itself, concluding with a brief anaysis of its fall into Congregational hands by 1818. Book three is a study of the British and Foreign Bible Society and is divided into four chapters. Chapter six examines the forces in Britain and on the Continent which led to the formation of an evangelical Bible society, showing that because of the simplicity of its objectives - the circulation of Bibles without note or comment - it could attract a much larger denominational patronage than either the L.M.S. or the Tract Society. Chapter seven demonstrates, however, that even in this simple design, the Society evoked criticism from High Church opponents who saw in it an immediate threat to the establishment. The controversy that issued from this opposition is examined in detail, together with the adverse effects that controversy had on the Society's internal cohesion, Chapter eight shows that many of the High Church accusations were based on fact, and that because of its growing size, the institution coald not always control some of its more irregular provincial auxiliaries. The sometimes arbitrary and largely ineffective way that the parent society tried to reassert its control over provincial affairs created dissident groups in Scotland and England leading to two major conflagrations - the Apocrypha and Tests Controversies - which are examined in chapter nine. Books four and five examine the Religious Tract Society and the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews, each in two chapters. Chapters nine and twelve trace the early developments of each society (the London Society being at first a branch of the L.M.S.) from the late eighteenth century through to their emergence as major pan-evangelical institutions in the first decade of the nineteenth century. We discover that until the Bible Society had been in existence four years, the Tract Society and the evangelical mission to the Jews were much like the L.M.S. in denominational composition: only after 1808 did they also comprehend all the major evangelical bodies. Chapters ten and thirteen examine the internal controversies that plagued both societies showing why the R.T.S. was able to overcome internal dissension while the London Society fell into Anglican hands after only six years. Each book describes society activities during the period examined in this thesis, and attempts to show the impact of interdenominational cooperation on the church at large. Close attention has been paid to theological, social, and political developments contemporary with the pan-evangelical impulse and the impact these in turn had on the societies studied. By a comparative analysis of the four societies, their successess and failures, the thesis hopes to make a contribution to the ecumenical dialogue today.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Christian union ; History ; Evangelical Revival ; Church history ; Great Britain ; 18th century ; 19th century