Parish Politics and Godly Agitation in Late Interregnum Scotland

Langley, Chris R. (2021). Parish Politics and Godly Agitation in Late Interregnum Scotland. Church History, 90(3) pp. 557–578.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0009640721002122

Abstract

Following the English invasion of Scotland in July 1650, ministers and laymen in the Church of Scotland splintered between Protester and Resolutioner factions: The Protesters argued that the Church of Scotland required further moral reformation in order to appease a vengeful God, and the Resolutioners were more content to accept the reintegration of former royalists into places of trust following the civil wars. This article explores the profound ways in which this split fundamentally altered relationships in the unusually well-documented parish of Crichton in Midlothian. Unlike other studies that have emphasized the ways in which the Protesters moved toward a position of separation from the rest of the kirk, this article explores a group of Protesters who sought to actively reform the kirk from within. Godly agitation in parish affairs was characterized by three traits: it was coordinated, remarkably litigious, and disseminated in manuscript libels and petitions rather than print. Ultimately, while this godly elite was adept at agitating for further reformation at the parish level, it did so without seceding from the structures of the national church altogether.

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