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Insular ChristianityAlternative models of the Church in Britain and Ireland, c.1570–c.1700$
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Robert Armstrong and Tadhg Ó hAnnracháin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719086984

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719086984.001.0001

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The Irish alternative: Scottish and English Presbyterianism in Ireland

The Irish alternative: Scottish and English Presbyterianism in Ireland

(p.207) Chapter 11 The Irish alternative: Scottish and English Presbyterianism in Ireland
Insular Christianity

Robert Armstrong

Manchester University Press

If the history of Presbyterianism in Ireland has something of the quality of a poor relation to the history of the Catholic church or of the Protestant episcopalian Church of Ireland, it has also at times been perceived as simply a Scottish transplantation in Irish soil, a kind of ecclesiastical colony. The essay examines more closely the Irish ecology in which a Scottish religious tradition would take root, adapt and, to some degree, flourish, and upon what might be termed an “applied ecclesiology”, where accepted doctrines of the church meet the realities of pastoral practice and the requirement of spiritual sustenance. It also reconsiders the English strand in Presbyterianism in Ireland. While taking a long view of developments across the seventeenth century, particular attention is given to two moments of apparent triumph in the Presbyterian narrative, the 1640s and the early 1670s. What had emerged by that latter date was a religious tradition retaining structures – from parish to presbytery – more obvious appropriate to an ‘establishment’ church, yet where such structures meshed with the pastoral goals and theological commitments of the ministers and elders.

Keywords:   Presbyterianism, Ireland, Ulster, Covenant, Presbytery

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