Westminster Assembly (1643-1649)


The Westminster Assembly of Divines was the largest parliamentary committee during the English Civil War. It was convened by the Parliament and without the king’s permission for the purpose of reforming the Church of England. The assembly, which included members of the House of Lords and House of Commons as well as clergymen from across Britain, first met on July 1, 1643, in Westminster Abbey. Presbyterian, Independent and Erastian clergy debated over issues of doctrine, church polity, liturgy and worship, and a possible union of the Churches of England and Scotland. The assembly produced the Westminster Standards, which were adopted by the General Assembly of the Scottish Church and to varying degrees by the English and Scottish Houses of Parliament. After these standards were published, the assembly continued to serve as a committee to examine candidates for ordination and deal with other ecclesiological issues until its dissolution in 1649.


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