Independency A Great Schism, by Daniel Cawdrey (1588-1664)
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The debate that occurred between Independents and Presbyterians of the 17th century was no small occurrence. Since England, Ireland and Scotland were to take on a national covenant and a Reformed Confession together they had to be of like-mind on the subject of the church. There were over 10,000 documents written and printed during the time of the Westminster Assembly on this issue. This was no small matter.
This work by Daniel Cawdrey is extremely important on the doctrine of church government. Cawdrey writes against Dr. John Owen’s work, the “Tract on Schism” published in 1657. Cawdrey masterfully deals with Owen’s work, and explains the nature of Dr. Owen’s mistakes on attempting to justify Independency. Cawdrey not only demonstrates that Dr. Owen is biblically wrong, but also that the position of Independency is in fact a “great schism” to the church of Jesus Christ.
Of the Nature of Schism in Scripture
Causeless Separation from a true Church is Schism
Of the Church Catholic Mystical, and its Union
Of the Church Catholic visible, and its Union
Independentism in Donatism
Of the particular Church, and its Union
Independentism, a great Schism
This work also contains “an appendix to the former discourse of schism; showing the inconstancy of the Dr. and the inconsistency of his former and present opinions.”
Dr. Edmund Calamy called Daniel Cawdrey, “a man of great consideration, eminently learned, and a noted member of the assembly of divines.” He preached sometimes to the members of parliament…was ejected from his living at Great Billing, and separated from his friends and his flock by the act of uniformity, after having labored, for the edification of his people in that place, for 37 years.” (Taken from Thomas Smith’s, “Select Memoirs of the English and Scottish Divines,” also Published by Puritan Publications.)
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