By Francis J. Bremer (auth.)
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Indeed, as Alec Ryrie has shown, such practices had deep roots in Scotland. Early in the process of reform in 36 Lay Empowerment and the Development of Puritanism that kingdom the embers of faith were nourished in small gatherings of Christians. This was in keeping with the thrust of reform throughout Europe. ”65 In the seventeenth century leading Scots endorsed conferencing. ”67 Robert Rollock also advocated conferencing, but emphasized that “when the saints are exercised in godly conference and in spiritual and heavenly exercises .
It should be noted that personal narratives such as were shared in conferences were not assertions or celebrations of having reached a ﬁnal goal. Typically, those who shared a conviction that they had received God’s caress subsequently would experience challenges to their assurance, and would continue to share the story of their ongoing struggles with their fellow believers. ”84 While most lay advice on religious matters was shared in conferences and other informal settings, some laymen were able to publish their views despite the censorship of the times.
80 This ability to recognize fellow saints was important when puritans wished to come together in conferencing or to gather their own churches, as they would in the Netherlands and in New England, and then in England itself in the 1640s and 1650s. It should be noted that personal narratives such as were shared in conferences were not assertions or celebrations of having reached a ﬁnal goal. Typically, those who shared a conviction that they had received God’s caress subsequently would experience challenges to their assurance, and would continue to share the story of their ongoing struggles with their fellow believers.
Lay Empowerment and the Development of Puritanism by Francis J. Bremer (auth.)