1658 Congregational Churches in England
A Declaration of the faith and order owned and practiced in the Congregational Churches in England: agreed upon and consented unto by their elders and messengers in their meeting at the Savoy, Octob. 12, 1658.
The Savoy Declaration is a Congregationalist confession of Faith. Its full title is A Declaration of the Faith and Order owned and practiced in the Congregational Churches in England. It was drawn up in October 1658 by English Independents and Congregationalists meeting at the Savoy Palace, London.
The Savoy Assembly (not to be confused with the Savoy Conference a few years later) met at the Savoy for eleven or twelve days from 12 October 1658. Representatives, mostly laymen, were present from more than one hundred independent churches. Thomas Goodwin and John Owen were the leaders in a committee of six divines appointed to draw up a confession. The writers were influenced by the Cambridge Platform, which was the statement of church government produced by the Congregational churches in New England. The 1647 Westminster Confession of Faith of the Church of England was used as a basic template.
They adopted, with a few verbal alterations, the doctrinal definitions of the Westminster confession, reconstructing only the part relating to church government; the main effect of the Declaration of the Savoy assembly was to confirm the Westminster theology. There was the addition of a new chapter entitled Of the Gospel, and of the Extent of the Grace Thereof. Other changes include a replacement to chapters 30 and 31 of the Westminster Confession concerned with the Congregational church government. In these chapters, the autonomy of local churches is asserted.
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