THE CONGREGATIONAL WAY OF LIFE by

THE CONGREGATIONAL WAY OF LIFE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is one of a series of books dealing with the history, beliefs and practices of the great religious faiths of America. The author is the pastor of the Eliot Congregational Church of Eliot, Mass. and he has produced a book which was the award-winning manuscript chosen by the National Association of Congregationalist Churches to celebrate the tercentenary of the Savoy conference in England at which the denomination had its inception. Mr. Rouner would recall his readers to the principles which were enunciated at this Savoy conference held in 1659 and which he believes have been more closely adhered to in the Congregationalist churches of England than in the American churches of that denomination. ""The forgotten heritage"", as he calls it, is that of a free and independent congregation governing itself as a ""gathered church"". The Congregational Way, Rouner points out, rests not upon the authority of bishops or canon laws or creeds, but rather upon Christ's words: ""Where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them"". But the author makes no reference to the fact that in the United States the Congregational-Christian Church has succeeded the Congregational Church and that an even more comprehensive merger is in process of formation. However, the implication of the book is that such unions or mergers constitute a deviation from the Congregational Way of life. The book has much to say that is helpful about what a local congregation should be and do, but little as to what the denomination has done or should be doing. All of which is another way of saying that, according to Mr. Rouner the Congregational Way of Life is found primarily if not solely in the local congregation.

Publisher: Prentice-Hall