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Encyclopedia > Latitudinarian

Latitudinarian was initially a pejorative term applied to a group of 17th century British theologians who believed in conforming to official Church of England practices but who felt that matters of doctrine, liturgical practice, and ecclesiastical organization were of relatively little importance. In this, they built on Richard Hooker's position, in Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, that God cares about the moral state of the individual soul and that such things as church leadership are "things indifferent." However, they took the position far beyond Hooker's own and extended it to doctrinal matters. At the time, their position was referred to as low church (in contrast to the High church position). Later, the latitudinarian position was called Broad church.


The best example of the latitudinarian philosophy is the Cambridge Platonists.


While always officially opposed, the latitudinarian philosophy was, nevertheless, dominant in the 18th century in England. Because of the Hanoverian reluctance to act in church affairs (see, for example, George I's actions in the Bangorian Controversy) and all sides of the religious debates being balanced against one another, the dioceses became tolerant of variation in local practice. Furthermore, after George I dismissed the Convocation, there was very little internal Church power to sanction or approve. Thus, with no Archbishop of Canterbury officially announcing it, nor Lords adopting it, latitudinarianism was the operative philosophy of the English church in the 18th century. For the 18th century English church in the United States (which would become the Episcopal Church after the American Revolution), latitudinarianism was the only practical course since it was a nation with official pluralism and diversity of opinion and diffusion of clerical power. Today, latitudinarianism must not be confused with ecumenical movements, which seek to draw in all religions, rather than to de-emphasize practical doctrine.


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latitudinarian - definition of latitudinarian in Encyclopedia (324 words)
Latitudinarian was initially a pejorative term applied to a group of 17th century British theologians who believed in conforming to official Church of England practices but who felt that matters of doctrine, liturgical practice, and ecclesiastical organization were of relatively little importance.
Thus, with no Archbishop of Canterbury officially announcing it, nor Lords adopting it, latitudinarianism was the operative philosophy of the English church in the 18th century.
Today, latitudinarianism must not be confused with ecumenical movements, which seek to draw in all religions, rather than to de-emphasize practical doctrine.
Low church - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (255 words)
When the term was first used, it referred to the latitudinarians.
However, this usage went dormant by the middle of the 18th century, when latitudinarians began to be called "Broad church".
When it was revived in the middle of the 19th century, it was used to refer to the Evangelical movement in England.
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