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Hyper-separatism: a backward glance

A sectarian spirit is nothing new within nonconformity. For example, The Minutes of The First Independent Church at Bedford 1656-17661 (John Bunyan's church) reveal that members were not permitted to hear the preaching of even a godly Church of England minister. Attendance at the local Moravian assembly became an excommunicable offence, while the transfer of members to strict Presbyterian churches, or even to Baptist churches, where immersion was a stipulation of membership,2 was generally refused.

Jonathan Stephen

The major reason for the multiplication of denominational groups was the insistence of almost total agreement at every point. Despairing of this continual fragmentation at the church level, evangelicals eventually sought to express their essential spiritual unity in para-church movements and associations.