An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Monday, 10 March 2014

British Calvinism: Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603)

Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603) was born in Hertfordshire and educated at St John's, Cambridge. He has been called the "father of English Presbyterianism". He became professor of Trinity College. In 1569 he was appointed as The Lady Margart Professor of Divinity.  He was used his position to criticise the Church of England, much to the disgust of John Whitgift, who was the vice chancellor who removed him from post.

Cartwright proclaimed six propositions, which formed the basis of presbyterianism in England: 
1. That the names and functions of archbishops and archdeacons ought to be abolished.

2. That the offices of the lawful ministers of the Church, viz., bishops and deacons, ought to be reduced to their apostolical institution: bishops to preach the word of God, and pray, and deacons to be employed in taking care of the poor.

3. That the government of the Church ought not to be entrusted to bishop's chancellors, or the officials of archdeacons; but every church ought to be governed by its own ministers and presbyters.

4. That ministers ought not to be at large, but every one should have the charge of a particular congregation.

5. That no man ought to solicit, or to stand as a candidate for the ministry.

6. That ministers ought not to be created by the sole authority of the bishop, but to be openly and fairly chosen by the people.

Cartwright went to the Continent and visited Theodore Beza, Calvin's successor at Geneva. He returned to England but had to escape to Antwerp in 1574, where he became the pastor to English residents. In 1585 he returned without permission to England and was arrested. His influential friends managed to secure his release. 

It is claimed that he was the first preacher to have practised extempore prayer before preaching.

Some of his writings are available here:


Baus said...

Wait... what does #5 mean? No one should be a candidate for the ministry?! What does that mean?

Steve Bishop said...

Hi Gregory, by ministry he means church ministry ie pastor/teacher I suspect. So he suggesting that no one should volunteer or put themself forward, but be chosen by others to do it.



Steve Bishop said...
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