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This “Answer to Apollonius”—the first book written in Latin in New England—is made available to English readers for the first time. It describes the government of the new English churches in the middle of the seventeenth century. Taking up each of the points of tension between these churches and the other churches of the Reformation, especially those on the Continent—for instance the idea of the church covenant, of visible sainthood as prerequisite for church membership, of the relationships of pastor to people and people to pastor—it clearly sets forth the way of the Bay churches. The author writes with great clarity and obviously with irenic intent.
Useful to historians of Puritanism and seventeenth century America, the work is indispensable to students of ecclesiastical polity. Such churches as the Congregational and Presbyterian which derive from Calvinism will be greatly helped by the book to an understanding of their own heritage.
Perhaps most important for us today is the fact that the book answers to the call of the Ecumenical Movement for a clear statement of the various denominational positions. In this day when churches are trying to live with each other in cooperation and in some cases considering organic union, this book’s gracious attitude toward the opinions of others while also setting forth its own makes a welcome contribution.