the movement, sometimes called "Independents," arose out of the English REFORMATION and PURITANISM as a result of local CONGREGATIONS separating from the CHURCH OF ENGLAND to chose their own MINISTERS, ELDERS and DEACONS. Claiming autonomy for each local CONGREGATION, they argued that separate congregations must help and advise each other without imposing external authority on the local leadership. The congregational system of CHURCH government has been adapted by many other groups including the BAPTISTS and many PENTECOSTAL denominations.

Concise dictionary of Religion. 2012.

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