Jim Lincoln wrote: if the people were very knowledgeable in Christianity and I would quickly add were Christian, than a laity controlled Church has some chance of succeeding, though I don't see where that structure is Biblical.
Sadly this is a common failure in understanding Congregationalism in modern times. Congregationalism (or Independency) is not about democracy. This is a corruption of the original system.
[URL=http://books.google.com/books/pdf/The_Keyes_of_the_Kingdom_of_Heaven.pdf?id=mucRAAAAIAAJ&output=pdf&sig=qOnrsUuz5G4tLni3TZ0s__8HLBU]]] Keys of the Kingdom by John Cotton [/URL]
Jim Lincoln wrote: Actually the Unitarian/Universalist article while excellent, but of course rather not point to [URL=http://www25.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/unitariancontroversy.html]]]The Unitarian Controversy and Its Puritan Roots[/URL] gives some of the reasons, one example:
The simple fact is all too often the weakest links in a Congregational chain, seems to consist of the most socially astute but theologically ignorant people in that chain, as I observed as a former Methodist in a Church that contains similar problems.
The problem of the half-way covenant was directly because of the paedobaptist views of those congregationalists. As ever with paedobaptists, they were trying to accommodate the children in the life of the churches.
Baptists with congregational views of church government did not suffer the same!!