Cambridge Platform

Cambridge Platform

Cambridge Platform, declaration of principles of church government and discipline, forming in fact a constitution of the Congregational churches. It was adopted (1648) by a church synod at Cambridge, Mass., and remains the basis of the temporal government of the churches. It had little to do with matters of doctrine and belief. The Congregationalists of Connecticut later subscribed (1708), in the Saybrook Platform, to a more centralized church government, resembling Presbyterianism. See also Congregationalism.
The Cambridge Platform was a doctrinal statement for the Congregational churches in Colonial America. It was drawn up in August, 1648 by a synod of ministers from Massachusetts and Connecticut, which met pursuant to a request of the Massachusetts General Court. The New England authorities desired a formal statement of polity and a confession of faith because of the current Presbyterian ascendancy in England and the activities of local Presbyterians such as Dr. Robert Child. The declaration endorsed the Westminster Confession and for ecclesiastical organization upheld the existing Congregational practice. The Cambridge Platform remained the standard formulation in Massachusetts through the 18th century and in Connecticut until the Saybrook Platform of 1708.

Source: Dictionary of American History by James Truslow Adams, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940

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