The Bangorian Controversy
Bishop of Bangor Benjamin Hoadly, installed in 1715, attacked those who had refused to swear an oath of allegiance to William and Mary and their successors – these ‘non-jurors’ held to the concept of the divine right of kings, and even those who were anti-Catholic believed James II should not have been ejected.
Hoadly, in a sermon preached on March 31 1717, put forward the view that the church was not justified in having any form of government as it was concerned with matters not of this world. Sincerity of belief rather than any church structure was what mattered. The wider importance of this was the clash between the Tory view of power descending from god to king to the aristocracy and so downwards, and the opposing standpoint seeing power coming from the generality of the people upwards.
It is supposed that Hoadly was in league with George I , who wanted to attack the Tory viewpoint as he relied on Whig support at that time. It should also be remembered that it was less than 30 years since James II had been thrown out of England, and the Jacobites still had ambitions for a return of the Stuarts.
The Whigs, however, were not keen on the idea of theological conflict spilling over into the political sphere, and in a classic piece of kicking into the long grass the controversy was put before a special convocation (a church group to investigate a particular matter), which was swiftly prorogued and not called again for 135 years!
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