Critiques of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer



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Religious Holidays



Order of Contents

Continental  6+
Scottish  10+
.     Articles  20+
.     Books  25+





Bucer, Martin – A Review of the Book of Common Prayer Drawn up at the Request of Archbishop Cranmer…  Briefly Analyzed & Abridged by Arthur Roberts  (London: Nisbet, 1853)  50 pp.

Bucer (1491-1551)

Calvin, John – ‘The Answer & Judgement of…  John Calvin…  touching the [Service] Book of England…’  in William Whittingham, A Brief Discourse of the Troubles begun at Frankfurt in Germany, 1554, about the Book of Common Prayer & Ceremonies, & Continued by the English Men there to the End of Queen Mary’s Reign [1558]  (1574), pp. xxxiv-xl

Original Letters & the Zurich Letters Relative to the English Reformation, vol. 1 (1549-53), 2 (1548-58), 3 & 4  (1558-1602)

On the accession of queen Mary, more than a thousand of the Reformers sought refuge on the Continent, and many of them settled in Zurich.  On the return of the Zurich exiles to England, at the accession of Elizabeth, in 1558, they maintained a correspondence with the minister and magistrates of Zurich.

The letters show the opinion of that time on subjects which afterwards produced such agitation and include letters to and from Sandys, Jewel, Gwalter, Foxe, Parkhurst, Calvin, Peter Martyr, Grindal, Zanchi, Bullinger, Coverdale, Beza, George Withers, Pilkington, Flacius, Farell, John Rainolds, George Buchanan, Queen Elizabeth, Swiss Cantons and others.

Here is the original Latin for the ‘Original Letters’ (1537-1558): Epistolae Tigurinaede Rebus Potissimum Ad Ecclesiae Anglicanae Reformationem Pertinentibus… 



The Judgment of Foreign Divines, as well from Geneva as other parts, touching the Discipline, Liturgy & Ceremonies of the Church of England.  Whereunto is added a Letter from Mr. John Calvin to Mr. [John] Knox, concerning the English Common-Prayer, after he had Perused the Same…  (London: Westminster Hal, Paul’s-Church-yard & Popes Head-Alley, 1660)  32 pp.

This work is for the Book of Common Prayer.  There is no doubt that many divines early-on spoke well of it in general (especially in comparison to the Popish worship that had preceded it).  However, this needs to be taken in context with the same divines’ criticisms of the Book of Common Prayer in the Zurich Letters (above) and in the later, English practice of forced subscription unto the Book of Common Prayer, amongst other factors.

Peirce, Edmund – The English Episcopacy & Liturgy Asserted by the Great Refomers Abroad: & the Most Glorious & Royal Martyr, the Late King [Charles I], his Opinion & Suffrage for Them…  (London: Tho. Leach, for Henry Seile, 1660)  48 pp.



Bingham, Joseph – The French Churches’ Apology for the Church of England: or the Objections of Dissenters against the Articles, Homilies, Liturgy & Cannons of the English Church, Considered & Answered upon the Principles of the Church of France  (R. Knaplock, 1706)  343 pp.  ToC

Bingham (1668-1723) was an Anglican scholar.  While there was some overlap between worship practices in the French Form of Prayers and worship (which derived largely from Geneva), yet there was also significant differences.

The Lutheran Liturgy: now used by the Protestants in the Reformed Churches of Germany, Proved to Agree with the Rites… of the Book of Common-Prayer, used by the Church of England.  2nd ed. (London: J. Morphew, 1715)  26 pp.  no ToC  The end is cut off.





Committee of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland – ‘Animadversions on the Service Booke’  (1638)  in ed. James Gordon, History of Scots Affairs, vol. 2 (Aberdeen: Spalding Club, 1841), bk. 3, ch. 50, pp. 59-82

A main purpose of the 1638 General Assembly of the Second Reformation in Scotland was to review and reject the late (English) prelatic innovations that had been forced on the Church, including a Scottish edition of the Book of Common Prayer in 1637.

Gillespie, George – Reasons for which the Service Book ought to be Refused  Buy  ([Edinburgh] 1638)  4 pp.

This was published anonymously, but Chris Coldwell has made the case that it was written by Gillespie.

Baillie, Robert – ‘The Unreasonableness of the Service Book which is Made for the Church of Scotland:  an Answer unto the Preface of the Service Book, c. 1638’  in Religious Controversy in Scotland, 1625-1639  ed. David G. Mullan  in Scottish History Society, Fifth Series, vol 11 (Edinburgh: Scottish Historical Society, 1998), pp. 101-20

Spang, William – ‘[A Letter of] William Spang to Henry Rollock, 1638’  in Religious Controversy in Scotland, 1625-1639  ed. David G. Mullan  in Scottish History Society, Fifth Series, vol 11 (Edinburgh: Scottish Historical Society, 1998), pp. 121-31

Spang (c. 1607-1664) was a Scottish minister serving a Scottish congregation in south Holland (1630-1652) and then subsequently another nearby congregation till his death.  He is best known as the cousin of, and long-time correspondent of, Robert Baillie.  Spang wrote and edited numerous works himself and has been regarded by A.L. Drummond as “a considerable theologian, and acute observer and an assiduous correspondent…  Their [with Baillie] knowledge of current theology, preaching, polemics, and ecclesiastical gossip was phenomenal.”

Per the Intro to the volume by David G. Mullan, Spang was “a man whose prudence led some to think he was too reserved in his support for the Covenant…  Rollock had been known as a waverer.”




Gillespie, George – A Dispute Against the English-Popish Ceremonies, obtruded upon the Church of Scotland. Wherein not only our own arguments against the same are strongly confirmed, but likewise the answers and defenses of our opposites, such as Hooker, Mortoune… Forbesse, etc. particularly confuted  Buy  1637

Baillie, Robert – A Parallel or Brief Comparison of the [Anglican] Liturgy with the Mass-book, the Breviary, the Ceremonial & other Romish Rituals.  Wherein is clearly & shortly demonstrated, not only that the liturgy is taken for the most part word by word out of these antichristian writs; but also that not one of the most abominable passages of the mass can in reason be refused by any who cordially embrace the liturgy as now it stands, and is commented by the prime of our clergy.  All made good from the testimonies of the most famous & learned liturgic writers both Romish & English  (London, 1641)  95 pp.  ToC

The Old Non-Conformist, touching the Book of Common-Prayer & Ceremonies. To which is Annexed the Reasons why Scotland Refused the Book of Common-Prayer  (London: H.C. in Popes-head Alley, 1660)  43 pp.



Anderson, John

A Dialogue between a Curate and a Countryman  Ref  1710

The Second Dialogue between the Curate and the Countryman Respecting the English Service  1711

The Countryman’s Letter to the Curate, wherein, besides an Historical View of the English Liturgy, the Assertions of Sage, the Author of the “Fundamental Character of Presbytery,” concerning its Universal Usage in Scotland at the Time of the Reformation, etc., are Examined and Proved to be False  Ref  (1711)

Anderson (c.1668-1721) was a Scottish minister in Dumbarton.  On Anderson, see Robert Wodrow, Correspondence, vol. 1, Letter 15, pp. 34-9.

William G. Blaikie:  “Great anxiety was felt at the time by the presbyterian clergy in connection with the general use of the English liturgy in the episcopalian congregations, which had not been in common use among them till the beginning of the eighteenth century…” – DNB

Willison, John – Queries to the Scots Innovators in Divine Service, & Particularly to the Liturgical Party in the Shire of Angus, & Places Adjacent thereto.  Being a Compendious Collection of the Choicest Arguments against the Present Innovations  (1712)  35 pp.

Willison (1680–1750) was a reformed, evangelical minister in the Church of Scotland.  He here critiques Scottish episcopal ministers reading the Anglican Book of Common Prayer for public worship.  For background, see ed. Forrester & Murray, Studies in the History of Worship in Scotland (1996), pp. 75-6



English Articles


Certain Arguments to Persuade & Provoke the most honorable & high court of Parliament now Assembled and also all other in any High Authority, or in any grace & credit with them that are in high authority, to promote and advance the Sincere Ministry of the Gospel; as also zealously to speak for the ministers thereof now Degraded, Deprived, Silenced, or Admonished, or afterward like to be called into question, for subscription, ceremonies, strict observation of the Book of Common Prayer, or for other Conformity  ([London: W. Jones’s secret press], 1606)  31 pp.

Davenport, John – The Trial of the English liturgy, or a Copy of a Letter, wherein Several Exceptions & Arguments against the Imposition & Use of the Service Book in the English Churches, are set forth & Discussed. Written by a reverend divine, to his Christian friend, for his private satisfaction in this particular…  ([Leiden] 1638)

Davenport (1597–1670) was an English Puritan clergyman, congregationalist and co-founder of the American colony of New Haven.


The Abolishing of the Book of Common Prayer by Reason of above Fifty Gross Corruptions in it: as also for that it commands the use of such ceremonies in the worship of God (namely surplice, cross, and kneeling) which man has devised, & which are notoriously known to have been of old, & still to be abused to Superstition & Idolatry, & are of No Necessary use in the Church  ([London]: rep. Satterthwaite, 1641)  13 pp.

Certain Modest Observations & Considerations of the True Protestants of the Church of England: For their Right Choice of Church Governors & Church Ceremonies, together with the Church Liturgy, according to the Word of God. Presented in all Humility to the high & Honourable houses of Parliament to be Voted & Enacted, & to maintain Against All Opposers…  (London, 1641)  10 pp.

Fiennes, William – A Speech of the Right Honorable William Lord Viscount Say & Seale, one of His Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, spoken in Parliament in Answer to the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury’s Last Speech, & concerning the Liturgy of the Church of England  (London, 1641)  8 pp.

A Motion Humbly presented to the consideration of the honourable, the committee of the high court of Parliament consisting of 18 queres concerning the Book of Common-Prayer: October 8, 1641: as also an honourable speech made by Mr. Pymme  ([London] Printed for H. Walker, 1641)  5 pp.  ToC

The Original of the Popish Liturgy, or, The arguments alleged by the papists in defense of the Book of Common-Prayer, taken out of their own service-book.  By which we may also easily perceive upon what ground ours doth stand, and what alliance it hath with theirs  (London: Henry Walker, 1641)  5 pp.


Various – The Protestation of the Two & Twenty Divines, for the settling of the Church: And the particulars by them excepted against in the liturgy: not that the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England should be utterly abolished, but purged of all innovations and absurdities. Ordered by them to be printed according to their own directions  (London, 1643)  5 pp.  ToC

Taylor, John – Some Small & Simple Reasons, delivered in a hollow-tree, in Waltham Forrest, in a lecture, on the 33 of March last, by Aminadab Blower a devout bellows-mender of Pimlico. Showing the causes in general and particular wherefore they do, might, would, should, or ought, except against and quite refuse the liturgy or Book of Common-Prayer  ([Oxford: by L. Lichfield], 1643)  ToC


59 Exceptions Against the Book of Common Prayer  (London:  R.B., 1644)  8 pp.

The First Search: after One Grand Cause of the Wrath of God yet against his People, in the use of the so much idolized liturgy, or common prayer.  With two and twenty reasons from the Word of God and the late covenant for the present disuse of it.  And proving it, as it is now idolized, to be full against the laws of this kingdom. Published by authority  (London, Robert White, 1644)  10 pp.  ToC

Westminster Assembly – ‘The Preface’ of Westminster’s Directory for the Public Worship of God  (1645)


Marshall, Stephen – New Propositions Propounded at the King’s Royal Court at Holmby, betwixt the King’s Most Excellent Majesty, & Mr. Marshall & Mr. Caryl concerning the Presbyterial Government, the Book of Common-Prayer & the Directory, also His Majesty’s Several Reasons, concerning Episcopacy, & Mr. Marshall’s Reply for the clearing His Majesty’s Objections: together with diverse remarkable passages of the Commissioners of the kingdom of Scotland, propounded to His Majesty for his royal assent to the propositions, and signing the Covenant: with another message from His Majesty at Holmby, to both Houses of Parliament  (London, 1647)

A Perfect Relation of several remarkable passages, which passed betwixt the King’s most Excellent Majesty and the Commissioners, the last fast-day at Holmby, about the Directory and form of prayer.  And His Majesty’s resolution therein.  Also, some other passages of note…  (London, H.R., 1647)

New Propositions from His Excellency Sir Thomas Fairfax, agreed upon by the General, Lieutenant-General, Colonels, Lieutenant-Colonels, Majors & Captains, under his Excellency’s Command, at a Late Council of War. Concerning, the brotherly meetings of Independents, and diverse other well-affected people of this kingdom. With their desires to both Houses of Parliament concerning the same. Also, some particulars concerning the Book of Common-Prayer. And the last propositions from the souldiery to his Excellency Sir Thomas Fairfax, concerning a great member of this kingdom. Published for general satisfaction  (London, 1647)  5 pp.  ToC

Die. 13. Oct. 1648. A new remonstrance from the King’s Majesty to all his loyal subjects in His three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland: declaring his unchangeable resolution concerning Episcopacy and his intentions touching the Book of Common-Prayer. Also the ministers’ answer to the King’s three last scruples, with His Majesty’s reply to the said answer, and His answer to the Commissioners’ Last Paper. Signed, Charles R.  (London: R.N., 1648)

Strong, William – A Voice from Heaven calling the People of God to a Perfect Separation from Mystical Babylon [Romish worship] as it was delivered in a Sermon, Nov. 5, 1653  (London, 1654)

Strong was a Westminster divine and Independent puritan.

Brabourne, Theophilus – An Humble Petition unto the High & Most Honorable Courts of Parliament, that they would be Pleased to Condescend to the Perusing of these short notes, tending to the refining of the Book of Common-Prayer, in a few things  ([London, 1661])


Smith, Humphrey – Forty-Four Queries propounded to all the Clergy-men of the Liturgy by one whom they trained up in and according to the best things set forth in the Book of Common-Prayer concerning the which these queries are, for the satisfying of the unsatisfied, and for the uniting and preserving of peace among the people: wherein also first are showed eleven reasons why these queries are proposed…  (London, 1662)  ToC

T.P. – Jerub-Baal, or, The Pleader Impleaded, being an Answer to Mr. Crofton’s (lately published) Plea for Communion with the Church under her Present Corruptions, etc., entitled, Reformation, Not Separation, by way of Humble Remonstrance thereunto: showing that Non-Communion with the Church of England in her Liturgy & Common-Prayer, in those that (yet) Join with her in the Substantial Ordinances & Instituted Worship of Christ, is no Schism, & that such are Unjustly called Separatists: in a Letter written by T.P. for the Private Satisfaction of a Friend…  (London, 1662)  54 pp.

A Dialogue between a Dissenter & a Church-man touching General & Particular Points. General, viz. of Common-Prayer, Surplice, Cross in Baptism, Kneeling at Sacrament, God-fathers & Mothers, Baptism itself.  Particular. of Original Sin, General Redemption  (London, 1689)  19 pp.



English Books


Original Letters & the Zurich Letters Relative to the English Reformation, vol. 1 (1549-53), 2 (1548-58), 3 & 4  (1558-1602)

On the accession of queen Mary, more than a thousand of the Reformers sought refuge on the Continent, and many of them settled in Zurich.  On the return of the Zurich exiles to England, at the accession of Elizabeth, in 1558, they maintained a correspondence with the minister and magistrates of Zurich.

The letters show the opinion of that time on subjects which afterwards produced such agitation and include letters to and from Sandys, Jewel, Gwalter, Foxe, Parkhurst, Calvin, Peter Martyr, Grindal, Zanchi, Bullinger, Coverdale, Beza, George Withers, Pilkington, Flacius, Farell, John Rainolds, George Buchanan, Queen Elizabeth, Swiss Cantons and others.

Here is the original Latin for the ‘Original Letters’ (1537-558): Epistolae Tigurinaede Rebus Potissimum Ad Ecclesiae Anglicanae Reformationem Pertinentibus… 

Whittingham, William – A Brief Discourse of the Troubles Begun at Frankfort [Germany] in the year 1554, about the Book of Common Prayer & Ceremonies  (London: J. Petheram, 1846)

Whittingham (c.1524-1579) was a colleague with John Knox.  The events herein described occurred directly before Knox went to Geneva to pastor the English refugee congregation there, where he drew up his ideal reformed liturgy which became the basis for the worship at the Scottish Reformation in 1560.

ed. Peel, Albert – The Seconde Parte of a Register: being a Calendar of Manuscripts under that Title Intended for Publication by the Puritans about 1593, vols. 12  See ‘Book of Common Prayer’ in the Index.

This is an annotated bibliography from 1593 recording all of the works in England from 1570 which advocated for a puritan reform of Church and State.  The modern editor often gives references to where these manuscripts have been printed.



Certain Considerations drawn from the canons of the last Synod, and other the King’s ecclesiastical and statue law…  for not subscription, for the not exact use of the order and form of the book of common prayer, heretofore provided by the parishioners of any parish church, within the diocesse of Worcester, or for the not precise practice of the rites, ceremonies, & ornaments of the Church  ([Middelburg: Printed by Richard Schilders], 1605)


Hutton, Thomas – The Second & Last Part of Reasons for Refusal of Subscription to the Book of Common Prayer under the Hands of Certain Ministers of Devon. & Cornwall, as they were Exhibited by them to the Right Rev. Father in God, William Cotton, Dr. of Divinity, & Lord Bishop of Exeter. As also an Appendix, or Compendious Brief of all other exceptions taken by others against the books of communion, homilies, and ordination, word for word, as it came to the hands of an honorable personage.  With an answer to both at several times returned them in public conference, and in diverse sermons upon occasion preached in the cathedral church of Exeter by Thomas Hutton…  (London: John Windet for the Company of Stationers, 1606)  260 pp.  ToC

A Survey of the Book of Common Prayer, by way of 197 Queres Grounded Upon 58 Places…  with a View of London Ministers’ Exceptions…  ([no place or publisher,] 1606)  Here are the London Ministers’ exceptions.

Hughes, Lewes – Certain grievances, well worthy the serious consideration of the right honorable and high Court of Parliament Set forth by way of dialogue, or conference between a country gentleman, and a minister of God’s Word; for the satisfying of those that do clamor, and maliciously revile them that labor to have the errors of the Book of common prayer reformed  ([London] 1640)

Hughes (fl. 1620) was a minister.


An Answer to a Book, entitled A Humble Remonstrance, in which, the Original of Liturgy, Episcopacy is Discussed & Queries Propounded concerning both the Parity of Bishops & Presbyters in Scripture Demonstrated, the occasion of the imparity in antiquity discovered, the disparity of the ancient and our modern bishops manifested, the antiquity of ruling elders in the church vindicated, the prelatic church bounded  (republished 1641)  See also the 1660 reprint.

A Vindication of the Answer to the Humble Remonstrance from the Unjust Imputation of Frivolousness & Falsehood, wherein the cause of liturgy & episcopacy is further debated  (London: Rothwell, [1654])

Jennings, Theodore – Truth’s Return: in Answer to a Malignant Pamphlet, Pretended to be Written by a Most Orthodox, Moderate & Judicious Divine, a Banished Minister of this Miserable Kingdom, to a virtuous lady, who (for the exercise of her devotion) built a closet, wherein to secure the most sacred Book of Common-Prayer, from the view and violence of the enemies thereof, sectaries and schismatiques of this kingdom. Being printed together, that thereby the great difference may appear between prayer real & pretended: a form of godliness and the power thereof  (London, 1646)

A Divine – A New Catechism commanded to be set forth, for the Instruction of all those who still affect a Reading Ministry & the Common-Prayer, but remain opposite to the True Directory of Christ: Wherein is contained, six remarkable branches of the Church of England, viz. the great vow in Baptism, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, etc.  (London: B. Alsop, 1647)  14 pp.  ToC

Shepard, Thomas – Chs. 2 & 3 on Stinted Liturgies & Set Forms of Prayer  in A Treatise of Liturgies, power of the keys, and of matter of the visible church. In answer to the reverend servant of Christ, Mr. John Ball  (London, 1653)

Shepard was a New England, Independent puritan, which tended to see all set forms of prayer as unlawful (not recommended).  John Ball was a conforming, though sometimes resistant, English puritan.

Ley, John – A Debate concerning the English Liturgy, both as Established in & as Abolished out of the Worship of God drawn out in Two English & Two Latin Epistles  (1656)  62 pp.

Ley was an English presbyterian and Westminster divine.

Burges, Cornelius

Some of the Differences & Alterations in the Present Common Prayer Book, from the Book Established by Law  [London, 1660]  7 pp.  ToC

Reasons Showing the Necessity of Reformation of the Public 1. Doctrine, 2. Worship, 3. Rites & Ceremonies, 4. Church-Government & Discipline, reputed to be (but indeed, not) Established by Law. Humbly offered to the Serious consideration of this Present Parliament. By diverse ministers of sundry counties in England  (1660)  63 pp.  ToC

The Old Non-Conformist, touching the Book of Common-Prayer & Ceremonies. To which is Annexed the Reasons why Scotland Refused the Book of Common-Prayer  (London: H.C. in Popes-head Alley, 1660)  43 pp.


Firmin, Giles – The Liturgical Considerator Considered, or, A Brief View of Dr. Gauden’s Considerations touching the Liturgy of the Church of England, wherein the reasons by him produced for imposing the said liturgy upon all are found to be so weak, his defence of things offensive in it so slight, the arguments against the liturgy by himself afforded are so strong that some, who upon His Majesty’s declaration did incline to the liturgy, are now further from it by reading his wordy discourse about it: also some reasons humbly rendered why many ministers as yet cannot conform to that liturgy, but not out of disloyalty, pride, ingratitude, peevishness, nor schismatical petulancy, as the sarcastical pen of this uncharitable doctor hath published  (London: Ralph Smith, 1661)  ToC

Firmin was a New England puritan and English clergyman who was of the congregationalist opinion.

Baxter, Richard

A Petition for Peace with the Reformation of the Liturgy, as it was Presented to the Right Reverend Bishops, by the Divines Appointed by His Majesty’s Commission to Treat with them about the Alteration of it  (London: 1661)  101 pp.  ToC

The Grand Debate between the most reverend bishops and the Presbyterian divines appointed by His Sacred Majesty as commissioners for the review and alteration of the Book of common prayer, etc., being an exact account of their whole proceedings: the most perfect copy.  (London, 1661)

This is an account of the debate at the Savoy Conference.  The final exceptions to the Book of Common Prayer by the Independents and Presbyterians are below under Various Ministers.

Bernard, John & Richard – The Anatomy of the Common Prayer-Book: wherein is remonstrated the unlawfulness of it, and that by five several arguments, namely, from the name of it, the rise, the matter, the manner, and the evil effects of it  (1661)

Richard Bernard was an English presbyterian.

Powell, Vavasor – Common-Prayer-Book No Divine Service, or, 28 Reasons against Forming & Imposing any Human Liturgies or Common-Prayer Books, & the main objections to the contrary answered, also, the English Common-Prayer Book Anatomized, likewise twelve arguments against diocesan & lord-bishops, with the main objections answered, & the great disparity between them & Timothy & Titus Showed  (London, 1661)  44 pp.  ToC

Powell (1617–1670) was a Welsh, nonconformist, puritan preacher, evangelist and hymn-writer.

Various Ministers – The Book of Common Prayer as Amended by the Westminster Divines, A.D. 1661  ed. Charles W. Shields  (1867)  Here are all the Presbyterian Exceptions to the BCP  (38 pp.)

This book is a bit misnamed.  It was not a Prayer approved by the Westminster Assembly, but was a prayer book composed in 1661 (after the erastian and episcopalian Restoration of King Charles II in England) which 8 former Westminster divines signed after taking written exception to upwards of 18 (sometimes significant) things in the book.

In a bit of background to this prayer-book, Andrew Myers writes:

“The book… [was] part of a 19th century effort to return American Presbyterian worship to the Episcopalian liturgy.  It is misnamed because the event in 1661 that the author is writing about was the Savoy Conference’s attempt to reach a compromise liturgy.  The Conference included 12 Anglican delegates and 12 Presbyterian / Puritan (“Presbyterian” is used very broadly) delegates.  If you read further in the book, it has an appendix which notes all the Presbyterian “exceptions” to the Book of Common Prayer that was produced by the Conference. There were a few Westminster divines who attended the Conference, but it was the Savoy Conference, not the Westminster Assembly that produced this liturgy.  It is only titled the way it is to achieve a certain sympathy from 19th century Presbyterians towards high church worship.”

“Some of the major issues [that the Presbyterian took exception to] were 1) vestments 2) kneeling for communion 3) the sign of the cross and recitation of the Apostles Creed in baptism 4) use of the ring in marriage (and the language “With this Ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship”) 5) homilies 6) reading from the Apocrypha 6) collects 7) litany (responsive reading) 8) repetition of the Lord’s Prayer multiple times in one service 9) private baptism, baptism by women, interrogatories to the child, godparents 10) single administration of the Lord’s Supper 11) language used in burial services 12) churching of women services 13) confirmation 14) ordination to unBiblical offices and 15) saints’ days and festivals among others.”

Here are all The Presbyterian Exceptions to the Book of Common Prayer  (38 pages).  With such exceptions noted, the prayer-book was endorsed by the following former Westminster divines:

Anthony Tuckney
John Conant
William Spurstowe
John Wallis
Thomas Case
Matthew Newcomen
Edward Reynolds
John Lightfoot

Prynne, William

A Moderate, Seasonable Apology for Indulging just Christian liberty to truly tender consciences, conforming to the public liturgy in not bowing at, or to the name of Jesus, and not kneeling in the act of receiving the Lords Supper, according to His Majesty’s most gracious declaration to all his loving subjects concerning ecclesiastical affairs  (London: T.C. & L.P., 1662)

Prynne (1600 – 24 October 1669) was an English lawyer, author, polemicist, and political figure. He was a prominent Puritan opponent of the church policy of the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud. His views on church polity were presbyterian, but he became known in the 1640’s as an Erastian, arguing for overall state control of religious matters. He published over 200 books and pamphlets.

A Short Sober Pacific Examination of some Exuberances in, & Ceremonial Appurtenances to the Common Prayer, especially of the Use & Frequent Repetitions of Glory be to the Father, etc., standing up at it, at Gospels, Creeds & Wearing White Rochets, Surplices, with other Canonical Vestments…  (London, 1661)

Owen, John – A Discourse Concerning Liturgies & their Imposition  (London, 1662)

Written in the year of the Great Ejection of 2,000 English ministers.

Common-Prayer Book Devotions, Episcopal Delusions, or, The Second Death of the Service-Book, wherein the Unlawfulness (with advantage) of the Imposition of Liturgies…  is Clearly & Plainly Demonstrated from the Scriptures…  (1666)  ToC

Wilson, Joseph – Nehushtan, or, A Sober & Peaceable Discourse concerning the Abolishing of things Abused to Superstition & Idolatry which may serve as one entire & sufficient argument to evince that the Liturgy, Ceremonies, & other things used at this day in the Church of England ought neither to be imposed, nor retained, but utterly extirpated & laid aside: & to vindicate the non-conformists in their refusal to close with them  (London, 1668)  70 pp.  ToC


Lobb, Stephen – The Harmony between the Old & Present Non-Conformists’ Principles, in Relation to the Terms of Conformity, with respect both to the Clergy & the People: wherein a Short History of the Original of the English Liturgy & some reasons why several truly conscientious Christians cannot join with the church in it: humbly presented to public consideration in order to the obtaining some necessary relaxation & indulgence: to which are added some Letters that passed between the Lord Cecil & Archbishop [John] Whitgift  (London: Collier, 1682)  ToC

Polhill, Edward – The Samaritan showing that Many & Unnecessary Impositions are not the Oil that must Heal the Church Together, with the Way or Means to do it, by a country gentleman who goes to Common Prayer & not to Meetings  (London: Tho. Simmons, 1682)  129 pp.  ToC

Hickeringill, Edmund – The Ceremony-monger, his Character in Five Chapters… with Some Remarks…  hinting at some mathematical untruths & escapes in the Common-Prayer Book, both as to Doctrine & Discipline, & what Bishops were, are & should be, & concerning Ordination, humbly proposed to the consideration of the Parliament  (Edinburgh: reprinted 1689)  78 pp.  ToC




Related Pages


All the Works of the Westminster Divines on Worship

The Regulative Principle of Worship

The Westminster Directory for the Public Worship of God: Commentaries on & Historical Documents Related Unto

The Grounds of Christ the Mediator Receiving Divine Worship

The History of Scottish Worship

Family Worship