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Inequality And Fraternity – The Social Structure Of The Ministry

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Chapter Summary

Unlike Catholic, Orthodox, and many Protestant churches, the Netherlands Reformed Church did not discriminate among its clerics, instead according them all equal status as a matter of principle. It had established this principle of equality in church polity at its first synod. The average number of years that Reformed ministers served in a given province was another indicator of its attractiveness. Just as there were winners and losers among candidates for the ministry in times of surplus labor, the shortage of ministers revealed which towns, regions, and provinces were more, and less, popular. Evidently, many pastorates in these provinces were seen as final stops in an ecclesiastical career. This chapter discusses these &t;top jobs.&t; It shows how different types of pastorates were traditionally ranked within the Reformed ministry, and how this changed in the course of the nineteenth century.

Keywords: fraternity; inequality; Ministry; Netherlands Reformed Church; principle of equality; Protestant churches; Reformed ministry; social structure



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