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Ranters

From Academic Kids

The Ranters were a radical English sect in the time of the Commonwealth, who were regarded as heretical by the established Church of that period. Their central idea was pantheistic, that God is essentially in every creature; this led them to deny the authority of the Church, of scripture, of the current ministry and of services, instead calling on men to hearken to Jesus within them. Many Ranters seem to have rejected a belief in immortality and in a personal God, and in many ways they resemble the Brethren of the Free Spirit in the 14th century.

They seem to have been regarded by the government of the time as a genuine threat to social order. Ranters were accused of antinomianism, fanaticism, and sexual immorality, and put in prison until they recanted.

The Ranters were largely recruited from the common people, and there is plenty of evidence to show that the movement was widespread throughout England. They came into contact and even rivalry with the early Quakers, who were often (inaccurately) associated with them.

In the middle of the 19th century the name was often applied to the Primitive Methodists, with reference to their crude and often noisy preaching.


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