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Half-way Covenant

1662. The admission to New England church membership of more than the dedicated elite. The Massachusetts Synod of 1662 asserted that baptized adults who professed faith and lived uprightly, but who had had no conversion experience, might be accepted as church members. Their children, baptized as “half-way” members, could not receive the Lord's Supper or participate in church elections. This dual conception of membership, forced on churches by declining power and widely modified by 1700, opened the churches to a cross- section of New Englanders. That practice prompted attempts, notably that of Jonathan Edwards, to restate Calvinist orthodoxy.