During the early 1600s, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Baptists suffered repeated cycles of persecution at the hands of the Church of England and the crown. The Puritans arose to defend Biblical worship. During the resulting civil war (1642-1649), hierarchical parishes and bishops were abolished by the then Puritan Parliament. A special assembly was appointed to draft a new structure; it met at the historic Westminster Abbey (adjoining the Houses of Parliament) inLondon. The Westminster Assembly held 1,163 sessions between July 1, 1643, and February 22, 1649.
This Westminster Confession was drafted for the Church of England, and has become the most important of the great Protestant creeds of the Reformation era. It is a summary of major Christian beliefs in thirty-three chapters. Classic reformed biblical theology permeates the confession, with emphasis on the covenant relationships between God and man. A Larger Catechism was prepared by the Westminster Assembly, to be used by ministers in the pulpit for public teaching (1648). A Shorter Catechism was published for instructing children.