A program in 1662 by the ministers of Boston in order to attract more church members (by the 3rd generation settlers, the church was becoming increasingly unpopular).
They gave the people partial membership to the church if they would fill the pews.
They let them be baptized but couldn't vote or take communion.
The Halfway Covenant was an early marketing strategy for colonial Puritan ministers to recruit more settlers for their church membership. In the late 1600s the pressures of increasing population were dispersing the strict Puritan grip on New England and opening the door to other religions. This terrified local ministers, who were seeing their Israel in the wilderness torn to shreds right before their eyes. Conversions, testimonials by individuals that they had received God's grace according to Calvinist principles and therefore deserved to be admitted to the church as members of the elect, were steadily decreasing. The elect were the only members of the community with the privilege of deciding village or town matters, so this was somewhat of a problem.

The solution, as they saw it, was to offer a Halfway Covenant, partial membership rights to people who had not converted yet. After all, they would soon once they saw the Glories of the Lord, right? Not really. The widening of church membership gradually eliminated the distinction between the predestined, heaven-bound "elect" and other lowly, devil-gripped members of society. Strict religious purity was sacrificed on the altar of wider religious participation, and the Puritans never really recovered.

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