Cover

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Title, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. ix-ix

List of Figures and Maps

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pp. x-x

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Foreword

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pp. xi-xiv

I first encountered Elder John Sparks in the Forum section of the Louisville Courier Journal at Christmastime, 1993. He was responding to an article about Episcopalian bishop John Shelby Spong's controversial book, Born of a Woman, in which the bishop questions the divinity of Jesus. Elder Sparks, in his letter, pointed out the anomaly of Spong's position of power, influence, and income while doubting the validity of the central belief that lifted him to prominence...

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Introduction

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pp. xv-xx

As North Carolina native and Appalachian scholar Loyal Jones once noted, no group in the United States has aroused more suspicion and alarm among mainstream Christians than have Appalachian Christians, and never have so many Christian missionaries been sent to save so many Christians as in central and southern Appalachia.1 The character of Appalachian religious beliefs has been the subject of a multitude of studies by both academics and theologians...

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The Covenant Owners: 1706-1740

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pp. 1-14

In Boston, Massachusetts in the month of January 1706 were born two men whose lives would touch multitudes of others and who would, each in his own way, leave his distinctive mark upon the course of American history. Both came from humble backgrounds and neither would ever receive much formal schooling...

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Rude Awakening: 1740-1751

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pp. 15-33

Once, when speaking to his daughter advising her to keep up regular church attendance despite the imperfections she might encounter in ministers, Benjamin Franklin observed that pure water had often been known to issue from very dirty earth...

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The "Garding in Closed": 1751-1754

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pp. 34-47

In September 1743, in the aftermath of George Whitefield's heyday and during the most frenzied period of activity for his imitators, thirty-two-year-old Waitstill (or "Wait," as he was most commonly called) Palmer applied to the New London Ministerial Association for a license to preach in accordance with the guidelines of the Saybrook Platform...

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Chance and Providence: 1754-1755

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pp. 48-71

Morgan Edwards, Isaac Backus, Robert B. Semple, and David Benedict all relate essentially the same tale: Shubal Stearns and his congregation set great store by what they perceived as direct impressions of the Holy Spirit upon their consciences, and Stearns, listening to some of these instructions from Heaven, began to believe that God had laid a "great work in the west" upon his shoulders...

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Chamomile: 1755-1765

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pp. 72-108

Though we left the last chapter with an unanswered and unanswerable question, if indeed Herman Husbands's promotion of the Separate Baptists was a political gambit of his own design, it paid off well. As the uplands continued to fill up with settlers, Husbands himself may have realized that the Quakers could never have competed with the Separate Baptists in the backcountry, even under the best of circumstances...

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Meshech: 1765-1771

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pp. 109-180

Considering the thousands of sermons that Shubal Stearns must have preached in North Carolina, it is odd that we know little or nothing of the actual texts he took for his discourses. It has already been shown, though, from the writings of Stearns detractors as well as supporters, that he emphasized personal revelations from God such as the one he believed he had received in 1754 as a call to his great work in the west...

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Requiem: 1772-1801

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pp. 181-198

History often seems to exhibit the keenest sense of irony to be found anywhere. As any serious student of the American Revolution knows, that great conflict was no more a common man's crusade than any other war has been. The high ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness expressed so eloquently in the Declaration of Independence became the holy creed of America only when enough influential planters, merchants, and businessmen in the colonies found the Declaratory Act bad for their finances...

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The Legacy of the Goodly Fere: 1801-2001

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pp. 199-290

If the author were to examine the history of each of the various divisions of Shubal Stearns's children in the faith in detail, he'd need to add a second, and possibly third, volume to this work, but the accounts would be so drearily repetitive that the effort would be of little value. Nonetheless, for the sake of clarity and continuity this final chapter will attempt to give a brief overview at least of the major groups of Shubal Stearns's Appalachian descendants in the Gospel...

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Afterword: I, The Preacher

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pp. 291-294

Whether good or bad, this work is the product of a ten-year hobby begun originally by a young Kentucky backcountry Baptist preacher with decided Old Landmarker leanings (of the peculiar twist to the belief so often found in Appalachia), and it was intended originally to trace the native Baptists in his locality back as far as possible historically in just one more reiteration of the Landmarker position...

Notes

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pp. 295-306

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 307-312

Index

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pp. 313-328