Unity in Christ and Country
American Presbyterians in the Revolutionary Era, 1758–1801
Publication Year: 2017
In Unity in Christ and Country: American Presbyterians in the Revolutionary Era, 1758–1801, William Harrison Taylor investigates the American Presbyterian Church’s pursuit of Christian unity and demonstrates how, through this effort, the church helped to shape the issues that gripped the American imagination, including evangelism, the conflict with Great Britain, slavery, nationalism, and sectionalism. When the colonial Presbyterian Church reunited in 1758, a nearly twenty-year schism was brought to an end. To aid in reconciling the factions, church leaders called for Presbyterians to work more closely with other Christian denominations. Their ultimate goal was to heal divisions, not just within their own faith but also within colonial North America as a whole.
Taylor contends that a self-imposed interdenominational transformation began in the American Presbyterian Church upon its reunion in 1758. However, this process was altered by the church’s experience during the American Revolution, which resulted in goals of Christian unity that had both spiritual and national objectives. Nonetheless, by the end of the century, even as the leaders in the Presbyterian Church strove for unity in Christ and country, fissures began to develop in the church that would one day divide it and further the sectional rift that would lead to the Civil War.
Taylor engages a variety of sources, including the published and unpublished works of both the Synods of New York and Philadelphia and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, as well as numerous published and unpublished Presbyterian sermons, lectures, hymnals, poetry, and letters. Scholars of religious history, particularly those interested in the Reformed tradition, and specifically Presbyterianism, should find Unity in Christ and Country useful as a way to consider the importance of the theology’s intellectual and pragmatic implications for members of the faith.
Published by: The University of Alabama Press
Half Title, Further Series Titles, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication,
While working on this project I have been blessed to have many colleagues, family and friends help make this book a reality. First and foremost is my wife, Denise. Not only has she been a source of comfort and encouragement but she has—even from our first date—challenged me to be a better scholar. ...
In this book I argue that a self-imposed interdenominational transformation began in the American Presbyterian Church upon its reunion in 1758 and that the church’s experience during the American Revolution altered this process. The resulting interdenominational goals had both spiritual and national objectives. ...
1. Foundations of Interdenominationalism, 1758–1765
According to the Book of Matthew, following Jesus Christ’s resurrection, he met his remaining disciples on a mountain near Galilee and gave them their final instructions. Christ told them, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you.”1 ...
2. Threats Inside and Out, 1765–1775
If there was hope by 1765 that the Presbyterians would continue to progress on their interdenominational journey, immense clouds of doubt were seen gathering in the distance. On February 6, 1765, British Prime Minister George Grenville introduced the Stamp Act resolutions, helping to spark the American Revolution.1 The subsequent constitutional debates concerning the civil and religious liberties of the colonists ...
3. Groaning “Under the Afflicting Hand of God,” 1775–1783
As had happened during the French and Indian War, the war for American independence served as the catalyst for interdenominational change. In 1763, the year of the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the American colonists were proud to be British. By July 1776, however, the colonists declared their intent to be independent. The Presbyterians’ role in unifying the colonists aided this transformation, ...
4. For Christ and Country: Interdenominationalism in the North, 1784–1801
The postwar years finished the transformation process for the church’s interdenominational vision. Following the official cessation of hostilities after the Treaty of Paris in 1783, the Presbyterians saw themselves standing on the threshold of a new world, facing a new opportunity to realize their interdenominational goals. Prompted as they had been during the French and Indian War, ...
5. Southern Presbyterians and Interdenominationalism, 1784–1801
As the General Assembly encouraged its ministers and congregations to be more cooperative for the sake of Christ and country, the responses from their constituents varied. In the northern states, where the denomination was strongest, the ruling body was pleased with the interdenominational nationalism displayed through conventions and formal unions with the Connecticut Congregationalists, ...
In September 1801, Jonathan Freeman came before Hudson Presbytery to defend the use of hymns, especially those by Isaac Watts, in church. Echoing the sentiments of John Todd who made a similar presentation before the Presbytery of Hanover in 1762, Freeman contended that Christians and their churches would only benefit from singing “unto the Lord a new song.”1 ...
Page Count: 198
Publication Year: 2017
OCLC Number: 986538555
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Unity in Christ and Country