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Although slaveholding southerners and Catholics in general had little in common, both groups found themselves relentlessly attacked in the northern evangelical press during the decades leading up to the Civil War. In Catholics, Slaveholders, and the Dilemma of American Evangelicalism, 1835–1860, W. Jason Wallace skillfully examines sermons, books, newspaper articles, and private correspondence of members of three antebellum groups—northern evangelicals, southern evangelicals, and Catholics—and argues that the divisions among them stemmed, at least in part, from disagreements over the role that religious convictions played in a free society. Focusing on journals such as The Downfall of Babylon, Zion’s Herald, The New York Evangelist, and The New York Observer, Wallace argues that northern evangelicals constructed a national narrative after their own image and, in the course of vigorous promotion of that narrative, attacked what they believed was the immoral authoritarianism of both the Catholic and the slaveholder. He then examines the response of both southerners and Catholics to northern evangelical attacks. As Wallace shows, leading Catholic intellectuals interpreted and defended the contributions made by the Catholic Church to American principles such as religious liberty and the separation of church and state. Proslavery southern evangelicals, while sharing with evangelicals in the North the belief that the United States was founded on Protestant values, rejected the attempts by northern evangelicals to associate Christianity with social egalitarianism and argued that northern evangelicals compromised both the Bible and Protestantism to fit their ideal of a good society. The American evangelical dilemma arose from conflicting opinions over what it meant to be an American and a Christian.
Owning a Scandalous Past and an Uncertain Future
The largest Protestant denomination in the United States is in the midst of a serious identity crisis; many Baptists are revisiting or turning away from the tradition, leaving others to become increasingly uncertain that the denomination can remain viable. Here, however, noted Baptist historian Bill Leonard wades through the murky waters of the Baptist past and explores the historic commitments of this unique people—all in an effort to shed light on its contemporary dilemmas and evaluate the prospects for a Baptist future. While encouraging members of the faith to thoroughly and fairly evaluate their heritage—and its many blunders along the way—Leonard ultimately argues that the Baptists’ contentious “audacious witness” shown throughout its history still has a worthy role to play in the twenty-first century.
Martin Luther King Jr., Young People, and the Movement
Half a century after some of its most important moments, the assessment of the Civil Rights Era continues. In this exciting volume, Dr. Rufus Burrow turns his attention to a less investigated but critically important byway in this powerful story—the role of children and young people in the Civil Rights Movement.
What role did young people play, and how did they support the efforts of their elders? What did they see—and what did they do?—that their elders were unable to envision? How did children play their part in the liberation of their people?
In this project, Burrow reveals the surprising power of youth to change the world.
New School Calvinism and Antebellum Reform
In an exciting reinterpretation of the early nineteenth century, Leo Hirrel demonstrates the importance of religious ideas by exploring the relationship between religion and reform efforts during a crucial period in American history. The result is a work that moves the history of antebellum reform to a higher level of sophistication.
Hirrel focuses upon New School Congregationalists and Presbyterians who served at the forefront of reform efforts and provided critical leadership to anti-Catholic, temperance, antislavery, and missionary movements. Their religion was an attempt to reconcile traditional Calvinist language with the prevalent intellectual trends of the time. New School theologians preserved Calvinist language about depravity, but they incorporated an assertion of nominal human ability to overcome sin and a belief in the fixed, immutable nature of truth.
Describing both the origins of New School Calvinism and the specific reform activities that grew out of these beliefs, Hirrel provides a fresh perspective on the historical background of religious controversies.
Elites, Middlemen, and the Church in Hong Kong
Every so often a work of history appears that radically changes our understanding of people, place and period. Chinese Christian is such a work. This book asks questions about Hong Kong that have never been asked before. It shows that the leaders of Chinese society had a far greater role in shaping early Hong Kong history than earlier historians had believed.
Pursuit of the Kingdom of God and Its Influence on Democratic Values in Late Nineteenth-Century Britain and the U.S.
At the heart of the biblical myth of chosenness is the idea that God has blessed a people to be a blessing to others. It is a mission of solemn responsibility. The six British and American thinkers examined in this study embraced the myth of chosenness for their countries, believed that the liberties they enjoyed were inherently tied to their Protestant faith, and that it was their mission to protect and spread that faith, and its democratic fruit, at home and abroad.
Each theologian in this study—Robert William Dale, Hugh Price Hughes, and Brooke Foss Westcott in England; Walter Rauschenbusch, Henry Codman Potter, and Josiah Strong in the United States—wanted, in Rauschenbusch's words, to “Christianize the social order,” seeking to evolve their countries into true Christian nations that would lead to an international kingdom of God. They were all products of their time, yet ahead of their time, and their pursuit of a true, free, national Christianity helped support the development of Western democratic values. However, their belief in chosenness also fuelled imperialistic claims, neglected the rights of native peoples, led to anti-Catholicism, and hindered the religious liberties of others.
A Study in Early Christian History and Difference
In the first full-length study of the circumcision of Jesus, Andrew S. Jacobs turns to an unexpected symbol—the stereotypical mark of the Jewish covenant on the body of the Christian savior—to explore how and why we think about difference and identity in early Christianity.
Jacobs explores the subject of Christ's circumcision in texts dating from the first through seventh centuries of the Common Era. Using a diverse toolkit of approaches, including the psychoanalytic, postcolonial, and poststructuralist, he posits that while seeming to desire fixed borders and a clear distinction between self (Christian) and other (Jew, pagan, and heretic), early Christians consistently blurred and destabilized their own religious boundaries. He further argues that in this doubled approach to others, Christians mimicked the imperial discourse of the Roman Empire, which exerted its power through the management, not the erasure, of difference.
For Jacobs, the circumcision of Christ vividly illustrates a deep-seated Christian duality: the fear of and longing for an other, at once reviled and internalized. From his earliest appearance in the Gospel of Luke to the full-blown Feast of the Divine Circumcision in the medieval period, Christ circumcised represents a new way of imagining Christians and their creation of a new religious culture.
Artistic representations were of significant value to early Christian communities. In Christ the Miracle Worker in Early Christian Art, Lee Jefferson argues that images provided visual representations of vital religious and theological truths crucial to the faithful and projected concepts beyond the limitations of the written and spoken word. Images of Christ performing miracles or healings functioned as advertisements for Christianity and illustrated the nature of Christ. Using these images of Christ, Jefferson examines the power of art, its role in fostering devotion, and the deep connection between art and its elucidation of pivotal theological claims.
Essays on Anglican and Episcopal History in China
Written by a team of internationally recognized scholars, Christian Encounters with Chinese Culture focuses on a church tradition that has never been very large in China but that has had considerable social and religious influence. Themes of the book include questions of church, society and education, the Prayer Book in Chinese, parish histories, and theology. Taken together, the nine chapters and the introduction offer a comprehensive assessment of the Anglican experience in China and its missionary background. Historical topics range from macro to micro levels, beginning with an introductory overview of the Anglican and Episcopal tradition in China. Topics include how the church became embedded in Chinese social and cultural life, the many ways women’s contributions to education built the foundations for strong parishes, and Bishop R. O. Hall’s attentiveness to culture for the life of the church in Hong Kong. Two chapters explore how broader historical themes played out at the parish level—St. Peter’s Church in Shanghai during the War against Japan and St. Mary’s Church in Hong Kong during its first three decades. Chapters looking at the Chinese Prayer Book bring an innovative theological perspective to the discussion, especially how the inability to produce a single prayer book affected the development of the Chinese church. Finally, the tension between theological thought and Chinese culture in the work of Francis C. M. Wei and T. C. Chao is examined. “This is one of the finest books on Christianity and Chinese culture to have emerged in recent years. Philip Wickeri has done the almost-impossible, and assembled an outstanding, world-class team of scholars to write on Anglican and Episcopal history in China, with essays focusing on education, liturgy, ministry, ecclesiology and theology. This is a timely, important book—and one that will re-shape the way we understand the place of Anglican and Episcopal churches in the past, present and future.” —Martyn Percy, dean of Christ Church, Oxford, UK “This pioneering study provides new knowledge of local parishes, translation of liturgy, as well as mission and theology of Chung Hua Sheng Kung Hui. Comprehensive in scope and original in using new resources, it will stimulate new scholarship in the study of Christianity in China.” —Kwok Pui-lan, author of Chinese Women and Christianity, 1860–1927 “The essays included in this important volume offer a refreshingly realistic image of the Christian missionary enterprise and its interaction with Chinese culture and society. The contributors present new angles of interpretation, with more informed and nuanced accounts of the complexities and contradictions that shaped the encounter of one particular strand of Western Christianity and Chinese culture during a turbulent century of change.” —R. G. Tiedemann, professor of Chinese history, Shandong University, China