A definitive history of evangelical Presbyterianism in America
Reformed and Evangelical across Four Centuries tells the story of the Presbyterian church in the United States, beginning with its British foundations and extending to its present-day expression in multiple American Presbyterian denominations. This account emphasizes the role of the evangelical movement in shaping various Presbyterian bodies in America, especially in the twentieth century amid increasing departures from traditional Calvinism, historic orthodoxy, and a focus on biblical authority. Particular attention is also given to crucial elements of diversity in the Presbyterian story, with increasing numbers of African American, Latino/a, and Korean American Presbyterians—among others—in the twenty-first century. Overall, this book will be a bountiful resource to anyone curious about what it means to be Presbyterian in the multidimensional American context, as well as to anyone looking to understand this piece of the larger history of Christianity in the United States.
Table of Contents
Foreword by George M. Marsden 1. Increasing Divergence after Common Origins in the British Reformations 2. Stuart Pressures against Presbyterians and Puritans 3. Two Attempts at Protestant Religious Uniformity 4. What Restored Monarchy Meant for England and Scotland 5. Developments in Evangelism, Mission, and Theology 6. New World Immigration and the First Presbytery 7. A Great Awakening Shapes the Church 8. American Independence and a National Assembly 9. Missions and Revivals in the Early Republic 10. American Reformed Theology 11. Debate on the Question of Slavery 12. Presbyterianism, Civil War, and Reunions 13. The Darwinian Challenge 14. Immigration, Urbanization, and Industrialization 15. German Universities and American Protestantism 16. Fundamentalism and Modernism 17. Two World Wars and Reaching the World for Christ 18. Women, Civil Rights, and a New Confession 19. Evangelical Marginalization and Resurgence Conclusion: Presbyterians as Evangelicals Appendix I: American Presbyterian Denominations Ranked by Membership Appendix II. A Genealogical Table of American Presbyterians Index
Nathan P. Feldmeth is senior assistant professor of church history at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also the author of the Pocket Dictionary of Church History.
S. Donald Fortson III is professor of church history and pastoral theology on the Charlotte campus of Reformed Theological Seminary, where he also serves as director of the doctor of ministry program. He is also the author of The Presbyterian Story: Origins and Progress of a Reformed Tradition.
Garth M. Rosell is senior research professor of church history at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. His other books include A Charge to Keep: Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and the Renewal of Evangelicalism and The Surprising Work of God: Harold John Ockenga, Billy Graham, and the Rebirth of Evangelicalism.
Kenneth J. Stewart is professor emeritus of theological studies in Covenant College, where he taught from 1997 to 2019. His other books include In Search of Ancient Roots: The Christian Past and the Evangelical Identity Crisis and Ten Myths about Calvinism: Recovering the Breadth of the Reformed Tradition.
“Reformed and Evangelical across Four Centuries has a number of distinctive strengths. First, it offers a detailed and reliable new history of American Presbyterianism. Second, it is unusual among such histories in the thoroughness with which it recounts the British background. Third, it explicitly emphasizes ‘the symbiotic relationship that has frequently existed between American Presbyterianism and American evangelicalism.’ Finally, the emphasis on such relationships orients the recent history toward the realignments among the more Presbyterians.” — George M. Marsden from the foreword
“I’ve been eagerly anticipating this volume for some time! As a young man I entered the Presbyterian ministry quite starry-eyed about it. And yet forty-six years later, if anything, I am more sold on the Reformed and Presbyterian tradition than I have ever been, so I am delighted to see this new, definitive work. It is far more comprehensive than anything we have had before. It not only pays close attention to the controversies in the twentieth century over orthodoxy and modernism, but it also shows the current and coming racial and national diversity of Presbyterianism. Highly recommended.” — Timothy Keller pastor emeritus at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City
“In Reformed and Evangelical across Four Centuries, Nathan Feldmeth, Donald Fortson, Garth Rosell, and Kenneth Stewart have given us the most wide-ranging single-volume overview of the Presbyterian tradition now available. For those that teach church history and the history of Reformed Christianity, this will become a go-to textbook for introducing the Presbyterian stream to this generation of students. The book manages to give the reader a good feel for the arc of Presbyterianism: where it has come from, where it is growing, and where things stand now. This is an extensive and even-handed historical sourcebook for pastors, elders, professors, students, and interested laypeople alike.” — Ligon Duncan chancellor and CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary
“The history of Presbyterianism has often (and only half-jokingly) been characterized as a ‘split P’ narrative, with the story often being told from the perspective of one of the ‘splits.’ This wonderful book in no way ignores the diversity, but it succeeds—through a creative pan-Presbyterian team effort—to find important common threads in all of the diversity. And the authors skillfully trace those threads into our present era, with important attention to immigration, sexuality, and gender debates, and Presbyterianism’s continuing ‘symbiotic relationship’ to the larger evangelical movement.” — Richard J. Mouw president emeritus of Fuller Theological Seminary
“This is a much-needed, comprehensive historical record of the evangelical strands of Presbyterianism from the time of John Knox through its emergence in colonial America to the present time. What I found most helpful was its insights into the personalities and events that were so instrumental in keeping this movement alive within Presbyterianism throughout the past five centuries in spite of the multiple challenges facing it. The general sweep of this timely volume is greatly enhanced by a careful footnoting that not only gives historical accountability to the veracity of the content but also opens a wealth of opportunity for the reader to dig more deeply into a study of the characters, institutions, movements, and controversies one might want to study in greater depth. In all, I found it a most informative and profitable read!” — John A. Huffman Jr. pastor emeritus of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach, California
“With a masterly command of details crafted into unfolding narratives, Reformed and Evangelical across Four Centuries provides a sweeping overview of the precedents and pressures that have shaped evangelical Presbyterianism. It is comprehensive and meticulous in research. This is not mere denominational history. The authors introduce us to an astonishing array of people, some familiar and others fetched out of obscurity. They depict events and ideas with marvelous texture set upon the broad canvas of their political, social, and intellectual context. Theological controversies are explained with subtlety; social forces, such as immigration and civil rights, are freshly considered; the impact of intellectual movements in fomenting change is clarified. This rigorous work will serve as an indispensable guide to all who wish to understand evangelical Presbyterianism.” — Walter Kim PCA pastor and president of the National Association of Evangelicals
“Reformed and Evangelical across Four Centuries is a useful introductory survey of Presbyterian history with an eye to the mainline Presbyterian Church’s legacy. The team of scholars represent various Presbyterian traditions who document the unity and diversity of many of the denominational, doctrinal, ethical, and ethnic challenges and developments that Presbyterians have encountered through the centuries. This book will serve as a helpful aid for a first study of the Presbyterian tradition and a ready reference for review and to gain perspective.” — Peter A. Lillback president of Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia
“A much-needed updated history of the Presbyterian and evangelical movement since the Reformation that reflects twenty-first-century scholarship. However, the unique contribution of the book is that it addresses the key divisions that have occurred since 1971—the formation of the PCA, EPC, and ECO. Writing from their denominational perspectives, Rosell (PCUSA), Stewart (PCA), Fortson (EPC), and Feldmeth (ECO) offer a careful and scholarly assessment of the impact of these three ruptures. By incorporating these separate streams into the ‘broader Presbyterian story,’ they challenge the reader to consider commonalities in addition to the readily acknowledged differences between each of these streams.” — Jeffrey J. Jeremiah Stated Clerk of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (retired)
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