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 selfimposed 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Taylor engages a variety of sources, including the published and unpublished works of both the Synods of New York and Philadelphia and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, as well as numerous published and unpublished Presbyterian sermons, lectures, hymnals, poetry, and letters.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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
William Harrison Taylor is an associate professor of history at Alabama State University and the coeditor of Faith and Slavery in the Presbyterian Diaspora.
PRAISE FOR THIS BOOK
“Unity in Christ and Country presents a persuasive argument about the importance of internal Presbyterian development for broader American history, as well as for the history of this one Christian denomination.”
—Mark A. Noll, author of Protestantism: A Very Short Introduction and In the Beginning Was the Word: The Bible in American Public Life, 1492-1783 and coeditor of Singing the Lord’s Song in a Strange Land: Hymnody in the History of North American Protestantism
Religion and American Culture
John M. Giggie and Charles A. Israel, series editors
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1945-8 Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-9088-4 Ebook