A Brief History of the Presbyterians by James H. Smylie

By James H. Smylie

A short historical past of the Presbyterians bargains laity and clergy a succint and thorough creation to the background of Presbyterianism. James Smylie chronicles the origins of the Reformed culture and includes the sage via every one next period as much as the eve of the twenty-first century, targeting Presbyterianism in North the USA.

All the key figures within the heritage of Presbyterianism, comparable to John Calvin, Francis Makemie, and John Witherspoon are integrated, in addition to a bunch of others.

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On the same day this act was adopted, members of the synod gave an example of this approach. They agreed that the relation of the civil magistrate to the church, as defined by 46 A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PRESBYTERIANS the Westminster Assembly in the 1640s, was not "essential and necessary" for Christian faith and life in the American colonies. This article had given the civil magistrate the right to call ecclesiastical meetings and to intervene in church affairs. Perhaps members of synod recalled at this point Francis Makemie's experience with Lord Combury in New York.

In the eighteenth century, clergy and sessions had their hands full serving as moral courts in the American wilderness in the absence of any organized civil life. The synod confronted the intellectual challenges emanating from the Enlightenment and its religious expression in Deism. This movement was spreading even among members of the church. Deists believed in God the Creator of nature and nature's uniform laws. They used the image of a clockmaker and the mechanism of a clock to describe God and God's The First American Presbytery 45 work.

While not rejecting monarchy altogether, they advocated a combination of democracy with an aristocracy of merit as the best form of government. This form would provide the proper 26 A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PRESBYTERIANS checks and balances to control our tendency to draw to our own interests and would promote civic responsibility. Regarding the right of revolution, the Reformed were cautious. Yet Calvin suggested that the lower magistrate might overthrow a tyrant who ruled contrary to God's will.

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