American originals: homemade varieties of Christianity by Paul K. Conkin

By Paul K. Conkin

In a piece of outstanding breadth and readability, Paul Conkin bargains an even-handed and in-depth examine the most important American-made types of Christianity—a different team of non secular traditions, every one of which displays an important holiday from western Christian orthodoxy.Identifying six distinct forms, Conkin examines the main denominations consultant of every unique number of American Christianity: recovery (Churches of Christ, Disciples of Christ); humanistic (Unitarians, Universalists); apocalyptic (Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses); Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints); non secular (Christian technology, Unity); and ecstatic (Holiness and Pentecostal denominations). concentrating on the early years and maturation of those teams, he discusses their founders and leaders, origins and previous global roots, and crucial doctrines and practices. Conkin closes every one bankruptcy with a advisor to extra reading.The first complete survey of those American originals, this publication will function a precious source on a few spiritual traditions whose individuals not just contain an important percent of the yank inhabitants but additionally make up an expanding share of Christian converts around the world.

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A few religious reformers eventually gained a monopoly on the label "restoration" in American religious history. They all shared enough common concerns to give some unity to what began as several scattered reform movements. " This was the first American restoration stream, but one whose sluggish and often multichanneled waters still revealed the as yet incompletely mixed hues of its three founding tributaries. By 1832 some of its channels intersected and merged with another stream the Disciples of Christ one not nearly as long, but spring-fed, clear, and fast moving.

McNemar wrote the half-serious, half-whimsical ''Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery," a document that later became famous in the Disciples movement (Elias Smith would print it in the first number of his Herald of Gospel Liberty). In it McNemar endorsed a rather well-developed restorationist or primitive platform: that all institutions of merely human origin should dissolve into the one body of Christ, that no one should Page 11 claim titles such as "reverend," that only the members of a congregation could govern a church or choose ministers, that the Bible had to be the only creed, and that the sweets of gospel liberty should replace paternalism within the church.

Thomas, who taught in his own academy in Ulster, was also a preacher in the narrow, rigorous Anti-Burgher wing of the Scottish Seceder Presbyterians (Associate Synod). He decided to emigrate to the United States in 1807, in part for health reasons. His wife and children were to follow, but because of a shipwreck in 1808, they had to delay their trip until 1809 and spent a year in Glasgow. In the unexpected delay, young Alexander, well-tutored already in the classics by his father, was able to study for a year at the University of Glasgow.

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