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John Calvin's American Legacy$
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Thomas Davis

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195390971

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195390971.001.0001

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“Falling Away from the General Faith of the Reformation”? The Contest over Calvinism in Nineteenth-Century America

“Falling Away from the General Faith of the Reformation”? The Contest over Calvinism in Nineteenth-Century America

Chapter:
(p.111) 5 “Falling Away from the General Faith of the Reformation”? The Contest over Calvinism in Nineteenth-Century America
Source:
John Calvin's American Legacy
Author(s):

Douglas A. Sweeney (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195390971.003.0005

Few matters were more hotly debated by Reformed divines in nineteenth-century America than the nature, history, and contemporary expression of the Calvinist system of thought. John Williamson Nevin of Mercersburg Seminary contended that most Americans had abandoned Calvin’s system long ago (especially in regard to the Eucharist). The New England theologians (led by Edwards Amasa Park) claimed to be faithful modern Calvinists, but no longer bound to Calvin’s own doctrinal preferences. Princeton theologians (led by Charles Hodge) criticized both of these other groups, trying their best to shore up a sense of mainstream orthodox Calvinist unity from the time of the Reformation to their own age. This chapter will use these debates to examine the status of Calvinism and reassess Calvin’s legacy in nineteenth-century America. It will also engage the interpretations of many recent historians who interpret the nineteenth century as one in which most American "Calvinists" abandoned Calvin’s legacy.

Keywords:   John Williamson Nevin, Edwards Amasa Park, Charles Hodge, Princeton Seminary, Mercersburg Seminary, New England theology, Calvinism, John Calvin, Eucharist

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