Chapter

The Highest Original

Philip N. Mulder

in A Controversial Spirit

Published in print May 2002 | ISBN: 9780195131635
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834525 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195131630.003.0008

Series: Religion in America

The Highest Original

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Leaders of the evangelical denominations in the early nineteenth century wrote works of history and biography, beginning aggressive campaigns of publication in the midst of their competition. They wrote not only to memorialize and celebrate, using journals and memoirs from the first generation, but also to delineate the boundaries separating Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists and to strategically define themselves for the second generation. Struggling to counteract the inroads of competitors and schisms challenging denominational orthodoxy, apologists responded by reinforcing distinctive denominational identities. Missionary Baptists such as historians William Fristoe, Lemuel Burkitt, and Jesse Read defended Baptist associations against attacks from Primitive and anti‐Missionary Baptists, while Methodist itinerant Jesse Lee wrote to refute accusations from James O’Kelly's Republican Methodists. In the struggle over denominational identity and limits, particularity and distinction were the heart of the evangelical awakenings in the South.

Keywords: anti‐Missionary Baptists; biography; denominational; history; journals; memoirs; Missionary Baptists; Primitive Baptists; Republican Methodists; schism

Chapter.  8996 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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