‘The Word Came in With Power’: Conversions ‘The Word Came in With Power’: Conversions at Cambuslang

D. Bruce Hindmarsh

in The Evangelical Conversion Narrative

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199245758
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602436 | DOI:
‘The Word Came in With Power’: Conversions ‘The Word Came in With Power’: Conversions at Cambuslang

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By moving beyond the geographic limits of England, it is possible to trace a narrative response to Calvinistic preaching during the early Evangelical Revival among a number of lay Presbyterians in south-western Scotland who were subjects of the well-documented ‘Cambuslang Wark’ in 1742 and whose testimonies were recorded by the minister William McCulloch. Given the controversy that Cambuslang excited, especially with the leaders of the Secession Church (or ‘Associate Presbytery’), McCulloch conducted his interviews with the ‘persevering subjects’ of the revival with apologetic aims, as well as with a pastoral desire to discern accurately the condition of those under spiritual concern. The spiritual autobiographies he recorded shared a common narrative structure, displayed a profoundly experiential biblicism, and bore witness to robustly Calvinistic convictions. The marginalia in the McCulloch manuscripts record the observations of other Presbyterian ministers, invited by McCulloch to comment on the narratives, and reveal the distinct but overlapping concerns of lay and clerical piety, even as ministers sought wisely to direct, promote, and defend the ‘work’ of God in their generation through spiritual autobiography.

Keywords: Associate Presbytery’; biblicism; Calvinism; Cambuslang; clerical; lay; Presbyterian; Scotland; Secession church; William McCulloch

Chapter.  16657 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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