Having completed the series of lessons on the history of American Presbyterianism, we are offering in serialized form some of the key books that are essential to an understanding of American Presbyterian church history. There are three that we initially plan to offer with more to follow. I will list them in chronological order.

Constitutional History of the Presbyterian Church in the USA

Charles Hodge

This book, by the famed Princeton theologian, covers the history of the PCUSA from its inception to the end of the eighteenth century. The portion that is serialized is that section which deals with the Great Awakening and the Schism of 1741. This will give much greater detail on the material covered in lessons two and three of American Church History. It gives a far more responsible, balanced, and historically accurate view of the Great Awakening as opposed to the adulatory myths that prevail. It also gives a fuller account of the causes of the Schism of 1741 between the Old Side and the New Side, and its resolution. It thoroughly documents Hodge’s defense of the Old Side and exposes the errors of the New Side that marred the work of the revival and caused the split in the Church.

The History of the New School

Samuel Baird

This book does the same for the Schism of 1837 that Hodge’s book does for the Schism of 1741. Baird thoroughly documents the issues involved in this classic defense of the Old School. He documents the flirtation of the New School with, and their toleration of, serious heresies and how this led again to a tragic rending of the body of Christ. He shows the tragic effects of the ill-advised Plan of Union with the New England Congregationalists and how it became a conduit into the Presbyterian Church of the New England Theology and of ministers who were theologically opposed to the doctrines of the Westminster Confession of Faith. He traces the development of the New Divinity from its inception in the dangerous theological speculations of Jonathan Edwards through its logical conclusions in the theology of Samuel Hopkins (Hopkinsianism) and Nathaniel Taylor (The New Haven Theology). And he sets forth the heroic battles of the Old School to preserve their church and the historic Christian faith from this onslaught.

This has to rank as one of the most important books on American Presbyterian Church history. As it has been out of print for over 130 years we are greatly pleased to make this book, so eloquently written in defense of the faith, again available for the Lord’s people.

The Presbyterian Conflict

Edwin H. Rian

This book ranks as another of those works that is essential reading for those who would understand the history of Presbyterianism in America. It documents, in a stirring way, the conflict between the historic Christian Faith and theological liberalism in the PCUSA during the first third of the twentieth century. It recounts the heroes and villains of this momentous struggle for the heart and soul of American Presbyterianism, that finally led to the exodus of the conservatives and the formation of what is now the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. This work is presented complete with all appendixes that contain many of the key documents of this battle for the faith.

The Death of a Church

Carl McIntire

Edwin Rian’s book, The Presbyterian Conflict, relates the events that led to a split in the PCUSA and the departure of the conservatives to form a new church. But what happened to the PCUSA after they left? What happens to any church when the salt has lost its savor? Without conservative opposition the apostate slide to the left only accelerated. And without the presence of conservatives the need for masquerading as orthodox Presbyterians, holding to the historic Christian faith became much less urgent. Carl McIntire documents this slide, in the “Death of a Church” and shows how it culminated in the New Confession of 1967 which codified and constitutionalized their apostasy.

The New Neutralism II

John E. Ashbrook

This book is an excellent defense of the Separatist position and a thorough expose of the horrendous compromises with heresy, apostasy and unbelief that are at the very heart of the “New Evangelical” movement. He names the names of those persons and institutions that while straining to appear orthodox are subverting the very foundations of the Christian faith. This is not only an exercise in recent church history, but this book is current and therefore eminently practical, and must reading for those who would follow the admonition of Scripture “to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints.”