Evangelical From The Beginning
The Story of the Evangelical Congregational Church
This study of the Evangelical Congregational Church brings into focus one of the oldest indigenous denominations of Christianity in North America, of which it is a direct descendant. The early nineteenth century German American revivalists, who were followers of a remarkable lay preacher, Jacob Albright, represented a distinctive confluence of Methodist theology and polity with a spirituality expressed in the genre of German Pietism, particularly its Reformed and Radical varieties. Unlike the more staid immigrant German church bodies (Lutheran, Reformed, Mennonite), their joyful choruses, fervent preaching, and wide ranging itinerating branded them as the "bush meeting Dutch" (Yoder). The work of an able body of scholars in the Albright tradition, this study serves both as a institutional history and an interpretation of a distinctive American religious culture. It is also a source book in the annals of the American pulpit, from the Revolutionary War era to the present, as found in the German-American context. Unlike many denominational histories, it reflects the view from the pew: showing how Evangelicals thought and lived over the past two centuries, as their denomination sought to respond to a plethora of missional challenges. As such, it is a case study in the forming of American church life, that can be instructive for students of American religion, as well as the heirs of the Albright tradition.
---- J. Steven O'Malley, Asbury Theological Seminary
Terry M. Heisey, Ph.D.
Robert G. Hower, Th.D.
Leon O. Hynson, Ph.D.
John E. Moyer, D.Min.