John Williamson Nevin: High Church Calvinist (American Reformed Biographies)
Hart, D. G.
"A well-researched and engagingly written theological biography of an often neglected figure. It is especially good in digging out Neven's important proposals about the church in its American setting that were published in the Mercersburg Review. Whether or not readers come away with Hart's own conclusion that Nevin was largely correct in his prescription for reforming American Protestant practice, they will benefit from following hart as he carefully lays out the burden of Nevin's concerns."See All
Mark A. Noll
McManis Professor of Christian Thought, Wheaton College
"Eschewing conventional interpretations of John W. Nevin as a 'liberalizing' figure, D. G. Hart's fresh reading carefully places Nevin in the context of 19th-century American struggles to define the church. Many today are troubled by the excessive subjectivity and individualism of pietistic evangelicalism. This important book will assure them that they are not alone, and that there are rich and authentically Reformed alternatives waiting to be explored."See All
William B. Evans
Younts Professor of Bible and Religion, Erskine College
"John Williamson Nevin (1803-1886) called the Protestant churches back to an older piety, believing that through word and sacrament the church itself is an agency of grace. Hart devotes much of this book to the intellectual context of Nevin's thought and seeks to reclaim aspects of his theology for today's church. This book is current in its scholarship, engaging in its lines of thought, and provocative in its conclusions."See All
Princeton Theological Seminary
John Williamson Nevin (1803-1886) taught at Mercersburg Seminary when he wrote The Anxious Bench (1843) and The Mystical Presence (1846), volumes dealing with revivalism and the Lord's Supper, respectively. The last ten years have seen a revival of interest in this theologian, a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary.
D. G. Hart seeks to fan this revival. "Because of his critique of the Revivalist-inspired Protestant mainstream, and because the circumstances he faced are still important, Nevin's ideas and arguments possessed relevance not only for his own age but also for contemporary Protestantism," writes hart. However offbeat Nevin's thought may sometimes appear, his assessment of popular Christianity in the United States was arguably the most astute from the perspective of historical Protestantism that any American Reformed or Presbyterian ever formulated."
To American Protestantism generally, Nevin "identified the fissure dividing historic Protestantism from a novel form that was dominating religious life," writes Hart. To the Reformed tradition Nevin "recovered the older Calvinist regard for the church as a mediator of divine grace. These were no small accomplishments, and exploring their emergence, development, and significance is the aim of this book."
This second volume in the American Reformed Biographies series will help readers gain a better understanding of the sacraments, as well as give them insight into Nevin's critique of the revivalist tradition. The extensive documentation, substantial bibliographical essay, and index encourage further study.