Preachers with Power: Four Stalwarts of the South
Kelly, Douglas F.
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Douglas Kelly here reintroduces one of the richest periods of evangelical history, spanning the years 1791-1902, and captures its ethos in the lives of four of its most influential men: Daniel Baker, who spent his life as a missionary and itinerant evangelist though sought by a church and two U.S. Presidents for Washington; James Henley Thornwell, equally able as a pastor and professor but best remembered as a preacher ‘wrapt in wonder at the love, humiliation and condescension of the Trinity’; Benjamin M. Palmer, who, in the words of a Jewish rabbi, ‘got the heart as well as the ear of New Orleans’; and John L. Girardeau, ‘the Spurgeon of America’, who was so remarkably used among the black people of South Carolina.
In addition to these moving lives, Dr. Kelly gives us many illuminating side-lights on Christians of the South, such as those of the Midway Church, Georgia, for whom ‘religion was a matter of their brightest hopes, their warmest feelings, their deepest convictions’.
The author is not only well-qualified to write on ‘the old South’ but, more important, he inspires a fresh vision of the great lessons embodied in his subjects. He convinces us of the truth of the words of R.L. Dabney: ‘The real desideratum is not new methods, but fidelity to the old, a real revival in the hearts of ministers and Christians themselves, a faith that “feels the power of the world to come”, a solemn and deep love for souls. What we need most is repentance, and not innovation.’