Good News on
                           the Frontier
         a history of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
                        Thomas H. Campbell
                   The Covenant Life Curriculum
                           PUBLISHED BY
                          Frontier Press

                        MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

                    the authorized curriculum
                  of the following denominations
              Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
                  Cumberland Presbyterian Church
                    Moravian Church in America
             Presbyterian Church in the United States
                    Reformed Church in America
    Bible quotations designated Revised Standard Version are used by
permission of the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of
Churches. which holds the copyright, 1946 and 1952.

                        Frontier Press 1965

1. Our American Denominational Pattern
2. What Cumberland Presbyterians Inherited
3. "A Mighty Rain"
4. A New Church Is Born
5. Advancing with the Frontier
6. Negro Cumberland Presbyterians
7. In Regions Beyond
8. The Church Founds Educational Institutions
9. The Church Develops Its Confession of Faith
10. Attempts at Union
11. Reconstruction and Advance
12. A Decade of Progress
13. Serving in the Sixties

     THIS SERIES OF studies was originally undertaken to provide a resource
book for use in youth conferences, leadership education schools and classes,
and other settings. The suggestion was made that it be arranged in thirteen
chapters so that it might also be used as an elective course of study by youth
and adult classes in the Sunday school. When the Covenant Life Curriculum was
adopted as the curriculum of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, it was
planned that the second year of a three-year cycle would be a study of church
history. Dr. Ernest Trice Thompson's book, Through the Ages, will be used by
all the participating denominations for nine months, and each denomination
will devote three months to the study of its own history. This book is
intended to serve as the textbook for Cumberland Presbyterians in the study of
their history.

     Some twenty years ago the author wrote a book entitled Studies in
Cumberland Presbyterian History, which also was designed as a textbook for use
in the Leadership Education Curriculum of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
This book is now out of print. Much of the material and some of the phrase-
ology found in the earlier book may be recognized in the present series of
studies; however, this effort represents a complete rewriting rather than a
revision of the former work. The author's more recent study has led him to
believe that although Cumberland Presbyterians should not be unmindful of
their rich heritage from the Presbyterian and Reformed tradition there are
other aspects of their heritage without a knowledge of which the distinctive
character of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church cannot be understood.
Therefore attention has been given to the influences deriving from the
Arminian and pietist traditions. It was felt, too, that more attention should
be given the relation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church to its Negro
constituency, both before and during the period of the separate existence of a
Negro Cumberland Presbyterian Church, than was given in the earlier treatment.
Also, three whole chapters have been given to the development and progress of
the Cumberland Presbyterian Church since the attempted union with the
Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., which was formally consummated in 1906.

     Unfortunately no full scale history of the Cumberland Presbyterian
Church has appeared since Dr. B. W. McDonnold's monumental History of the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which was first published in 1888, and this
work has been out of print for many years. Consequently there is a dearth of
available historical material concerning the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
available to the average reader. This lack could not be remedied in the
present series of studies, for due to limitations of space it was necessary to
select those aspects of Cumberland Presbyterian history which it appeared
would best convey to the reader the distinctive character of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church as revealed by its history. It is gratifying to know that
an effort is being made to remedy this deficiency, however. A new definitive
history of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, in which four historians are
co-operating, is now in process of preparation for publication at an early
date, perhaps sometime during 1966.

     Since it was necessary to be selective in regard to the material to be
condensed within the necessary limits of this series of studies, it seemed
fitting to organize this series around the understanding of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church as a church of the frontier. The Cumberland Presbyterian
Church had its origin on the frontier and as a result of conditions on the
frontier and has derived much of its character from this fact. Its founders
and those who labored with them kept abreast of the advancing frontier,
bringing the "good news" of Christ to the people who were on the growing edge
of the new nation. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church has been at its best
when it has remembered its true character as a church of the frontier.

     It is hoped that through this series of studies Cumberland Presbyterians
may achieve a clearer understanding of the origin and progress of that branch
of God's visible church through which they are serving and that through the
story of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church they may be inspired to face with
courage and faith the new frontiers which challenge those who have a part in
proclaiming the "good news" of the kingdom of God today.

Memphis, Tennessee

March 3, 1965


1. Our American Denominational Pattern

     IN THIS STUDY we shall be concerned with a particular denomination of
the Christian church. It is a denomination which had its origin on the North
American continent. Although the multiplicity of denominations to which we are
accustomed is largely an American phenomenon, the diversity in Christian
beliefs and practices which gave rise to the existence of denominations had
its roots in Europe.
     If there ever was a time when all Christians held identical
interpretations of the gospel or were absolutely uniform in their practices,
that time was of short duration. A variety of beliefs and practices began to
develop as early as the New Testament period. However, with the development of
a strong central church government (first under the leadership of the bishop
of a local church or area, and later under the bishop of Rome who gradually
gained ascendancy over his fellow bishops), leaders of the church were able to
establish a norm of doctrines and practices, to require adherence to that
norm, and to discourage deviation from the established norm. Those who
persisted in the preaching of "heresy" were excommunicated from the church and
often sent into exile.


     Although the separation of eastern (Orthodox) and western (Roman
Catholic) churches occurred in 1054, the Roman Catholic Church continued to
dominate the West and to maintain at least an outward show of unity until the
time of the Reformation. The Roman Catholic Church taught that the church,
rather than the Scriptures, was the final authority on questions of faith and
conduct; that the individual was not competent to interpret the Scriptures for
himself but must look to the church to interpret them for him; and that none
could be saved except through the sacraments of the church administered by
priests who derived their authority from bishops who were supposed to stand in
a direct succession from the apostles--especially from St. Peter to whom had
been given the keys of the kingdom.
     Later, during the medieval period (which extended from ca. 500 A.D.-1450
A.D.), more stringent measures were used to suppress individuals and groups of
Christians who refused to conform to the established beliefs and practices of
the Roman Catholic Church. John Huss, a Bohemian Christian who was a
forerunner of the Protestant Reformation, was burned at the stake. Attempts
were made to exterminate groups such as the Waldensians and Albigensians who
dared preach against what they regarded as corrupt practices of the Roman
Catholic Church.
     The Protestant Reformation began in 1516 under the leadership of Martin
Luther. Luther advocated three main principles which resulted in his exclusion
from the Roman Catholic Church: (1) the doctrine of justification by faith,
which means that man is saved by faith alone, and not through good works; (2)
the doctrine of an "open Bible," which means that each person should be
permitted to read the Bible for himself and that the Scriptures, rather than
the decisions of church councils, are the only infallible rule of faith and
practice; and (3) the doctrine of the priesthood of believers, which means
that all Christians stand in the relation of priests in that each can approach
God through Christ and each stands in a relation of being a priest in behalf
of his brethren.
     Acceptance of the first and third principles meant doing away with the
necessity of a mediatorial priesthood as interpreted by those who called
themselves "Catholic." Acceptance of the second meant shifting the seat of
authority from the church to the Scriptures and opened the way for holding
diverse opinions as to the teachings of Scripture.
     Differing interpretations of Scripture opened the way for divisions
based upon these differences. Such differences might not have been so divisive
in their effects if a spirit of tolerance had always prevailed. As Dr. George
P. Fisher points out, the divisions within Protestantism "arose generally from
the spirit of intolerance, and the spirit of faction; two tempers of feeling
which have an identical root, since both grow out of a disposition to push to
an extreme, even to the point of exclusion and separation, religious opinions
which may be the property of an individual or of a class, but are not
fundamental to the Christian faith." As an illustration of this spirit the
instance may be cited of Martin Luther's refusing to regard Ulrich Zwingli and
his Swiss companions as Christian brethren, and even refusing to accept the
right hand of fellowship proffered him by Zwingli, because there was not
complete agreement between them regarding the Lord's Supper. Luther did a
great work for the cause of Christian liberty, but he seemed to think that
Christians must agree on all points of doctrine in order to have fellowship
with one another.
     Divisions began to occur among Protestants at an early stage in the
history of the Reformation. The first of these was the result of the
Eucharistic controversy. Luther and Zwingli began their work about the same
time, Luther in Germany and Zwingli in Switzerland. On most points--such as
the supreme authority of the Scriptures, justification by faith, and the
rejection of the claims of the papacy--they were in agreement. They disagreed,
however, on the meaning of the words of Jesus in the institution of the Lord's
Supper. Both contended that the cup, as well as the bread, should be served to
the people. Both rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation--the teaching of
the Roman Catholic Church that the bread and wine used in the Eucharist
actually become the body and blood of Christ. But Luther believed that in some
mysterious way the body and blood of Christ are present and are received by
the communicant; that although the bread and wine are not changed, Christ's
glorified body is somehow present in them, so that there are really two
substances present. Hence, the name consubstantiation has been given to
Luther's doctrine. Zwingli, on the other hand, regarded the Lord's Supper
simply as a service in which the death of Christ is commemorated, and as a
token that Christ is present to the contemplative faith of the believer.
     In an attempt to unite the two parties, a conference was arranged which
Luther and Zwingli both attended. But Luther refused to be moved from his
position, and, while those present were seated around the table, he wrote with
a piece of chalk, "hoc est meum corpus" ("this is my body"), thus expressing
his refusal to think of the words of Christ in any other than a literal sense.
Zwingli cited such passages as "I am the true vine," which are generally
accepted as having only a figurative meaning.
     John Calvin, who came on the scene after the death of Zwingli but during
the lifetime of Luther, took a "middle ground" between the two views. In doing
so he incurred the displeasure of the Lutherans while he succeeded in
attaining union with the Zwinglian churches. Calvin affirmed the spiritual
presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper and taught that the benefits of
Christ's presence are received only by the believer. Thus occurred the
division which resulted in the formation of the Lutheran churches on the one
hand and the Reformed (Presbyterian) churches on the other. Among the
followers of Calvin was John Knox, who led in the opposition to Roman
Catholicism in Scotland and the establishment of the Presbyterian Church
     In the meantime the Church of England had broken its ties with Rome.
Henry VIII was king and certainly was no Protestant. In fact, he had written a
discourse against Luther which caused the Pope to confer on him the title
"Defender of the Faith," a title which the sovereigns of England have since
worn. His controversy with the Pope developed when he attempted to have his
marriage with Catherine of Aragon annulled in order that he might marry Anne
Boleyn. It was not uncommon in that period of history for the Pope to annul a
marriage if it suited his purpose to do so, but at this particular time he was
involved in war in which he needed the help of Catherine's brother, King
Philip of Spain. He refused to grant the annulment, whereupon Henry Viii
severed the relation of the church in England with Rome and made himself head
of the Church of England.
     In this action the king had the support of a group of Protestants in
England. After Henry's death the Church of England became Protestant under
Edward VI but reverted to Roman Catholicism for a short time during the reign
of Mary I. The next queen, Elizabeth I, embraced Protestantism but demanded
uniformity of faith and worship on the part of her subjects. During her reign
the Thirty-Nine Articles, which since have constituted the doctrinal standard
of the Church of England, were written. The prayer book retained much of the
ancient liturgy but it was put into the English language. Although there has
been much discussion as to whether the Church of England is Catholic or
Protestant, the Thirty-Nine Articles generally reflect a Protestant viewpoint.
Thus came into existence a third major branch of Protestantism.
     The purpose of the Reformers, as the word indicates, was to "reform" the
existing church. Neither Luther nor any of the other Reformers had any
intention, at first, of founding a new church or of breaking with the Roman
Catholic Church. They were seeking to correct the erroneous practices which
they saw going on within the church. Even after they were excommunicated from
the Roman Church, they sought to utilize the existing political institutions
and to make them what they ought to be rather than destroy them. There were
some people, however, who thought the Reformers had not gone far enough. They
advocated more revolutionary changes. One such group was the various sects
known as Anabaptists.
     The Anabaptists took their name from the fact that they required persons
joining them to be baptized again even though these persons had been baptized
in infancy. They rejected infant baptism. All Anabaptists did not believe and
practice the same things. Some contended that only the saints should rule, so
they attempted to seize the reins of government as revolutionists. Others
taught that, because the existing political institutions were evil, Christians
should stay aloof from them altogether. Therefore, they

refused to hold office, take oaths, or serve in the army. The most important
of the latter class were the Mennonites, who derived their name from their
leader, Menno Simons.
     There were others who took the position of refusing to accept that which
seemed to them to be contrary to reason. Consequently, as they could not
understand the doctrine of the Trinity, they rejected it. They taught that
Jesus was not divine but was simply a great teacher and lawgiver. Because
their principal leader was Socinus, those holding this form of doctrine are
sometimes called Socinians.


     The people who came to America were from many different countries and
backgrounds and brought their religious teachings with them. Those who settled
at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607 were members of the Church of England. This
church became the established church (that is, the church supported by the
government) in Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, and, for a period of time, in
Maryland. The Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth in 1620 were Puritans who had
separated from the Church of England. The Puritans who came a few years later
to Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, and New Haven still considered themselves
members of the Church of England, but they soon set up their own churches
under a congregational form of government. They, together with the Plymouth
colonists, became known in America as Congregationalists. Although they had
come to America in search of religious freedom, they were not always willing
to grant it to those who differed with them. Thus Roger Williams was driven
out of Massachusetts and found refuge in Rhode Island where he established at
Providence the first Baptist church in America.
     To the middle colonies came people representing a variety of religious
groups. Roman Catholics led in the settlement of Maryland which was the first
colony established in America in which all religious groups were to have
freedom to worship God as they chose. New York (first called New Amsterdam)
was settled by the Dutch, and the Dutch Reformed Church was the predominant
church there. Pennsylvania, although established on the basis of providing
religious freedom for all, was colonized by a Quaker and became a haven for
members of this group who were facing persecution in England or in the other
colonies. To the middle colonies came also such groups as the Mennonites, the
Dunkers (German Baptists), the Schwenkfelders, German Lutherans, and
Moravians. A group of German Lutherans known as the Salzburgers settled in
Georgia and South Carolina, thus introducing Lutheranism to that area.
     Presbyterians in considerable numbers also migrated to America, a few
from England, some from Scotland, but larger numbers from north Ireland.
Following the subjugation of the native Irish chieftains by the English, the
confiscated estates in northern Ireland had been made available for
colonization during the reign of James I under whom the kingdoms of England
and Scotland were united. Most of the colonists who came to Ireland were from
Scotland, hence the name Scotch-Irish which came to be applied to them. They
were, of course, Presbyterians. Beginning in about the year 1686 and
continuing well into the eighteenth century the Scotch-Irish migrated in large
numbers to the American colonies. The first presbytery in America was organ-
ized under the leadership of Francis Makemie in Philadelphia in 1706. Groups
of Scotch dissenters who had separated from the established Church of Scotland
also came to America, and through their efforts both Associate and Reformed
presbyteries were organized in the New World.
     Altogether representatives of at least fifteen different "denominations"
migrated to America prior to the War for Independence. This does not include
the Methodists who still were officially members of the Church of England.


     With the achievement of independence the churches in America soon began
setting up their own national organizations. John Wesley advised the Methodist
societies in America to form a separate organization apart from the Church of
England and ordained Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury as superintendents to
effect this organization. Soon afterward, bishops were brought over to
constitute the Protestant Episcopal Church out of the constituents of the
Church of England in this country.
     In 1785 the state of Virginia passed a measure granting religious
freedom within the state. The national Constitution written in 1787 prohibited
the establishment of any church by Congress. Whatever remaining establishments
still existed in the older states were soon to disappear. This made it
possible for churches to divide and subdivide at will, and the way was open
for a further multiplication of denominations.
     William Warren Sweet lists the following as the main causes for division
among the churches in America since the achievement of independence: (1)
revivals, (2) slavery and secession, (3) doctrine, (4) church rites and
practices, and (5) church government.
     Out of the Revival of 1800 in Kentucky came the Cumberland Presbyterians
and the "Christians." A portion of the latter group, under the leadership of
Barton W. Stone, joined forces with Alexander Campbell to form the Disciples
of Christ. The remainder united with the Republican Methodists to form the
"Christian Connection" which in turn united with the Congregational churches
in 1929. The story of the Cumberland Presbyterians is the concern of the
present study.
     The slavery controversy brought into existence the Methodist Episcopal
Church, South, and the Southern Baptist Convention. Measures taken in the
General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., Old School, in 1861 to
condemn the secession of the southern states resulted in the creation of the
Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America, now known as the
Presbyterian Church, U. S.
     A controversy over church government resulted in the formation of the
Methodist Protestant Church in 1830. The Methodist Protestants had contended
without avail for lay representation in the conferences. Methodist conferences
at that time were made up solely of ministers.
     An example of a division involving worship practices is the division
among the Disciples of Christ which resulted in the formation about the year
1900 of the Churches of Christ. The latter group opposed the use of
instrumental music in church worship.
     Doctrinal issues brought into existence the various holiness groups
which sprang up in the latter part of the nineteenth century. These groups
emphasized the doctrine of sanctification as a second distinct work of grace
after regeneration.
     Mention should also be made of groups which migrated to the United
States after 1800. Prominent among these were the Lutherans who formed the
Missouri Synod, Swedish Lutherans who formed the Augustana Synod, Norwegian
Lutherans, Greek Orthodox, and others. Each of these groups perpetuated its
own congregations in its new home.


     The multiplication of denominations within Protestantism has been a
target of criticism both from within and from without the Protestant churches.
The critical comments most frequently heard are (1) that competition and
intolerance as displayed by the various denominations toward one another im-
pede the progress of Christianity by giving the wrong impression to an
unbelieving world; (2) that needless duplication of effort often results,
since a number of small churches are often found within a single community;
and (3) that Protestant Christianity cannot present the united front against
the forces of evil which otherwise would be possible.
     Too often divisions have occurred as a result of differences over
trivial matters, a desire for the promotion of personal ambition, or an
unwillingness to seek earnestly to resolve existing differences. A broader
toleration of differences in belief and practice and a willingness to
recognize and utilize the peculiar gifts of those who did not conform to the
norm might have prevented many of the divisions which have occurred.
     On the other hand, as Dr. Fisher has pointed out,

     "On this subject of denominational or sectarian divisions it may be said
     with truth, that division of this sort is better than a leaden
     uniformity, the effect of blind obedience to ecclesiastical superiors,
     of the stagnation of religious thought, or of coercion. Disagreement in
     opinion is a penalty of intellectual activity, to which it is well to
     submit where the alternative is either of the evils just mentioned."

Another church historian has said,

     "It would be a very unwise policy, even if it were possible to do away
     with denominations. All people do not care to worship alike, and all
     people cannot work under the same organization. We need variety in the
     Church, we need all types and classes in the Church, and we need many
     organized bodies working for one common end--the kingdom of God."

     As long as people read the Bible for themselves, there are going to be
differences of interpretation. Other factors, such as social issues, have also
entered into the picture. No one denomination has a monopoly on the truth and
each may contribute some element of truth or some emphasis that was not given
adequate expression in the denominations already existing. Therefore, we
should think of our various denominations, not as in competition with one
another, but as co-operating with one another and complementing one another,
each contributing of the gifts which the Spirit of God has bestowed upon it.

                     SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
     1. What denominations are represented in your community? What do vou
know concerning their origin and history?

     2. Is it possible to maintain the ideal of an "open Bible" (the right of
all Christians to read the Bible for themselves) and at the same time maintain
uniformity in beliefs and church practices?

     3. To what extent should uniformity of belief be enforced as a condition
of belonging to a particular denomination?

     4. Although some of the American colonies once had established churches
(churches supported by the government), these establishments have long since
disappeared. What circumstances made it impossible or impractical to maintain
     5. Some of the causes for division of churches on the American scene
have been noted. Why has it been difficult to reunite churches which have
become divided even though the issues which divided them (e.g., slavery and
secession) have long since ceased to be issues?
     6. List some particular contributions the various denominations have
made to the religious life of people without which the community would have
been spiritually poorer.
     7. In what ways has the Cumberland Presbyterian Church contributed to
the spiritual life of people whom you know? What contributions has it made to
your own life as a Christian?

2. What Cumberland Presbyterians Inherited

     CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIANS SHARE in a heritage which dates back to New
Testament times and earlier. In a sense it is true that the things which unite
Cumberland Presbyterians with other evangelical Christians are more important
and more numerous than those which separate the various branches of the church
universal from one another. Yet a proper understanding of history requires
that attention be given to some of the more important strands of heritage
which have given to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church its distinctive

     The word "Presbyterian" has reference to church government rather than
to doctrine. To be Presbyterian implies a government by "presbyters" or
"elders." Presbyterians generally have believed that this was the form of
government used in the congregation of Israel in Old Testament times and that,
after the ascension of Christ, this same type of government was perpetuated in
the Christian churches. Presbyterians hold that the Greek words translated
"elder" and "bishop" originally referred to the same office, and that the
exaltation of one elder in a church to the office of bishop was a later
development. An example of the synonymous use of the two terms is found in the
account of Paul's address to the elders of the church at Ephesus (Acts
20:17ff.). While the historian speaks of them as "elders" (verse 17), Paul
speaks of "the flock, in which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops" (verse
28, American Standard Version).
     Presbyterians recognize two kinds of elders, teaching elders and ruling
elders. These differ, not in office, but in function. Thus in 1 Timothy 5: 17
the writer says, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double
honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine."
     The office of deacon, it is believed, was created in the church during
the apostolic period to take care of the temporal affairs of the church, thus
freeing the elders to devote themselves to "prayer" and "the ministry of the
word" (Acts 6: 1-4) .
     Presbyterian government differs from congregational government in that,
while it recognizes that local churches originally were, and ought to be,
governed by their elders, it also recognizes the right of representative
councils or synods to rule in matters which concern a number of churches. Thus
the Council at Jerusalem ruled upon the question as to whether Gentiles should
be admitted into the churches without first becoming Jews (Acts 15:1-31).
     Neither Luther nor Zwingli paid much attention to the question of church
government. It remained for John Calvin to organize the Reformed churches
along presbyterian lines.
     Calvin was born at Noyon, France, July 10, 1509, and was converted to
Protestantism in about the year 1533. In 1536 he came to the city of Geneva
intending only to spend the night. William Farel, who was already preaching
the Protestant doctrines in Geneva, heard of his being there and urged him to
stay and assist in the work. He was finally persuaded to remain after Farel
had invoked a curse upon him if he persisted in his refusal.
     In Geneva, John Calvin organized the first Presbyterian church of the
Reformation. In it there were four orders of church officers: pastors, doctors
(meaning teachers of theology in the school which was to be set up for the
training of ministers), elders, and deacons. He was unable entirely to
disengage the church government from the civil government, as the latter had
some authority in the election of church officers; but he fought, and finally
won, a battle to secure to the church the exclusive right to say who should be
allowed to commune at the Lord's table. Many of the disciplinary measures put
into effect under Calvin's influence were severe, according to our way of
thinking, but a great change for the better was effected in the character and
reputation of the city. Geneva was too small a territory to set up a synod or
a General Assembly, but Calvin held to this phase of presbyterian government
in theory and assisted in writing the constitution by which the synod of the
French Protestants, or Huguenots, was governed. This also became the form of
government of the Reformed churches in Holland.
     Calvin was also a theologian. At the age of twenty-six, he had already
written the first edition of the Institutes of the Christian Religion, which
was to become the textbook of presbyterianism. He taught that by the fall of
man the image of God in him was so corrupted that man has neither the power
nor the will to do good. God, however, in order to demonstrate his mercy,
chose to rescue a certain portion of the human race from its lost estate.
Christ died for these "elect" persons; they are called of God by an ir-
resistible call, and faith is given them so that they lay hold upon salvation.
The non-elect, on the other hand, are left to suffer the just punishment for
their sins. Although Luther, too, believed in unconditional election, it was
Calvin who made this doctrine the foundation stone in his system.
     Geneva became a haven for persecuted groups in Scotland and England.
John Knox, who later became the leader in the reformation of the church in
Scotland, received his instruction here. So did the English refugees from the
"blood bath" of Queen Mary's reign. These later returned to England to become
the leaders in the Puritan movement there.
     The Presbyterian Church became, under the leadership of John Knox, the
established church of Scotland. The Puritans who returned to England were
unable to make much headway toward getting their ideas accepted. The church
there remained episcopal in government throughout the reigns of Elizabeth I
and James I. The Puritans gained the ascendancy, however, during the reign of
Charles I and started a revolution which overthrew both the monarchy and the
episcopacy. In 1643, the English Parliament called an assembly of ministers
and laymen to give advice with reference to the doctrine, government, and
liturgy of the Church of England. This assembly is known in history as the
Westminster Assembly, and the Confession of Faith it formulated is known as
the Westminster Confession. In this assembly the Scotch commissioners exerted
great influence so that it was decided to organize the Church of England along
presbyterian lines. The doctrines of John Calvin were adopted. A Directory for
Worship giving only general instructions about the services was designed to
replace the prayer book.
     The Church of England never became Presbyterian, however, for two
reasons. First, the English people knew little or nothing about Presbyterian
government, and, second, Oliver Cromwell, who came to power about that time,
was not a Presbyterian but an Independent (Congregationalist). Although the
Westminster Confession was little used in England, it became the standard of
the Presbyterian churches in Scotland, Ireland, and America.
     The majority of the Presbyterians who migrated to America were
Scotch-Irish; that is to say, Scotch who had settled in northern Ireland. Here
they were soon subjected to persecution, for the Church of England was the
established church here, and the Presbyterian Church could number among its
members only those who adhered to it voluntarily. This condition, however,
produced a hardiness of character and a love of liberty which were imparted to
the church in America.
     The first presbytery in America was organized at Philadelphia in 1706.
In 1716 this presbytery was divided into four presbyteries, and a synod was
organized. In 1729 this synod passed the Adopting Act, which required all
ministers coming into any of the presbyteries to subscribe to the Westminster
     When Cumberland Presbytery was organized in 1810, its members did not
accept all the teachings of the church out of which they came, yet their
Presbyterian heritage is apparent in several particulars:
     (1) The Presbyterian form of government was adopted, although with some
modifications to meet the needs of the frontier.
     (2) The Westminster Confession of Faith was adopted by the reorganized
Cumberland Presbytery in 1810 as its Confession "except the idea of fatality,
that seems to be taught under the mysterious doctrine of predestination."
Provision was made, however, for the ordination of those who could accept the
Westminster Confession without exception.

     (3) Cumberland Presbyterians inherited the Presbyterian emphasis on
Christian character as the outcome of salvation.

     (4) Cumberland Presbyterians inherited an appreciation for an educated
ministry, although in practice they made adaptations to meet the needs of the

     (5) Cumberland Presbyterians accepted, although not without a struggle,
the Presbyterian system of settled pastorates.

     (6) Cumberland Presbyterians inherited the Presbyterian nonliturgical
worship as set forth in the Directory for Worship already mentioned.


     Jacob Arminius was born at Oudewater, Holland, in 1560, and died in
Leyden in 1609. In 1575, the University of Leyden was founded by William the
Silent, liberator of the Dutch people from the Roman Catholic yoke, and
Arminius was enrolled there as a student. At the age of twenty-one he was sent
to the University of Geneva where he attended the lectures of Theodore Beza,
successor to Calvin. In 1589, while serving as pastor of a Reformed church in
Amsterdam, Arminius was invited to reply to a critic of ultra-Calvinism, one
Theodore Koornhert. As he prepared himself for a discussion of the subject, he
became convinced of the unethical character of an arbitrary decree by which
certain individuals were supposed to be foreordained to damnation. Going back
to the Bible and the church fathers, he attacked the view of unconditional
predestination which had grown up within the Calvinist tradition.
     Arminius was concerned to establish two things: (1) That God is not the
author of sin, as Calvinism seemed to imply, and (2) that man is responsible
for his sins. Arminius contended that man cannot be held responsible for that
which he cannot help doing. If man is predestined in his total life, Arminius
reasoned, sin is impossible and the condemnation of sin unethical. Uncondi-
tional predestination, far from glorifying God, was seen as actually
dethroning him, for if this doctrine be true, Arminius said, "God is the only
sinner." It also dishonors Christ, for salvation depends not upon Christ and
his work but upon a prior decree of election. The nerve of evangelism is cut,
for those who believe themselves to be among the "elect" suffer from unethical
complacency, while those who believe themselves predestined to damnation
suffer from unnecessary despair.
     On the positive side, Arminius taught what may be termed conditional
predestination. God decreed the appointment of his Son, Jesus Christ, as
Mediator, Redeemer, and Savior. He also decreed the salvation of "those who
repent and believe," and left in sin "all impenitent persons and
unbelievers." On the basis of his foreknowledge of men's responses, God did
indeed decree the salvation and damnation of particular persons, but this was
different from the Calvinistic position that God decreed the salvation and
damnation of certain persons apart from any foreknowledge of faith or good
     Arminius by no means minimized the importance or necessity of the grace
of God, but he defined grace as proffered goodness, not an irresistible force.
The fact that man possesses freedom of will to respond or refuse to respond
does not make salvation any less of grace. "A rich man bestows on a poor and
famishing beggar, alms by which he may be able to maintain himself and his
family. Does it cease to be a pure gift (grace) because the beggar extends his
hand to receive it (free will)?"
     In 1610 (the year after Arminius died), his followers published the Five
Articles of the Remonstrants. In substance these were (1) that God determined
before the foundation of the world to save believers and condemn the
unbelieving; (2) that Christ died for all men; (3) that it is necessary for
man to be born again before he can understand, think, will, and perform what
is truly good; (4) that the grace of God is necessary for man to think, will,
or do any good thing, but that this grace is not irresistible; and (5) that
the believer is given adequate power to strive against sin, but that the
question whether the believer may through sloth or negligence forsake his life
in Christ must be the subject of more exact inquiry in the Holy Scriptures.
     In 1618, the Synod of Dort condemned the doctrines of Arminius as set
forth in the Articles of the Remonstrants and reasserted the so-called five
points of Calvinism: (1) total depravity, (2) unconditional election, (3)
prevenient and irresistible grace, (4) perseverance of the saints, and (5)
limited atonement. Arminian pastors were banished from Holland. Yet
Arminianism lived on within the Anglican Church and was revived by John Wesley
in the eighteenth century.
     Cumberland Presbyterians have often referred to their system of doctrine
as a "middle ground" between Calvinism and Arminianism. In this writer's
opinion, a comparison of the Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of Faith with
the Articles of the Remonstrants, however, suggests that Cumberland
Presbyterians are more Arminian than Calvinist. Cumberland Presbyterians are
in substantial agreement with all the Articles of the Remonstrants except the
one which questions the perseverance of the saints. On the other hand, the
perseverance of the saints is the only one of the five points of Calvinism, as
set forth by the Synod of Dort, that Cumberland Presbyterians accept, and they
do not accept it in its Calvinistic form. In the Westminster Confession the
perseverance of the saints is based upon, among other things, "the
unchangeable decree of election." The elect cannot fall away and be lost, for
God has decreed otherwise. Cumberland Presbyterians, on the other hand, do not
say that the truly regenerated man cannot fall, but that he will not fall.
This conviction they base not on an unchangeable decree of election but upon
"the unchangeable love and power of God, the merits, advocacy, and
intercession of Jesus Christ, the abiding of the Holy Spirit and seed of God
within them, and the nature of the Covenant of Grace."
     The doctrinal position Cumberland Presbyterians came to hold was, like
the position taken by Arminius, a protest against certain features of
Calvinism. In each instance the protest came from persons who were within the
Reformed tradition. In each case the protest was based upon the Scriptures.
Since the two movements, separated as they were by two centuries, were
protesting against some of the same points of Calvinism, it followed that lan-
guage similar to that used by Arminius and the Remonstrants was used in the
Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of Faith. This similarity may be seen by
comparing the statements of the two documents on the subject of prevenient
grace. On this subject, Article IV of the Articles of the Remonstrants

     "That this grace of God is the beginning, the progress, and the end of
all good; so that even the regenerate man can neither think, will nor effect
any good, nor withstand any temptation to evil, without grace precedent (or
prevenient), awakening, following and cooperating. So that all good deeds and
all movements towards good that can be conceived in thought must be ascribed
to the grace of God in Christ.
     "But with respect to the mode of operation, grace is not irresistible
for it is written of many that they resisted the Holy Spirit [Acts vii and
elsewhere passim]."
     On this same subject, the Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of Faith
(sections 40 and 41) says this concerning the influence of the Holy Spirit
moving upon the hearts of men:

     "This call of the Holy Spirit is purely of God's free grace alone, and
not because of human merit, and is antecedent to all desire, purpose, and
intention on the part of the sinner to come to Christ; so that while it is
possible for all to be saved with it, none can be saved without it.
     "This call is not irresistible, but is effectual in those only who, in
penitence and faith, freely surrender themselves wholly to Christ, the only
name whereby men can he saved."


   There is yet another influence which has affected the character of the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church. This is the movement known as pietism. In
Germany in the seventeenth century faith had come to be regarded as "an assent
by which you accept all articles of the faith" (Melanchthon). Emphasis had
come to be laid almost entirely upon intellectual orthodoxy. In Lutheran
circles, all that was expected of the layman was that he accept the dogmas of
the Lutheran Church and partake of the sacraments. Pietism was born as a
protest against these tendencies.
     The pioneer in the pietist movement, Philipp Jakob Spener, was born in
1635. While attending the University of Strassburg, he became familiar with
the discipline of biblical exegesis and saw in it an opportunity to instruct
the people in the teachings of the Bible. When he became a pastor in
Frankfurt, he sought to improve catechetical instruction in his parish.
Beginning in 1670 he gathered together for periodic meetings a group of people
who were interested in "spiritual things." This group would meet for Bible
reading, prayer, and discussion of last Sunday's sermons. These meetings, as
the movement spread, became known as collegiae pietatis, hence the term
     As measures for reform for the church, Spener advocated (1) gatherings
of small groups for Bible reading and mutual helpfulness, (2) a better trained
ministry, (3) experimental (experiential) knowledge of religion and a life
befitting one's profession, the normal beginning of the Christian life being a
conscious new birth, and (4) preaching designed to build up the Christian life
rather than to exhibit the argumentative abilities of the preacher. If the
heart was right, Spener believed, differences of intellectual interpretation
were relatively unimportant.
     On the doctrinal side, Spener taught that justification is preceded by
repentance. The next step is saving faith. "Faith, which is inwrought by the
Spirit of God, brings justification, adoption, and regeneration or new birth."
Spener taught that the Christian should attain to perfection, not in an
absolute sense, but in the sense of freedom from intentional sin. He also
regarded salvation as "an experiential reality of which we can be assured by
the witness of the Holy Spirit with our spirits."
     Another great leader of pietism in Germany was Hermann Francke. While
teaching in the University of Leipzig, Francke experienced a new birth while
writing a sermon on John 20: 31. Then he stayed two months with Spener. Soon
Francke was prohibited from holding conventicles, as these meetings of small
groups were called, and therefore had to leave the university. He was made a
professor, however, in the newly formed University at Halle, where he was
joined by other pietists. Halle became a center of missionary activity. From
here went Muhlenburg and other Lutheran ministers to organize the Lutherans
who had migrated to America.
     One of the most important results of the pietistic awakening has to do
with the reconstitution of the Moravian Brethren under the leadership of
Nicholas Zinzendorf (1700-1760), who had been brought up under pietistic
influence at Halle and Wittenberg. The Hussites in Bohemia and Moravia were
being subjected to persecution. In 1722, some of them drifted into Saxony, and
Zinzendorf permitted them to settle on his estate where they founded the
village of Herrnhut. In 1727, he assumed the task of their spiritual
leadership. Here the Moravian Church was reconstituted, although Zinzendorf
would have preferred that the Moravians become a collegia pietatis within the
Saxon Lutheran state church.
     The reconstituted Moravian Church launched a great missionary movement.
Missions were attempted to the most difficult places: Guiana, Egypt, South
Africa, and Labrador. It has been pointed out that while in the Protestant
churches at large one person in five thousand becomes a missionary, the
proportion among the Moravians has been one in sixty.
     One who came under the influence of the Moravians was John Wesley, son
of an Anglican clergyman and a devout mother. John's father founded a society
similar to Spener's collegiae pietatis in Epworth in 1702. It was one of a
large number of such societies in England. John was ordained a deacon in the
Church of England in 1725, and in 1728 was ordained a priest. While attending
Oxford University he and his brother Charles became members of a club which
concerned itself with spiritual problems. Because they were so "methodical" in
their efforts to work out their spiritual problems, someone called them
     In 1735, John and Charles Wesley sailed for Oglethorpe's new colony of
Georgia to be missionaries to the Indians. En route they fell into the company
of a band of Moravians whose courage during a storm at sea greatly impressed
John. Upon arriving in Georgia he met Spangenburg, head of the Moravian
missionary work in America. "Do you know Jesus Christ?" Spangenburg asked
Wesley. He answered, "I know He is the Saviour of the world." "True, but do
you know He has saved you?" inquired Spangenburg. Wesley finally said he did,
but afterward expressed fear that those were "vain words."
     After getting into difficulties in Georgia, John Wesley returned early
in 1738 to England. Here he met another Moravian, Peter Bohler, who further
instructed him. Then on Wednesday, May 24, 1738, after having gone
"unwillingly" to an Anglican society in Aldersgate Street, he heard someone
reading Luther's preface to his Commentary on Romans. "About a quarter before
nine," writes Wesley, "while he (Luther) was describing the change which God
works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed.
I felt I did trust Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was
given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law
of sin and death."
     Wesley soon joined in the practice of field-preaching with George
Whitefield, an Anglican evangelist later identified as a Methodist. As a
result of their efforts a great revival occurred. Wesley organized his
converts, not into churches, but into societies which in turn were divided
into "classes" of about twelve members each. Wesley was Arminian in his
theology. The Methodist movement has been called "Arminianism on fire."
     Some time later, this same emphasis upon an experience of new birth was
apparent in the preaching of James McGready in Kentucky. Like Wesley, McGready
had entered the ministry before he had a true experience of new birth. He
realized there were others in the church who were in the same condition. In
his account of the beginning and progress of the revival in Kentucky, he tells
us that he preached, as he was wont to do, the doctrines of "Regeneration,
Faith, and Repentance." He states that frequently the question was asked him
by some of his people, "Is Religion a sensible thing? If I were converted
would I feel it, and know it?"
     Is it surprising, then, that Methodists and the revivalistic
Presbyterian ministers worked hand in hand in the "Great Revival" of the early
1800's? Later, a Methodist conference was the first Christian body to give
official recognition to the Cumberland Presbytery following its organization
in 1810.
     Pietism, with its emphasis on "heart religion," provided a basis upon
which men could work together--a basis other than that of strict doctrinal
agreement. It was this which Robert Donnell, one of the first generation of
Cumberland Presbyterian ministers, must have had in mind when in arguing for
open communion he said, "Christians feel alike, if they do not think alike."
It was this agreement of feeling which Philip William Otterbein experienced
when, after hearing Martin Boehm preach, he made his way to the preacher and
with overflowing heart exclaimed, "We are brethren."
     Insofar as the spirit of the Cumberland Presbyterian movement is
concerned, its closest kinship is with groups which have been influenced by
the pietists. In this regard it stands in much the same relation to the parent
Presbyterian body as Methodists stand to their Anglican brethren. Cumberland
Presbyterians from the beginning emphasized experimental (experiential)
religion, a Christian life having its normal beginning in a conscious new
birth. This was a major departure from the doctrine of unconditional election,
traditionally regarded as the foundation stone upon which the doctrinal
structure of Calvinism was built. Cumberland Presbyterians made the doctrine
of the new birth the center of their doctrinal system.

                     SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
     1. What are the distinguishing marks of the three main types of church
government--congregational, episcopal, and presbyterian? What New Testament
passages are usually cited in support of each?

     2. The Lutheran churches and the Church of England took over much of the
liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church, although they modified it in the light
of Reformation doctrines and put it

into the language of the people. Presbyterians (as in the Westminster
Confession) substituted general directions for worship for the liturgy. What
do you think was gained or lost by abandoning the prayer book for the
Directory for Worship?
     3. Compare the Calvinist and Arminian positions on election.
     4. What harmful effects did Arminius see as arising from the Calvinistic
doctrine of unconditional election? Was his protest justified?
     5. To what extent can a common Christian experience rather than a common
body of doctrine be made the basis for Christian fellowship?
     6. In what specific ways do Cumberland Presbyterians emphasize personal
Christian experience? (See, for example, question II in the "Form of Church
Covenant" and section 51 of the Constitution as found in the Confession of

3. "A Mighty Rain"

          " Revivalism, as a method of bringing religion to people out of
     touch with the churches, arose in the colonial period as a way of
     meeting a situation produced as a consequence of the great migrations of
     Europeans to the New World in the eighteenth century. The same
     conditions which produced it in the eighteenth century were reproduced
     again and again on every American frontier as people pushed westward
     across the continent. It was a way of bringing Christianity to
     individuals, and it stressed the fact that salvation depended upon
     individual decisions, that religion was a personal concern and not
     primarily an institutional matter."

     The Cumberland Presbyterian Church had its beginning as a result of the
Revival of 1800, as the western phase of the "second awakening" is generally
known. This revival had its beginning in Logan County, Kentucky, which was
situated within an area earlier known as the Cumberland country.


     The territory known as the "Cumberland Country" originally comprised
"that portion of Kentucky and Tennessee lying west of the Cumberland mountain;
. . . extending northward to Green River in the former State, and southward
indefinitely toward the Tennessee." When the state line was run, that
portion lying in Tennessee continued to be known as the Cumberland country,
while that in Kentucky became known as the Green River country.
     The first settlement in this area was made in 1780 at Nashville under
the leadership of General James Robertson. Settlements had previously been
made in northern Kentucky and in eastern Tennessee. Until 1799, when the first
wagon road was opened from Knoxville to Nashville, the only overland route
leading to the Cumberland country was a solitary Indian trail over which all
supplies had to be transported by means of pack horses.
     In 1800, Kentucky had a population of 220,955 persons, and Tennessee a
population of 105,602. Both had recently attained statehood. Nashville, the
principal town in the Cumberland country, had a population of 355 persons of
whom 141 were slaves. The entire area was sparsely settled. Log cabins were
the usual dwelling places of the frontiersmen, although a few frame houses had
begun to appear. Furniture was simple and generally homemade.


     Following the War for Independence, religious conditions throughout the
country generally were at a low ebb. Only about 10 per cent of the American
people were church members, and many of these were only nominal Christians.
The influence of the ideas which prompted the French Revolution had spread to
the United States. Deism and freethinking had been popularized through wide
distribution of Thomas Paine's Age of Reason. Lyman Beecher, who was a student
at Yale College in 1795, describes the religious conditions in the college at
that time. He writes:
     "The College was in a most ungodly state. The college church was almost
extinct. Most of the students were skeptical, and rowdies were plenty. Wine
and liquors were kept in many rooms; intemperance, profanity, gambling, and
licentiousness were common."
     Beecher goes on to say that the boys called each other Voltaire,
Rousseau, or D'Alembert. It is said that at Princeton in 1799, only three or
four students "made any pretensions to piety."
     The prevalent indifference toward religion was accentuated in the West
by the fact that the people were preoccupied with material things such as
building their cabins and clearing their land for farming. Like the Jews in
the days of the prophet Haggai, they built their own houses but neglected to
build the house of God. "Powder and lead were in greater demand than books and
stationery. The wants of the physical superseded those of the intellectual and
moral man." There was a scarcity of ministers of the gospel everywhere, but
the lack of ministers was more acutely felt in the sparsely settled regions
along the frontier.
     There were, of course, devout church members who migrated to the West.
Several denominations were represented among the settlers in Tennessee and
Kentucky, but the Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians were predominant.
The Reverend David Rice, the first Presbyterian minister to settle in
Kentucky, moved to Mercer County from Virginia in 1783. In 1786, Transylvania
Presbytery was organized. It included all of Kentucky, the Cumberland country
of Tennessee, and reached north across the Ohio River. Also early to arrive in
this region were thc Baptist minister, who usually farmed for a living, and
the Methodist circuit rider.
     Although a few ministers were laboring faithfully, there is abundant
evidence that the spiritual life of the Presbyterian churches in this region
was at a low point. A considerable portion of the members had been received
into the church without any experience of God's saving grace and without any
understanding of the necessity for such an experience. As already noted, James
McGready tells us that during his first year's ministry in Kentucky the
members of his churches frequently asked him such questions as, "Is Religion a
sensible thing? If I were converted would I feel it and know it?" On Finis
Ewing's circuit, at a later date, it was common to hear people say, "I do all
I can, and what I cannot do, Christ will do for me; if after I have done the
best I can, I lack any thing, Christ must supply the balance."
     The reason for this situation is explained by one historian who observes
that the preaching usually heard from Presbyterian pulpits in that section
tended to "a dry, speculative orthodoxy, leaving the heart without interest,
and the conscience without alarm." That a Presbyterian minister in good
standing could oppose the doctrines of faith, repentance, and regeneration
with impunity, as actually happened soon after the commencement of the
revival, does not

argue well for the attitude of the Presbyterian ministry toward vital
religion. The Reverend Samuel McSpadden, who lived in the Spring Hill
community, near Nashville, has left the following testimony concerning the
preaching of Dr. Thomas Craighead:

          "I sat under Dr. Craighead's preaching for fourteen or fifteen
     years, and never heard him advance any thing in favor of the new birth,
     evangelical repentance, or saving faith.... His sermons appeared to have
     not the slightest tendency to alarm the consciences of his hearers, or
     to render them dissatisfied with themselves. On the contrary, his
     preaching seemed calculated to quiet the fears of the people and keep
     them from becoming disturbed about their souls' salvation."

     He goes on to mention an instance of a woman, a member of Dr.
Craighead's congregation, who, upon becoming alarmed concerning her spiritual
state, went to Dr. Craighead for personal instruction. He assured her that all
that was necessary for salvation was that she believe that Jesus Christ is the
Son of God, and when she assented to this truth he told her she was already
saved. She came away apparently satisfied but without having experienced any
change of heart. Both Finis Ewing and his wife were, by their own statements,
among those who united with Craighead's congregation without having
experienced the new birth.
     Dr. E. B. Crisman has argued that the system of doctrine held by the
Presbyterian Church was a contributing factor to the spiritual deadness which
prevailed. He points out that:

          ". . . the legitimate tendency of Calvinism is to a cold technical
     preaching, manifesting but a small amount of interest for the sinner's
     case.... The man who heartily believes the language of the Presbyterian
     Confession of Faith, chap. 3, sec. 3:--'By the decree of God, for the
     manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto
     everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death,'--can
     have but little motive, and less room, to urge the necessity of
     salvation upon men promiscuously. For a physician to urge upon a patient
     the absolute necessity of a certain medicine for the healing of his
     disease, when that medicine cannot possibly be had, is not only foolish,
     but indicates a want of tender feeling in the physician. And for a
     preacher to urge upon a sinner, the necessity of salvation in his case,
     when there is no salvation for him, is not only foolish and ungenerous,
     but it is trifling to an unwarranted extent, with the feelings of a
     fellow being, on the most solemn of all subjects. The man who believes
     the doctrine taught in the tenth chapter of the Presbyterian Confession--that God will convert the elect at his appointed and accepted time, and
     that men are altogether passive in their conversion--ought not to preach
     anything calculated to alarm the consciences of men, or urge them to
     immediate action."


     The beginning of the "second awakening" was at Hampden-Sydney College,
in Virginia, where it was largely a student movement. Out of this early
phase of the revival came a number of young ministers, several of whom became
leaders in the Presbyterian Church in Kentucky and Tennessee.
     The beginnings of the revival in Kentucky, however, took place under the
ministry of James McGready. McGready was reared in North Carolina, and at the
age of seventeen was admitted into the communion of the Presbyterian Church.
As he was noted for his sobriety and strict morality, an uncle of his
conceived the idea of preparing him for the ministry and sent him to the Rev-
erend John McMillan's "Log College" in Pennsylvania. After he had been in
college a year or two, he fell into the company of two "evangelical"
Christians while visiting in the house of a friend. On retiring for the night
the three men were all shown into the same room, McGready to one bed and the
two friends to another. By and by, thinking McGready asleep, they proceeded to
express to one another their views concerning his religious character, pro-
nouncing him a mere formalist and a stranger to regenerating grace. McGready,
however, being awake, heard all that was said, but instead of taking offense,
he used the experience as an occasion for self-examination which resulted in
his conviction that he was still a sinner. A few months later, he had a
conversion experience. In 1789, he visited Hampden-Sydney College while the
revival there was in progress. He was licensed to preach by the Redstone
Presbytery, in Pennsylvania, but soon thereafter returned to North Carolina.
     There he engaged faithfully in the task of warning sinners to flee from
the wrath to come. Believing there were many in the church who were in the
same condition as he himself had been, he devoted much attention to the
unregenerate church member. He dwelt upon the necessity of the new birth and
the importance of being able to tell the time when, and the place where, one
was saved. So pungent were his messages that he encountered opposition. A
letter was written to him in blood demanding that he leave the country, and a
group of men assembled in his church on one occasion, tore down the seats, and
burned the pulpit to ashes.
     Soon after this occurrence, in consequence of a call from some of his
former parishioners who had preceded him, he moved to Kentucky He became
pastor of the Red River Church in Logan County in the fall of 1796 and soon
thereafter was instrumental in organizing the Gasper River and Muddy River
churches, also in Logan County. Here he resumed the same kind of preaching as
he had done in North Carolina emphasizing, as he himself tells us, the
doctrines of "Regeneration, Faith, and Repentance." Sensing the spiritual
dearth existing in his churches, he encouraged the few spiritually-minded
Christians to enter into covenant with him "to observe the third Saturday of
each month, for one year, as a day of fasting and prayer, for the conversion
of sinners in Logan county, and throughout the world" and "to spend one half
hour every Saturday evening, beginning at the setting of the sun, and one half
hour every Sabbath morning, at the rising of the sun, in pleading with God to
revive his work."
     The first evidence of revival occurred in May, 1797, at Gasper River,
when a woman, who had been a professor of religion and a member of the church,
found her hope without foundation, was struck with deep conviction, and a few
days later found peace and joy in believing. Immediately, she began visiting
her friends and relatives, warning them of their danger and pleading with them
to repent and seek the Lord. Her efforts were not in vain, for McGready
testifies that for a time almost every sermon was used of God to the awakening
of sinners. In the fall of 1797, a general decline was experienced, but the
work was renewed in the summer of 1798 "at the administration of the sacrament
of the supper, which was in July." The revival spread in 1798 to his other two
churches, Muddy River and Red River. In the fall of 1798, the revival was
checked for a time by the appearance of another Presbyterian minister who
involved the churches in confusion and ridiculed the whole work of the
     In July, 1799, however, the work was renewed, and many were awakened and
converted. The sacramental meetings, at Red River in July, at Gasper River in
August, and at Muddy River in September, were all occasions when God's people
were quickened and comforted and sinners awakened to a sense of their need.
McGready records that, after a sermon by Mr. Rankin at Red River, "Presently
several persons under deep conviction broke forth into a loud outcry--many
fell to the ground, lay powerless, groaning, praying and crying for mercy."


     In 1800, the revival spread beyond the bounds of McGready's
congregations. Concerning the events of this year, McGready wrote, "Although
many souls in these congregations, during the three preceding years, had been
savingly converted, and now give living evidences of their union with Christ;
yet all that work is only like a few drops before a mighty rain, when compared
with the wonders of Almighty Grace, that took place in the year 1800."
     During the sacramental meeting at Red River in June, 1800, multitudes
were struck down under conviction, and ten persons were "savingly brought home
to Christ." The sacramental meeting at Gasper River, in July, was a camp
meeting. Multitudes came from distances of forty, fifty, and even a hundred
miles. Some came from the Shiloh congregation, in Sumner County, Tennessee,
which was being served by the Reverend William Hodge. Altogether, McGready
estimated that forty-five souls were brought to Christ. The sacramental
meeting at Muddy River, in August, resulted in the conversion of about fifty
     In the fall of 1800, doubtless as a result of the camp meeting in July,
the revival spread to Ridge, Shiloh, and other places in Cumberland (i.e.,
Tennessee) as well as to other localities in Kentucky. McGready mentions other
places, some as far away as the Ohio River, to which the work of the revival
had spread by 1801. It is also reported that in the spring of 1801, the
Reverend Barton Stone, a Presbyterian minister from near Lexington, Kentucky,
who, like McGready, had come from North Carolina, visited McGready's churches.
Inspired by what he saw, Stone returned home and arranged for the Cane Hill
camp meeting which, it is estimated, was attended by as many as twenty
thousand persons.


     Concerning the revival, Sweet notes that "there arose in the west two
distinct types of revivalism; the first was the Presbyterian-Congregational
type, which might be termed a Calvinistic revivalism carried on under an
educated leadership. This type insisted that the gospel be preached in all its
Calvinistic purity; and that its appeal was intended only for those well
grounded in the correct doctrines of Christianity. In the very nature of the
case, this type of revivalism limited itself to the few which meant that the
great majority of the people would be untouched and ignored. The second type
of revivalism was the Baptist-Methodist-Disciple-Cumberland Presbyterian type,
whose work was to bring Christianity to the great mass of religious
illiterates. The first type offered salvation to the few; the second offered
it to all. One was aristocratic in its appeal; the other democratic." The
emergence of the camp meeting indicates that the revivalism in the Cumberland
country came to be definitely of the latter type.
     At first the sacramental services were utilized in the fostering of the
revival. The sacrament of the Lord's Supper was generally administered twice a
year in the congregations which had regular pastors, and once a year in the
vacant congregations. These sacramental meetings usually commenced on Friday
and continued through Sunday. As the revival progressed, some of these
meetings were protracted until Wednesday night.
     The camp meeting grew out of the sacramental meeting. According to one
account, the camp meeting had its beginning in the fact that a family recently
come from one of the Carolinas came in their wagon to the sacramental meeting
at Gasper River (in 1799) and camped on the ground. At another meeting, two or
three families camped on the ground. In each case, these families were among
those most richly blessed. McGready, observing what had happened, announced
that the sacramental meeting at Gasper River in July, 1800, would be a camp
meeting and sent pressing invitations to ministers at a distance to come and
see the strange work which was taking place and to encourage as many of their
people as possible to attend. Widely separated as were the settlements, the
camp meeting afforded an opportunity for many to hear the gospel who otherwise
would not have been reached. Those who camped on the ground were relatively
free from worldly cares and were able to center their attention upon spiritual
     At that period it was not customary to have the penitent separate
themselves from the congregation by coming to an altar for prayer. The
"anxious-seat," or "mourner's bench," had not as yet been introduced. Those
who were affected by the preaching of the gospel were left to struggle with
their convictions until, like the multitude on the day of Pentecost, they were
constrained to cry out, "Brethren, what shall we do?" or until, overcome by
conflicting emotions, they fell prostrate upon the ground. At times so many
were stricken down that cries for mercy and the personal instruction of those
who were convicted of their sin went on throughout the night.
     It should be recognized that the methods employed during the revival
were at that time new methods. As will be seen in the following chapter, the
use of methods which by some were regarded as unorthodox was one factor which
got the leaders of the revival into trouble. These methods served well to make
possible the communication of the gospel in the situation which then existed.
It goes without saying that other methods may be better employed in com-
municating the gospel in the period and social milieu in which we live. We
will do well, however, to emulate the concern for people which motivated those
men of the frontier to employ extraordinary measures to take the gospel to the
widely scattered inhabitants of the old Southwest. Having such concern, we
must seek to discover the most effective methods of communicating the gospel
in the age in which we live.


     From the beginning there was opposition to the revival. Some of those
who opposed were avowed unbelievers, while others were professors of religion.
The latter group included several ministers of the gospel. Some who were
sticklers for order became alarmed at some of the unusual occurrences at the
sacramental meetings.
     There had been opposition to the revivals in North Carolina before
McGready came to Kentucky. The Reverend James Smith tells us that because of
McGready's plain, heart-searching messages and his insistence upon the
necessity of regeneration, "The cry was raised against him, he is running the
people distracted, diverting their attention from their necessary avocations;
and creating in the minds of decent, orderly, moral people, unnecessary alarm
about the eternal destiny of their souls."
     In writing about the opposition to revivals in North Carolina, Dr. T. C.
Anderson has stated:

          "The existence of two parties may be traced back in the history of
     the Church for centuries. Perhaps they are coeval with the prevalence of
     revivals; for whenever and wherever an extensive and gracious revival
     prevails, that portion of the Church under its influence will become
     more spiritual in their devotions, and energetic in efforts for the
     promotion of religion, than those portions of the Church, which have not
     participated in the revival. Then the active party, forgetting their
     former coldness and apathy, may be disposed to censure those who now
     manifest the same listlessness and inactivity which they themselves had
     recently indulged. And the lukewarm will be sure to look upon the
     newborn zeal of the revival party as the offspring of fanaticism, rather
     than an increase of spirituality. This want of charity and forbearance
     will originate distrust, opposition, and strife."

     In order to render a just appraisal of any revival, one must look to the
permanent results in the life and character of its subjects. McGready himself
stated that "among the great numbers in our country that professed to obtain
religion, I scarcely know an instance of any that gave a comfortable ground of
hope to the people of God, that they had religion. and have been admitted to
the privileges of the church, that have, in any degree, disgraced their
profession, or given us any ground to doubt their religion."
     The Reverend James Smith, writing in about the year 1835, says,

          "Indeed, if we may judge of the great mass of the converts of the
     revival by those who yet live, they were a humble, intelligent, and
     evangelical body of Christians, who were blessed with clear views of the
     truth as it is in Jesus, and were ready for every good word and work."

     George Addison Baxter, a young Presbyterian minister who in the summer
or fall of 1801 took a long horseback ride from Virginia to Kentucky to see
the strange work which was going on, has left the following testimony:

          "On my way to Kentucky, I was told by settlers on the road, that
     the character of Kentucky travelers was entirely changed, and that they
     were now as distinguished for sobriety, as they had formerly been for
     dissoluteness; and, indeed, I found Kentucky the most moral place I had
     ever been in; a profane expression was hardly heard, a religious awe
     seemed to pervade the country, and some deistical characters had
     confessed that, from whatever cause the revival might originate, it made
     the people better."

     The same writer goes on to say,

          ". . . Upon the whole, sir, I think the revival in Kentucky among
     the most extraordinary that have ever visited the Church of Christ; and,
     all things considered, peculiarly adapted to the circumstances of that
     country. Infidelity was triumphant, and religion at the point of
     expiring; something of an extraordinary nature seemed necessary to
     arrest the attention of a giddy people, who were ready to conclude that
     Christianity was a fable, and futurity a dream. This revival has done
     it; it has confounded infidelity, awed vice into silence, and brought
     numbers beyond calculation, under serious impressions.

     The revival did indeed serve both as a uniting and a dividing factor. On
the one hand, Christians of different denominations, especially Methodists and
Presbyterians, labored together in the revival. A notable example of this is
the presence of the Reverend John McGee. a Methodist minister, at one of
McGready's sacramental meetings. On the other hand, the revival resulted in
the separation of two different groups from the Presbyterian Church: One,
under the leadership of Barton Stone, who became dissatisfied with the
Presbyterian system of doctrine, went out to form the Springfield Presbytery.
This body later dissolved for the members to call themselves simply
"Christians" and to reject all man-made creeds. Stone himself, and many of his
followers, later joined hands with Alexander Campbell and his followers to
form the Disciples of Christ. The other group which separated from the
Presbyterian Church organized the Cumberland Presbytery in 1810.

                     SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
     1. What circumstances contributed to the low estate of religion in
Kentucky and Tennessee near the end of the eighteenth century?

     2. Of what significance is the fact that the "second awakening" began as
a student movement?

     3. What effect did McGready's own experience have upon his preaching?

     4. What part did (1) preaching, (2) personal testimony, and (3) worship
(e.g., communion) play in the furtherance of the Revival of 1800?

     5. William Warren Sweet has noted that in the west there were two types
of revivalism, one which appealed to those who were well grounded in the
correct doctrines of Christianity, and another which appealed to the great
mass of religious illiterates. Which type is your local church following in
its evangelistic efforts?

     6. What were some values of the camp meeting as a means of evangelism?

     7. How do you account for the fact that the means used in the revival
were opposed by some Presbyterian ministers?

     8. How do you account for the fact that the Revival of 1800 resulted
both in co-operation between denominations and in divisions which resulted in
the formation of other denominations?

4. A New Church Is Born

     THE SPREAD OF the revival resulted in an unprecedented demand for the
preaching of the gospel in the scattered settlements on the frontier. Persons
whose families had been blessed through attending the camp meetings at a
distance from their homes desired that the gospel be preached within their own
settlements. McGready mentions vacant congregations far removed from any
organized church and served only by occasional supply preachers. The Letter of
the Council of Revival Ministers to the General Assembly of 1807 recalls that
"Unable to resist the pressing solicitations from every quarter for preaching,
with unutterable pleasure we went out, laboring day and night, until our
bodies were worn down, and after all we could not supply one-third of the
places calling on us for preaching."
     In the midst of this dearth of ministers the Reverend David Rice, the
venerable father of Presbyterianism in Kentucky, suggested to the leaders in
the revival movement in the Cumberland-Logan County area during the year of
1801 that they enlist the help of laymen who seemed disposed to exercise their
gifts in public exhortation, even though those laymen had not attained the
standard of education prescribed by the Constitution of the Presbyterian
Church. The Presbyterian "Form of Government" recommends that prior to
licensure a candidate for the ministry have a college education or its
equivalent and a knowledge of the Latin language and the original languages in
which the Scriptures were written, and that "no candidate, except in
extraordinary cases, be licensed, unless, after his having completed the usual
course of academical studies, he shall have studied divinity at least two
years, under some approved divine or professor of theology." 1 Persons of such
qualifications were not to be found in the West in the early 1800's in
sufficient numbers to meet the pressing demand for ministers.


     At the meeting of Transylvania Presbytery in October, 1801, four men--Finis Ewing, Alexander Anderson, Samuel King, and Ephraim McLean--offered
themselves to presbytery for the service of the church and were licensed to
exhort and catechize. Texts were also assigned them on which they were to
prepare discourses to be read at the next session of presbytery. At the next
meeting of presbytery, in the spring of 1802, Anderson was received as a
candidate for the ministry by a majority of one vote while the others were
rejected by a majority of one vote. In the fall of 1802, however, Transylvania
Presbytery licensed Anderson, Ewing, and King to preach the gospel, the
presbytery considering their cases as coming under the head of the
"extraordinary cases" provided for in the "Form of Government." This action of
presbytery did not go unchallenged, for three ministers and two elders, led by
the Reverend Thomas B. Craighead, registered their dissent.
     On October 14, 1802, just six days after the licensure of these three
men by Transylvania Presbytery, the first session of the Synod of Kentucky was
convened, two new presbyteries having been carved out of Transylvania
Presbytery. At its first meeting the Synod of Kentucky divided Transylvania
Presbytery again by creating Cumberland Presbytery out of its southwestern
portion. This presbytery held its first meeting at Ridge Church, in Tennessee,
in April, 1803.
     Cumberland Presbytery had ten ordained ministers in its original
membership. Five of them--James McGready, William Hodge, William McGee, John
Rankin, and Samuel McAdow-- were leaders in the promotion of the revival. The
other five-- Thomas B. Craighead, Terah Templin, John Bowman, Samuel Donnell,
and James Balch--were equally zealous in their opposition to the revival. At
the first meeting of Cumberland Presbytery, the revivalists were strengthened
by the addition of the Reverend James Haw. According to the minutes of
Cumberland Presbytery, he had been received from the Republican Methodist
Church at the preceding meeting of Transylvania Presbytery, and, since he
lived within the bounds of the newly organized Cumberland Presbytery, he was
invited to take his seat as a member thereof.
     At its first meeting, Cumberland Presbytery provided for an intermediate
session for the ordination of Alexander Anderson.2 At the next regular
meeting, in the fall of 1803, an order was passed for the ordination of Finis
Ewing at an intermediate session of presbytery. At the regular spring meeting
in 1804, the first after his ordination, the legality of Ewing's ordination
was called in question, but the presbytery voted by a large majority to seat
him. At this same meeting, provision was made for the ordination of Samuel
King at an intermediate session of presbytery. James Porter, who at a previous
meeting had passed an examination on the languages, was licensed. Meanwhile,
several other men had been received as candidates for the ministry, while
still others had been licensed to exhort and catechize. During 1804, the
revival party suffered the loss of Alexander Anderson by death.

     At the meeting of the Synod of Kentucky in October, 1804, a letter was
received from the Reverend Thomas B. Craighead and others in which reference
was made to the licensures and ordinations recently performed by Cumberland
Presbytery. This letter was in the nature of a "common fame" letter; that is
to say, the writers did not propose themselves to substantiate the allegations
made, but submitted them only as circulating rumors which ought to be
investigated. In addition to raising the question of the educational
qualifications of the men who had been licensed and ordained, it was reported
that Cumberland Presbytery had required the men thus licensed and ordained to
adopt the Confession of Faith only insofar as they deemed it agreeable with
the Word of God. In a later discussion before a synodical commission, it was
argued by the commission that no one could know what these men believed in
matters of doctrine, and it was suggested that one could as easily adopt the
Koran in the same manner. On the other hand, the members of Cumberland
Presbytery contended that the fact that the men adopted the Confession of
Faith at all was evidence that they regarded it as the best of all human
creeds, and that the real difficult had arisen over the idea of fatality which
seemed to be taught in the Confession under "the mysterious doctrine of
     That the "young men" had a right to state their scruples regarding the
Westminster Confession, and that the presbytery, being the judge of their
soundness in the faith, had the right to license and ordain them
notwithstanding their scruples, is apparent from a consideration of the
Adopting Act, by which Presbyterian ministers in the first synod in America
were required to subscribe to the Westminster Confession. The Adopting Act
contained the following provision:

          ". . . And in case any minister of this synod, or any candidate
     for the ministry, shall have any scruple with respect to any article or
     articles of said Confession or Catechisms, he shall, at the time of his
     making said declaration, declare his sentiments to the presbytery or
     synod, who shall, notwithstanding, admit him to the exercise of the
     ministry within our bounds, and to ministerial communion, if the synod
     or presbytery shall judge his scruples to be only about articles not
     essential and necessary in doctrine, worship, or government. But if the
     synod, or presbytery, shall judge such ministers or candidates erroneous
     in essential and necessary articles of faith, the synod or presbytery
     shall declare them incapable of communion with them. And the synod do
     solemnly agree that none of us will traduce or use any opprobrious terms
     of those that differ from us in these extra-essential and not necessary
     points of doctrine, but treat them with the same friendship, kindness
     and brotherly love as if they had not differed from us in such

     In consequence of the "common fame" letter, the synod cited all parties
involved to appear before the next meeting of synod and appointed a committee
of five to attend the earliest meeting of Cumberland Presbytery and report
their observations to the synod at its next meeting. Only one member of this
committee attended Cumberland Presbytery, however, and he made no report to
     At the spring meeting of Cumberland Presbytery, 1805, provision was made
for an intermediate session of presbytery for the ordination of William Dickey
and for another for the ordination of Samuel Hodge and Thomas Nelson. The
meeting for the ordination of Mr. Dickey was attended only by members of the
anti-revival party, while the meeting for the ordination of Nelson and Hodge
was attended only by members of the revival party.

     At the meeting of the Synod of Kentucky in the fall of 1805, the minutes
of Cumberland Presbytery were before the synod for the first time. The
committee appointed to examine these minutes was extremely critical. The
records were said to be defective and the history in some places obscure. The
seating of James Haw without his having recanted his Methodist sentiments, the
licensure of persons to exhort, and the licensure of Farr, "an illiterate
man," were called in question. Furthermore, attention was called to the phrase
"Finis Ewing's Circuit," which apparently was not considered an orthodox
Presbyterian term. The result was the appointment of a Commission "vested with
full Synodical powers to confer with the Members of Cumberland Presbytery and
to adjudicate upon their Presbyterial proceedings which appear upon the Min-
utes of said Presbytery for the purpose aforesaid and taken notice of by the
Committee appointed by Synod to examine said Minutes." The Commission was also
instructed to take into consideration and decide upon the letter from the
Reverend Thomas B. Craighead and others and upon an appeal from the judgment
of Cumberland Presbytery by certain members of the Shiloh congregation. The
Shiloh church had become divided over the revival, and the anti-revival group
had been trying in vain to be recognized by the presbytery.
     The Commission met at Gasper River meeting house, Logan County.
Kentucky. December 3-10, 1805. Early in its proceedings it decided that
Cumberland Presbytery had acted illegally in receiving James Haw without
examining him on divinity or requiring him to adopt the Confession of Faith of
the Presbyterian Church. The charge that the presbytery had licensed and
ordained men contrary to the rules and discipline of the Presbyterian Church
was then taken up with special attention being given to the matter of the
presbytery's requiring only a partial adoption of the Confession of Faith. The
Commission therefore resolved to examine "those persons irregularly licensed
and irregularly ordained by Cumberland Presbytery and judge of their
qualifications for the Gospel Ministry."
     At this point the majority of Cumberland Presbytery, through the
Reverend William Hodge as their spokesman, refused to submit to the foregoing
resolution on the ground that they, as a presbytery, had the exclusive
privilege of examining and licensing their own candidates and that synod had
no right to take the business out of their hands. The Commission then
addressed the demand for re-examination directly to the men involved. The
majority of the members of Cumberland Presbytery requested permission to leave
the meeting temporarily.3 Upon their return, each of the older members of
Cumberland Presbytery--McGready, Hodge, McGee, Rankin, and McAdow--was called
up individually and asked, "Do you submit? or not submit?" Each refused to
submit. Likewise the persons allegedly "irregularly licensed" and "irregularly
ordained" by Cumberland Presbytery refused to submit with the exception of two
who requested more time. Subsequently they, too, refused to submit to the
Commission's demand.
     The Commission then declared that the young men who refused to submit to
re-examination had never had any regular authority from Cumberland Presbytery
to preach the gospel. This action of the Commission prohibited those who
refused re-examination from exhorting, preaching, and administering ordinances
in consequence of any authority they had obtained from Cumberland Presbytery
"until they submit to our jurisdiction, and undergo the requisite
examination." Those who were absent, together with James Haw, were laid under
the same prohibition. The five older ministers were cited to appear at the
annual session of the Synod of Kentucky for not submitting to the examination
of the younger men; and William Hodge, William McGee, and John Rankin were
charged with holding and propagating doctrines contrary to those contained in
the Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church and were cited to appear
before the Synod of Kentucky to answer to these charges.
     Although the Commission seems to have relied almost exclusively on the
"common fame" letter written the year before by Craighead and others, rather
than upon the minutes of Cumberland Presbytery, the Commission concluded its
action on these particular difficulties with the following resolution:
"Resolved also that the Revd. Thos. B. Craighead and, Samuel Donald and John
Bowman, have acted irregularly in taking up the case on fama clamora and not
by dissent." In other words, the information on which the Commission relied
mainly for its agenda was acknowledged to have been brought before the synod
in an irregular manner.
     It is true that synod, under the Presbyterian "Form of Government," has
the power "to review the records of presbyteries, and approve or censure them;
to redress whatever has been done by presbyteries contrary to order; to take
effectual care that presbyteries observe the constitution of the Church." To
the presbytery, on the other hand, is given the power "to examine and license
candidates for the holy ministry; to ordain, install, remove, and judge
ministers." Thus, neither the Commission nor the Synod of Kentucky itself had
the right to require those men who had been examined, licensed, and ordained
by Cumberland Presbytery to stand another examination before Synod.
     The Synod of Kentucky, at its next meeting, in October, 1806, dissolved
Cumberland Presbytery and attached its members to Transylvania Presbytery. It
also suspended William Hodge and John Rankin after trying in vain "to reclaim
them to a due sense of the authority of Synod and submission to the order and
discipline of the Church."

     Soon after the synodic Commission had done its work, the revival
ministers of Cumberland Presbytery consulted together and resolved to form
themselves into a council. In this capacity they met regularly for mutual
encouragement but refrained from transacting any presbyterial business. The
older members of the presbytery agreed to continue preaching and administering
the ordinances as formerly and encouraged the "young men" to continue their
ministerial functions also.
     In 1807 the council directed a letter to the General Assembly of the
Presbyterian Church in which a full history of their case was set forth and a
redress of their grievances requested. The General Assembly addressed a letter
to the Synod of Kentucky in which the opinion was expressed that some of the
proceedings relative to Cumberland Presbytery were "of at least questionable
regularity." The Assembly suggested to the synod that it ought to review some
of its actions and possibly modify them in some respects. Especially called in
question were the proceedings of synod requiring the young men "irregularly
licensed and ordained" to be given up to the synod for examination, suspending
the "irregularly ordained ministers" without process, and suspending Hodge and
Rankin for not submitting to the examination of the young men. The synod did
review its proceedings, but by an overwhelming vote reaffirmed all of its
previous actions. The synod addressed a communication to the General Assembly
explaining its position. Somehow this letter failed to reach the next
Assembly, so a second letter was sent at the direction of the synod in the
fall of 1808.
     Meanwhile, Transylvania Presbytery, to which the matter of the members
of the former Cumberland Presbytery had been referred for settlement, took
action in October, 1808, inviting Hodge, McGready, McGee, McAdow, and Rankin
to come to the next regular meeting of presbytery at Glasgow for a friendly
interview. They were invited to bring along with them as many of the men who
had been declared by the Commission to be destitute of authority to preach the
gospel as they might deem proper. William Hodge appeared in behalf of the
brethren of the former Cumberland Presbytery, and after a conference with him
the presbytery agreed to write him and his brethren a letter stating on what
terms a reconciliation might be effected. The letter as transmitted to Mr.
Hodge a few days later stated that Hodge-s restoration "can only be effected
by a proper acknowledgment of the faith & submission to the authority of our
church as contained in our book of discipline to which you are referred." The
same, it was stated, would apply to the other brethren who were yet under
citation for not submitting to the authority of synod. With regard to the
"young men," a "formal examination of them respecting doctrine & discipline"
was regarded as indispensable, as was also "an unequivocal adoption of our
Confession of Faith." It is worthy of notice that nothing was said at this
point concerning literary attainments.
     The General Assembly which met in 1809 received both letters which had
been sent by the Synod of Kentucky and likewise the records of synod, which
had not been sent up the preceding year. The interests of the synod were also
represented by the Reverend John Lyle, who had served as a member of the
synoic Commission in 1805. One Presbyterian historian recounts that at first
Lyle was overawed in the presence of the Presbyterian divines whose names the
people on the frontier were accustomed to pronounce with veneration, but that
at last "having overcome his awe, and yielding to his feelings as was his
wont, wept freely as he portrayed in vivid colors the probable effects of the
discomfiture and disgrace of the friends of truth and order."4 The General
Assembly accepted the explanations of the synod and gave it a vote of thanks.
There was no further opportunity for the revival ministers to obtain a redress
of their grievances at the General Assembly level.
     The council, however, determined to make one more effort toward
reconciliation. Two commissioners were appointed to convey to the Synod of
Kentucky or to Transylvania Presbytery the decision that the ministers
belonging to the council, both old and young, licensed and ordained, were
willing to be examined by presbytery or synod upon two conditions. The first
was that they be received or rejected as a connected body, and that if
received, their authority formerly derived from Cumberland Presbytery be
recognized. The other was that if they had to adopt the Confession of Faith,
they be permitted to do so "with the exception of fatality only." William
Hodge attended the meeting of Kentucky Synod, but instead of carrying out the
councils instructions, he requested that provision be made for his own
restoration. His request was referred to Transylvania Presbytery, which was
directed to meet on December 6.
     The council met again on the fourth Tuesday in October to ascertain the
results of Mr. Hodge's efforts. He stated that he thought the synod had
complied with the substance of the council's request, but after comparing the
minutes of the previous meeting of the council with the petition Mr. Hodge had
presented to synod, the council thought otherwise. The council then voted to
constitute into a presbytery. At this point William Hodge, his nephew, Samuel
Hodge, and Thomas Nelson withdrew. James McGready had not met with the council
for some time. Rankin had joined the Shakers. This left only three ordained
ministers present: Finis Ewing, Samuel King, and William McGee. McGee could
not get the consent of his mind to proceed with the organization of a
presbytery at this time. Consequently the council adjourned to meet at the
Ridge Meetinghouse on the third Tuesday in March, 1810, after agreeing that
each member should be released from his bond unless previous to that time
three ordained ministers belonging to the body should have constituted a pres-
     At the meeting of Transylvania Presbytery on December 6, William Hodge
appeared, expressed sorrow for past irregularities, agreed to submit to the
authority and discipline of the Presbyterian Church, and declared his
unequivocal adoption of and adherence to the Confession of Faith. He was
restored to the full exercise of all the functions of the gospel ministry and
seated as a member of presbytery. At the same time, Thomas Nelson and Samuel
Hodge, both of whom had been ordained by Cumberland Presbytery, expressed
their desire to submit themselves to the wisdom and determination of the
presbytery. After having examined them "so far as was thought expedient" and
having secured their acceptance of the Confession of Faith, the presbytery
recognized their licensure and ordination.

     Following the adjournment of the council in October, Ewing in particular
exerted himself toward securing the organization of a presbytery. In a letter
to James Porter, one of the licentiates under the care of the council, he
indicated his willingness to proceed with only two ordained ministers;
however, he was spared this necessity. On February 2, 1810, Ewing and King
visited another licentiate, Ephraim McLean, who had been among the first to
offer himself to Transylvania Presbytery for the service of the church. McLean
agreed to accompany them to the home of Samuel McAdow in Dickson County,
Tennessee. Late the next afternoon they arrived at McAdow's house and laid
before him the proposal to constitute a presbytery. McAdow would not take so
drastic a step without first seeking divine guidance. The next morning, after
a night spent in prayer, McAdow informed the group of his readiness to join
with them in constituting a presbytery. So on February 4, 1810, in the home of
Samuel McAdow, three ministers--Finis Ewing, Samuel King, and Samuel McAdow --constituted a presbytery to be known as Cumberland Presbytery, after which
they ordained McLean to the full work of the ministry and adjourned to meet at
Ridge Meetinghouse on the third Tuesday in March.
     It was not the intention of those who constituted this presbytery to
start a new denomination. They still hoped for a reunion with the Synod of
Kentucky or some other synod of the Presbyterian Church. After their efforts
in this direction had been rebuffed, however, provision was made in 1813 for
the organization of two other presbyteries, Elk and Logan, and in October of
that year the Cumberland Synod held its first session at Beech Church, Sumner
County, Tennessee. In 1829, a General Assembly was formed.

     Why did the difficulties arising between the Synod of Kentucky and the
revival ministers in Cumberland Presbytery terminate as they did? What were
the factors which seemed to necessitate the formation of a new presbytery?
     The chief difficulty was not ministerial education. Although the
difficulties had their beginning in the decision of Transylvania Presbytery,
and subsequently Cumberland Presbytery, to make use of the provision for
"extraordinary cases" in order to obtain a more adequate supply of ministers,
the question of education virtually dropped out of the picture before the
difficulties issued in the organization of the new presbytery. Thus, when
Transylvania Presbytery, in the spring of 1809, wrote to the Reverend William
Hodge stating the terms on which he and his co-laborers could be restored to
good standing in the presbytery, the educational qualifications of the "young
men" were not even mentioned. Only submission to the authority of the church
and unequivocal adoption of the Confession of Faith were required. Dr.
Davidson, a Presbyterian historian, says, "It was not the want of classical
learning, but unsoundness in doctrine, the adoption of the Confession with
reservations, . . . that created the grand difficulty; and the removal of this
hindrance would have wonderfully facilitated the accommodation of the other."5
     Both the doctrinal issue (the insistence on the part of the Synod of
Kentucky and Transylvania Presbytery that the "young men" must accept the
Confession of Faith unequivocally) and the persistent demand for submission
played a large part in the final issue. There were men who, like Finis Ewing,
simply would not accept that which they could not preach with a clear con-
science. On the other hand, the synod continued to demand submission as the
price of restoration. Dr. Cossitt suggests "that the Kentucky Synod, finding
that they had been misled by Craighead, Balch, and Bowman, as well as their
own prejudice and party spirit, to the adoption of unauthorized measures which
even the General Assembly had censured, as being 'at least of questionable
regularity,' deemed the submission of the young men to their wrong measures
indispensable to the justification of their Commission's proceedings." 6 The
submission of the young men would have been the best means of forestalling any
critical investigation of the acts of the synod and of its Commission.
     Underlying all these difficulties one fact seems apparent. The revival
ministers were willing to adapt themselves and their standards to the
situation in which they were laboring. It was this willingness to adapt their
standards to the circumstances which led the revival ministers to make use of
the provision for "extraordinary cases" and bring into the ministry some who
did not have a classical education. It was also their willingness to use new
methods which led to the employment of camp meetings and circuit preaching as
means of reaching the people in the widely scattered settlements on the
frontier. As the revival spread, some of the participants came to realize that
the "old wineskins" of a theological system which taught unconditional
election and reprobation could not contain the "new wine" of personal experi-
ences which led the multitudes to cry out, "Men and brethren, what shall we

                     SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
     1. Would it have been possible to meet the need for ministers in the
Presbyterian Church on the frontier without relaxing the educational standards
to some degree? Is it possible today to meet the needs of Cumberland
Presbyterian churches through seminary trained men alone? Give reasons for
your answers.
     2. What precedent was there in the Presbyterian Church for allowing the
young men who were being licensed or ordained to accept the Confession of
Faith with reservations?
     3. In what ways did the Commission of Kentucky Synod overstep its
     4. What points of difference seemingly made reconciliation between
Kentucky Synod and the ministers of Cumberland Presbytery impossible?
     5. How would you explain to an inquirer the events and causes which led
to the organization of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church?
     6. In what respects did the founders of the Cumberland Presbyterian
Church prove their willingness to make adaptations to meet the needs of the
     7. Evaluate the viewpoints of the pro-revival party and the anti-revival
party of the first Cumberland Presbytery.

5. Advancing with the Frontier

     EVEN BEFORE EWING, King, and McAdow met to organize Cumberland Presbytery,
missionary work was being attempted far beyond the bounds of the churches in the area
where the revival had its origin. In 1807 the Council sent Robert Bell to the new
settlements near what is now Huntsville, Alabama. The next year Thomas Calhoun was
sent to this field, and in 1809, Robert Donnell. Donnell was traveling and preaching
in Alabama when news reached him of the organization of the new Cumberland


     The method of circuit preaching was continued under the new presbytery. The
minutes of the second meeting of presbytery mention the "lower circuit" or Livingston
circuit, 'Elk River Circuit," "Nashville Circuit," and the "upper circuit." A year
later the "Logan circuit" is mentioned, and the mouth of Green River was to be
visited by McLean, Harris, Chapman, and whoever rode the lower circuit. The minutes
of presbytery for November, 1812, contain the following:
          "Ordered, that Mr. John Carnahan form a circuit on the Arkansaw in the
     bounds of those settlements in which he lives, and report to Presbytery his
     success when he returns.

     The minutes of Cumberland Presbytery (1810- 1813) mention thirty-seven churches
or societies. Most of these were organized after the formation of the new presbytery.
     As soon as the synod was organized, each of the three presbyteries--Elk, Logan,
and Nashville--accepted the task of cultivating the vast fields which were open to
it. Elk Presbytery included within its field of operations both Alabama and Arkansas.
Logan Presbytery extended its bounds to include Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. East
Tennessee and West Tennessee came within the jurisdiction of Nashville Presbytery.
Both Elk and Logan had a part in evangelizing Missouri. That was just at the time
when most of the territories mentioned were being opened up for settlement. That part
of Tennessee and Kentucky west of the Tennessee River was purchased from the Indians
in 1819. The first territorial legislature in Alabama assembled in 1817. Illinois was
made a state in 1818. Arkansas was organized as a territory in 1819. Missouri, which
had been organized as a territory in 1812, became a state in 1821 by virtue of the
famous Missouri Compromise.

     Concerning the plan of the presbyteries for cultivating these fields McDonnold

          "The plan which all the presbyteries fell upon was three-fold. All the
     vast fields under their care were districted, and itinerants sent to each
     district. These itinerants established circuits of preaching places, and made
     appointments for preaching every day in the week. This was generally missionary
     work, outside of all organized congregations. If the missionary could collect
     enough members to organize a church, he took their names, pledging them to form
     a church as soon as an ordained preacher could be had to organize them. The
     missionary was not usually an ordained minister. This was the first branch of
     the system.

          "The second branch pertained to organized congregations. In these the
     presbytery appointed sacramental meetings semi-annually, and designated the
     preachers who were to officiate. The fall meetings were camp-meetings, as well
     as sacramental, and every ordained preacher, no matter what his pastoral
     relations might be, was required to attend these camp-meetings during the fall
     months, and was also required to perform his part of that other work on the
     circuits which unordained men could not do. The presbytery, at every session,
     designated what portion of these duties fell to the lot of each ordained
     minister, and each was held to rigid account for his fidelity to the work
     assigned to him.
          "The third branch of the system consisted of such features of regular
     pastorates as could be made consistent with the two preceding branches. In the
     orders of these presbyteries I find it no uncommon thing for a so-called pastor
     of this period to be required, in the course of a year, to attend as many as a
     dozen sacramental meetings, distant from fifty to three hundred miles from his
     home; and when called on to report at the next meeting of the presbytery, it
     was a rare thing for anyone to report a failure. When failure was reported, the
     reasons were investigated." 1

     Just what was involved in "riding a circuit" in those days may be illustrated
from a journal kept by W. A. Scott while he was a licentiate under the care of
Hopewell Presbytery. He was appointed in the fall of 1830 to a circuit which included
Carroll, Henry, Weakley, Gibson, and Obion Counties, in West Tennessee. He had thirty
regular preaching places, and it took him five weeks to make the round. He managed to
have a Sabbath appointment on each round at each of three county seat towns: Paris,
Dresden, and Huntingdon. There were organized churches at Bethel (McLemoresville),
Shiloh, and probably at Meridian and Mt. Pleasant. The rest of the appointments seem
to have been in private homes. At the time of his appointment to this circuit, Scott
was not quite eighteen years of age.2
     The progress of missionary work during the period of the synod can be traced in
part through the organization of new presbyteries. In 1819 the ladies' missionary
society at Russellville, Kentucky, made possible the sending of R. D. Morrow as a
missionary to Missouri at a salary of twenty dollars per month. Green P. Rice had
preached at St. Louis as early as 1817, and Daniel Buie, another Cumberland
Presbyterian minister, had moved to Missouri sometime prior to Morrow's first visit
in 1819. In the fall of that year the order was passed for the organization of McGee
Presbytery which had as its original members Green P. Rice, Daniel Buie, R. D.
Morrow, and John Carnahan. Its territory consisted of Arkansas, Missouri, and western
     In 1821 the synod divided Elk Presbytery by creating two new presbyteries,
Alabama and Tennessee. At the same meeting Anderson Presbytery was created out of
Logan Presbytery and Lebanon out of Nashville. In 1822, Illinois Presbytery was
formed out of parts of Anderson and McGee Presbyteries, for Green P. Rice had already
organized the Bear Creek Church near the present site of Greenville, Illinois, and D.
W. McLin had organized the Hopewell church (later called Enfield) in White County.
     In 1825 Alabama Presbytery was dissolved and a part of its members, together
with two ministers from Tennessee Presbytery, were appointed to constitute the Bigby
Presbytery. The remainder of the members of Alabama Presbytery were attached to Ten-
nessee Presbytery. At the same meeting McGee Presbytery was divided to form the
Arkansas Presbytery, which held its first meeting at the house of John Craig in
Independence County, Arkansas.
     Early in its history Logan Presbytery had two districts, Wabash and Indiana, to
which missionaries were regularly sent. In 1821 this territory became a part of
Anderson Presbytery. In 1825 Anderson Presbytery was divided to form Indiana Pres-
     As early as 1815, Thomas Calhoun and Robert Donnell made a missionary tour
through East Tennessee but did not attempt to organize any churches. In 1818 David
Foster was ordered by Nashville Presbytery to a regular circuit in East Tennessee,
and in 1823 J. S. Guthrie and Abner Lansden were sent to that field. They were joined
the following year by George Donnell and S. M. Aston. The synod in 1827 ordered the
organization of Knoxville Presbytery.
     In 1820, less than a year after the purchase of West Tennessee from the
Indians, John L. Dillard and James McDonnold were sent to that country. In 1821,
Richard Beard was sent to the Forked Deer Circuit. Others soon followed, and in 1824
Hopewell Presbytery was ordered to be constituted at Bethel meetinghouse in Carroll
     Other presbyteries organized during the period of the first synod included
Barnett (1827), St. Louis (1828), Princeton (1828), and Sangamon (1828).
     As early as 1818 missionaries had been sent to the Chickasaw and Choctaw
Indians in Mississippi and Alabama. In the fall of 1820, a school known as Charity
Hall was established under the leadership of Robert Bell at a point near the present
site of Aberdeen, Mississippi. The school continued to operate until 1832 when it was
closed because of unrest occasioned by plans for the removal of the Indians to the
     Within nineteen years after the organization of its first presbytery, the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church had effectively reached into eight states and
territories: Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama, and


     Cumberland Synod, in 1828, resolved to form a General Assembly and made
provision for the formation of four synods: Missouri, to consist of the presbyteries
of McGee, Barnett, Sangamon, Illinois, St. Louis, and Arkansas; Green River, to
consist of the presbyteries of Anderson, Princeton, Logan, and Indiana; Franklin, to
consist of the presbyteries of Nashville, Lebanon, Knoxville, and Hopewell; and
Columbia, to consist of the presbyteries of Alabama (which had been reorganized in
1824), Bigby, Elk, and Tennessee.
     The third General Assembly, in 1831, sent Robert Donnell, Alexander Chapman,
Reuben Burrow, John Morgan, and Alfred M. Bryan as missionaries to the East. This
action was taken in response to a letter received from some Presbyterians in western
Pennsylvania who had heard of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and its doctrines
and had invited the General Assembly to send ministers to that area. Some of these
ministers remained in Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania Presbytery, which first appears
on the records of the General Assembly in 1833, was organized. One Presbyterian
minister, the Reverend Jacob Lindley, and his congregation came over to the
Cumberland Presbyterians. This area was made the setting for Dr. J. B. Logan s story,
Alice McDonald .
     In 1832 three new synods were created: Mississippi, consisting of the
presbyteries of Alabama, Mississippi, and Elyton; Illinois, consisting of the
presbyteries of Illinois, Sangamon, St. Louis, and Vandalia; and Western District
(later West Tennessee) consisting of the presbyteries of Hopewell, Forked-Deer, and
Hatchie. The latter synod included the portions of Tennessee and Kentucky lying west
of the Tennessee River. A fourth presbytery Obion, was created by this synod at its
first meeting.
     The pioneer Cumberland Presbyterian minister in Texas was Sumner Bacon, a New
Englander who had joined the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in northwestern Arkansas
but had been denied admittance to Arkansas Presbytery, reportedly because of his
buckskin clothing and the peculiar nature of his call. (He claimed that his call was
to preach only in Texas. ) Bacon is known to have been in Texas as early as 1830, but
it was not until the organization of Louisiana Presbytery at Alexandria, Louisiana,
in 1835, that he was received under the care of a presbytery. Here he was received as
a candidate, licensed, and ordained, all at the same meeting. In 1837 Texas
Presbytery was organized by Sumner Bacon, Amos Roark, and Mitchell Smith. Both
Louisiana and Texas Presbyteries were connected with the Synod of Mississippi.
Louisiana Presbytery functioned mainly in southern Louisiana in the vicinity of
Alexandria and Opelousas and was short-lived.
     The church in Ohio was an extension of the church in Pennsylvania. Jacob
Lindley had previously served as pastor of Presbyterian churches in eastern Ohio, and
in company with John Morgan held a camp meeting near Athens, Ohio, in 1832. The newly
formed churches in Ohio were supplied for several years by ministers from
Pennsylvania. Some of these were churches which withdrew from the Presbyterian Church
to become Cumberland Presbyterian congregations. Athens Presbytery, the first
presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Ohio, first appears on the
records of the General Assembly in 1837.
     Meanwhile, Cumberland Presbyterians were following the advancing frontier into
the Northwest. David Lowry undertook a mission to the Winnebago Indians. He organized
the first Cumberland Presbyterian church in Iowa. It was composed of soldiers,
officers of the United States army, government employees, and a few Indians. In 1844
Iowa Presbytery was organized.
     A Cumberland Presbyterian minister, the Reverend J. A. Cornwall, arrived in
Oregon at the head of a group of colonists in 1846, the year in which the boundary of
Oregon was settled by treaty. The Reverend J. E. Braly and his family went in 1847.
Other ministers followed, and in 1851 the Oregon Presbytery was organized. Four
congregations were represented in the first meeting.
     The first Cumberland Presbyterian minister in California was the above
mentioned John E. Braly, who began his ministry there in 1849, the year of the gold
rush. The Reverend T. A. Ish and the Reverend Cornelius Yager arrived in 1850. On
April 4, 1851, the California Presbytery was organized without an order from any
synod. The General Assembly was asked to recognize the new presbytery and attach it
to some synod. The request was granted, and the presbytery was attached to the Synod
of Missouri, which also included Oregon Presbytery.
     As early as 1855, the year after Kansas was opened to white settlers, the first
Cumberland Presbyterian church in Kansas was organized by the Reverend C. B. Hodges.
In November of the same year Kansas Presbytery was organized.
     During the latter part of this period, attention was increasingly given to
organizing churches in the cities. In earlier years Cumberland Presbyterians had
taken the gospel mostly to remote frontier settlements. Cities began to spring up,
however, in the territories already occupied, and the need for a strategy for
establishing churches in the cities became apparent. The work was difficult, however,
for Cumberland Presbyterians had not been educated to give liberally of their means.
     The first board of missions for the entire church was organized in 1845. By
1860 twenty urban missions had been undertaken These included Burlington. Iowa;
Louisville and Paducah, Kentucky; Cincinnati, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
Evansville, Indiana; St. Louis, Missouri; Alton and Peoria, Illinois; Leavenworth,
Kansas; Mobile, Alabama; Clarksville, Murfreesboro, Jackson, Shelbyville, and
Memphis, Tennessee; and Austin, Jefferson, and San Antonio, Texas.
     The first missionary work by Cumberland Presbyterians among the Indians after
their removal to Oklahoma was done by ministers from Red River Presbytery, in
northeast Texas. The first Cumberland Presbyterian congregation in the Choctaw nation
was organized in 1848 by the Reverend W. A. Provine. Others who did missionary work
among the Indians in southeastern Oklahoma included the Reverend W. R. Baker, the
Reverend Samuel Corley, and the Reverend David Lowry. In 1860, by order of Texas
Synod, Bethel Presbytery was organized. It consisted of three Indian ministers--Israel Folsom and George Folsom, who were Choctaws, and Dixon Frazier, a Chickasaw;
and three white ministers--W. R. Baker, Alexander Campbell, and R. S. Bell.
     By 1860, in addition to the eight states which had been occupied prior to the
organization of the General Assembly, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church had planted
churches in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Louisiana, Texas, Iowa, Oregon, California, Kansas,
and the Indian Territory (later Oklahoma).


     Just before the War Between the States, beginnings had been made toward
planting churches in north Louisiana. Ministers from Marshall Presbytery, in Texas,
had organized churches at Grand Cane and New Bethany, and ministers from Ouachita
Presbytery, in southern Arkansas, had crossed the state line and organized several
churches, among them one at Arcadia which was later moved out to its present location
known as Oak Grove. In 1872 a new Louisiana Presbytery was organized with S. S.
Smart, Joslin Jones, and G. N. Clampitt as ministers. It was organized by order of
Ouachita Synod.
     The first Cumberland Presbyterian church in Nebraska territory was organized on
July 16, 1865, at Nebraska City, by the Reverend C. B. Hodges. Other churches ù ere
soon organized, and in 1873 Nebraska Presbytery was organized.
     In November, 1870, three ministers--B. F. Moore, J. Cal Littrell, and S. D.
Givens--participated in the organization of Rocky Mountain Presbytery, in the
territory of Colorado. There was only one congregation under the care of this
presbytery at the beginning, but by 1872 there were six.
     In 1872, the Reverend H. E. Eagan migrated to the newly organized Washington
territory and began preaching in the town of Walla Walla. A church was soon organized
there. In 1874 or 1875 Cascade Presbytery was organized. Shortly afterward its name
was changed to Walla Walla Presbytery.
     Small beginnings were made during this period in West Virginia and New Jersey
by extension from the churches in Pennsylvania. Other work was begun in Georgia,
through migration from East Tennessee and eastern Alabama, and in Florida.
     During the War Between the States, aid to city missions largely ceased except
for some aid given by the board at Alton, Illinois, to mission points in Illinois,
Kansas, and Iowa, and aid given by the Board of Pacific Synod to missions at Stockton
and San Francisco, California. Between 1870 and 1905, however, at least seventy-seven
urban mission churches were attempted.3 Of these churches, fifty-four had become
self-sustaining by the end of the period.
     In addition to the work which was already in progress among the Chickasaw and
Choctaw Indians, work among the Cherokees was begun in northeastern Oklahoma in about
1876. The first missionary there was the Reverend N. J. Crawford. In February, 1884,
Cherokee Presbytery was organized with three ministers participating: the Reverend N.
J. Crawford, the Reverend David Hogan, and the Reverend R. C. Parks. Its organization
was ordered by Arkansas Synod.
     As white settlers began to pour into Oklahoma and the Indian Territory,
Cumberland Presbyterian churches were organized among them. Some of these represented
a westward extension from King Presbytery, in western Arkansas, and eventually formed
South McAlister Presbytery. Others represented a northward extension of Guthrie
Presbytery, in north Texas. In that area Chickasaw Presbytery was organized in 1890.
A third area to be evangelized was Greer County, then supposed to be a part of Texas.
Greer County Presbytery was organized in 1891. Finally, there was a southward
extension from Wichita Presbytery, in Kansas, which resulted in the organization of
some five churches in northern Oklahoma. In 1900 these churches became a part of the
new Oklahoma Presbytery.
     There was, of course, further expansion as the frontiers advanced across some
of the states mentioned earlier. In many instances the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
was the first church organized in the community. An example of this sort of expansion
is to be found in the new towns built along the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad in the
late 1880's. As early as 1887, Gregory Presbytery, then the westernmost presbytery in
north Texas, took note of the vast areas which were opening up and appointed the
Reverend J. A. Zinn, the Reverend G. P. Hester, and the Reverend Thomas C. Bigham as
missionaries to that area. At the fall meeting the Reverend J. A. Zinn reported
having organized two churches. In May, 1889, four churches were received under the
care of Gregory Presbytery, three of them being in the western part of the
presbytery, namely, Chillicothe, Seymour, and Vernon. In April, 1890, seven churches
were received under the care of the presbytery. These included Quanah, Harrold, and
Childress. Another was Head Quarters, in Greer County. At this meeting of presbytery
a petition was addressed to Texas Synod asking that a new presbytery to be known as
Pease River Presbytery be created. By the spring of 1891, there were twenty-five
organized churches in Pease River Presbytery. Ten of these had been under the care of
Gregory Presbytery. Presumably the remainder had been organized within the year. In
the fall of 1891, Pease River Presbytery was divided to form Greer County Presbytery.
     The march of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church along the advancing frontier
was brought to an abrupt halt as a result of the losses sustained in the attempted
union with the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., in 1906 (see chapter 10). In most areas a
struggle for existence necessarily occupied the attention of the remaining ministers
and their scattered flocks.
     There was, however, at least one exception. About that time the Santa Fe
Railroad was crossing the South Plains of Texas from north to south. As a result of a
plan formulated at a meeting of Sweetwater Presbytery, which was also attended by
ministers from Amarillo Presbytery, four evangelistic teams composed of two ministers
each were sent out to strategic points immediately following the adjournment of
presbytery. One result of this effort was the organization in August, 1908, of a
church in Lubbock with seven members. With Lubbock as a hub, other small congre-
gations already in existence, or soon afterward organized, constituted a sort of
circuit to which the first pastor of the Lubbock church, the Reverend J. L. Elliott,
ministered. Lubbock, now a city of more than 125,000 people, still forms the hub of
the present Western Presbytery of Texas Synod.
     In 1910, a small congregation was reported at Floyd, New Mexico. In 1912, Texas
Synod ordered the organization of Roswell Presbytery. Perhaps half a dozen small
congregations are listed as belonging to this presbytery during the next few years.
One of these was near Pecos, Texas, the others in New Mexico. The coming of World War
I and two years of severe drought broke up this small presbytery, and all its
congregations disappeared.
     During the period from 1860 to 1910, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church planted
churches in Nebraska, Colorado, Washington, Georgia, Florida, West Virginia, New
Jersey, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. During the first century of its existence, the Cum-
berland Presbyterian Church had preached the gospel to four tribes of Indians and had
planted churches in twenty-five states.

                        SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
     1. What does the extent of the missionary work done by the "Council" indicate
as to the evangelistic zeal of those who constituted the council?

     2. How can we account for the rapid expansion of the Cumberland Presbyterian
Church during its earlier years?

     3. What did the work of a circuit rider involve? How would you evaluate the
work of the circuit riders in the growth of the new church?

     4. Why were Cumberland Presbyterians slow about establishing churches in the

     5. Through what channels was the gospel first brought to your community?

     6. When was your local church organized, and by whom? Has a history of your
church been written?
6. Negro Cumberland Presbyterians

     NEGRO SLAVERY IN the western hemisphere had its beginning in 1562 when Sir John
Hawkins, a famous English captain, secured a cargo of slaves on the west coast of
Africa and sold them in the Spanish colonies in the West Indies. About a century
later the slave trade began in earnest. The leaders in this enterprise were New
England traders who exchanged rum for slaves. For a time slaves were to be found in
every New England colony, but by the time of the War for Independence slavery had
become largely a southern institution.
     The Cumberland Presbyterian Church had its beginning in a state where slavery
existed. Of the sixteen states into which the Cumberland Presbyterian Church had
penetrated prior to 1860, eight were slave states; however, the membership of the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church was far larger in these eight states than in the eight
where slavery was prohibited.

     Two of the three ministers who constituted the Cumberland Presbytery in 1810
are known to have opposed slavery. McAdow moved from Tennessee to Illinois some ten
years after the organization of the new presbytery. One reason for his moving was
said to be the fact that he did not wish his children to become involved in the
institution of slavery.1 Finis Ewing, the only one of the three who ever owned
slaves, gave his slaves their freedom. His concern over the institution of slavery is
expressed in the following excerpt from a published sermon of his on "The Duty of the

          "But, where shall we begin? O! is it indeed true that in this enlightened
     age, there are so many palpable evils in the church that it is difficult to
     know where to commence enumerating them? The first evil which I will mention is
     a traffic in human flesh and human souls! It is true, that many professors of
     religion, and I fear some of my Cumberland brethren, do not scruple to sell for
     life their fellow beings, some of whom are their brethren in the Lord. And what
     is worse, they are not scrupulous to whom they sell, provided they can obtain a
     better price! Sometimes husbands and wives, parents and children are thus
     separated, and I doubt not their cries reach the ears of the Lord of Sabbath.
          "(Lest some of my readers should say, 'physician heal thyself,' I think
     it proper to state in this place, that after a long, painful, and prayerful
     investigation of this subject, I have determined not to hold, nor to give, nor
     to sell, nor to buy any slave for life. Mainly from the influence of that
     passage of God's word which says, 'Masters give unto your servants that which
     is just and equal.')
          "Others who constitute a part of the visible church half-feed,
     half-clothe, and oppress their servants. Indeed, they seem by their conduct
     towards them not to consider them fellow-beings. And it is to be feared that
     many of them are taking no pains at all to give their servants religious
     instruction of any kind, and especially are they making no efforts to teach
     them or cause them to be taught to read that book which testifies of Jesus.
     While others permit, perhaps require their servants to work, cook, &c., while
     the white people are praying around the family altar." 2

     McDonnold quotes several anti-slavery editorials from The Revivalist and The
Cumberland' Presbyterian published during the period from 1830 to 1836. McDonnold
further states that he never knew an extreme pro-slavery man among the members of the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church. That a number of Cumberland Presbyterians owned
slaves is undoubtedly true, although the number of Cumberland Presbyterians who were
of the landed aristocracy and had any considerable vested interest in the institution
of slavery was probably small.
     When the question of slavery became more acutely a sectional and political
issue, there was a reaction among Cumberland Presbyterians in the South, as among
other southern people, against abolitionism. Thus when Pennsylvania Synod passed a
resolution in 1847 stating "That the system of slavery in the United States is
contrary to the principles of the gospel, hinders the progress thereof, and ought to
be abolished," notice of this action was taken by the committee of the next General
Assembly which reviewed these minutes. The report of this committee, which was
concurred in by the Assembly, expressed disapproval of the synod's action and the
fear that such resolutions, if persisted in, would tend to produce strife.3
     Athens Presbytery, which was situated in Ohio, passed a resolution in the
summer of 1848 recommending that its church sessions not grant the sacramental
privileges and immunities to any person who justified slavery as practiced in the
United States. At least one southern presbytery adopted a resolution suggesting that
the proceedings of Athens Presbytery violated the Constitution of the church and
"ought to be revoked by the proper authorities as speedily as possible and that the
peace of the church demand it."4
     Among Cumberland Presbyterians the only abolitionist sentiment appearing in the
official records during this period seems to have come out of Ohio and Pennsylvania.
It has been noted that many Cumberland Presbyterians in Illinois, Iowa, California,
and the Northwest had migrated from the South and probably tended to think more like
southern people.5 In any case the prevailing sentiment in the General Assembly at
this time seemed to be that the church should not become involved in what were
regarded by some as sectional and political issues. Consequently, all legislation on
the subject of slavery was discouraged.
     After the war, most Cumberland Presbyterians were glad slavery had been
abolished. McDonnold, writing in the 1880's, says,

          "As to the present attitude of our people in regard to the now old and
     thrice-dead slavery issue, the writer does not know a Cumberland Presbyterian
     of any section who is not heartily glad that the Negro is free." 6


     It is not known just when or where Cumberland Presbyterians first became
concerned about the evangelization of Negro slaves. But it must have been quite early
in the history of the denomination, for McDonnold states that before the war there
were twenty thousand Negro Cumberland Presbyterians. He states that Negro members
attended the same services with the white people, although separate seats were
provided.7 Some church buildings with balconies that were originally built to
accommodate slaves still stand.8
     The Negroes had preachers of their own race who held special services for them
in addition to the services in which both races participated. At such services, the
laws of most states required the presence of a responsible white man. Negro ministers
were licensed and ordained by the same presbyteries in which the white ministers held
membership. It was necessary to make some exceptions in the educational requirements.
How many Negro ministers there were in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, we have no
way of knowing. Edmond Weir, a Negro and the first foreign missionary sent out by the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church, is said to have been ordained by Anderson Presbytery.
That there were others is indicated by the fact that an effort was made to induce
Cumberland Presbyterians who owned ordained ministers to release them so that they
might join Weir in Liberia.
     The following quotation from the session record of a church which had some ten
or twelve Negro slaves as members prior to the close of the War Between the States
illustrates the usual practice followed in recording their admission:

          "Servant George (Spence) Andrew (Love) and Bob (Shelton) were received by
     letter from M E Church South as members of Corsicana congregation. Servant
     Rachel (Spence) was received by recommendation as a member of Corsicana
     congregation." 9

     As early as 1838 a Negro slave presented himself to Texas Presbytery.

          "Charles Polk's colored man Tennessee, petitioned the Pres. for leave to
     exercise his gift in reading the Scriptures, singing, prayer and exhortation
     among his colored friends, and having produced testimonials of his good moral
     conduct; of his communion in the church, and the Pres. having examined him as
     to his experimental acquaintance with Religion; as to his internal impressions
     and the motives which induced him to desire this liberty--With Mr. Polk's
     consent, his petition was granted." 10


     With the close of the war and the emancipation of the slaves in the South,
relationships between the races were changed. The northern churches had begun
missionary work in the South during the war, and they continued their efforts during
the period of reconstruction. The southern churches also recognized their obligation
to the ex-slaves and worked toward forming them into separate churches. A Special
Committee on the Moral and Religious Training of the Colored People, appointed by the
General Assembly in 1866, expressed the opinion (which did not go unchallenged) "that
no class of citizens are so well prepared, nor are those any more willing to aid
them, than those with whom this people have always lived." The report of this
committee, which was concurred in by the General Assembly, contained the following

          "1. That the General Assembly recommend that all the Presbyteries of the
     church, take such steps as may be most expedient to organize for them Sabbath
     schools, and supply them with suitable books and teachers.
          "2. That they co-operate with the American Bible Society in supplying
     them with the Word of God.
          "3. That they use every means, so far as they can, to afford them the
     means of grace and encourage them to sustain the same, as God may prosper them.
          "4. That they aid them so far as they can, in obtaining houses suitable
     for such schools and the more public worship of God." 11

     The report of the committee on missions the following year contained equally
strong recommendations for the evangelization and religious instruction of the Negro
people. Even in the recommendations adopted in 1866, however, there are intimations
that segregated churches and Sabbath schools were contemplated.
     One southern presbytery in the fall of 1867 reported "about six hundred
conversions among whites, and two hundred and fifty coloreds converted." It was
further reported that "There were about four hundred 'accessions' among whites and
about one hundred among the coloreds." One Negro licentiate is listed.l2 Thus far it
would appear that work among the Negroes was continuing as in former years. This
presbytery, however, was directed by synod to define the ecclesiastical status of
this Negro licentiate, and presbytery in its spring meeting in 1868 reported "that it
is the sense of this Presbytery that his licensure does not convey with nor was it
intended to give him the right or privilege to labor with any only those of his own
color." 13
     In July, 1866, another presbytery in the South had officially recognized in the
Negro population "a field for moral & mental improvement already white unto the
harvest" but suggested that the Negro should be instructed "by persons whose
interests & associations are identical with ours." 14 The same presbytery, in a
meeting held in December, 1867, recognizing that it did not have the laborers to
cultivate the field presented by the colored population, resolved to license "worthy
colored men to preach to their Brethren, perform the rites of matrimony, and the
ordinances of baptism, when in our judgment they may be qualified for such work." The
resolution hastened to add, however, that "nothing in the foregoing shall be
construed as entitling them to seats in any of the judicatures of our church." 15
Thus the pattern of segregation was fast developing. The Negroes seemed to want their
own separate churches, and the white people were glad this was so.
     Dr. William Warren Sweet, commenting on the situation in this period, writes,
"The Negroes were now free and many of them, if for no other reason than to put their
freedom to the test, were anxious to separate themselves from the churches of their
former masters. In many cases the Negroes were suspicious of the intention of the
southern churches, in which they had formerly worshiped under the eye of their white
masters, with the result that the Negro membership of the old southern churches
rapidly decreased." 16


     Such was the situation when in 1869 the General Assembly met in Murfreesboro,
Tennessee. A convention of Negro Cumberland Presbyterians was called for the same
time to meet in the same city. This convention formulated resolutions asking the
General Assembly to authorize the creation of separate presbyteries of colored
ministers and to make provision for the organization of a synod as soon as the
requisite number of presbyteries could be formed. The church was also asked to
co-operate by lending them church houses, aiding them in building church houses of
their own. providing them with books, and making provision whereby the colored
ministers might be instructed in theology and church government. The Colored
Convention expressed the opinion "that it would not be for the advancement of the
Church, among either the white or colored race, for the ministers of the two races to
meet together in the same judicatures." With this opinion the General Assembly
concurred.17 Thus, at their own request, provision was made for the Negro
constituency to be formed into a separate church, a fact of which they were later
reminded more than once. (A similar situation developed in the Methodist Episcopal
Church, South, for in 1870 the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church was constituted out
of Negro members of the southern branch of Methodism. )
     At the General Assembly in 1871, it was noted that three presbyteries of
Negroes had been organized: Greenville Presbytery, within the bounds of the Synod of
Green River, and Huntsville and Elk River Presbyteries, in the bounds of the Synod of
Columbia. They requested that they be organized into a synod. The General Assembly
therefore directed the organization of a synod to be known as the First Synod of the
Colored Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Its first meeting was to be held at
Fayetteville, Tennessee, on Friday before the first Sabbath of November, 1871.18 In
1874, a General Assembly was organized. That year the corresponding delegate to the
white General Assembly reported that the Colored Cumberland Presbyterian Church had
forty-six ordained ministers? twenty licentiates, thirty candidates for the ministry,
and three thousand communicants. McDonnold states that only a very small portion of
the twenty thousand Negroes who were in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church prior to
1860 were ever brought into the new church. By 1886, however, the membership of the
Negro denomination had grown to about fifteen thousand.


     In 1870, the year following the decision to set up a separate church for the
Negroes, the Reverend Moses T. Weir, a brother of the missionary to Liberia, appeared
with a commission from Greenville Presbytery asking for a seat in the General
Assembly. An adverse decision was given on the ground that there was no proper
information before the Assembly concerning the organization or existence of
Greenville Presbytery.19 In 1873, there was a memorial from nine ministers and elders
of Missouri Presbytery asking the General Assembly to decide whether they were
members of Ozark Synod (a white synod in Missouri) or of a colored synod in Kentucky
or Tennessee and whether they were entitled to representation in the General
Assembly. The General Assembly cited the action of 1869, emphasizing that the Negroes
had "chosen their own status." 20 Such decisions were made solely on the basis of the
actions taken in 1869. Actually, there is nothing in the Constitution of the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church which would make race a bar to membership. There was
at least one Negro congregation in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church from about 1899
until 1906.21 Of course, this was the exception rather than the rule.
     One of the requests made by the convention at Murfreesboro in 1869 was that
some plan be presented by which Negro ministers might receive instruction in theology
and church government. By 1885 there was a school of the Colored Cumberland Presby-
terian Church at Bowling Green, Kentucky. A proposal was made to the General Assembly
of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church that the Reverend M. M. Smith (then pastor of
the white church in Bowling Green) be employed to teach theology in this school. The
committee to which the proposal was referred, however, hesitated "to recommend
anything that might embarrass the General Assembly financially." Sometime prior to
1897 the school at Bowling Green was sold. Then there was an unsuccessful effort to
establish a school at Springfield, Missouri.
     In 1898 the General Assembly advised the General Assembly of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church, Colored, to arrange for its probationers to attend Fisk
University, at Nashville, until such time as a college could be established by the
church. In 1899 and 1900 there were requests for nominal financial support for
schools of the Negro church located at Huntsville, Alabama, and Newbern, Tennessee,
but no positive action was taken by the white Assembly.
     The Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Colored, was not directly involved in the
attempted union of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church with the Presbyterian Church,
U. S. A., in 19031906. After the attempted union, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
found itself so involved in its own problems that even less assistance was given the
Negro church than before. Only occasionally was a voice raised in favor of doing
something to aid the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Colored. One such voice was that
of the Reverend J. L. Hudgins, who in 1926 wrote an article which appeared in The
Cumberland Presbyterian, which he edited. Among other things he said:

          "We are in full sympathy with our one thousand Cumberland Presbyterians
     in China, and are expressing our sympathy in a substantial way, but why should
     we, as far as any organized efforts are concerned, fail to show our sympathy
     for something like 15,000 Cumberland Presbyterians in our homeland because
     their skin is not of the same hue as our own? We believe the Cumberland
     Presbyterian Church should give as many dollars every year to help our brethren
     in black as it gives to help our brethren in yellow, and we would see the
     Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Colored, growing and progressing"22


     In 1937, at the General Assembly held at Knoxville, Tennessee, a resolution
introduced by the Reverend E. K. Reagin was adopted with reference to the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church, Colored. It pointed out that "this church is now in serious need
of help in the form of personal direction in the solution of their problems." The
Board of Missions and Church Erection was directed to create within the board a
committee to study the conditions and needs of this church, offer assistance to the
leaders of the church in the church courts and programs of their boards, and to make
further recommendations to the Assembly. The next General Assembly provided for a
continuation of this sort of co-operation and adopted the further recommendation
"That each Presbytery study the needs of the Colored Cumberland Presbyterian Churches
within its bounds, give the needed assistance if possible, and report to this
committee its findings."
     From 1944 through 1947, the youth groups of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
contributed to the erection of a church building for Cumberland Presbyterian Negroes
in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Beginning with an institute held at Jacksonville, Texas, in
1949, synodic institutes for adults and young people of the Colored Cumberland
Presbyterian Church were sponsored, first by the Board of Christian Education and
subsequently by the Board of Missions and Evangelism and the Board of Publication and
Christian Education jointly. Beginning in 1951, a youth camp sponsored by Texas Synod
was held each year for several years at Jarvis Christian College, Hawkins, Texas.
Offerings taken in vacation church schools of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church were
used to provide workers to conduct demonstration vacation church schools in various
areas of the Negro Cumberland Presbyterian Church and to provide funds for purchase
of a lot for Negro Cumberland Presbyterians in Dallas, Texas. During the year 1952,
Cumberland Youth Fellowships provided funds with which Mr. E. L. Wallace, a Negro
layman, was employed for ten weeks to do special promotional work among the Negro
Cumberland Presbyterian churches.
     In 1948, a commission was appointed "to study the needs of the Negro Cumberland
Presbyterian Church and make a written report to the next General Assembly with
recommendations as to any assistance, co-operation, and financial aid which we might
be able to give the Negro Church to further their cause and strengthen them as a
denomination among their people." There is no report on record of the commission as
such, but the report of the Board of Missions and Church Erection in 1949 and the re-
ports of the Board of Missions and Evangelism for subsequent years recognized Negro
missions as one phase of the work of the Board. Since 1957, the Board of Missions and
Evangelism has helped promote a camp each year for Negro Cumberland Presbyterian
young people. This camp is held at the camp site owned by Kentucky Synod near
Morgantown, Kentucky.
     Some assistance has been given the Negro church through boards of missions of
some of the presbyteries of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. For example, Madison
Presbytery, through its board of missions, is contributing $600 annually to aid the
Mt. Tabor church, near Jackson, Tennessee, the only Negro Cumberland Presbyterian
church within its bounds.
     In 1950, provision was made for the exchange of fraternal delegates by the
General Assemblies of the two churches. Fraternal delegates were exchanged for the
first time in 1951. Under this provision each synod is asked to appoint a fraternal
delegate to the General Assembly of the other church. In 1957, the General Assembly
adopted a recommendation that a similar exchange of fraternal delegates be promoted
on the synodical and presbyterial levels. This recommendation has been carried out
only in part.
     During 1950, Cumberland Youth Fellowship groups contributed to a fund for
scholarships to aid in the education of Negro ministerial students. A similar project
was promoted again in 1958. In 1953, by action of the General Assembly, a memorial
from Texas Synod asking for the admission of "Colored Cumberland Presbyterian
Ministerial Candidates and other full time Christian workers" to the Cumberland
Presbyterian Theological Seminary was granted. One Negro student enrolled in the
Seminary in the fall of 1956 but had to withdraw because of ill health. Very few
ministerial candidates in the Negro Cumberland Presbyterian Church held a college
degree, which is a prerequisite for entrance to the seminary. Some means of
furthering the education of Negro ministers at a lower level was needed. In 1954, the
General Assembly voted to open the In-Service Training School for Rural Ministers to
Negro Cumberland Presbyterian ministers. The first Negro ministers attended the
In-Service School in 1956. The General Assembly in 1959 had before it a memorial from
the Synod of Oklahoma asking the Assembly "to instruct the Board of Trustees of
Bethel College to at least admit qualified ministerial candidates to said college
irrespective of the candidate's race or color. ' The General Assembly instructed the
Board of Trustees of Bethel College "to study, prepare and propose a plan to the next
General Assembly to implement a program which would comply with the spirit and
objectives of this memorial." Two more Assemblies passed, however, before the Board
of Trustees voted to admit qualified ministerial students of the Second Cumberland
Presbyterian Church.23 In the fall of 1961, one Negro ministerial student enrolled in
Bethel College. In 1962-1963 there were two Negro students enrolled, and in
1963-1964, four Negro students. In 1964, the General Assembly directed that both
Bethel College and the Theological Seminary be opened to all qualified students. One
Negro Cumberland Presbyterian student entered Memphis Theological Seminary in the
fall of 1964, and it is significant that he was a graduate of Bethel College.
     The Second Cumberland Presbyterian Church has suffered from a shortage of
competent ministerial leadership. Opening of the educational institutions of the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church to its Negro brethren should in time help to alleviate
this shortage. Despite the limitations of its resources, the Second Church has
planted churches in such cities as Detroit, Michigan; Cleveland, Ohio; and Chicago,
Illinois. It now consists of four synods and sixteen presbyteries and has churches in
eleven states: Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa,
Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. A monthly paper, The Cumberland Flag, is published at
Union City, Tennessee.


     In 1883, the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church had before
it a memorial from the Synod of Central Illinois asking that steps be taken to open
the way for the restoration of the people of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church,
Colored, to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. This memorial was answered by the
reminder that it was the Negroes themselves who chose to set up a separate church.
     In 1957, Cherokee Presbytery, in northeastern Oklahoma, addressed a memorial to
the General Assembly asking that a special committee be appointed to work with a
similar committee from the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Colored, "to study the
feasibility of organic union between the two Cumberland Presbyterian denominations
and to make recommendations to their respective General Assemblies in 1959 of the
advisability of such a union." Provision was made for a committee, but it was com-
posed of the moderator of the General Assembly and one member to be appointed from
each board of the Assembly. The committees from the two churches reached an agreement
that union was impractical at that time but that the possibility of such a union
should not be abandoned. More co-operation on the presbyterial level was urged.
     In 1959, the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church suggested
to its committee that it work toward the goal of forming the Negro churches into one
synod, and that this synod become a synod of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The
Joint Committee of the two churches, after conference, reported that the proposal of
the 1959 Assembly was not feasible.
     These proposals originated within the white church and seemed to result in
little progress toward a reunion of the two churches. In 1963, however, the General
Assembly of the Second Cumberland Presbyterian Church took the initiative by inviting
the Cumberland Presbyterian Church "to begin a discussion and set up machinery for
initial talks on merger." A committee of seven from each church, with alternates, was
named, and this joint committee held its first meeting in November, 1963. The joint
committee, recognizing the need for a better knowledge on the part of each church of
the constituency and program of the other, took steps to have studies made to achieve
this end. It also adopted a theological basis for reunification, in which attention
was centered on the demands of the Christian faith for the realization of a
fellowship in love. The theological basis and the proposals for the studies designed
to help the two churches to come to know each other better were approved by the
general assemblies of both churches in 1964.
     One of the most urgent needs is the establishment of better lines of
communication between the two churches on the presbyterial and local levels in those
areas where churches of both denominations exist. The recognition of what these two
churches have in common, since both hold to the same Confession of Faith and form of
government, would seem to be the place where ecumenical concerns should begin.

                        SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
     1. What was the attitude of the founders and early leaders of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church toward slavery?
     2. Why was there a tendency to discourage the passing of deliverances
concerning slavery in the period immediately preceding the War Between the States? Is
the attempt to confine the deliberations of the church to so-called "spiritual"
matters ever an adequate answer?
     3. What evidence is there that many Cumberland Presbyterians prior to the war
were concerned about the spiritual welfare of the Negroes?
     4. What circumstances in the period just after the war led to the formation of
Negro churches?
     5. How do you account for the meager support given the Negro Cumberland
Presbyterian Church by the white church during most of its history? Is this
consistent with the interest the white church has manifested in missions to people of
other races and nationalities?
     6. What efforts have been made to work with the Negro Cumberland Presbyterian
Church since 1937? To what extent have these efforts been effective?
     7. Is there a Negro Cumberland Presbyterian church near you? If so, what do you
know concerning its activities? Would it be possible for an exchange of visits to be
worked out?

7. In Regions Beyond

     DURING THE FIRST forty years of its existence, the Cumberland Presbyterian
Church concentrated its missionary efforts in frontier America. The General Assembly,
however, did recommend co-operation with the American Board of Commissioners for
Foreign Missions. This board had been formed in June, 1810, under Congregational
auspices, but in 1812 became interdenominational. It is known that some Cumberland
Presbyterians offered themselves to, and were sent out by, this board.

     Liberia, on the coast of West Africa, was promoted by the American Colonization
Society as a home for liberated slaves. Many of these slaves were Cumberland
Presbyterians. In 1851, the General Assembly approved a recommendation that Liberia
be designated as a mission field. The Reverend Edmond Weir, a liberated slave and a
minister who had been ordained by Anderson Presbytery, reached Liberia in 1852. For
five years he served as sheriff and preached without salary. In 1857, he returned to
the United States to raise funds for a church building. While here he was
commissioned as a missionary. An appeal was made for the release of other Cumberland
Presbyterian ministers who were slaves to go with Weir, but none was made available.
In 1859, land on which to build a church was obtained at Cape Mount.
     Soon after the beginning of the War Between the States, the Board of Missions
with headquarters at Lebanon, Tennessee, became unable to operate. The work in
Liberia was turned over to the newly created board at Alton, Illinois, but only
meager support was given. In 1867, Weir returned to the United States, appeared
before the Board of Missions, and toured the churches briefly. He returned to Liberia
in November. The General Assembly in 1868 recommended that the mission be suspended.
Weir subsequently transferred to the Congregational Church.


     In 1859, the Reverend J. C. Armstrong, a graduate of the theological school at
Cumberland University who had become interested in preaching to the Mohammedans,
offered himself to the Board of Missions. At the General Assembly in 1860, he was
consecrated as a missionary to Turkey. Armstrong, his wife, and an infant son sailed
from New York on August 7, 1860. In September, they arrived at Constantinople, where
Armstrong engaged in a study of the Turkish language. Shortly thereafter he received
a call from Brouza, some eighty miles away, where twenty priests and several thousand
members had broken away from the Greek Orthodox Church. Two Greek preachers wanted to
join him in forming a presbytery, but before the proper authorization could be
obtained the War Between the States began. Armstrong was from the South, but other
American missionaries in Turkey were northern sympathizers who adopted the extreme
views of Greely and Beecher. Consequently, these missionaries would not aid
Armstrong. Cut off from support from his own mission board, he and his family were
reduced almost to starvation, but help came through unexpected channels. Armstrong,
during his brief stay in Turkey, spent some time translating documents of a group of
Armenian Christians whose doctrines he found to be similar to those of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church.
     In December, 1861, Armstrong became ill. In July, 1862, he left for America by
way of Britain. He went to Canada where he remained and taught school. The General
Assembly in 1867 ordered the payment of $630 which was due Armstrong. Thus ended the
attempt to plant a mission in Turkey.


     In 1870, the Board of Missions decided to renew its mission efforts in other
lands. Dr. N. H. McGhirk, a Cumberland Presbyterian from Missouri who lived on the
island of Trinidad, invited the Board to consider Trinidad as a mission field. The
population of the island included Hindus, Chinese, Negroes, Spaniards, Portuguese,
French, English, and a few Americans. Trinidad was to be a stepping stone to
Venezuela. Some assurances had been given of a grant of land consisting of eight
hundred square miles for a mission in Venezuela. At that time there was no Protestant
missionary in Venezuela.
     The Reverend S. T. Anderson was appointed a missionary to Trinidad and
Venezuela in November, 1873. Dr. McGhirk was appointed as a lay helper. Soon after
arriving in Trinidad, Anderson became supply pastor for a Presbyterian mission church
in San Fernando which was under the direction of the Free Church of Scotland. Lack of
funds prevented the sending of additional workers. The time spent in supplying the
Presbyterian mission church, although it helped him financially, detracted Anderson
from the purpose for which he came to Trinidad. In 1876, the board recalled him. The
church had relied too much on an expected gift of land and on Anderson's supply work
rather than on the sacrificial giving of its own people.

     The Cumberland Presbyterian Church experienced three failures in its attempts
to engage in foreign mission work. Some voices were raised in opposition to any
further attempt, but the growing missionary spirit of the church would not give up.
     In 1872, the Reverend M. L. Gordon was sent to Japan as a missionary under the
American Board. He was a graduate of Waynesburg College and a Cumberland
Presbyterian, and Pennsylvania Synod assumed his salary. His going attracted the
attention of Cumberland Presbyterians to Japan.
     In 1876, two brothers, the Reverend J. B. Hail and the Reverend A. D. Hail,
graduates of Waynesburg College, were accepted as missionary candidates. In January,
1877, J. B. Hail and his family sailed for Japan. A. D. Hail went the next year, his
salary being paid by Pennsylvania Synod. Work was begun at Osaka in 1879. The first
converts were baptized in September, 1880. In February, 1884, a church was organized
at Osaka with sixty-four members. A presbytery was organized sometime between 1885
and 1887.
     In 1888, the General Assembly granted permission for the mission to become a
part of the Church of Christ in Japan. The apparent success of this union was
subsequently used as an argument for the union which was attempted with the
Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., in 1903-1906.
     By 1903, twenty-one American missionaries were connected with the Cumberland
Presbyterian mission in Japan. There were at that time seven organized churches and
eleven chapels with a total membership of 815. By 1906, there were 1,132 members.
     In 1906, as a result of the attempted union with the Presbyterian Church, U. S.
A., the Japanese mission passed under the control of the larger Presbyterian body.
Nonetheless, the work begun under the direction of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
has lived on. Recently, as indicated by a letter from the Reverend Thomas Forester,
the ministry rendered by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church through its mission to
Japan during those early years has been attested by persons still living who either
directly or indirectly came under its influence.


     As a direct result of the peculiar needs of the Japanese mission field, the
Woman's Board of Missions was organized. Early in 1880, the Reverend W. J. Darby,
pastor of the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Evansville, Indiana, received a
letter from the Reverend A. D. Hail urging that steps be taken at the next General
Assembly, which was to convene at Evansville in May, to enlist the women of the
church more actively in the work of foreign missions. Since the Japanese women could
not be reached at their homes by men, the missionaries felt the need for having Bible
women to work among the women of Japan.
     Dr. Darby presented the matter to the women of his congregation. After clearing
the matter with the General Assembly's Board of Missions, the Woman's Foreign
Missionary Society of the Evansville church sent out an invitation to the women of
the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, urging them to send representatives to a
convention to be held at the same time and place as the General Assembly for the
purpose of forming a Woman's Board of Foreign Missions. About seventy-five women met
in Evansville on May 25, 1880, and the Woman's Board of Foreign Missions was
organized. Provision was made for an annual convention and for the organization of
auxiliaries. The board was to be located at Evansville. The General Assembly approved
this action by unanimous vote.
     The object of the Woman's Board, as set forth in the constitution, was "to
promote an interest among the Christian women of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
in behalf of Foreign Missions, and to work in cooperation with the General Assembly's
Board of Missions in sending the Gospel to the heathen." Specifically, the Woman's
Board proposed to send young women to the foreign mission field.
     In 1890, the charter was amended to permit this board to engage in home
missions, and the name changed to Woman's Board of Missions. The Woman's Board helped
establish schools for the Chinese in San Francisco, Hanford, and Merced, California.
A mountain mission school was established by this board at Barnard, North Carolina,
and assistance was given to the work among the Choctaw Indians in the Indian
Territory (now Oklahoma).
     Changing circumstances, following the attempted union with the Presbyterian
Church, U. S. A., were to cast the Woman's Board in a new role--that of promoting and
directing the entire program of foreign missions of the Cumberland Presbyterian
Church. In 1938, with a view to enlisting the men of the church more actively in the
work of foreign missions, three men were elected to membership on the board, and
subsequently the name was changed to the Board of Foreign Missions.


     In 1886, the Reverend A. H. Whatley, a graduate of Cumberland University, was
sent as a missionary to Mexico. After some fourteen months spent in study of the
language, the people, and the field, Aguas Calientes, a city of thirty-five thousand
inhabitants located in the state of the same name, was selected as the base of
operation. Here a church was organized in 1889. A school known as the Griffin
Industrial School for boys was established in 1898. Likewise a school for girls,
Colegio Morales, in which Miss Mary Turner and Miss Kate Spencer taught, was begun.
This mission passed from the control of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 1906.

     On September 27, 1897, the first Cumberland Presbyterian missionaries to China
arrived at Shanghai. They were Dr. and Mrs. O. T. Logan, who went as medical
missionaries. Chang-the, in the province of Hunan in southeast central China, was
chosen as the site for the mission. The missionaries reached Chang-the on December
25, 1898. They were joined soon afterward by the Reverend T. J. Preston. In 1899, Dr.
William Kelley was sent to assist in the work, his salary being paid by the Christian
Endeavor societies of the church. Late in 1900, the mission had to be abandoned
temporarily because oœ the Boxer Rebellion, but it was reopened in 1901. By 1906,
there was a hospital at Chang-the and churches had been organized at Chang-the and
Tao Yuen.
     The work in Hunan province passed from the control of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church in 1906, but the work was continued under the direction of the
Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., as were the missions in Japan and Mexico. Dr. Logan
continued in this work until he met his death at the hand of an insane soldier whom
he was attending on December 17, 1919. The Reverend T. J. Preston was still on the
field in 1820.


     Many orientals came to the United States during the latter part of the
nineteenth century, the majority of them settling in California. A work was therefore
begun in San Francisco, which not only proved to be a fruitful field in its own right
but was to become a stepping stone by which again a Cumberland Presbyterian
missionary would enter China.
     In January, 1894, a mission school was opened. Mrs. J. J. Sitton taught English
to young men and boys recently come from China. She also cared for sick Chinese
children and adopted some of them. In 1898, a Sunday school was started, and the fol-
lowing year a night school was organized.
     Meanwhile, a young man named Gam Sing Quah came from his native home in China
to America, seeking material gain. In 1890 he was converted to Christianity in Fort
Worth, Texas, under the ministry of Dr. R. M. Tinnon. From 1891 to 1900, he attended
Cumberland University at Lebanon, Tennessee. On May 10, 1899, he was ordained to the
full work of the ministry by Lebanon Presbytery.
     He desired to return to China. It was concluded that he would not fit into the
work in Hunan Province but, rather, that he should be sent as soon as possible to
work among his own people in the vicinity of Canton. Meanwhile, he was assigned to
work among the Chinese in San Francisco. He also worked at Hanford and Merced,
serving as interpreter, preacher, and evangelist. In 1904, a church was organized
among the Chinese in San Francisco. One of the two original elders was Tom Jung, who
later succeeded Gam Sing Quah as pastor of the church.
     In 1906, Gam Sing Quah was the only missionary who remained in the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church. He was employed by the General Assembly's Board of Missions. The
Woman's Board of Missions, after reorganization following the loss of all except two
of its members, found itself in 1907 in the peculiar position of "being a Missionary
Board without a missionary, and with no definite work in sight." It was immediately
requested, however, to assume one-half the expense of the San Francisco Chinese
Mission. In 1908, Gam Sing Quah informed the Woman's Board that he must return to
China to work among his people there. This necessitated readjustments in the work at
San Francisco as well as provision for the expense of sending him to China. The work,
however, was carried on.
     In 1920, the Woman's Board resolved to provide new buildings for Canton and San
Francisco. (Gam Sing Quah had returned to the United States that year for the first
time since beginning his work in China.) Throughout the church the women sang "Build
Two Missions in 1920." The new building in San Francisco became a reality. The
Reverend D. W. Fooks, stated clerk of the General Assembly, was sent to direct the
erection of the new building which was completed at a cost of $28,000.
     In 1952, Dr. Samuel King Gam, son of Gam Sing Quah, succeeded the Reverend Tom
Jung as pastor in San Francisco. He served until his untimely death in June, 1955. In
November, 1955, Reverend Paul K. F. Wu became pastor. A new church building was
completed in 1958. In 1960, the church had a Sunday school enrollment of 370 with a
preponderance of children and young people. In addition to a full program of the
usual church activities, there is a Chinese language school with an enrollment (in
1965) of 225 and an evening English language school for persons recently arrived from
     In 1961, the mission became known officially as the Chinese Cumberland
Presbyterian Church; however, the Board of Foreign Missions continues support of the
Reverend and Mrs. Davis O. Bryson, who direct the youth work.
     This church is said to have been the first church in Chinatown to have a party
in the church building, the first to use choir robes, the first to have a movie
projector, the first to have a neon sign, and the first to build a new sanctuary.


     It has already been noted that the Reverend Gam Sing Quah returned to China in
1908. Sending him seemed an impossible task due to the disrupted state of the church
at that time, but his salary was provided first by Knoxville Presbytery and then for
many years by Kentucky Synod.
     Gam had difficulty in renting a house in which to begin his mission work. After
having to move once, he succeeded in renting a house which no one else would have
because it was believed to be haunted. Through street preaching, visitation, and
personal work, he carried the gospel to the people. In February, 1911, a girls'
school was opened. Churches at Canton and Sha Kai were organized in 1912. These were
placed under the care of California Presbytery. In 1914, missions were begun at Honam
and Ti Won, and in 1915 at Tai Chung. As a result of the above mentioned campaign for
mission buildings, launched in 1920, a new building was erected in Canton and was
dedicated June 15, 1922.
     In 1924, a petition was sent by the Woman's Missionary Convention to the
General Assembly asking that the Reverend D. W. Fooks be sent to China to assist in
organizing a presbytery. That fall, Texas Synod took the necessary steps to order the
organization of Canton Presbytery, commissioning the Reverend D. W. Fooks and the
Reverend Gam Sing Quah for this purpose. They received two ordained ministers from
other denominations and ordained still another. The organization of Canton Presbytery
took place on October 24, 1924. Seven churches with a total membership of 1,035 were
represented in this meeting.
     In the fall of 1929, Samuel King Gam, eldest son of Gam Sing Quah, came to
America to enter Bethel College. In 1931, Gam Sing Quah came to America for the last
time. Samuel King Gam returned to China in 1935 to work among the young people and to
supervise the social and educational programs of the mission. Larger responsibilities
were soon to be his, however, for early in 1937 Gam Sing Quah departed this life,
leaving the superintendency of the Chinese missions to fall on his son's shoulders.
     Soon thereafter began the Sino-Japanese War. During the summer of 1938, the
Canton church and the Gam home were twice bombed. Samuel King Gam sent his family to
Macau, a Portuguese colony. About this time McAdow Gam, his younger brother, entered
Bethel College to prepare to become a social worker. In the fall of 1938, Canton was
taken over by the Japanese. By early 1939, eight of the ten missions were closed.
Samuel King Gam began work at Hong Kong and Macau, but shortly thereafter returned to
Canton and directed relief work. A boys' home was established under his direction. In
June, 1942, Samuel King Gam again escaped from Canton, but Hong Kong also fell to the
Japanese. In June, 1943, McAdow Gam returned to China where he became assistant to E.
H. Lockwood, executive chairman of the Church Committee for China Relief, in
     Following the close of World War II, plans were made for rebuilding what had
been lost in China. In June, 1946, a new chapel in Canton was dedicated. Plans for a
Gam Sing Quah Memorial Fund were begun. In 1949, however, the Communists obtained
control of Peking and soon thereafter occupied the entire Chinese mainland. Schools
and hospitals became government property. A "bamboo curtain" was drawn.
     The Gam family now transferred their activities to Hong Kong and Macau. Many
refugees came from the mainland. In October, 1951, Samuel King Gam and his family
came to the United States, leaving McAdow Gam to direct the work at Hong Kong and
Macau. In 1952, McAdow came to the United States and was ordained to the ministry by
Lebanon Presbytery.
     The work at Macau and Hong Kong has been carried on mainly among the less
privileged people. Upon McAdow's return to Hong Kong, work was begun among the "boat
people." One man who was converted to Christianity offered his boat as a place to
conduct evangelistic services. Later a place was rented on the island of Cheung Chau.
Schools were held on the rooftops of government-built resettlement houses. During the
year 1959, youth work was begun in Kowloon, a section of Hong Kong. During the year,
the Hong Kong church was dedicated and a building was purchased at Macau.
     The work begun under the leadership of Gam Sing Quah in China has been
conducted exclusively by Chinese leadership. In 1963, Paul Hom, who entered the
ministry from the Chinese Church in San Francisco, was sent to Hong Kong to assist
McAdow Gam.

     As early as 1913, there were young people in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
who were interested in missions in South America. In 1922, the Woman's Board of
Missions accepted as candidates for that field the Reverend and Mrs. Walter L.
Swartz. In May, 1925, they were commissioned. ln November, 1925, Swartz sailed from
New York to seek a location for the projected mission. Colombia, where there were
only thirty Protestant missionaries among seven million people, was chosen. He was
encouraged in this choice by the Reverend C. P. Chapman of the Christian and
Missionary Alliance who was laboring at Cali. In March, 1926, Mrs. Swartz joined her
husband, and on April 1 a house was rented.
     The first person baptized was a boy named Jose Fajardo whose brother,
Martiniano Fajardo, had recently accepted Christ in a Protestant service at Palmira.
Both became ministers of the gospel.
     In 1928, Misses Bernice Barnett and Ethel Brintle were sent to Colombia, and
that fall the Colegio Americano was opened in Cali with twenty-eight students, one of
whom was Jose Fajardo. On February 4, 1929, the Cali church was organized with four
Colombian families, about fifteen members in all. Preaching points were established
at Dagua, Lomitas, and El Pinal. Another point visited by the missionaries was La
Helvecia, near Armenia, where a church had been begun and later abandoned by another
denomination. This church is said to have been the first Protestant church in
Colombia to employ its own pastor and pay his salary. In 1933, this church called
Alfredo Cardona as its pastor. Work was also begun at Pereira where property was
purchased from the Plymouth Brethren who had begun a work there in 1924.
     On March 8, 1935, Cauca Valley Presbytery was organized by order of Texas
Synod. Three ordained ministers were present, and there were four churches
     There have been many changes in personnel through the years, but the work has
continued to make progress. A persecution politically conceived and often encouraged
by the Roman Catholic clergy was begun in 1948 and greatly intensified in 1950.
Churches at El Pinal and Restrepo were burned. An attempt was made to dynamite the
church at Dagua. In general, the work had to be shifted from the rural sections to
the larger towns. Since the revolution which took place in May, 1957, conditions have
been more conducive to the progress of Protestant missions.
     On March 14, 1961, the Colegio Americano became accredited by the Department of
Education of Colombia. It has the distinction of being the only co-educational
colegio in Colombia and the only school approved by the government which does not
teach the Catholic religion.
     Over the years, a number of North Americans have served in the mission in
Colombia. The present staff includes lay personnel as well as ministers.


     At the close of World War II, Japan was spiritually bankrupt. Shintoism could
no longer meet the needs of the Japanese people. In this spiritual vacuum, the
chaplains of the occupying American forces were of great help.
     In January, 1948, the Reverend Tadao Yoshizaki, a Baptist minister who had been
working in China, visited Chaplain Cleetis C. Clemens to request help for the people
of his community. On the second Sunday afternoon, Clemens preached to six Japanese,
and Tadao interpreted. In February a fund to erect a mission building was started at
the Zama base where Chaplain Clemens was stationed. The group at the mission became a
Cumberland Presbyterian church with Tadao Yoshizaki as pastor. Subsequently, the
Board of Foreign Missions accepted the mission field with the Koza community church
as a mission point. The Koza church is located in Yamatomachi, a town of two thousand
inhabitants, where General MacArthur first set foot upon Japan at the close of the
war. The church was received under the care of California Presbytery in August, 1950.
By this time the church program included Sunday school, morning worship, prayer meet-
ing, youth meetings, women's society, kindergarten, English Bible study, English
study class, and Bible study class. There were more than two hundred in Sunday school
and eighty in kindergarten.
     Soon the church began to reach out into the surrounding areas. In November,
1952, the Reverend and Mrs. Thomas Forester were commissioned as missionaries to
Japan. In 1961, the Reverend and Mrs. Tolbert Dill were sent to this field. The For-
esters returned to the United States in 1964, and the Reverend and Mrs. Melvin D.
Stott, Jr., were sent to the Japanese field. Meanwhile work has been started at
Shibusawa, Kiboga Oka, Kunitachi. and Higashi Koganei.

                   SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
                                   1. Why did the earliest foreign missionary efforts of the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church fail?
     2. What was the original purpose of the organization of a Woman's Board of
Missions? What changes in function and constituency has this board undergone in the
course of the years?
     3. What was the status of the foreign mission work of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church in 1906 as to fields occupied, number of missionaries, number
of organized churches, and membership on mission fields? What is the status of this
work today?
     4. Of the foreign missions attempted by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church,
which were the result of deliberate planning? Which were opened up through
unexpected, yet seemingly providential, means?
     5. What role has education (i.e., the founding of schools on the mission
fields) played in the foreign mission work of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church?
Why is educational work considered important?
     6. Can a church exist and fulfill its purpose without engaging in missions?
in missions in foreign lands? Why?

8. The Church Founds Educational Institutions

     IN THE LETTER addressed by the Council of Revival
Ministers to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church
in 1807, the following affirmation was made on the subject of
education: "We never have embraced the idea of an unlearned
ministry. The peculiar state of our country and extent of the
revival, reduced us to the necessity of introducing more of
that description than we otherwise would. We sincerely esteem
a learned and pious ministry, and hope that the church will
never be left destitute of such an ornament."


     In the "Circular Letter" sent out by the Cumberland Presbytery soon after
its organization in 1810 the following statements appear:

          "Some fear lest the Presbytery should take too much liberty in
     licensing and ordaining unlearned men. If by this you mean, you are afraid
     the Presbytery, in some instances, will dispense with the dead languages,
     your fears are well grounded. But if you are afraid we will license and
     ordain men without a good English education, we hope your fears are
     without foundation."

     The new presbytery, in fact, demonstrated its concern for the education of
its ministers in at least three ways. First, it set up standards which had to be
met preparatory to ordination. In the compact entered into on February 4, 1810,
on the occasion of the organization of the new presbytery, the following
requirements were set forth: "Moreover, all licentiates before they are set
apart to the whole work of the ministry, or ordained, shall be required to
undergo an examination on English Grammar, Geography, Astronomy, Natural and
Moral Philosophy, and Church History. The Presbytery may also require an
examination on all, or any part, of the above branches of literature before
licensure if they deem it expedient." A footnote explains that "It will not be
understood that examinations on experimental religion and Theology will be
omitted." An examination of the records of the Cumberland Presbytery during its
three and a half years of existence prior to the organization of the Cumberland
Synod reveals that the presbytery faithfully lived up to these requirements.
Each man whose ordination is recorded was examined prior to his ordination on
the subjects mentioned.
     Second, the presbytery sought to improve the educational status of its
ministers, licentiates, and candidates by purchasing and maintaining a
circulating library. The resolution establishing the Cumberland Presbytery
Library was passed in March, 1811. Each ordained minister, licentiate, and
candidate was asked to contribute five dollars for this purpose. A total of
fifty-four dollars was raised at this meeting of presbytery, and by the next
regular meeting of presbytery in October a number of books had been purchased.
Among the books purchased were Campbell's Lectures, Ferguson's Astronomy,
Addison's Evidences, Watt's Logic, Manners and Customs, Study of the Bible,
Stewart's Philosophy, Natural Philosophy, and Guthrie's Grammar. Other
contributions were made to the library fund and additional books purchased
later. These books were distributed among the ordained ministers, licentiates,
and candidates at each regular meeting of presbytery and were returned at the
next meeting. When it was decided to form a synod, the books and money belonging
to the Cumberland Presbytery Library were divided among the three presbyteries.
     Third, the presbytery gave direct financial aid to ministerial candidates
who were in position to attend school. In October, 1811, the presbytery adopted
the following resolution:

          "Resolved, That for the purpose of educating Philip McDaniel, the
     ordained ministers present, do mutually agree and bind themselves to
     collect or procure ten dollars, and as much more as they can, for the
     above purpose, and if there should be any more money raised than will be
     necessary, it shall be applied to similar purposes by the direction of
     Presbytery; one-half the money to be collected at least by our next
     Presbytery, the balance by our next fall session."

     In November, 1812, it was reported "that the whole demand against the
Presbytery for said McDaniel's tuition and board is fifty-seven dollars and ten
cents." The few dollars that were lacking were immediately contributed and the
obligation met in full.
     These further evidences of the interest of the founders of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church in education are worthy of notice: In the winter of
1821-1822, Finis Ewing established a school at his home at New Lebanon, Cooper
County, Missouri, for the education of the candidates for the ministry in McGee
Presbytery. He boarded them in his home without charge and instructed them in
theology, while R. D. Morrow gave them instruction in literature and science.
Dr. Beard says, "This was the first movement toward a Theological School in the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and, I suppose, west of the Mississippi River."
1 It was for this group of candidates that Ewing prepared his Lectures on the
Most Important Subjects in Divinity.
     When the question of establishing a college was before the Synod in 1825,
Ewing made a speech which Dr. Cossitt afterward said was "the most lucid and
powerful argument in favor of ministerial education, to which the writer ever
listened." Dr. Cossitt, who was president of the denomination's first college,
goes on to point out that Ewing "was always one of the warmest friends and most
liberal patrons of this institution." Ewing directed that the profits from his
lectures go to Cumberland College. Subsequently, when Cumberland College was in
sore financial straits, he prepared for publication an appeal to the entire
church in which he proposed to make a donation of $250 toward the first $50,000,
and a like donation toward the second $50,000 that the church would raise as a
permanent endowment fund for the college." The last letter Dr. Cossitt ever
received from Ewing contained subscriptions which Ewing had obtained for the
endowment of Cumberland College in the amount of $1,125. 2
     The Reverend D. W. McLin rendered in Illinois a service similar to that
which Ewing rendered in Missouri. Dr. J. B. Logan says, "Rev. David W. McLin--who, perhaps more than any other man, gave shape to the early operations of the
Church in Illinois, founded a school at his own house or in his neighborhood,
where he taught candidates for the ministry." He goes on to list several
candidates whom McLin taught. This was in about the year 1824 at Enfield, White
     Samuel King and Robert Donnell each traveled, at different times, as
financial agents for Cumberland College. Robert Donnell was a leader in getting
Cumberland University located at Lebanon and gave lectures on theology in this
institution while he was serving as pastor of the church in Lebanon.
     Thomas Calhoun had a son who entered the ministry. He sent his son to
college and later to a theological school. Concerning Calhoun, Dr. McDonnold
says, "He nearly all his life was aiding some young preacher to obtain a college
education." 4
     In 1820, a mission school was established among the Chickasaw Indians near
the present site of Aberdeen, Mississippi. Of the three men who represented the
church in working out the agreement with the Indian chiefs for founding the
school, two (Samuel King and Robert Bell) were members of the first presbytery
of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. From 1820 until 1832, this school, which
was known as Charity Hall, was conducted by the Reverend and Mrs. Robert Bell.


     The first college founded by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was
provided for by a resolution of the Cumberland Synod adopted October 22, 1825.
Five commissioners were appointed to select a site, receive donations and
subscriptions, purchase land, and make the necessary arrangements for bringing
the institution into operation. A tract of land consisting of not less than two
hundred nor more than five hundred acres was to be purchased, and every student
was to be employed in manual labor not less than two nor more than three hours a
day. Produce of the farm was expected to be appropriated by the boarding
establishment. Feather beds were forbidden, and students were to be restricted
to a frugal and wholesome diet, "avoiding all luxuries." Tuition was set at
thirty dollars per year. There was to be no charge for boarding and washing,
unless the necessities of the institution should require it, and in any case the
charge was not to exceed thirty dollars per year. The board of trustees was also
authorized to establish a printing office to publish a periodical paper, books,
tracts, et cetera, if deemed expedient.
     The commission met in January, 1826, and visited Princeton Hopkinsville,
Elkton, and Russellville, Kentucky, all of which had made proposals with a view
to securing the location of the school. Princeton was selected, and a farm of
between four and five hundred acres was purchased. Unfortunately, many of the
subscriptions which had been offered for the location of the school were never
paid. Money had to be borrowed to make the down payment for the farm.
     The first president of the school was the Reverend Franceway Ranna
Cossitt. Born at Claremont, New Hampshire, April 24, 1790, he was graduated from
Middlebury College, in Vermont, in 1813. He studied theology at New Haven (which
later became the General Episcopal Seminary of New York), and he was licensed as
a lay reader in the Protestant Episcopal Church. Later he went to Tennessee and
taught school near Clarksville. In the summer of 1821, he came in contact with,
and was attracted to, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He was received by
Logan Presbytery as a licentiate in October, 1821, and was ordained by Anderson
Presbytery the following year. Dr. Cossitt was one of the leaders in the
founding of the college, and the manual labor aspect was his idea.
     The college was chartered as Cumberland College. By ]830 there were about
125 students, all young men, as the college was never coeducational. Dr. Richard
Beard, who entered Cumberland College in 1830, says, "The college seemed a good
deal like a bee-hive. Each teacher was ringing the bell every hour for his
class; and every two hours the horn was blowing for the laboring divisions." 5
     In an attempt to solve the ever-present financial difficulties of the
school, the college property was leased in 1831 to the Reverend John Barnett and
Aaron Shelby. Shelby sold his interest to a Mr. Young who died shortly
thereafter, and the trustees became a partner with Barnett in the enterprise. In
1837, a joint stock association was formed to assume the debts of thc school and
provide for its operation. About 1839, the subject of transferring the school to
some other Christian denomination was considered. The General Assembly adopted
plans in 1840 for the raising of $100,000 for educational purposes of which
$55,000 was to be endowment for Cumberland College, but the plans were only
partially carried out, and there was only temporary relief. The next General
Assembly, meeting in 1842, resolved to move the school to a more promising
location. This resolution, as will be seen, resulted in the founding of
Cumberland University, at Lebanon, Tennessee.
     Cumberland College was continued, however, under the auspices of Green
River Synod. From 1843 until 1854, Richard Beard served as president. The farm
was sold with the exception of ten acres on which were the college buildings.
The operation of the college was continued until June, 1860.
     Throughout its history Cumberland College was plagued by financial
difficulties arising from the failure of the church to give its support.
Nonetheless, it made a distinct contribution to education. A beginning was made
toward a scientific teaching of agriculture. We are told that as early as 1837
"The college set aside about twenty acres of ground which was prepared and
cultivated as the faculty may direct for making agricultural experiments and
elucidating the science of husbandry and gardening." It was intended that
students attending the institution should "carry a knowledge of scientific
agriculture back to their home community and improve agricultural practices
there." 6
      Furthermore, a number of men who became educators in the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church or elsewhere received their college education
here. Among these may be mentioned Dr. Richard Beard, who became the first
professor of systematic theology in the theological school at Cumberland
University; Dr. B. W. McDonnold, who served as president of Bethel College and
later of Cumberland University; Dr. S. G. Burney, who became Dr. Beard's
successor as professor of theology at Cumberland University; and Dr. W. A.
Scott, one of the founders of the San Francisco Theological Seminary of the
Presbyterian Church, U. S. A.


     In May, 1842, the General Assembly appointed a committee to receive bids
for the relocation of its college. The proposal submitted by Lebanon, Tennessee,
to provide a site and $10,000 in cash for the erection of a building, was
accepted. A board of trustees was appointed. This board selected Dr. F. R.
Cossitt, who up until this time had served as president of the college at
Princeton, as president of the school which soon became known as Cumberland
     From the beginning the school had the support of the citizens of Lebanon,
one of the most liberal of whom was Robert L. Caruthers who for forty years
served as a trustee. A law school was established in 1847, and Judge Abram
Caruthers became the first professor, his salary being guaranteed by his
brother, Robert L. Caruthers. This school opened with seven students, but during
the first year twenty-five were enrolled. By 1857-1858 there were 181 students.
Concerning the law school Dr. B. W. McDonnold wrote:

          "From the first the law school has combined all the best methods of
     instruction with the services of the very ablest professors. The
     instruction does not consist of mere lectures by those who have turned
     aside for an hour from busy practice at the bar, but able lawyers give
     their whole time to the classes, teaching by recitations, lectures, and
     moot courts." 7

     A school of engineering was established in 1852. Professor A. P. Stewart,
a graduate of the U. S. Military Academy and later a general in the army of the
Confederate States of America, was the first head of this school.
     In the early years of the university, lectures in theology were given by
the Reverend Robert Donnell and the Reverend David Lowry, pastors of the Lebanon
church, and by Dr. T. C. Anderson, second president of the University. In 1852,
the General Assembly voted to establish a theological school at Cumberland
University. This school was opened in March, 1854, with Dr. Richard Beard as the
only professor. From 1854 until 1858, the number of strictly theological
students ranged from four to seven, although candidates for the ministry
attending the College of Arts attended the theological lectures also. In 1859,
Dr. B. W. McDonnold was appointed professor of Pastoral Theology and Sacred
Rhetoric. In 1861, the work of the theological school, as well as that of the
entire university, was interrupted by the War Between the States.
     In 1877, three men were inaugurated as professors in the Theological
School: Dr. W. H. Darnall, professor of Church History; Dr. S. G. Burney,
professor of Biblical Literature; and Dr. R. V. Foster, professor of Hebrew and
New Testament Greek. Following Dr. Beard's death in 1880, Dr. Burney and Dr.
Foster served successively as professors of systematic theology. Other
professors who served prior to the closing of the theological school in 1909
included Dr. J. D. Kirkpatrick (1878-1895) and Dr. J. V. Stephens (1896-1909) in
Church History; Dr. Claiborne H. Bell (1884-1909) in Missions and Comparative
Religions; Dr. J. M. Hubbert (1893-1902), Homiletics and Pastoral Theology; Dr.
W. P. Bone (1894-1909), New Testament Interpretation; Dr. Finis King Farr
(1895-1909), Hebrew and Old Testament Interpretation; and Dr. R. G. Pearson
(1903-1909), English Bible and Evangelistic Methods. From the beginning of the
Theological School in 1854 until its discontinuance in 1909, 430 B.D. degrees
were conferred by Cumberland University.
     Concerning the contribution of Cumberland University, Dr. W. P. Bone has

          "It would be impossible to include all of Cumberland's alumni who
     have attained positions of eminence or who have rendered distinguished
     service. An incomplete list recently made is as follows: College and
     university presidents, 47; college and university professors, 106;
     moderators of church national assemblies. 21; Justices, United States
     Supreme Court, 2; United State Senators, 9; Congressmen, 66; Federal
     District Judges, 10; Federal Circuit Judges, 4, Federal District
     Attorneys, 12; Generals, 8; Governors, 11, State Supreme Judges, 42;
     Judges, Court of Appeals, 12; State Attorney Generals, 14; Chancellors,
     20; District Judges, 65; United States Ministers, 4; Secretary of State,
     l; other high positions, 50."8

     Cumberland University passed from under the control of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church in 1906.


     Early in its history the Cumberland Presbyterian Church envisioned a
comprehensive program of education for the masses. Many of its early ministers
on the frontier were also teachers. One General Assembly recommended a school
system to embrace "schools in the bounds of every congregation," "a presbyterial
school in the bounds of every presbytery," these to be "crowned by the
university at Lebanon and the colleges at Princeton, Beverly, and Uniontown." 9
Under this sort of program numerous schools were launched. Many presbyteries
resolved to establish schools. Those which survived were eventually taken under
the care of some synod. In time the need for co-operation from a larger area was
seen, and several synods co-operated in establishing a college or university of
respectable standing. The trend toward such co-operative efforts did not take
place everywhere at the same time. Nor were the efforts at establishing local
and presbyterial schools fruitless, for often these were the earliest schools
established in the communities in which they were located. They met a need.
     What happened in the subsequent development of the program of higher
education may be illustrated as follows:
     Prior to 1849, three schools had been operated in Ohio and Pennsylvania
for longer or shorter periods of time, more or less under the auspices of the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church. These were Madison College, Uniontown,
Pennsylvania, which came under Cumberland Presbyterian influence in 1835;
Beverly College, Beverly, Ohio, which in 1843 had been placed under the care of
Pennsylvania Synod; and Greene Academy, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania. Madison
College has the distinction of having? been one of the earliest colleges in the
United States to be co-educational. Since none of these schools continued to
operate successfully, Pennsylvania Presbytery, in 1849, resolved to found a
school within its bounds. Waynesburg was the place chosen. In November, 1851,
the school was opened in its new building. By March, 1850, a charter had been
procured providing that Pennsylvania Presbytery would appoint four of the seven
trustees contingent upon its maintaining three professorships. Shortly
thereafter this responsibility was taken over by Pennsylvania Synod.
     In 1850, a female school had been created under the name of Waynesburg
Female Seminary. In the fall of 1851 both schools were conducted in the new
building, and men and women attended many of the same classes. By 1858, the male
and female departments had been combined into one college.
     The first class was graduated from the college in September, 1853. Among
the members of this class was A. B. Miller who immediately was named a teacher
in the school and in 1859 was made president. Under his administration, which
was a lengthy one, Waynesburg College continued to prosper.
     Among the early schools in Illinois may be mentioned Ewing Seminary,
founded in 1843, first under the care of Illinois Presbytery and later of
Illinois Synod; Stout's Grove Seminary, founded in 1849 by Mackinaw Presbytery;
Le Roy Seminary, 1852, a continuation of Stout's Grove Seminary; Sullivan Acad-
emy, 1851; Union College, Virginia, Illinois, 1851, sponsored first by Sangamon
Presbytery and later by Sangamon and Illinois Synods; and Mt. Zion Seminary,
which was accepted by Decatur Presbytery in 1865. In the meantime, however, a
proposal had arisen in Indiana to establish a college on a co-operative basis to
serve the states of Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa. Just at that time the need for
a college for the education of ministers was most urgent because of the plight
of the colleges in the South as a result of the war. Thus five synods--Indiana,
Iowa, Illinois, Central Illinois, and Sangamon--co-operated in the founding of
Lincoln University at Lincoln, Illinois. This school opened in November, 1866.
Among the most prominent persons connected with this institution were the first
three presidents: the Reverend Azel Freeman, D.D., the Reverend J. C. Bowdon,
D.D., and the Reverend A. J. McGlumphy, D.D.
     In Texas a similar decision to act on a co-operative basis was made just
after the close of the War Between the States. Prior to the war three schools
had been sponsored by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Texas. La Grange
Collegiate Institute (later known as Ewing College) began its first session in
1848 under the supervision of Colorado Presbytery. In the fall of 1859 it became
a synodical school under the care of Colorado Synod. Chapel Hill College,
Daingerfield, Texas, was founded by Marshall Presbytery in the fall of 1849 or
spring of 1850. It came under the care of Texas Synod in August, 1854. Larissa
College was begun as an enterprise of Trinity Presbytery but was at once adopted
as a synodical school by Brazos Synod. All three of these schools were closed
during the war. One or two of them were reopened briefly after the war, but the
movement to establish a school to serve the three synods was getting under way.
     In 1867 committees were appointed by the Texas, Brazos, and Colorado
Synods looking to the establishment of one central school. The school was
located at Tehuacana, Texas (although several other places, including Dallas,
had made proposals for its location). The school was opened September 23, 1869,
and was named Trinity University. The first president was Dr. W. E. Beeson, who
had previously served as president of Chapel Hill College at Daingerfield. In
1902, Trinity was moved to Waxahachie. In 1942, it was moved to San Antonio,
where it continues as a school of the United Presbyterian Church, U. S. A.
     McGee College, College Mound, Missouri, was closed in 1874 because of
inadequate financial support. It was sponsored first by McGee Presbytery and
later by McAdow Synod. On October 27, 1874, an Educational Commission was formed
consisting of elected personnel from the Synods of McAdow, Missouri, and Ozark.
It was decided that an endowment of at least$100,000 must be raised before
another school would be attempted lø Subsequently the Synod of Kansas
co-operated in the undertaking. In 1888, Marshall, Missouri, was chosen as the
site of the new school, which was called Missouri Valley College. From the
beginning the college was co-educational. It opened September 17, 1889, with 153
students enrolled during the first year. Dr. William H. Black became the first
president in 1890.
     In 1900, Mr. James Millikin, of Decatur, Illinois, offered a gift for the
establishment of an institution in Decatur under conditions which were met by
the citizens of that community and the Synods of Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa of
the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In April, 1901, the charter of Lincoln
University was amended so as to change the name to Lincoln College and merge it
with the new college at Decatur as the James Millikin University. The school at
Decatur was opened in 1903. In addition to the schools already mentioned, there
were within the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 1906 several other schools of
which Arkansas Cumberland College, Clarksville, Arkansas, and Bethel College,
McKenzie, Tennessee, were the strongest.
     A movement had been begun in 1899 to raise a million dollars in
educational endowment for the schools and colleges of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church by 1910, the centennial of the Church. As a result of the
attempted union in 1906, however? all of these schools passed into the control
of the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. However, the board of trustees of Bethel
College, which was under the control of West Tennessee Synod, adhered to the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church, maintained a rival school until a favorable
decree was obtained relative to the college property, and thenceforth continued
the operation of Bethel College as a Cumberland Presbyterian school.
     Of the schools established by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church which
passed into the hands of the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., in 1906, Waynesburg
College, Lincoln College (which again became a separate institution in 1953),
James Millikin University, Missouri Valley College, and the College of the
Ozarks (formerly Arkansas Cumberland College) continue as schools of the United
Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. The Cumberland University Law School was moved to
Birmingham, Alabama, in 1961, and is now being operated as the Cumberland School
of Law of Howard College.
     Dr. H. B. Evans found reference to no less than eighty-four educational
institutions which have been at one time or another sponsored by the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church.11 The total number of such institutions is probably nearer
one hundred. Thus the interest of Cumberland Presbyterians in education has
received abundant testimony.

                      SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
     1. What evidences are there that Cumberland Presbyterian ministers of the
first generation were interested in education?

     2. What values were to be found in manual labor colleges such as
Cumberland College was intended to be? What were the disadvantages of such a

     3. Why was Cumberland College so often in financial difficulties? Why was
Cumberland University more successful in this respect?

     4. What lessons were learned from the attempt to establish a multiplicity
of schools? How did the major colleges of the denomination which were in
existence in 1906 come into being?

     5. Why is Bethel College the only college now owned and supported by the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church?

9. The Church Develops Its Confession of Faith

     ATTENTION HAS ALREADY been given to the difficulty which arose in the Synod of
Kentucky of the Presbyterian Church over Cumberland Presbytery's permitting its
candidates for the ministry at their licensure and ordination to accept the
Westminster Confession of Faith only insofar as they considered it consistent with
the Word of God. The real difficulty, of course, was over the acceptance of the
doctrine of unconditional predestination as stated in the Westminster Confession. The
experiences of the revival, in which it was evident that the Holy Spirit was working
in the masses and that men never before suspected of being among the elect were
crying out for mercy, must have led the participants to question a doctrinal scheme
which seemed to teach that salvation was designed only for a select few.
     Thus there came into being a theological system which was not the product of
the logic of Scholasticism but of the intense fervor of an evangelical awakening. The
theological position of Cumberland Presbyterians was not conceived by logicians but
by evangelists.


     The first official doctrinal statement of the new church was 
contained in the compact which was entered into in the reorganization of Cumberland
Presbytery. It was as follows:

          "All candidates for the ministry, who may hereafter be licensed by this
     Presbytery, and all the licentiates or probationers, who may hereafter be
     ordained by this Presbytery, shall be required, before such licensure and
     ordination, to receive and adopt the Confession and Discipline of the
     Presbyterian Church, except the idea of fatality, that seems to be taught under
     the mysterious doctrine of predestination. It is to be understood, however,
     that such as can clearly receive the Confession, without an exception, shall
     not be required to make any."

     The purpose of this provision was simply to guarantee to those who should unite
with the new presbytery the liberty which the members of the presbytery had sought
and had failed to obtain in the Presbyterian Church. No further creedal statement was
drawn up at the time, since the members of the new presbytery still entertained hope
for a reunion with the Presbyterian Church.


     As soon as it became apparent that the anticipated reunion with the main body
of Presbyterians was not going to take place, it became increasingly necessary for
the members of Cumberland Presbytery to state their position before the world.
Accordingly, at the last meeting of Cumberland Presbytery prior to its division to
form three presbyteries, a committee consisting of Finis Ewing and Robert Donnell was
appointed "to draw up a complete, though succinct, account of the rise, doctrines,
etc., of the Cumberland Presbytery." This committee was directed to report to the
synod which was to be constituted at Beech meetinghouse, Surnner County, Tennessee,
in October, 1813.
     The report of this committee was adopted at the first meeting of the Cumberland
Synod and was directed to be published in Woodward's edition of Buck's Theological
Dictionary. As to doctrines, this statement sets forth six essential doctrines held
by Cumberland Presbyterians, four points on which they dissent from the Presbyterian
Confession, and a statement to the effect that Cumberland Presbyterians claim to hold
a "middle ground" between Calvinism and Arminianism.
     The grounds of dissent from the Westminster Confession are stated in the
following paragraph:
          "They dissent from the Confession--in, 1st, That there are no eternal
     reprobates.--2nd, That Christ died not for a part only, but for all mankind.--3rd, That all infants, dying in infancy are saved through Christ and
     sanctification of the Spirit.--4th, That the Spirit of God operates on the
     world, or as coextensively as Christ has made the atonement, in such a manner
     as to leave all men inexcusable."

     At this same meeting of synod a committee was appointed to prepare a Confession
of Faith, Catechism, and Discipline. This committee consisted of William McGee, Finis
Ewing, Robert Donnell, and Thomas Calhoun, all ministers.


     The committee named above made its report to the synod in its 1814 meeting,
and, although there were some amendments, the final vote on every item was unanimous.
     This Confession of Faith followed the plan of the Westminster Confession. Many
whole chapters were adopted almost verbatim. Other chapters were materially changed
by additions or omissions, or by a rewriting of a section to make it harmonize with
the belief and teachings of Cumberland Presbyterians. The principal changes made were
in Chapters III, VIII, X, XIII, and XVII, although there were minor changes in
several other chapters.
     In Chapter III, "The Decrees of God," the Westminster Confession of Faith
states that God from eternity ordained "whatsoever comes to pass." The Confession
adopted by the Cumberland Synod in 1814 stated that God determined to bring to pass
"what should be for his own glory." The section relative to the passing by of the
non-elect was omitted as was also the section declaring that the number of the elect
"is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or diminished."
     Chapter VIII of the Westminster Confession states that through Christ's
sacrifice of himself he "purchased not only reconciliation, but an
everlasting-inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath
given unto him." The last clause was changed to read "for all those who come to the
Father by him." The final section of this chapter was changed so as to contain a
clear statement that "Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, has tasted death for every
     The doctrine of "Effectual Calling" (chapter X) begins with the statement, "All
those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his
appointed and accepted time, effectually to call...." Cumberland Presbyterians
changed this statement to read, "All those whom God calls, and who obey the call, and
those only, he is pleased by his word and Spirit to bring out of that state of sin
and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ."
Instead of the statement, "Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved
by Christ through the Spirit," Cumberland Presbyterians affirmed that "All infants
dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ, through the Spirit."
     Instead of stating, under the head "Perseverance of the Saints," that those who
are effectually called "can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of
grace," Cumberland Presbyterians substituted the following: "They whom God hath
justified and sanctified, he will also glorify; consequently, the truly regenerated
soul will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall
certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved." Cumberland
Presbyterians refused to base this doctrine on "the immutability of the decree of
election," as does the Westminster Confession, although they followed the older Con-
fession in basing it upon "the unchangeable love and power of God; the merits,
advocacy, and intercession of Jesus Christ, the abiding of the Spirit and seed of God
within them; and the nature of the covenant of grace."
     In the third section of this chapter, the Westminster Confession mentions the
possibility that those who have been accepted by God, effectually called and
sanctified may "fall into grievous sins" and "hurt and scandalize others, and bring
temporal judgements upon themselves." This section was changed by Cumberland
Presbyterians to read as follows:

          "Although there are examples in the Old Testament of good men having
     egregiously sinned, and some of them continuing for a time therein; yet now,
     since life and immortality are brought clearer to light by the gospel, and
     especially since the effusion of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, we may
     not expect the true Christian to fall into such gross sins. Nevertheless, they
     may, through the temptations of Satan, the world, and the flesh, the neglect of
     the means of grace, fall into sin and incur God's displeasure, and grieve his
     Holy Spirit; come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts,
     and have their consciences wounded; but the real Christian can never rest
     satisfied therein."

     Although the synod "remodeled" the Westminster Confession according to its own
interpretation of the Scriptures, that confession was declared to be "in the main, an
admirable work, especially to have been framed so shortly after the Roman supersti-
tion and idolatry had almost covered the whole Christian world." At the same time the
synod claimed the right "to adopt what they think right, and expunge what they think
erroneous, from any human creed."


     No change was made in 1814 in the order of subjects as found in the Westminster
Confession. Furthermore, it was impossible, simply by expunging words, phrases, or
even whole sections, to eliminate all the implications of a system which was founded
on the view that God had designed to save only a select portion of mankind. This
doctrine permeated much of the Westminster Confession from Chapter III onward.
     As early as 1852, agitation was begun in the General Assembly for a revision of
the Confession of Faith. The vote on this question that year, however, was decidedly
in the negative. In 1853, a committee prepared and presented a proposed creed which
included a rearrangement of the order of the chapters and some verbal changes. Again
the vote of the General Assembly was in the negative.
     The revisionists persisted, however, and in 1881 a memorial was presented to
the General Assembly from Tehuacana Presbytery asking for a revision of the
Confession of Faith. This memorial received favorable consideration, and two
committees were appointed, one to revise the book and the other to review and revise
the work of the first committee. The result of the work of the committees was
published and distributed in pamphlet form so that the committees might have the
benefit of any suggestions or criticisms before making their report to the Assembly.
The next General Assembly resolved itself into a committee of the whole, and the
proposed revision was considered item by item. Some changes were made, and the
proposed book, as amended, was submitted to the presbyteries for their acceptance or
rejection. Coupled with the transmission of the book to the presbyteries was the
following provision:
     "It being hereby distinctly understood and declared that those who have
heretofore received and adopted the Confession of Faith approved by the General
Assembly in 1829, and who prefer to adhere to the doctrinal statements contained
therein, are at liberty to do so." McDonnold says, "This item went far toward
satisfying the anti-revisionists." 1 Through oversight, or for some unknown cause,
this paragraph was omitted from the stereotyped book, but it stands as the decision
of the church nevertheless.
     The vote on the adoption of the new book was almost unanimous, and in 1883,
when the vote was tabulated, it was formally declared "that the Confession of Faith
and Government of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church had been constitutionally
changed, and that the Revised Confession, as approved by the Presbyteries, is
hereafter to be of binding authority upon the churches."
     The committees, in submitting the result of their labors to the General
Assembly in 1882, made the following statement concerning the policy to which they
adhered in framing the new Confession:

          "Mindful of the fact that the Committees were appointed, not to make a
     new Confession, but to revise the old one, we have studied not to transcend our
     authority, and we have no hesitation in saying that we have not changed a
     single doctrine fundamental to your scheme of theology, or any of its logical
          "We have attempted to draw with precision the boundaries between your
     theological scheme and those of other Churches, and then to allow the utmost
     liberty of opinion within these bounds. Hence, we have not sought to put into
     this revision tenets peculiar to any man, but only such as are common to all,
     and we think we have so far succeeded in this endeavor as that every
     intelligent Cumberland Presbyterian can cheerfully subscribe to all that is set
     forth in the revision." 2

     From the foregoing it may be seen that (1) the new book was considered by its
authors to be a revision rather than a new Confession; (2) it was intended to set
forth only what was generally believed and preached throughout the church; and (3)
liberty of opinion was to be indulged within the limits laid down.
     If one compares this edition of the Confession of Faith with the Confession of
1814, it will be found that the principal changes consisted in:
     Rearrangement of Material. The revisers added two new subjects, "Regeneration"
and "Growth in Grace," to give emphasis to doctrines preached by Cumberland
Presbyterians which it was felt were inadequately treated in the older Confession.
Two important changes in chapter headings were made: "Divine Influence" was
substituted for "Effectual Calling," and "Preservation of Believers" for
"Perseverance of the Saints." The order of subjects, one of the greatest sources of
dissatisfaction with the Confession of 1814, was changed. The following table shows
the order followed in the new Confession as compared with that found in the old
(which was the same as in the Westminster Confession), chapters X-XV:

     Confession of 1814       Confession of 1883
     Effectual Calling             Divine Influence
     Justification            Repentance unto Life
     Adoption                 Saving Faith
     Sanctification           Justification
     Saving Faith             Regeneration
     Repentance unto Life          Adoption

     The reasons for the above changes are obvious. Regeneration, or the New Birth,
had always occupied a central place in the preaching of Cumberland Presbyterians, but
had never been given the prominence in the Confession of Faith which it deserved. On
the other hand, Cumberland Presbyterians had never believed in Effectual Calling
(meaning that the call of God to the elect is irresistible), although the term still
stood as a heading in the official creed of the church. As to the order of subjects,
the order in the older Confession fit in well with a creed which based man's
salvation entirely upon God's decree of election. If a man had no decision to make
regarding his salvation, Faith and Repentance might as well come after Justification
as before. Since Cumberland Presbyterians believe, however, that man has the
responsibility of accepting or rejecting the gracious influence of the Holy Spirit,
and since they believe the condition of Justification to be, not Effectual Calling,
but Faith, it naturally follows that Repentance and Saving Faith precede
     Simplification of Language and Style. The Westminster Confession was written in
1642. Since all living languages are constantly changing, the meaning of many words
and phrases had changed in the course of two hundred forty years, and other phrases
in vogue at the earlier date had ceased to be used or understood. Furthermore, the
style of the Westminster Confession was diffuse and tedious, the sentences long and
difficult to understand. The revisers of the Confession of Faith, by rewriting all
the sections and putting them in simpler terms, shortened the Confession and
Catechism by more than one-half.
     As an illustration of what was achieved through the simplification of the
language and style, a passage from Chapter XX, "Of Christian Liberty, and Liberty of
Conscience," is here cited from the Confession of Faith of 1814 (which at this point
is identical with the Westminster Confession):
          "The liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel
     consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God,
     the curse of the moral law, and in their being delivered from this present evil
     world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin, from the evil of afflictions, the
     sting of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation; as also in
     their free access to God, and their yielding obedience unto him, not out of
     slavish fear, but a child-like love, and a willing mind. All which were common
     also to believers under the law: but under the New Testament, the liberty of
     Christians is further enlarged in their freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial
     law, to which the Jewish Church was subjected, and in greater boldness of
     access to the throne of grace, and in fuller communications of the free Spirit
     of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of." 3

     The corresponding section in the Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of Faith as
adopted in 1883 reads as follows:

          "The liberty that Christ has secured to believers under the gospel
     consists in freedom from the guilt and penal consequences of sin, in their free
     access to God, and in their yielding obedience to him, not from a slavish fear,
     but from a cheerful and confiding love." 4

     Elimination of Objectionable Statements. It was impossible to eliminate all
objectionable statements from a Confession as selfconsistent as the Westminster
Confession simply by expunging a few sentences here and there and writing corrected
statements in their places. Only by a complete rewriting of the whole was it possible
to eliminate all traces of "limitarianism." This could never have been accomplished
by piecemeal revision, footnotes, or explanatory statements.


     In 1955, a year in which emphasis was to be given to the biblical doctrine and
practice of tithing, a proposed amendment to the Confession of Faith was submitted by
Robert Donnell Presbytery setting forth the belief of the church in the practice of
tithing. This amendment was passed by the General Assembly and submitted to the
presbyteries for their approval, and it received the affirmative vote of the
requisite three-fourths majority of the presbyteries.
     The next General Assembly, however, expressed the desire that this doctrine
should be set in its larger context under the head of "Christian Stewardship." A
special committee was appointed to write an amendment which would carry out the
wishes of the Assembly. Such an amendment was submitted to the General Assembly in
1957 in the form of a section on "Christian Stewardship." Following its approval by
the General Assembly and the requisite number of presbyteries, it became sections
79-84 of the Confession of Faith.


     It has already been noted that the Cumberland Synod, in 1814, affirmed its
right "to adopt what they think right, and expunge what they think erroneous, from
any human creed." On this basis the synod proceeded to make a number of radical
changes in the Confession which had been adopted as the Confession of Cumberland
Presbytery in 1810. Furthermore, as more time elapsed, the need to bring the
Confession of Faith more nearly in line with what was actually believed and taught by
Cumberland Presbyterians became apparent. Again the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
made the revisions it deemed proper, even though these revisions meant a virtual
rewriting of the older Confession. Again in recent years, moved by the modem
rediscovery of the biblical doctrine of Christian stewardship, Cumberland Presby-
terians gave expression to their belief in that doctrine by giving it a place in
their Confession of Faith.
     The changing of a time-honored creedal statement is not easy, as is evident by
the consistent refusal of the larger Presbyterian bodies to make any real change in
the text of the Westminster Confession, even though there has been, at different
times, agitation for revision.5 From the time of the founding fathers, Cumberland
Presbyterians have been willing to make changes in structure, methods, and program to
meet new and changing situations. In like manner, there has been willingness to make
changes in doctrinal statements when new experiences and a new understanding of
biblical truth have led to the questioning of interpretations formerly held. There is
a need with the passage of time to revise creedal statements, just as there is a need
for new translations of the Holy Scriptures. Cumberland Presbyterians have been
sensitive to that need.

                        SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
     1. What was the first Confession of Faith used by Cumberland Presbyterians? Why
was it soon necessary for them to formulate confessional statements of their own?

     2. What were the principal changes made in the Confession of Faith adopted in

     3. The committees appointed in 1881 to revise the Confession of Faith attempted
to draw "with precision" the boundaries between the Cumberland Presbyterian
theological scheme and those of other churches and sought to allow the utmost liberty
of opinion within these bounds. This has resulted in some statements which are more
vague or indefinite than some persons would desire. What would be the effect if these
doctrines were defined in more detail? Is there value in not being explicit on some
issues? Why?

     4. Is the order of subjects as found in the revised Confession of Faith more in
keeping with the plan of salvation as preached by Cumberland Presbyterians than was
the order in the Confession of 1814? Why?

     5. What is the difference between "Effectual Calling" and "Divine Influence"?

     6. Why do you think a new chapter on "Regeneration" was included in the revised
Confession of Faith?

     7. Why was a chapter on "Christian Stewardship" inserted into the Confession of
Faith in recent years?

     8. Is it as necessary to revise church creeds periodically as it is to have new
translations of the Scriptures? Why? What difference is there between revising a
creed and revising or retranslating the Bible?

     9. Why is it usually difficult to revise a creedal statement?

10. Attempts at Union

     AS HAS ALREADY been pointed out, the founders of the Cumberland Presbyterian
Church did not intend to establish another denomination. They were seeking rather to
secure for the ministers who would be ordained the freedom to accept the Presbyterian
Confession of Faith with certain reservations as they themselves had done.
     Our church founders hoped for a reunion with the Presbyterian Church. The
"Circular Letter" sent out in 1810 by order of the Cumberland Presbytery stated "that
we have it in view as a Presbytery to continue, or make another proposition to the
Synod of Kentucky, or some other Synod, for a re-union, if we can obtain it without
violating our natural and scriptural rights." In April, 1812, communications with
reference to a possible reunion were sent to the presbyteries of Muhlenburg and West
Tennessee of the Presbyterian Church. These overtures were rejected, however, and
West Tennessee Presbytery went so far as to pass an order prohibiting the members of
its churches from partaking of the Lord's Supper with Cumberland Presbyterians.


     No further attempts at union appear to have been made until after the War
Between the States, although the General Assembly which met in 1860, "seeing that the
great Presbyterian family embrace alike the same church government, and that in their
oral addresses they are doctrinally converging to the same standpoint," ventured to
"cherish the fond hope that the day is not far distant when the entire family shall
be represented in one General Assembly."
     In 1867, the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church took steps
looking toward union with the Presbyterian Church, U. S., which occupied the southern
states. This church had come into separate existence at the beginning of the War
Between the States in consequence of resolutions adopted by the General Assembly of
the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. These resolutions virtually made loyalty to the
United States a condition of church membership. In the attempt to formulate an
acceptable basis for union, the committee of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
proposed to surrender the Cumberland name and to accept the standards of the
Presbyterian Church, U. S., on the subject of ministerial education. It was proposed,
however, either that the Confession of Faith and Catechism of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church be accepted by the united church, or that verbal changes be made
in the Presbyterian Confession which would satisfactorily eliminate the idea of
fatality. The attempt failed because the Presbyterian committee was unwilling to
recommend such changes in its doctrinal standards.
     The next attempt at union was with the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., beginning
in the year 1873. The committee of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church submitted, as a
basis for union, a proposal that the Form of Government and Discipline of the
Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., be adopted by the united church, but that both
confessions of faith be retained as they were and regarded as of equal authority. It
was proposed that in the licensure and ordination of ministers the individual be
allowed to choose which of the two confessions he would accept. The Presbyterian
committee, however, was unwilling to recommend union on this basis, and the
negotiations were concluded without the submission of any plan to the two General
     Beginning in 1881, negotiations were opened for union with the General Synod of
the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The negotiations, which were carried on through
correspondence, disclosed that while the Lutheran body favored a closer and more
hearty fraternal union, they believed the difficulties in the way of organic union
insurmountable. The Lutherans felt that unless unanimous consent on the part of all
the churches of both denominations could be assured, the effect would be only to
produce an additional number of factions. The committee of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church felt it unwise to press for positive action, at least not until
the matter of the revision of their own Confession of Faith, then under
consideration, should be settled.
     In 1882, the Methodist Protestant Church, through its fraternal messenger to
the Cumberland Presbyterian General Assembly, opened negotiations for a union of the
two bodies. The Methodist Protestants had separated from the main body of Methodists
in 1828 over their demand for lay representation in the conferences and had set up a
Methodist church without bishops. A joint conference of the committees appointed to
represent the two churches was held in the year 1886. It was found that no serious
impediment to union existed in the government of the two churches, nor in their
doctrines except on the question of the "preservation of believers." Since the
Confession of Faith of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was considered more full
and systematic, it was recommended for favorable consideration as the creed of the
united church with the suggestion that the question as to the certainty or
uncertainty of the preservation of believers be left unexpressed. The General
Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 1887 considered the report of this
joint conference but expressed its "unwillingness to omit from our system of faith a
doctrine so precious to us as that of the 'preservation of believers.' " The General
Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church, meeting in 1888, took unfavorable
action on the question of organic union, and so the negotiations were closed.
     From the foregoing it will be seen that Cumberland Presbyterians at one time or
another expressed their willingness to give up the name "Cumberland" and to accept
the standards for ministerial education held by the larger Presbyterian bodies in
order to achieve union. They were cautious, however, in matters of doctrine lest
their "middle ground" theology, or at least the liberty of their ministers, elders,
deacons and members to hold and preach that system of doctrine, be compromised.


     In 1903, the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, meeting in
Nashville, Tennessee, had before it memorials from nine presbyteries and two synods
favoring some sort of action looking to the union of the Cumberland Presbyterian
Church with the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. There were also memorials from ten
presbyteries opposing such action. The result of the consideration of these memorials
was the appointment of a Committee on Presbyterian Fraternity and Union "to confer
with such like Committees as may be appointed by other Presbyterian bodies, in regard
to the desirability and practicability of closer affiliation and organic union among
the members of the Presbyterian family in the United States."
     Although the appointment of the committee contemplated action looking to
negotiations for the union of all Presbyterian bodies, the efforts of the committee
were confined to negotiations with the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. Since the
withdrawal of the southern presbyteries in 1861, this church had been principally
confined to the North and West. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.
S. declined to appoint a committee to confer on the subject of union.


     During the ensuing year, the committees from the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
and the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. held three joint meetings. The result was the
drafting of a Joint Report on Union to be submitted to the General Assemblies of the
two churches in their 1904 meetings.
     This report consisted of a "Plan of Reunion and Union of the Two Churches"
embodying four points, a series of eight "Concurrent Declarations," and three
"Recommendations." The "Plan of Reunion and Union" provided that the two churches be
united under the name of The Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, and
that the union be effected "on the doctrinal basis of the Confession of Faith of the
Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, as revised in 1903, and of its
other doctrinal and ecclesiastical standards" and that "the Scriptures of the Old and
New Testaments shall be acknowledged as the inspired word of God, the only infallible
rule of faith and practice." It was further provided that each General Assembly
should submit this basis of union to the presbyteries during the ensuing year for
their approval or disapproval, and that, if the two General Assemblies should find
the proposed basis of union to be approved by the constitutional majority, the union
should then be binding.
     One of the Concurrent Declarations stated that "it is mutually recognized that
such agreement now exists between the systems of doctrine contained in the Confession
of Faith of the two Churches as to warrant this union--a union honoring alike to
both." All ministers and churches in the two denominations were to have the same
standing in the united church as they had in their respective connections at the
consummation of the union.
     It was recommended that a change be made in the Form of Government of the
Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. to "allow additional or separate Presbyteries and
Synods to be organized in exceptional cases, wholly or in part, within the
territorial bounds of existing Presbyteries or Synods respectively, for a particular
race or nationality, if desired by such race or nationality."
     The joint report was signed by all members of the committee from the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church, but two members of the committee from the Presbyterian Church,
U. S. A., registered their dissent. Although the initiative had been taken by persons
within the Cumberland Presbyterian Church who desired union with the larger
Presbyterian body, the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. welcomed the union as a means by
which its work might be extended into the South and the Southwest.


     It has been noted that the plan of union was to be effected on the doctrinal
basis of "The Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of
America, as revised in 1903, and of its other doctrinal and ecclesiastical
standards." What was the nature of this revision? It consisted of (1) a Declaratory
Statement intended to interpret Chapter III and Chapter X, Section 3; (2) slight
changes in the wording of three other sections (which, however, had to do with
matters which were never called in question by Cumberland Presbyterians); and (3) the
addition of two chapters on "the Holy Spirit" and "the Love of God and Missions." The
Declaratory Statement reads as follows:

          "While the ordination vow of ministers, ruling elders, and deacons as set
     forth in the Form of Government, requires the reception and adoption of the
     Confession of Faith only as containing the System of Doctrine taught in the
     Holy Scriptures, nevertheless, seeing that the desire has been formally
     expressed for a disavowal by the Church of certain inferences drawn from
     statements in the Confession of Faith, and also for a declaration of certain
     aspects of revealed truth which appear at the present time to call for more
     explicit statement, therefore the Presbyterian Church in the United States of
     America does authoritatively declare as follows:
          "First, With reference to Chapter III. of the Confession of Faith: that
     concerning those who are saved in Christ, the doctrine of God's eternal decree
     is held in harmony with the doctrine of His love to all mankind, His gift of
     His Son to be the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, and His
     readiness to bestow His saving grace on all who seek it. That concerning those
     who perish, the doctrine of God's eternal decree is held in harmony with the
     doctrine that God desires not the death of any sinner but has provided in
     Christ a salvation sufficient for all, adapted to all, and freely offered in
     the Gospel to all; that men are fully responsible for their treatment of God's
     gracious offer; that His decree hinders no man from accepting that offer; and
     that no man is condemned except on the ground of his sin.
          "Second, With reference to Chapter X., Section 3, of the Confession of
     Faith, that it is not to be regarded as teaching that any who die in infancy
     are lost. We believe that all dying in infancy are included in the election of
     grace, and are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who works
     when and where and how He pleases." 1

     It should be noted that the Declaratory Statement dealt only with one chapter
and one section of another chapter of the Confession of Faith although the doctrine
of unconditional election and reprobation is present either explicitly or implicitly
in no less than thirteen chapters. No change was made in the text of the sections the
Declaratory Statement was designed to interpret. Although the Declaratory Statement
asserts that the doctrine of God's decrees as set forth in Chapter III is to be held
in harmony with His love to all mankind (and kindred doctrines), no indication is
given as to how the two can be harmonized.
     The members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Committee on Fraternity and Union,
in their report to the General Assembly in 1904, argued at length that "revision has
revised." At the same time, the committee of the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. was
saying to its General Assembly:

          "It was made clear to the brethren of the Committee on Fraternity and
     Union of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, at the outset of our conferences,
     that the Revision of the Confession of Faith recently undertaken by our Church
     was not occasioned by any pressure from without, but was purely a movement
     within our own denomination. It was also stated that the purposes of the
     movement were two: to disavow inferences drawn from certain statements in the
     Confession of Faith, and also to set forth clearly some aspects of revealed
     truth which appeared to call for more explicit statement. In addition it was
     declared that the effect of the adoption of the Declaratory Statement as a part
     of the Constitution, was simply to give legal standing to interpretations of
     Chapter iii and of Chapter x, Section 3, which previously had seemed to have
     merely the force of private opinion, and that the revision of the Confession of
     Faith had effected no material change in the doctrinal attitude of our Church"
     2 (italics ours).


     The Cumberland Presbyterian General Assembly met in 1904 at Dallas, Texas, and
the Joint Report on Union was before the Assembly. After a lengthy discussion which
covered the great part of two days, the proposal to submit the proposed basis of
union to the presbyteries "in the usual constitutional manner" was carried on
Wednesday night, May 25, by a vote of 162 to 74, four votes more than the two-thirds
majority required by the Constitution. A total of 251 commissioners were enrolled,
which means that fifteen commissioners were absent when the vote was taken.
     During the ensuing year the presbyteries voted on the proposal. When the votes
were canvassed at Fresno, California, in 1905, it was found that sixty presbyteries
had voted for approval of the union and fifty-one had voted their disapproval. Two
presbyteries did not report, and one voted for union conditionally. At that time only
a simple majority of presbyteries was required to effect a constitutional change,
each presbytery voting as a unit. Since there were one hundred and fourteen
presbyteries, an affirmative vote of fifty-eight presbyteries was required to carry
the proposal. Two more than that number had voted their approval. The summary of the
vote within the presbyteries showed that 691 ministers and 649 ruling elders had
voted for the union, making a total affirmative vote of 1,340, while 470 ministers
and 1,007 ruling elders, or a total of 1,477, had voted against union. There were 137
more votes cast against union than were cast for union, but the votes were so
distributed that a majority of presbyteries voted for union. The recommendation of
the majority of the Special Committee on Organic Union, that the General Assembly
declare the union "constitutionally agreed to by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church,"
was adopted by a vote of 137 to 110.
     Meanwhile, in the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., 194 of its 241 presbyteries
had voted for the union. This was well over the two-thirds vote of the presbyteries
required by that denomination.


     Details of carrying the union into effect having been left to the committees of
the two churches, the plan for accomplishing this task was embodied in the "Joint
Report on Reunion and Union" which was submitted to the Cumberland Presbyterian Gen-
eral Assembly meeting at Decatur, Illinois, May 17-24, 1906. This joint report was
adopted by the General Assembly by a vote of 165 to 91. This report called for
adjournment of the Cumberland Presbyterian General Assembly sine die as a separate
Assembly to meet in and as a part of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church,
U. S. A., in 1907. Prior to adjournment, one hundred commissioners, led by Ruling
Elder Joe H. Fussell, entered a protest against the carrying into effect of the
provisions of this report. The third point in this protest reads as follows:

          "3. Said Assembly had no power to transfer the allegiance of the
     ministers, elders, deacons, officers, particular churches, judicatories,
     boards, and committees to another denomination of Christians, and make them
     amenable to another church creed and constitution." 3

     There had been much opposition to the proposed union within the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church, as indicated by the number of memorials against union when the
idea was initiated in 1903, the bare constitutional majorities the proponents of
union were able to muster, and the number of commissioners protesting against the
actions of the General Assemblies of 1905 and 1906. Under these conditions it could
hardly be expected that the union would meet with general acceptance. Now that the
vote had been taken, some of those who had opposed the plan of union, as well as
those who had favored it, believed that all Cumberland Presbyterians were obligated
to go along with the union. Had not the ministers, ruling elders, and deacons taken
the vow to submit themselves to their brethren in the Lord assembled in the various
church courts and "to study the peace of the Church"? Others, however, could not with
a good conscience acquiesce in an action which meant the surrender of their
Confession of Faith and the acceptance of the Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian
Church in the U. S. A. In their ordination they had adopted the Confession of Faith
of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and no man or group of men, they contended,
had the right or power to transfer their allegiance to a church which held to a
different Confession of Faith. Thus it was apparent that searchings of heart, dif-
ferences in point of view, and division within the Cumberland Presbyterian forces
would follow the attempted consummation of the union.
     On May 24, 1906, over the protest of the one hundred commissioners already
mentioned, the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church voted to
adjourn sine die according to the decision previously reached. At this point Ruling
Elder Joe H. Fussell announced that the meetings of the General Assembly would be
continued in the Hall of the Grand Army of the Republic, inasmuch as use of the
church building had been denied them for this purpose. In this continued session of
the General Assembly, one hundred and six commissioners were enrolled. The General
Assembly elected the Reverend J. L. Hudgins moderator and then proceeded to fill
vacancies in its offices, boards, and committees and to attend to other routine
business, after which it adjourned to meet in May, 1907, at the birthplace of the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Dickson County, Tennessee.

                        SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
     1. What efforts were made by Cumberland Presbyterians toward union with other
church bodies prior to 1903? Why were these efforts unsuccessful?

     2. What were the terms of union proposed by the joint committee on union of the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., in 1904?

     3. Did the revision made in 1903 by the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. really
change those doctrinal statements to which the founders of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church took exception? Give reasons for your answer.

     4. What did the vote on the Plan of Union by the presbyteries indicate as to
the attitude of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church as a whole toward the proposed

     5. Is it ever advisable to bring about church union on terms which are
unacceptable to a large segment of either church? Why?

     6. Why did the 106 commissioners at the General Assembly in 1906 resolve to
perpetuate the Cumberland Presbyterian Church? Were they justified in this action?
Give reasons for your answer.

11. Reconstruction and Advance

     DURING THE SUMMER and fall of 1906 the various presbyteries met. Inevitably the
question would arise, "Is this a presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church or
a presbytery of the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A.?" Then came the painful ordeal of
division as one or the other group prevailed and the minority walked out to form a
presbytery according to its convictions regarding the union.

     The Minutes of the Cumberland Presbyterian General Assembly for 1907 list
eighty presbyteries. Three of these did not have a quorum of ministers, and
thirty-two had fewer than six ordained ministers. Thirty presbyteries were reported
as being in a disorganized condition. Two of these were later reorganized.
Seventy-four presbyteries were represented in the Cumberland Presbyterian General
Assembly in 1907. There were no commissioners to the Cumberland Presbyterian General
Assembly after 1906 from any presbyteries in the synods of Kansas, Ohio, Oregon or
     Since in many instances a majority of the remaining ministers were aged,
further consolidation of presbyteries soon became necessary. Of the three
presbyteries in the state of Iowa, only one small presbytery remained. It was
attached to the Synod of Missouri, and in 1919 its members were added to McGee
Presbytery. The three presbyteries which formerly had composed the Synod of Indiana
were consolidated in 1910 to form one presbytery which was attached to Illinois
Synod. By 1914, the twenty presbyteries in the state of Texas had been reduced to
eleven. In the state of Missouri eight presbyteries remained where there had been
thirteen. In the state of Illinois the number of presbyteries had been reduced from
ten to five. Three small presbyteries remained in the Synod of Mississippi, where
there had been five. Only in the Synods of Alabama, Tennessee, and West Tennessee did
all the presbyteries remain intact.
     On the other hand, two new synods were formed after the attempted union. In
1915 the Synod of West Texas and New Mexico was created. It was composed of the
presbyteries of Amarillo, Brownwood, Roswell, and Sweetwater. This synod which was
from the beginning numerically weak was further weakened by the coming of World War I
and two years of drought. It held only four meetings. By action of the General
Assembly in 1920 its presbyteries were again attached to Texas Synod. In 1925 pro-
vision was made for the organization of East Tennessee Synod composed of the
presbyteries of Chattanooga, East Tennessee, and Knoxville. This synod held its first
meeting in Knoxville in November, 1926. It continues to be an effective judicatory.
     The work of reorganization was also going on at the local level as those who
chose to remain Cumberland Presbyterians sought to preserve existing churches or
their ministers sought to gather the remnants that remained when churches were
absorbed into the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. In some local churches there was
virtual unanimity either for or against the union, but in many there was division.
     The final outcome on the local level was complicated by the numerous lawsuits
which were filed for the possession of church property. In Tennessee the unionists
went farther in their litigation than to deal simply with property interests. An
injunction was filed by and in the name of certain former Cumberland Presbyterians
"and all other ministers, officers, and members of the Presbyterian Church in the U.
S. A." to restrain and prohibit Cumberland Presbyterians (1) from interfering with
the unionists' exclusive possession of property which belonged to the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church, (2) from asserting any right thereto in any court of law or
equity, (3) from the use of the name of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and (4)
from using the Confession of Faith of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The
lawsuits which followed produced tension and bitterness on both sides. Except in the
state of Tennessee, where the decision was favorable to the Cumberland Presbyterians,
the courts generally refused to go behind the decision of the General Assembly and
therefore upheld the union.
     The records for 1907 list 570 ordained ministers, 54 licentiates, and 64
candidates for the ministry as compared with 1,514 ordained ministers, 121
licentiates, and 175 candidates listed in 1906. lt is difficult to determine the
number of churches which remained Cumberland Presbyterian, for all churches which had
been listed in 1906 were carried on the rolls of many presbyteries pending the
outcome of the litigation. The records for 1906 list 2,869 churches with a total
membership of 185,212. The records for 1921 list 1,312 churches and give the total
membership as 64,452.
     Except in the state of Tennessee where much of the local church property was
retained by the Cumberland Presbyterians, most of the town and city churches were
lost to the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. Notable exceptions were Jefferson Avenue,
Evansville, Indiana, and Marshall, Texas (where the congregation paid a sum of money
to obtain a quitclaim to its property from the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A.). In
Memphis, Tennessee, the property of the largest church, Court Avenue, was awarded to
the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. Numerous former Cumberland Presbyterian
congregations continue today as United Presbyterian churches. For example, the Court
Avenue church in Memphis, after a union with an Associate Reformed Presbyterian
congregation, is now known as Lindsay Memorial Church
     Re-establishment of churches in the cities was a difficult task because of the
costs involved in purchasing property and erecting new buildings. As is pointed out
frequently in the annual reports of the Board of Missions for the years following

many churches which previously had given strong support to the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church were now themselves in need of help. Financial support of the
sort needed for establishing churches in the urban areas was virtually non-existent.
The problem of securing ministerial leadership presented another difficulty, for a
disproportionate number of the ministers who remained in the Cumberland Presbyterian
Church had passed the age for active service as pastors. In a number of towns and
cities there remained respectable congregations of those who could not see their way
clear to go into the union; but not infrequently these were eventually disbanded
because of lack of competent ministerial leadership. Thus the Cumberland Presbyterian
Church again became largely a rural church.
     Efforts were made to re-establish churches in some of the cities where
Cumberland Presbyterian churches had formerly existed, and with some degree of
success. Central Church, of Memphis, starting with seven members, experienced a
substantial growth and became the parent church for all the Cumberland Presbyterian
churches now in existence in the Memphis metropolitan area. At Austin, Texas, the old
Cumberland Presbyterian church building which the Presbyterians had sold to a Baptist
church was purchased in 1914 for $23,000 by the Cumberland Presbyterians and a church
re-established. A substantial church was established in Birmingham, Alabama. Churches
were also reorganized in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas; Fresno and Los Angeles,
California; Muskogee, Oklahoma; Warrensburg, Marshall Moberly, Sedalia, and
Springfield, Missouri; Paducah, Owensboro, and Princeton, Kentucky; and other points.
Some support was given for several years to a church at Merced, California, and
efforts were made to re-establish churches at Pueblo and Colorado Springs, Colorado,
but these efforts did not result in the establishment of permanent churches.
     The whole story of the period of reconstruction cannot be told here. It is a
story of sacrificial service rendered by men who counted faithfulness to their
convictions more important than material gain. At the risk of omitting many important
developments, attention will be given to several decisions which, in retrospect, seem
to have influenced significantly the development of the Cumberland Presbyterian


     In 1906, all schools, publishing interests, and benevolent institutions were
taken into the Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A. with the exception of Bethel
College, McKenzie, Tennessee, which was finally awarded to the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church. In 1908, the General Assembly's Board of Education made arrange-
ments with the trustees of Bethel College to open a theological school in a room at
Bethel College and employed the Reverend P. F. Johnson as dean and sole professor. In
1913, as the result of a compromise settlement with Cumberland University, the Cum-
berland Presbyterian Church received the net amount of $33,750 which was set apart as
endowment for a theological school. With the income from this fund a second
professor, the Reverend S. H. Braly, was employed. The General Assembly then resolved
to raise $100,000 to endow a theological school.
     On February 20, 1918, a conference of some thirty-four interested persons met
in Memphis, Tennessee, to consider the educational needs of the denomination. The
conference submitted to the General Assembly proposals asking that the Assembly
establish and maintain one educational institution which should include both literary
and theological departments, and that provision be made for the raising of one-half
million dollars as endowment for the literary department. This plan was not to
interfere with the plan already in progress for raising the theological endowment.
The plan proposed by the conference was adopted substantially as submitted.
     The next year the two endowment campaigns were merged into one campaign for
$500,000, with the provision that the theological department should receive one-fifth
of the amount raised until its quota of $100,000 endowment should be reached.
     By 1922 the General Assembly was ready to decide where its one school should be
located. In the meantime, the Synod of West Tennessee had given Bethel College to the
General Assembly. Nashville, Memphis, Jackson, and McKenzie, Tennessee, each sub-
mitted proposals to secure the location of the school. The General Assembly's vote
was in favor of McKenzie. The town gave $75,000 and added some acreage to the
existing campus of Bethel College.
     It was decided that Bethel College would be merged into the new school and
that, for the present, the school would bear the name of Bethel College. This
decision has never been changed. The same General Assembly made provision for the
consolidation of the Board of Education, Board of Trustees of Bethel College, and
Board of Trustees of the Theological Seminary to form one board to be known as the
Cumberland Presbyterian Board of Education. A new administration building was erected
with the money given by McKenzie, and the school opened under a new administration in
the fall of 1923.


     For many years each board of the General Assembly had made its own appeal for
support from the church, certain months of the year being designated for the appeal
of each board. Growing out of a conference of representatives of the various boards,
held at Clarksville, Tennessee, in December, 1918, the General Assembly in 1919 set a
goal of $90,000 for support of the work of the Assembly boards for the ensuing year,
adopted a percentage basis for the distribution of the funds, and appointed an
executive committee to direct the campaign and a treasurer to receive and disburse
the funds. The Woman's Board of Missions, which had the oversight of the work of
foreign missions, was not included. Thus began what came to be known as the
denominational budget. Although receipts the first year, and for many years
thereafter, fell far short of the suggested goal, this plan proved to be a more
effective way of providing operating funds for the work of the various boards and
agencies of the General Assembly.


     For some years prior to 1927, the young people's work of the denomination was
under the supervision of the Board of Publication, Sunday School, and Young People's
Work. This board also had the oversight of the publishing house--production and
publication of Sunday school literature and The Cumberland Presbyterian, the weekly
church paper. In 1927, in response to a memorial from Indiana Presbytery and the
supporting pleas of other interested persons, the General Assembly separated the
young people's work from this board and created a Board of Young People's Work. It
was believed that the work of the young people would advance faster under a separate
board. Shortly thereafter, the Board of Young People's Work employed the Reverend
Clark Williamson as General Secretary of Young People's Work. It was under his
supervision that the presbyterial and synodic youth organizations, the camping
program, and the program of leadership education took form.
     The Young People's General Assembly (YPGA), which had been organized in 1924,
was transformed into a leadership education school with courses of study in Bible,
Cumberland Presbyterian doctrine, and personal spiritual nurture, and with leadership
development being offered and standard credits issued. The existing synodic camps,
along with those that subsequently came into being, were planned according to the
same pattern. By 1935, 4,272 credit certificates had been issued to 2,400
individuals. During the year 1934, 1,201 credit certificates were issued for courses
of study completed in YPGA, nine synodic camps, five presbyterial camps, and
twenty-four local leadership schools and classes. By 1942, the ten synods and
twenty-six presbyteries had promoted camps.
     The values of the leadership education program, as carried on largely through
YPGA and synodic and presbyterial camps, consisted not only in the actual knowledge
gained but in a better understanding of the total mission and work of the church.
Many of the ministers now serving in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church answered the
call to the work of the ministry while in camp.
     In 1936, largely as a result of the fact that the Board of Publication and
Sunday School Work had adopted a program of leadership education similar to that
being promoted by the Board of Young People's Work, the General Assembly created the
Board of Christian Education to take over all the responsibilities of the Board of
Young People's Work plus that part of the work of the Board of Publication and Sunday
School Work which pertained to "organization, promotion of Sunday schools and their
work, setting up standards and forming curriculum for training Sunday school teachers
and workers, and the supervision of the work of Sunday schools throughout the
denomination." Youth work became a department within the Board of Christian
Education. While the production and publication of Sunday school literature remained
under the supervision of the Board of Publication and Sunday School Work, the
influence of the Board of Christian Education upon the type of materials offered was
increasingly felt.


     In the spring of 1948, the moderator of the General Assembly, the Reverend
Morris Pepper, called a conference on the policy and program of the church to which
all interested persons were invited. About 160 persons attended this conference which
was held at the Central Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Memphis, Tennessee, April 6
and 7. The moderator presented to the conference a paper outlining his views
concerning the state of the church and the direction that should be taken. Those
recommendations with which the conference as a whole was found to be in agreement
were embodied in the moderator's report to the General Assembly which met in
Nashville, Tennessee, in June, 1948.
     As a result of the moderator's recommendations, the Board of Publication and
Sunday School Work and the Board of Christian Education were consolidated to form the
Board of Publication and Christian Education. The functions of the Educational
Endowment Commission, the Board of Trustees of the General Assembly, the Board of
Tithing and Budget, and the Board of Ministerial Relief (with the exception of the
operation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Children's Home, at Denton, Texas) were
vested in a single board to be known as the Board of Finance. Provision was made for
a Board of Trustees of the Children's Home. The name of the Board of Missions and
Church Erection was changed to the Board of Missions and Evangelism. The Board of
Foreign Missions and the Cumberland Presbyterian Board of Education were to continue
functioning as heretofore except that all endowment funds of these agencies were to
be administered by the Board of Finance.


     The Board of Finance, in its report to the General Assembly which met in
Muskogee, Oklahoma, in June, 1949, recommended the launching of the Program of
Achievement, a financial campaign in the amount of $350,000. It would provide
$100,000 additional endowment for Bethel College, $ 100,000 for the erection of a
building to house the Bethel College Library and the Theological Seminary, and $
150,000 to build a Denominational Center in Memphis, Tennessee. Previously the
decision had been made to sell the publishing house in Nashville and to erect a new
building to house the publishing interests and the offices of boards of the General
     By the time the Board of Finance made its report to the General Assembly in
1950, a total of $198,615.56 had been raised toward the Program of Achievement.
Authorization was given for the erection of the two buildings--the Denominational
Center at Memphis, and the Library-Seminary Building on the Bethel College campus in
McKenzie. It was decided that the campaign would be continued until December 31,
     By the time of the 1951 General Assembly, the receipts for the Program of
Achievement had reached $266,041.52. Since the proportion allotted to Bethel College
Endowment had already been sufficient to complete the original goal of $500,000 which
had been set in 1918, it was decided that future receipts for the Program of
Achievement would be allotted to the two building programs: two-fifths to retire
indebtedness on the Library-Seminary Building, and three-fifths to retire the debt on
the Denominational Center.
     The erection of the two buildings mentioned above served a useful purpose. The
housing of the offices of four of the General Assembly's boards and the stated
clerk's office in the Denominational Center made possible better communication among
the various agencies of the General Assembly and thus closer correlation of the work
of these agencies. The Library-Seminary Building helped to clarify the identity of
the theological seminary as well as to provide more adequate quarters for the Bethel
College Library.
     One of the greatest values of the Program of Achievement, however, was found in
the fact that many Cumberland Presbyterian churches came to realize that they could
contribute substantial sums of money to denominational causes. Many churches, both
large and small, experienced a sense of achievement such as had not been felt for
many years.


     The unified denominational budget brought more money into the treasury of the
Board of Missions and Church Erection than it had been receiving. Thus during the
1920's this board was able to expend substantial amounts in the establishment of
several new churches. Among the churches organized during the 1920's, which have
since developed into self-supporting churches, are First Church, San Antonio, Texas;
First Church, Kansas City, Missouri; West End Church, Birmingham, Alabama; Alabama
City, Alabama (now the Forrest Avenue Church, of Gadsden); Tampa, Florida (now Lewis
Memorial); Second (now Grace) and East Side, Memphis, Tennessee.
     During the 1930's, despite the depression, a considerable amount of mission
work continued. Acting upon a request from a group of Cumberland Presbyterians living
in Detroit, Michigan, the General Assembly in 1929 had recommended that the Board of
Missions and Church Erection take steps to establish a Cumberland Presbyterian Church
in Detroit. This church was organized early in 1930. Other churches organized during
the 1930's, which developed into self-sustaining churches, included Denton, Texas;
Rose City, North Little Rock, Arkansas; Longview, Texas; Shreveport, Louisiana; Park
Avenue and Fifth (now Highland Heights), Memphis, Tennessee. There were also several
attempts to establish churches which did not result in permanent congregations.
During the depression years, the assistance that could be given new churches was
     Beginning about 1936, a missionary was employed in an effort to re-establish
the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Ohio. Although several small congregations were
organized, the only active churches which have survived are Avalon and Mayfield, both
in Middletown, Ohio.
     During the 1940's, churches were organized at Booneville, Pine Bluff, and Fort
Smith, Arkansas; Lexington, Waverly, and Parsons, Tennessee; Louisville, Kentucky;
Indianapolis, Indiana; Grace Church, Detroit, Michigan; Houston, Texas; and Cherokee,
Alabama. During this period, a third attempt to establish a church in Huntsville,
Alabama, was successful.
     Attention has already been given, in chapter 6, to the foreign mission work
which was attempted during this period. It should be noted again here that the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church carried on mission work in South China and in
Colombia, South America, and, near the end of the period, re-entered Japan. The
mission work in these areas was well administered and enjoyed the benefit of good
leadership. As has already been noted, foreign mission work during this period was
largely supported by the women of the church working through local, presbyterial, and
synodic auxiliaries and through the Woman's Board of Missions.
     Despite many limitations in terms of organization, personnel, and financial
resources, the leaders of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church were not merely waging a
battle for survival, although the necessities of the times required that such a
struggle be made if the Cumberland Presbyterian Church were to be maintained as an
instrument for the spread of the gospel. They were doing the work of the church to
the best of their understanding and abilities. They were preaching the gospel of
Christ, often very effectively, to those who needed it, and they were interested in
establishing churches in places where churches were needed. Although it was not until
after 1930 that the church began to show a steady numerical growth, foundations were
being laid for greater progress in the years to come.

                        SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
     1. What had to be done by way of reorganizing and regrouping following the
attempted union of 1906?

     2. Why was the Cumberland Presbyterian Church slow in re-establishing city
churches following the attempted union?

     3. Why was it deemed necessary to raise $500,000 to endow a college?

     4. What advantages are there in having one denominational budget for financing
the enterprises of the church rather than having each board and agency make its own
appeal? Are there disadvantages?

     5. What values have come from the summer camp program of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church?

     6. In what respects was the structure of the boards of the General Assembly
simplified by the reorganization which took place in 1948?

     7. What values were derived from the Program of Achievement?

     8. What is the present membership of the churches listed as having been
organized during the period 1920-1950? What did these churches contribute to Our
United Outreach last year? (See the latest Yearbook of the General Assembly.)

     9. What has been the progress of your congregation since 1930? How has your
congregation participated in the mission of the church in your community? beyond your

12. A Decade of Progress

     AFTER GOING THROUGH a period of reorganization, the Cumberland Presbyterian
Church in 1950 found itself face to face with new frontiers, for again there was a
great movement of population. People had been moving to the cities for many years,
but the process was accelerated during World War II when many persons accepted
employment in defense plants. Decreased acreage allotments for money crops forced
people off the farms, so that, in many areas, rural communities became all but
depopulated. If the church was to go where the people were going, churches had to be
built in urban areas.


     During the early part of the decade, several significant actions were taken by
the Board of Missions and Evangelism. The first had to do with strengthening
ministerial leadership in the rural areas where many churches were being served by
ministers who were without college and seminary training. In its budget for 1951, the
board included $10,000 for short-term in-service training schools for rural ministers
who had not had the opportunity to obtain a college and seminary education. The funds
were set up to provide instruction at the schools and scholarships for the ministers
attending. Fifteen ministers attended the first school, which was held in the late
summer of 1951. In 1957, attendance at the in service school reached an all-time high
of forty ministers. All the schools have been held on the campus of Bethel College,
and since 1959 the seminary has shared in the financial support of the school by
providing the cost of instruction. Although the Board of Missions and Evangelism
still assumes the responsibility of providing scholarships for the men attending,
various presbyteries are contributing scholarships, thus sharing in the enterprise.
The ministry of many rural pastors has been rendered more effective through their
attendance at the in-service school.
     In 1951, the Reverend Raymond Kinslow was employed as a full-time worker for
Choctaw Presbytery. The Choctaw Indians in southeastern Oklahoma were being seriously
affected by the social change going on around them, and the need for providing a pro-
gram suitable to the needs of the rising generation was widely felt. Within the next
five years, four new churches were organized in Choctaw Presbytery, two of which were
composed of white people. In June, 1953, the Reverend John Lovelace was sent to
Choctaw Presbytery to serve as pastor of the newly organized churches at Honey Grove
and Wright City. In 1955, Raymond Kinslow resigned as a missionary to Choctaw
Presbytery. John Lovelace continued in this field, serving the Honey Grove and Oak
Hill churches and giving general supervision to the Indian work, until early in 1959
when he and his family left Choctaw Presbytery to prepare to be missionaries in
Colombia, South America. On July 1, 1959, the Reverend Charles Faith became a
missionary to Choctaw Presbytery. During 1957 a manse had been built for the
missionary in Idabel, Oklahoma. Material assistance to this project was given through
vacation church school offerings and offerings contributed earlier by the young
people of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In 1965, Charles Faith returned to the
pastorate and Licentiate Claude Gilbert became missionary to Choctaw Presbytery.
     The board's report to the General Assembly in 1952 announced the initiation of
a new policy by which missionaries were to be employed and commissioned. These
missionaries would be assigned to projects which involved the establishing of new
churches. It was intended that, once the project to which the missionary was
originally assigned had been established, he would be assigned to a new project in
another locality. The board was still assisting several already existing churches
under its previous policy of supplementing the salaries of pastors of churches which
were accepted as mission projects, and naturally this phase of its work had to be
continued for a while. During 1951, financial assistance had been given to ten urban
projects: Madison, Tennessee; Moberly, Missouri; Fort Smith and Harrison, Arkansas;
Houston and Corsicana, Texas; Florence, Alabama; Central City, Kentucky; and Clinton
and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
     Oklahoma City was opened as a mission project in December 1951, and was the
first project attempted under the new policy. The Reverend Paul F. Brown was the
missionary. In 1952, the Reverend Virgil Weeks was sent as a missionary to Jackson,
Mississippi. In its 1953 report, the board stated that churches had been organized at
Jackson, Mississippi, and Oklahoma City, and approval had been given for opening
projects in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the Meadowbrook subdivision of Fort Worth,
Texas. The Reverend J. P. Bright was employed as the missionary at Oak Ridge, and the
Reverend H. O. Bennett at Meadowbrook. The Meadowbrook Church was organized in May,
1953, and the church at Oak Ridge in February, 1954. In December, 1954, the Reverend
Sidney Slaton was sent as the missionary to Wichita, Kansas, and the Reverend Dudley
Condron to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Cumberland Presbyterian Sunday schools had been begun in
these two cities several months earlier. The church at Wichita was organized March
20, 1955, and the church at Tulsa, August 28, 1955.
     Meanwhile, various presbyteries and synods were initiating mission projects.
The presbyterial boards of missions of Hopewell and Obion Presbyteries co-operated in
establishing a church at Humboldt, Tennessee. This church was organized in May, 1953,
and included the membership of Pleasant Hill, a near-by rural congregation which
disbanded in order to be part of the new group. Memphis Presbytery initiated the
organization of a church in the Colonial Acres subdivision of Memphis.
Platte-Lexington Presbytery purchased property and erected a building in Raytown,
Missouri, in the Kansas City area, and a missionary was assigned to this field in
October, 1955. Crestline Church, in Birmingham, Alabama, was organized in December,
1964. This project was initiated by the Oak Grove congregation and established with
the cooperation of Birmingham Presbytery and Alabama-Mississippi Synod. The project
which resulted in the organization of the Modern Manor Church in Lubbock, Texas,
which also was organized in 1954, was initiated by the First Cumberland Presbyterian
Church of Lubbock and given support by Lubbock Presbytery. Lubbock Presbytery also
arranged for the organization of a new church at Odessa, Texas. A church was
organized at Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in March, 1955, under the sponsorship of New Hope
and Birmingham Presbyteries, Alabama-Mississippi Synod, and the General Assembly's
Board. In July, 1955, the Faith Church, St. Clair Shores, Michigan, was organized.
This work was principally supported by Illinois Synod.
     As early as 1957, the General Assembly's board authorized its executive
secretary to seek to establish synodical, presbyterial, and local boards of missions
and evangelism through which the denominational board might work by giving
instruction and guidance and all help possible. These boards would be encouraged to
develop their own leadership, seek out prospective mission points, establish a
presbyterial or synodical budget for missions, and work under supervision of the
General Assembly's board in the further development of the work. The following year
the General Assembly's board announced that its policy would be to provide financial
help for mission projects in "fringe" areas, while presbyteries and synods that were
able to do so would be expected to provide the major financial support for mission
projects in their bounds.
     During the latter half of the decade, a number of mission projects were begun
by presbyterial and synodic boards of missions, and in most cases the counsel and
supervision of the General Assembly's board were sought. Among such projects were El
Dorado, Arkansas, sponsored by Arkansas Synod; Tanglewood Church, Tyler, Texas,
sponsored by McAdow Presbytery; Albuquerque, New Mexico, sponsored by Lubbock
Presbytery; Sheffield, Alabama, sponsored by McGready Presbytery and Alabama-
Mississippi Synod; Fairview, Columbus, Mississippi, sponsored by New Hope Presbytery
and Alabama-Mississippi Synod; Mayfield, Kentucky, sponsored by Mayfield Presbytery;
Glasgow, Kentucky, sponsored by Cumberland Presbytery and Kentucky Synod; St. Luke
and Donelson, sponsored by Nashville Presbytery; and Tullahoma, Tennessee, sponsored
by Elk Presbytery with some assistance from Tennessee Synod. In some cases financial
aid was eventually given by the General Assembly s board, while others were supported
entirely by the sponsoring presbytery or synod.
     The work of the General Assembly's board was not confined to urban projects.
The Antioch church in Hill County, Texas, moved into Hillsboro in 1956 and became the
hub for the formation of the Hill County Parish. A church begun in Livingston,
Tennessee, under the direction of Cookeville Presbytery, along with two rural
churches, became a part of the Dale Hollow Larger Parish. Both of these projects were
aided financially by the General Assembly's board.
     Altogether, fifty-three new churches appeared on the rolls of the various
presbyteries during the decade of 1950-1960. At the end of the decade there were
fellowships at Tullahoma, Tennessee Mayfield, Kentucky; and Frayser and Whitehaven,
in the Memphis, Tennessee, metropolitan area, which were on their way to becoming
churches. During the decade there was a net increase in the Cumberland Presbyterian
Church of 7,913 active members, 6,999 in the total reported membership, and 13,819 in
Sunday school enrollment. The total amounts paid to pastors and expended for building
and repairs virtually doubled. Despite the number of new churches organized, however,
the total number of churches decreased from 1,035 to 984. In part, this reflected
population changes which made the demise of some churches almost inevitable. In other
instances, it reflected a failure to develop a strategy to provide an adequate
ministry for the smaller churches in the midst of social change.
     One factor not hitherto mentioned which made possible the establishment of new
churches was the creation of a new church loan fund. This made it possible for a
respectable first unit to be built to house the newly organized church. In recent
years bonding programs have also been employed with a considerable degree of success
in financing the erection of new churches. In such programs the Board of Finance has
provided guidance.


     Following the close of World War II, the enrollment of students in Bethel
College increased beyond all previous records. Furthermore, beginning in 1945, Bethel
College shared to a much greater degree in the denominational budget than before. The
Program of Achievement provided a substantial increase in the permanent endowment
funds of the college besides providing a new building to house the library. Serious
consideration began to be given shortly before the beginning of the decade to the
possibility of the college's achieving full accreditation, and in November, 1953,
this goal was realized when Bethel College was admitted to membership in the Southern
Association of Colleges and Schools.
     Meanwhile, the erection of the Library-Seminary Building helped give an
identity to the Cumberland Presbyterian Theological Seminary which it had not enjoyed
for many years. Prior to 1951 the enrollment in the Seminary had been small. In the
fall quarter of 1951, the Seminary opened its first session in the new building with
an enrollment of twenty-six students. By the spring of 1952 the number had increased
to thirty-two. Subsequently, a new high of fifty-seven students was reached in the
fall of 1955.
     In June, 1955, a memorial was addressed to the General Assembly by Memphis
Presbytery asking that consideration be given to moving Bethel College and the
Cumberland Presbyterian Theological Seminary to Memphis, Tennessee. Upon recommenda-
tion of the Committee on Higher Education of the General Assembly, a committee of
eleven men was appointed to accept overtures from any city interested in having the
college and seminary located within its bounds and to report its findings and
recommendations to the 1956 General Assembly. This committee, after much study,
reported that the relocation of Bethel College was impractical but recommended that
the Cumberland Presbyterian Theological Seminary be separated from Bethel College and
relocated in Memphis, Tennessee. The General Assembly in 1956 adopted a
recommendation that the theological department be separated from Bethel College and a
theological seminary be established to be governed by a Board of Trustees. It also
adopted a recommendation that the Seminary be relocated in a metropolitan area
following a restudy of the curriculum and when adequate financial resources should be
available to provide for an effective theological program.
     The new Board of Trustees immediately gave its attention to these matters and,
upon assurances from representatives of Memphis that support would be given such a
campaign, the Board of Trustees recommended to the General Assembly in 1957 that the
Cumberland Presbyterian Theological Seminary be relocated in Memphis upon the
condition that an acceptable site and $500,000 be provided by the Memphis community.
This recommendation was approved by the General Assembly.
     Before the next General Assembly, however, difficulties arose in the matter of
setting up an organization for such a campaign, and the financial recession which
occurred in the spring of 1958 resulted in the cancellation of plans for the
campaign. The General Assembly meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, in June, 1958,
reaffirmed the previously expressed intention of relocating the Seminary in an urban
area as soon as feasible. No further action relative to relocation was taken during
the decade.


     One of the most controversial actions taken by the Cumberland Presbyterian
Church during the 1950's, and at the same time one which was symbolic of the
spiritual unity Cumberland Presbyterians feel with other Christian people, involved
the membership of certain agencies of the General Assembly in some of the divisions
of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Since the experiences of the attempted union in 1906, Cumberland Presbyterians had
tended to be cautious at the point of involvement in interdenominational organi-
zations; however, the Board of Publication and Christian Education prior to 1950 held
membership in the International Council of Religious Education, and the Board of
Foreign Missions held membership in the Foreign Missions Conference and the
Missionary Education Movement. In 1950, the Board of Missions and Evangelism reported
that it had applied for membership in the Home Missions Council of North America and
the Missionary Education Movement. At the 1950 General Assembly a question was raised
concerning the legality of such affiliations. A General Assembly deliverance of 1945
regarding the question of the General Assembly's power to vote the church into
membership in any organization outside the church itself was cited. The question was
referred to the General Assembly's Permanent Committee on Judiciary for study.
     In 1951, the Permanent Committee on Judiciary submitted a majority and a
minority report. The majority report, which was adopted by the General Assembly, was
to the effect that such affiliation, when approved by the General Assembly, is legal
provided it does not involve either the surrender of the autonomy of the General
Assembly, board or agency, or any doctrinal change or commitment. Meanwhile, in
December, 1950, the above mentioned interdenominational organizations, along with
some others, merged to form the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United
States of America, with various program divisions. The General Assembly in 1951 gave
permission to the Board of Missions and Evangelism to hold membership in the Joint
Commission on Missionary Education of the National Council of Churches, the Home
Missions Division of the National Council, and the Protestant Indian Council of
     The General Assembly in 1952 had before it memorials from ten presbyteries and
one synod opposing any sort of affiliation with the National Council of Churches. The
General Assembly, while directing that already existing connections with the National
Council remain unsevered for the time being, appointed a fact finding committee
composed of four ministers to assemble documentary facts concerning the National
     The report of the committee emphasized that existing affiliations with
divisions of the National Council of Churches in no way compromised the autonomy of
the Cumberland Presbyterian Church or its agencies. The report was approved by the
next General Assembly by a large majority. That opposition continued, however, was
evidenced by the fact that memorials had been submitted from ten presbyteries
opposing affiliation with the National Council. Five presbyteries had requested that
existing connections with divisions of the National Council of Churches be
maintained. Following the adjournment of the General Assembly a group of ministers
and ruling elders held a meeting in which a "Fellowship of Conservative Cumberland
Presbyterians" was formed. Besides opposing affiliation of any of the General
Assembly agencies with the National Council of Churches, this group expressed
opposition to the use of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible which had recently
been published. In November, 1953, the "conservative" group held an "assembly" at
Huntsville, Alabama, which elected a moderator and stated clerk and urged the
organization of the "conservatives" on a presbyterial level.
     The General Assembly in 1954 ruled that this organization had acted illegally
in applying the name Cumberland Presbyterian to the group and reaffirmed the right of
the boards and agencies of the church to maintain existing memberships in divisions
of the National Council. Several ministers and a few churches withdrew from the
denomination over this issue, and at least two ministers were deposed from the
ministry by their presbyteries because of their activities in connection with the
Fellowship of Conservative Cumberland Presbyterians. The question of affiliation of
boards and agencies with divisions of the National Council of Churches soon ceased to
be a live issue.
     In 1956, the General Assembly voted to accept the invitation to become a member
of the North American section of the World Presbyterian Alliance in which the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church had allowed its membership to lapse following 1906.
Thus the spiritual unity of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church with all Christians,
and especially with other members of the Presbyterian family, was recognized.


     The General Assembly's Planning Committee, acting in response to a General
Assembly directive passed in 1953, proposed to the 1954 General Assembly a
"Mid-Century Spiritual Advance." Emphasis would be given to various themes designed
to build up the spiritual life of the church during the period leading up to the
observance of the one hundred fiftieth anniversary, in 1960, of the organization of
the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The themes chosen were as follows:

     1955--Religion in the Home
     1960--A Year of Jubilee

These themes were widely employed throughout the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Results in the spiritual realm are difficult to measure; however, it may be pointed
out that the number of tithers from January, 1955, to January, 1957, within which
period the subject of tithing was emphasized, rose from 9,088 to 10,698. Also, the
number of conversions reported in 1958, the year evangelism was emphasized, was 3,066
as compared with 2,690 the preceding year.
     The Mid-Century Spiritual Advance was climaxed by a financial effort to raise
the sum of $600,000 as a Mid-Century Expansion and Development Fund to be used as
follows: Bethel College, $100,000; the Cumberland Presbyterian Theological Seminary,
$100,000; new church loan fund, $100,000; development of denominational conference
ground, $100,000; Children's Home, $15,000; addition to printing plant, $60,000; and
denominational birthplace shrine, $25,000. This campaign was officially launched at
the General Assembly in 1959. By the time of the meeting of the General Assembly in
1960, individuals and churches had made pledges and commitments totaling $552,000.
     The Year of Jubilee was appropriately observed by the General Assembly meeting
in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1960. An outstanding feature of the observance was the
pilgrimage to the birthplace of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church some forty miles
west of Nashville. An estimated three thousand Cumberland Presbyterians assembled on
the hill overlooking the birthplace of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church to
participate in the singing of "Whosoever Will" and to witness a pageant, "The Miracle
of 1800." The chapel at the birthplace, made possible by the Mid-Century Expansion
and Development program, was ready for inspection on this occasion, and a member of
the Birthplace Shrine Commission presented to the moderator of the General Assembly a
symbolic key to the shrine indicating the delivery of the completed shrine to the
church as a whole.

                        SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
     1. What population changes have taken place in your community since 1940? What
do such changes indicate as to the direction the missions program of the church
should take?

     2. Should an urban church in a changing community follow its people by
relocating in a suburban community, or should it remain in its original location and
change the focus of its ministry? Give reasons for your answer.

     3. What is the purpose of the Ministers' In-Service Training School? What
justification is there for spending missions money to finance this type of program?

     4. How does the usual procedure in establishing a mission church today differ
from that generally followed in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church twenty to forty
years ago? What new policies have aided the development of the missions program?

     5. Has your presbytery or synod recently attempted the establishment of a new
church or churches? If so, have you visited one of its mission churches? How has the
promotion of presbyterial or synodic missions projects affected your local church?
your presbytery? What is the current status of these projects? If any have failed,
what were the causes?

     6. What were the main developments in the field of higher education in the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church during the decade of the fifties?

     7. What is the nature of the relationship of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
to the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America? with
the World Presbyterian Alliance?

     8. What values came to your local church through the Mid-Century Spiritual

     9. What has been accomplished with the money raised through the Mid-Century
Expansion and Development Program''

     10. What is the present membership of the new churches established during the
fifties? How much did these churches contribute to Our United Outreach last year?

13. Serving in the Sixties

     PRIOR TO THE "Year of Jubilee" attention was being given to the formulation of
a continuing emphasis which would build upon the results of the Mid-Century Spiritual
Advance program. The committee appointed to recommend the areas of emphasis chose as
a basis for the continuing program the theme "God's Call--Be My Servant," based on
Isaiah 49:6:

     "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes
          of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel;
     I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the
          end of the earth" (RSV) .

Just as God called Israel, his servant, not merely to restore the remnant of Israel
but to be a means through which salvation should be carried to the nations, God calls
the church, the new Israel, to be God's servant to proclaim the good news of
salvation through Christ to all men. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church shares in
this mission, not in isolation, but in co-operation with all other branches of
Christ's church. The interpretation of the gospel held by Cumberland Presbyterians,
with its emphasis that "Christ died not for a part only, but for all mankind," lends
a sense of urgency to the mission which we share and, at the same time, offers the
possibilities for the success of the mission.


     The central concerns to which the Cumberland Presbyterian Church should address
itself, the committee believed, were (1) Spiritual Renewal, (2) Christian Outreach,
and (3) Leadership Development. To this end themes of a theological nature have been
emphasized in successive years. The theme for 1961-1962 was "Renewal--By the Power of
the Spirit." That for 1962-1963 was "Servants--Obedient to God's Word." During
1963-1964 the theme was "By God's Grace: A Covenant People." The theme chosen for
1964-1965 was "By God's Grace: A Kingdom of Priests." Themes tentatively chosen for
the ensuing years include: 1965-1966, "Servants--Entrusted with the Gospel"; and
19661967, "Servants--Walk Worthily of Your Calling."


     The 1961 annual report of the Board of Missions and Evangelism showed that it
had under its supervision twenty-six mission projects in various stages of
development. Work had been organized in the Atlanta, Georgia, area under the
sponsorship of the board of missions of Chattanooga Presbytery. A missionary pastor
had been placed at Trona, California, to work with a group of people who desired to
become a Cumberland Presbyterian church. Plans were in the making to have a student
minister work during the summer with a group at Batesville, Arkansas. A new church
had been organized during 1960 at Kosciusko, Mississippi.
     By the spring of 1962, there were thirty-six projects under the supervision of
the General Assembly's Board. New churches had been organized during 1961 at Trona,
California; Frayser (Memphis); Tullahoma, Tennessee; and Faith Church, San Antonio,
     In the spring of 1963, there were thirty-three urban missions and three
parishes under the supervision of the General Assembly's Board, and thirteen other
projects had received counsel and support from some presbyterial or synodic board.
Churches organized during 1962 included Bethany, Louisville, Kentucky; Mayfield,
Kentucky; and Whitehaven, Memphis, Tennessee.
     At least six churches are known to have been organized during 1963: Faith
Church, Batesville, Arkansas; Leitchfield and Harrodsburg, Kentucky; New Providence,
Clarksville, Tennessee; Parkwood, Nashville, Tennessee; and a congregation in
Chicago. During 1964 churches were organized at Salem and Morrilton, Arkansas, and a
new church at Austin, Texas, known as St. Paul's, was organized. The following
fellowships were in existence at this writing: University Heights, Tampa, Florida,
where the first unit of a church building is under construction; St. Luke's, Fort
Worth, Texas; Cromwell, Memphis, Tennessee; Independence, Missouri, and Fayetteville,
Arkansas. The work at Fayetteville involves the relocation and revival of a church
which had become inactive.


     The question of relocating the Cumberland Presbyterian Theological Seminary was
revived early in 1961 when a conference of interested persons was called to meet at
Nashville to consider the possibilities of locating the Seminary in the vicinity of
Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Subsequently, Tennessee Synod in a called meeting
memorialized the General Assembly asking for an early decision to locate the seminary
in Nashville. The General Assembly, which met that year in Florence, Alabama, adopted
a recommendation "that the Board of Trustees give consideration to McKenzie and to
every possible urban area and make a selection for the location of the Seminary and
present the same to the 132nd General Assembly." The board was also directed to
present the needs of the seminary in the light of requirements for accreditation by
the American Association of Theological Schools and to work out, in conjunction with
the Board of Finance, a financial program for meeting these needs.
     The Board of Trustees at its spring meeting in 1962 considered proposals
submitted by representatives of Nashville, Memphis, and McKenzie. Memphis was
recommended to the General Assembly as the location. A site at the southeast corner
of East Parkway and Union Extended was selected from among those considered. Memphis
Presbytery, working through a commission, secured an option on the site until after
the meeting of the Genera] Assembly. Thus the church, again true to its heritage,
moved in the direction of establishing its theological school in an area where there
was a need for such an institution. Memphis had no theological seminary.
     Meanwhile, there had been submitted to the General Assembly in 1961, through
the report of the Board of Missions and Evangelism, a recommendation that a priority
study be made. It was recognized that the church had many needs and that not all of
them could be met immediately. It was suggested that these needs be put in the order
of their priority according to the best judgment of the church. Consequently, each
board and agency was requested to submit its program and needs for the next several
years to the Planning Committee at its fall meeting. This was done, and the priority
study was begun. At the spring meeting, 1962, the Planning Committee recommended that
the Seminary be given priority insofar as a financial campaign was concerned. Toward
the end of the decade a financial campaign for missions was to be promoted.
Development of a denominational conference ground as proposed by the Board of
Publication and Christian Education was postponed indefinitely.
     The General Assembly, which met in Little Rock, Arkansas, in June, 1962,
adopted the recommendation that the seminary be given priority. It approved the
recommendation that the seminary be relocated in Memphis and appointed a commission
composed of three laymen in Memphis to purchase suitable property and put it in order
for the use of the seminary. Provision was also made for a committee of three to
visit the seminary and make an evaluation of its whole program.
     Following the Assembly, the Board of Finance purchased the property at East
Parkway and Union Extended for the seminary. The purchase price was $95,000. During
the ensuing year, plans for a financial campaign to be known as the Seminary Develop-
ment Program were formulated for presentation to the 1963 General Assembly The plans
as submitted to the Assembly called for the raising of $450,000 for the Seminary from
the following sources: Memphis Presbytery and the Memphis area, $125,000; individual
gifts outside of Memphis, $125,000; and churches outside of Memphis Presbytery,
$200,000. The money thus raised was to be used as follows: $100,0()0 to cover cost of
property held for the seminary by the Board of Finance; $40,000 for renovation of the
existing building located on the property; $60,0()0 for erection of a library
building; $40,000 to be used as a down payment on student housing; and $210,000 for
permanent endowment. Memphis Presbytery in the fall of 1963 assigned shares totaling
$25,000 to its churches. The remaining $100,000 requested of the Memphis area was to
be solicited from individuals and corporations in the Memphis area.
     The Board of Trustees in its meeting in the summer of 1963 voted to begin
operation of the seminary in its new location in September, 1964. In February, 1964,
contracts were let for the renovation of the existing building and erection of the
library building. The timetable thus adopted gave a sense of urgency to the campaign.
Discussion of a possible relocation of the Seminary had been going on since 1955. Now
the time for action had come. In September, 1964, the seminary opened its doors for
the new school year in Memphis. By action of the 1964 General Assembly, the seminary
had a new name--Memphis Theological Seminary of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.


     For many years, the only church school curriculum materials available through
official church channels were based on the Uniform Series. Over the years, changes
were made in the curriculum plan for children, and later for youth, so that the Cycle
Graded Series came into use. The church produced a number of curriculum pieces for
adults and young people, but because of high production costs and low circulation
possibilities it was not able to produce all the materials needed in children's
classes. Supplementary materials from a variety of sources were recommended to local
churches and were distributed by the Board of Publication and Christian Education.
     Prior to and especially during the 1950's, movements began in most of the
Protestant denominations to make major changes in the curriculum materials being
produced and recommended. In some instances, denominations joined with others of

theological position to seek an improved plan for curriculum for their several
constituencies. The Board of Publication and Christian Education, because of limited
staff time and budget, was unable to participate actively in any such undertaking.
However, staff members kept in touch with current developments in the various
     In 1962, after much study and evaluation, the Board of Publication and
Christian Education recommended that the General Assembly adopt the Covenant Life
Curriculum as the official curriculum of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. This
curriculum plan had been under development since 1955 by the Presbyterian Church in
the United States, the Reformed Church in America, the Moravian Church in America,
and the United Presbyterian Church of North America (which merged in 1958 with the
Presbyterian Church in the United States of America). Throughout the development of
this curriculum, members of the Board's staff had been invited to participate in the
development of the curriculum, and had done so as they were able. The 1962 General
Assembly approved the recommendation of the Board. Since that time, the Associate
Reformed Presbyterian Church has also approved the use of the Covenant Life
Curriculum, and some other denominations have use of the curriculum under study as
this is written.
     The Covenant Life Curriculum plan embraces the total life of the church and has
a potential for much good beyond the church school as it is usually understood. The
wide scope of the curriculum may be seen in its three aspects or settings where
learning takes place: systematic study (church school), home and family nurture, and
worship and work of the congregation. The depth of the curriculum plan is evident in
the three approaches to systematic study--the Bible, the church, the Christian life--which constitute the three major alternating themes for church school study. (The
course you are studying is part of the second or church approach. )
     Adults began study of the Covenant Life Curriculum in church school (systematic
study) in 1963, and youth began study in 1964. As this is written, materials are
being printed for use in children's classes beginning in the fall of 1965. A few
congregations have started a serious attempt to make use of the ideas and materials
offered in the home and family nurture aspect. Even though many local churches have
not yet undertaken study of the Covenant Life Curriculum (Uniform Series lessons are
still available for adults and youth), this plan does put the major responsibility
for curriculum where it must be--in the local church. Insofar as study is taken
seriously, this curriculum plan promises local churches new life through the Holy


     In its annual report to the General Assembly in 1960, the Board of Foreign
Missions expressed the opinion that the time had come for a thorough restudy of the
foreign missions program and a consideration of the possibility of a realignment of
this program. A committee on realignment, which had been named by the board,
continued its study throughout the year and recommended a proposed realignment plan
to the 1961 General Assembly. Since 1906 the Board of Foreign Missions (earlier known
as the Woman's Board of Missions ) had exercised exclusive oversight of the foreign
missions work of the church. The foreign missions work had been financed largely
through the woman's missionary auxiliaries, although special days provided an oppor-
tunity for church-wide participation in this work.
     The plan as proposed to the General Assembly in 1961 was intended to accomplish
two purposes: First, it would involve the whole church in the work of foreign
missions, and second, it would involve the women of the church in the total work of
the church. Specifically, it was proposed that the work of foreign missions would be
supervised by a Board of Foreign Missions to consist of six men and three women.
There would also be a Board of Women's Work composed of nine women. Three of these
would also serve on the Board of Foreign Missions. The Missionary Convention held
annually at the same time and place as the General Assembly would become the
Convention of the Women of the Church. Their program of work would include not only
information and inspiration with reference to foreign missions but would deal with
other phases of the denominational program as well. The General Assembly in 1961
authorized the board to continue its study and to present a more detailed report to
the 1962 Assembly. Meanwhile local church manuals for the world missions program and
for Cumberland Presbyterian women were prepared.
     The General Assembly in 1962 created a Committee on Alignment to plan and
correlate the total work of the church. This committee was to consist of one member
and an executive of each board of the General Assembly with the stated clerk of the
Assembly serving as chairman. It was felt by some that more was involved than just
the work of foreign missions. The new committee recommended that there be one
missions manual for the local church which would include both the work of world mis-
sions and that of missions and evangelism. It was recommended that there be one
missions committee in the local church to be responsible for the emphasis of world
missions, home missions, and evangelism. It was recommended that January 1, 1965, be
the date for the initiation of this program. The recommendations of the Board of
Foreign Missions relative to the two boards, namely, the Board of World Missions and
the Board of Women's Work, remained substantially as originally proposed. Six of the
seven recommendations of the committee were approved by the General Assembly, and it
was decided that the effective date of realignment should be January 1, 1965.
     The General Assembly which met at Chattanooga, Tennessee, in June, 1964,
reconsidered the plan of alignment and adopted a proposal that there be one Board of
Missions. This Board is composed of fifteen members with the provision that at any
time there must be at least six men and at least six women on the Board. This Board
is to assume the responsibility for the missions program of the church following the
1965 General Assembly. In creating this Board the General Assembly took action
changing its standing rule on board membership so as to provide that members of
boards and legal agencies may be "ordained ministers, ordained elders, or members of
the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, either men or women, in good standing, and active
in the local church in which membership is held."


     During the past ten years, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church has demonstrated
in various ways its willingness to co-operate with Christians of other denominations.
In 1956, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church became a member of the North American
Section of the World Presbyterian Alliance. More recently, in 1961, an amendment to
the Constitution was adopted making it possible for a Cumberland Presbyterian min-
ister serving a parish composed in part of a church or churches of another
denomination to become an associate member of the other denomination without
disturbing his status as a Cumberland Presbyterian minister. In like manner, the
amendment provided for a minister of another church who has been called to serve in a
parish of which one or more Cumberland Presbyterian churches are constituents to hold
associate membership in the presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in which
such church or churches are situated. In 1962 a Committee on Inter-Church Relations
was created. At the General Assembly at Little Rock in 1962, the Assembly was made to
rejoice and to feel humble when Dr. W. Glen Harris, of Birmingham, Michigan, spoke as
the fraternal delegate from the United Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. His message
delivered by request of his General Assembly contained an apology for wrongs done by
that church toward the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, both during the years shortly
before and after 1810 and during the period just following 1906. The General Assembly
accepted the apology and at the same time asked the forgiveness of the United Pres-
byterian Church, U. S. A. "for any unchristian attitude that our communion, the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church, may have displayed toward them in the past."
     In several instances there has been a realignment of presbyteries resulting in
a smaller number of presbyteries. In 1961 the Synod of Oklahoma reduced the number of
its presbyteries from four to three. In 1962 the Synod of Tennessee reduced the
number of its presbyteries from six to three. The Synod of Missouri has approved
reorganization of two presbyteries as one new presbytery effective in July 1965. In
1960, on the other hand, the Synod of Arkansas disapproved a proposal for the
realignment of its presbyteries by a presbyterial vote of five to one. Some
judicatories have changed names while maintaining essentially the same boundaries.
For example, in 1964, Illinois Synod became North Central Synod.
     Presbyterial names and boundaries should never be considered sacrosanct. Many
changes in presbyterial and synodical boundaries have been made in nearly every area
occupied by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church at various times during its more than
one hundred fifty years of history. Others doubtless will yet be made. A question may
be raised, however, as to whether it may not be possible for a presbytery to be too
large, as well as too small, to function effectively. The presbytery should be aware
of the needs of its individual churches as well as have a vital concern for the
spiritual welfare of each of them. It may be suggested, too, that there is value in
maintaining a situation in which every member of presbytery may feel free to
participate fully in the decisions of the presbytery.


     The Cumberland Presbyterian Church had its origin on the frontier as the direct
result of an effort of certain ministers to follow the direction of the Holy Spirit
to meet the needs of the frontier. Its founders proved themselves capable of making
the necessary adaptations in revival methods, in the matter of ministerial education,
and in permitting exceptions to be made in the acceptance of the Confession of Faith
of the Presbyterian Church by those who were licensed or ordained. Within four years
after the organization of the first presbytery of the new church, they took the
further liberty of revising the Confession of Faith so that it would conform more
nearly to their understanding of the gospel of Christ. Some sixty years later their
grandsons again revised the Confession of Faith to bring it more nearly into
conformity with what was generally believed and preached by Cumberland Presbyterians.
     In recent years the Cumberland Presbyterian Church has again manifested that
adaptability to changing circumstances which characterized its founders. It approved
a rather thorough reorganization of denominational boards and agencies in 1948. It
has adopted the Covenant Life Curriculum, a new plan for Christian education. It has
seen the necessity of taking the church to people where they are, and has established
churches in the centers of population while at the same time attempting to care for
the spiritual needs of those people who remain in the rural areas.
     In 1927 and 1929, amendments were proposed and subsequently adopted which made
it more difficult than formerly to amend the Confession of Faith and Constitution.
These amendments were adopted for the avowed purpose of safeguarding the interests of
the church and preventing a recurrence of what happened in 1904-1905 when a minority
of votes within the presbyteries were so distributed as to carry a majority of
presbyteries for the proposed union with the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A. The
passage of these amendments was criticized by some who asserted that it would never
be possible to make any further changes in the Confession of Faith or Constitution.
Since 1953, however, no less than six amendments, two to the Confession of Faith and
four to the Constitution, have been passed. This indicates that, if the church as a
whole really desires a change in its constitutional law, such change can be made,
even though an affirmative vote of three-fourths of the presbyteries is now required.
     We are now living in a period of great social change. This will doubtless call
for further adaptations in program to meet the needs of the new frontiers which must
be faced. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church will be true to its heritage, not
necessarily by imitating the methods used by its founders, although it may learn
something from them, but by adapting its machinery and its methods to serve the
present age.
     Another feature which has characterized the Cumberland Presbyterian Church has
been a wholesome respect for the religious experiences of one's fellow Christians
even though one may not agree with them on every detail of faith and practice. The
founders of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church early adopted the practice of open
communion in contrast to the practice of "fencing" the Lord's table, which prevailed
at that time in the Presbyterian Church. Thus they demonstrated the fact that they
accepted the personal religious experience of Christians of other denominations.
     The revisers of the Confession of Faith in the 1880's consciously avoided
including in the revised Confession tenets peculiar to any one man or faction.
Although they endeavored to draw with precision the boundary between the Cumberland
Presbyterian system of doctrine and other systems, they proposed to grant liberty of
opinion within those bounds.
     The Confession of Faith does not bind Cumberland Presbyterians to any one
theory of the inspiration of Scripture, although it asserts the fact of inspiration.
It does not commit those who adhere to its doctrines to any one theory of the
atonement. It does not speak dogmatically as to when or how the kingdom of God comes.
Within an evangelical framework it grants considerable liberty in matters of detail
recognizing that those who differ from one another in their understanding of
Scripture may have good grounds for doing so.
     Cumberland Presbyterians, to be sure, have held tenaciously to certain
convictions regarding the plan of salvation, especially with regard to the provision
that God has made for the salvation of all men and the manifestation of the Holy
Spirit "with the same intent to every man" to convince men of their need of Christ.
Sometimes at great cost these convictions, or the right to hold and preach them, have
been maintained. Yet the Cumberland Presbyterian Church has never claimed to have a
monopoly on the truth. It recognizes that the Lord has "other sheep, that are not of
this fold."

                        SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
     1. What could be accomplished through the Cumberland Presbyterian Church if it
should indeed be God s servant to proclaim the good news of salvation to the ends of
the earth?

     2. What values have come from the supervision of mission projects (including
those promoted by synods and presbyteries) by the General Assembly's Board of
Missions and Evangelism?

     3. What enlarged opportunities for service are envisioned for the theological
seminary in its new location at Memphis?

     4. What values have come to your local church through the use of the Covenant
Life Curriculum? How do you understand study of this book as a part of the Covenant
Life Curriculum?

     5. What was the significance of the message brought by Dr. W. Glen Harris to
the General Assembly in 1962 and the General Assembly's response to this message?

     6. What are the advantages and disadvantages of large presbyteries as compared
with the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of the somewhat smaller presbyteries which
still make up a considerable portion of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church?

     7. What do you consider the most valuable contributions made by the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church during the more than one hundred fifty years of its history?

     8. What has been the attitude of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church toward
other Christian bodies?

     9. What do you envision as the future of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church? of
your local congregation?

                               CHAPTER 1
     1 George P. Fisher, The Reformation, new and revised edition (New York: Charles
Scribner's Sons, 1926), p. 461.
     2 William Warren Sweet, Our American Churches, (Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury
Press, 1924), p. 119.
     3 Fisher, op. cit., pp. 460-461.
     4 Stanley 1. Stuber, How We Got Our Denominations, (New York: Association
Press, 1959), p. 217.

                               CHAPTER 2
     1 James Arminius, "Declaration of Sentiments," The Writings of James Arminius,
trans. by James Nichols and W. R. Bagnell (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House,
1956), Vol. I, p. 229.
     2 Ibid., pp. 237-238.
     3 Ibid., p. 247.
     4 James Arminius, "Apology," The Writings of James Arminius, trans. by James
Nichols and W. R. Bagnell, Vol. I, pp. 365-366. See also 'Declaration of Sentiments,"
pp. 252-254.
     5 Charles Wesley Lowry, Jr., "Spiritual Antecedents of Anglican
Evangelicalism," Anglican Evangelicalism, edited by Alexander C. Zabriskie
(Philadelphia: The Church Historical Society, 1943), p. 75.
     6 The Journal of the Reverend John Wesley, A. M. (New York: J. Emory and B.
Waugh, 1832), Vol. I, p. 18.
     7 Ibid.,p. 74.
     8 A resolution passed by the Goose Creek Methodist Conference was included in a
letter written by L. Blackman, a presiding elder of the Methodist Church, to
Cumberland Presbytery under date of March 10, 1811. The resolution was as follows:
"Resolved, That those who call themselves members of the Cumberland Presbytery are in
such a state of accountability to each other, as will authorize us to admit
individuals of that body, on examination, to the Lord's Supper with us. An
examination we deem necessary to know whether they are regular members, etc."
     9 Robert Donnell, Thoughts on Various Subjects (Louisville, Ky.: published for
the Board of Publication by Rev. Lee Roy Woods, Publishing Agent, 1854), p. 189.
     10 William Warren Sweet, The Story of Religion in America, revised edition (New
York: Harper and Brothers, 1950), pp. 239-240. Otterbein was a minister of the
Reformed Church, Boehm a Mennonite. They united with several others in founding the
"United Brethren in Christ."

                               CHAPTER 3
     1 William Warren Sweet, Religion in the Development of American Culture, (New
York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1952), p. 146.
     2 So called to distinguish it from the Great Awakening which began in 1734
under the preaching of Jonathan Edwards.
     3 F. R. Cossitt, Life and Times of Rev. Finis Ewing (Louisville: Board of
Publication of Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1853), p. 14.
     4 Quoted by Sweet, The Story of Religion in America, pp. 223-224.
     5 Sweet, Religion in the Development of American Culture, p. 93.
     6 T. C. Anderson, Life of Rev. George Donnell (Nashville: Southern Methodist
Publishing House, 1858), pp. 88-89.
     7 Cossitt, op. cit., p. 97.
     8 Ibid., p. 35.
     9 Ibid., p. 37.
     10 E. B. Crisman, Origin and Doctrines of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church,
second edition (St. Louis: A. F. Cox, 1858), pp. 21-22.
     11 Sweet, op. cit., p. 147.
     12 In the account of the revival, McGready's "Narrative of the Commencement and
Progress of the Revival of 1800" contained in a letter to a friend dated "Logan
County, Kentucky, October 23, 1801" is the source followed except where otherwise
noted. From Posthumous Works of the Reverend and Pious James McGready, edited by the
Reverend James Smith (Louisville: W. W. Worsley, 1831).
     13 James Smith, History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church (Nashville:
Cumberland Presbyterian Office, 1835), pp. 565-566. Smith quotes the entire covenant.
     14 Sweet, op. cit., p. 148.
     15 Smith, op. cit., p. 563.
     16 Anderson, op. cit., pp. 56-57.
     17 McGready's"Narrative."
     18 Smith, op. cit., p. 589.
     19 Copied from The Revivalist, January 9, 1833. in The Theological Medium,
July, 1876, pp. 262-263.
     20 Ibid., p. 269.

                               CHAPTER 4
     1 Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America,
"Form of Government," Chap. XIV, sec. VI.
     2 An intermediate session of presbytery was one appointed to be held between
the regular meetings to transact some particular business such as the ordination of a
minister. The presbytery in its regular meeting would specify who should attend and
what business was to be transacted. Such an intermediate session functioned very much
like a presbyterial commission functions today.
     3 According to the minutes of the commission, the reason for the request was
"that they might confer together." According to statements of members of the revival
party who were present, the request was for time that they might pray.
     4 Robert Davidson, History of the Presbyterian Church in the State of Kentucky,
(New York: Robert Carter, 1847), p. 250.
     5 Ibid., pp. 255-256.
     6 Cossitt. Life and Times of Rev. Finis Ewing, pp. 168-169.

                               CHAPTER 5
     1 B. W. McDonnold, History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, (Nashville:
Board of Publication of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1888),p. 112.
     2 Journal of W. A. Scott made available through the courtesy of Dr. C. M.
Drury, of San Francisco Theological Seminary.
     3 These figures do not include urban missions sponsored by presbyteries and
synods and not under direction of the General Assembly's Board.

                               CHAPTER 6
     1 McDonnold, History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, p. 411.
     2 Cossitt, Life and Times of Rev. Finis Ewing, p. 275, n.
     3 Minutes of General Assembly, 1848, pp. 12-13.
     4 Minutes of Hopewell Presbytery, September 7, 1848.
     5 For this observation I am indebted to a seminar paper by the Rev. William
Rustenhaven entitled "Attitudes Toward Slavery Within the Cumberland Presbyterian
Church," which he prepared for a history class in State University of Iowa, 1963.
     6 McDonnold, op. cit., p. 418.
     7 I bid ., chapter XL.
     8 One is the Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Charlotte, Tennessee. Another is
at Ro Ellen near Dyersburg, Tennessee. Actually the latter building was erected in
1866 but it is understood that the balcony was for the Negro worshipers according to
the established practice.
     9 Session records of Corsicana (Texas) Cumberland Presbyterian Church,
1853-1870, p. 53.
     10 Minutes of Texas Presbytery, September 14, 1838.
     11 Minutes of General Assembly, 1866, pp. 80-81.
     12 Minutes of Hopewell Presbytery, fall meeting, 1867.
     13 Minutes of Hopewell Presbytery, spring meeting, 1868.
     14 Minutes of New Hope Presbytery, July, 1866.
     15 Minutes of New Hope Presbytery, December 7, 1867.
     16 Sweet, The Story of Religion in America, p. 329.
     17 Minutes of General Assembly, 1869, pp. 23-24.
     18 Minutes of General Assembly, 1871, p. 28.
     19 McDonnold, op. cit., p. 436.
     20 Minutes of General Assembly, 1873, p. 31.
     21 Hope Church, Chicago, was a constituent of Chicago Presbytery.
     22 The Cumberland Presbyterian, January 14, 1926.
     23 In about 1958 the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church,
Colored, voted to drop the word "Colored" from its name. Later it adopted the name
"The Cumberland Presbyterian Church in the United States and Liberia." In 1960 it
voted to call itself the "Second Cumberland Presbyterian Church." Within recent years
the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church has changed its name to "Christian Methodist

                               CHAPTER 7
    1 Thomas Forester, "In Memory of Those Who Went Before Us," The Missionary
Messenger, Vol. 31, No. 3 (March, 1960), pp. 16ff.

                               CHAPTER 8
     1 Richard Beard, Brief Biographical Sketches of Some of the Early Ministers of
the Cumberland Presbyterian Church (Nashville: Southern Methodist Publishing House,
1867), p. 38.
     2 F. R. Cossitt, Life and Times of Rev. Finis Ewing, pp. 281, 288-289, 490-494.
     3 J. B. Logan, History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Illinois
(Alton, Illinois: Perrin and Smith, 1878), p. 122.
     4 McDonnold, History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, p. 60.
     5 Richard Beard, "Brief Historical Sketch of Cumberland College, at Princeton,
Kentucky, 1825-1861," Theological Medium, 1876, p. 141.
     6 Alfred Charles True, A History of Agricultural Education in the United States
(Washington, 1929), pp. 33 ff.
     7 McDonnold, op. cit., p. 525.
     8 Winstead Paine Bone, A History of Cumberland University (published by the
Author, Lebanon, Tennessee, 1935), p. 275.
     9 McDonnold, op. cit., p. 557.
     10 At least one other school was being operated in Missouri under Cumberland
Presbyterian auspices during this time, namely, Ozark College at Greenfield, which
belonged to Ozark Presbytery.
     11 H. B. Evans, "History of the Organization and Administration of Cumberland
Presbyterian Colleges," unpublished doctoral dissertation, George Peabody College for
Teachers, pp. 306-309.

                               CHAPTER 9
     1 McDonnold, History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, p. 603. In 1829,
"The Form of Government" had been revised to provide for a General Assembly.
     2 Report of Committees appointed by the General Assembly to revise the
Confession of Faith to the 1882 General Assembly, p. 4.

     3 Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., Chapter XX, Section
     4 Confession of Faith of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, section 7 1.
     5 In 1903 the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., amended its Confession of Faith by
adding chapters on "the Holy Spirit" and "the Love of God and Missions." It also
added a "Declaratory Statement" intended to interpret Chapter 111 and Chapter X,
Section 3. (For the full text of the "Declaratory Statement" see page 126.) More
recently the Presbyterian Church, U. S. inserted in its Confession of Faith a chapter
on "the Holy Spirit" almost identical with that adopted by the Presbyterian Church,
U. S. A., in 1903, and a chapter on "the Gospel" which is identical with the chapter
on "the Love of God and Missions" adopted by its sister church in 1903. In both
instances, however, the text of the chapters which were most unacceptable to
Cumberland Presbyterians was left unaltered.

                               CHAPTER 10
     1 The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America
(Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath school Work, 1903), p.
     2 Minutes of General Assembly, Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., 1904, p. 129.
     3 Minutes of General Assembly, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1906. n. 79.

                               CHAPTER 13
     1 By agreement between the writer and the staff of the Board of Publication and
Christian Education, the section on the Covenant Life Curriculum was written by the
Board staff.

THOMAS HARDESTY CAMPBELL, who is Dean of Memphis Theological Seminary, was born near
Santa Anna, Texas. He attended Daniel Baker College at Brownwood, Texas, and in 1927
received the A.B. degree from Bethel College. In 1929, he received the B.D. degree
from the Cumberland Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Southern Methodist University
awarded him the M.A. degree in 1938, and he has done additional graduate study at the
University of Chicago. In 1949, Bethel College conferred on him the honorary D.D.

     During Dr. Campbell's early ministry, he was pastor of small town and country
churches in Texas and Louisiana. He assisted in organizing the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church in Shreveport, Louisiana (now Highland Avenue Church), and served
as its pastor from 1939-1942. In addition to pastoral responsibilities, he served as
editor of The Cumberland Crusader from 1935-1944. Beginning as a teacher in 1944, he
has served in several capacities in the educational institutions of the church. He
has been Dean and Acting Administrator of Bethel College, and has served as Dean and
President of the Cumberland Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

     Dr. Campbell was married to Nellie McClellan of Lubbock, Texas, and they were
the parents of one daughter, Jo Nell, now Mrs. J. S. Reynolds, of Odessa, Missouri.
Following the death of Mrs. Campbell, he married Margaret Estes, a native of
Oklahoma, and they have three grown sons, Samuel Henry, Thomas Dishman, and Paul
David. The family also includes five grandsons.

     Dr. Campbell has written two previous books dealing with the history of the
denomination. They are A History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Texas and
Studies in Cumber/and Presbyterian History. He is also the author of A Crown of
Glorying (dealing with I Thessalonians) and The Ministering Church, both study
booklets prepared for use within the denomination.