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The Shaping of American Congregationalism…

The Shaping of American Congregationalism 1620-1957

by John Von Rohr

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This modern history of American Congregationalism was originally published in 1992. It was much needed, because the previous major history of this denomination was published as far back as the early 1940's. Von Rohr's book begins with the roots of American Congregationalism in16th century English Puritanism. He covers the history of this denomination through its merger with the Christian denomination in 1931, and up to the threshold of its subsequent merger in 1957 with the Evangelical and Reformed denomination to form today's United Church of Christ. One very helpful aspect of Von Rohr's book is that he has subsections on theology, polity, worship, and mission in each major historical period he covers. That simplifies one's efforts to see how those aspects of American Congregationalism evolved over the centuries.

A side point: People in southeastern Massachusetts and elsewhere often make a distinction between the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In keeping with modern scholarship, and I think quite appropriately, Von Rohr views both groups as types of Puritans, though he refers to the Pilgrims as "Separatist Puritans." They separated completely from the Church of England, feeling that it could not be reformed. I found this to be a very valuable reference work. ( )
  dougshow | Mar 14, 2010 |
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