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The History of Presbyterianism and Evangelicalism

Donald Fortson and Kenneth Stewart speak about their book, Reformed and Evangelical across Four Centuries (Eerdmans), in which they tell the story of the Presbyterian church in the United States, beginning with its British foundations and extending to its present-day expression in multiple American Presbyterian denominations. This account emphasizes the role of the evangelical movement in shaping various Presbyterian bodies in America, especially in the twentieth century amid increasing departures from traditional Calvinism, historic orthodoxy, and a focus on biblical authority. Particular attention is also given to crucial elements of diversity in the Presbyterian story, with increasing numbers of African American, Latino/a, and Korean American Presbyterians—among others—in the twenty-first century. Overall, this book will be a bountiful resource to anyone curious about what it means to be Presbyterian in the multidimensional American context, as well as to anyone looking to understand this piece of the larger history of Christianity in the United States.

Dr. Kenneth J. Stewart is Professor Emeritus of Theological Studies at Covenant College. He is a specialist in the history of Christianity from the Reformation to the present with special interest in the development of the evangelical Protestant tradition. He has a growing interest in early Christianity and the transmission of doctrine from the early church forward to our time.

Dr. S. Donald Fortson III is Professor of Church History and Pastoral Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. Prior to RTS, he served as Assistant Professor of Ministry and the Director of the DMin Program at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Before his teaching career, Dr. Fortson was a pastor for nine years; he continues his pastoral ministry through teaching, preaching in local churches, and leadership in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

Dr. Alan Strange is Professor of Church History and Theological Librarian at Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana. He served Providence Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Glassboro, New Jersey, for over nine years before coming to Mid-America. He is an associate pastor at First Church (OPC) in South Holland, Illinois.


  • 00:00:07 Introduction
  • 00:03:15 The Idea for this Book
  • 00:08:04 The Combination of Authors
  • 00:14:07 Distinctive Features of the Book
  • 00:26:44 The Relationship between Presbyterianism and Evangelicalism
  • 00:35:43 The Missionary Impulse
  • 00:41:38 Cultural Transformation
  • 00:49:24 Modernism and Fundamentalism
  • 00:57:05 Evangelical Marginalization and Church Union
  • 01:08:40 Conclusion

Participants: , , ,

Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.


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