By John Sparks
Simply because critical and southern Appalachia’s specified Christianity lacks a truly recognizable “father figure,” spiritual historians have lengthy struggled to completely clarify its origins, traditions and folklore. during this good researched and authoritative account of the region’s faith, John Sparks makes a speciality of Shubal Stearns, an influential early Baptist chief who did a lot to unfold Christianity in southern Appalachia. Stearns and a devoted band of fans left New England in 1754 to minister at the frontiers of Virginia and North Carolina. profitable past his wildest goals, Stearns verified an organization of church buildings that gave beginning to a few of the disparate denominations steadfastly maintained within the Appalachian sector at the present time. Sparks’s full of life dialogue investigates the original preaching and making a song types of the zone and explores the disputes, theologies, and personalities that driven Stearns to the vanguard of Appalachian faith.
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Additional info for The Roots of Appalachian Christianity: The Life and Legacy of Elder Shubal Stearns (Religion in the South, 8)
He planned to assume the responsibility of soliciting funds for its operating expenses through itinerant preaching tours, thus opening the entire domain of the United Kingdom as a field for charitable contributions and, more importantly to him, born-again evangelism, while he technically maintained the “living” required for full Anglican ordination. As priest and director of a legitimate charitable enterprise of the Church he would be welcome, ostensibly, in any Anglican parish; as a Calvinist, equally welcome among Independent and Presbyterian Puritans; and as a Methodist, not in the later denominational sense of the word, he would proclaim and exhort in behalf of the New Birth in Christ wherever he went.
Whitefield’s few Williamsburg meetings appear to Rude Awakening 23 have attracted listeners from as far as three and four counties away; many of these spread the news of the preacher’s evangelistic Calvinism and his dynamic pulpit mannerisms within their own communities, kindling enough interest among the general population of eastern Virginia to inspire the widespread purchase and reading of the printed texts of some of his sermons. Thus provoked, a sizable group of small farmers and mechanics in the east central county of Hanover became dissatisfied with their traditional Anglicanism in spite of Whitefield’s own standing in the Church.
Even so, first-cousin marriages were then common. Shubal settled down with Sarah in Tolland, undoubtedly on or near the original Stearns grant, as the head of his own household. Little is known of the couple’s early domestic life, but although Shubal and Sarah never had any children of their own, Shubal’s position as the eldest son of a large family in patriarchal New England probably gave him a close and perhaps almost paternal relationship with his younger brothers and sisters and their families.
The Roots of Appalachian Christianity: The Life and Legacy of Elder Shubal Stearns (Religion in the South, 8) by John Sparks