They Seek a Country

The list of secondary sources assembled on our bookstore page is growing! One that merits a particular "shout-out" is a 1955 volume edited by Gaius Jackson Slosser (1887-1968) titled They Seek a Country: The American Presbyterians

This book is less than 350 pages, but is packed full of valuable information which scholars have often referenced since 1955. It is a remarkable book in many ways. It does not claim to cover all aspects of American Presbyterianism (the Cumberland Presbyterians are not discussed, for example, see p. vii). But the wealth of anecdotes, illustrations, and useful information makes this a great value for the student of church history on a budget (current best price on Amazon: $6.50, plus shipping). 

This book is a compilation of essays contributed by some of the greatest Presbyterian church historians of the 20th century. The table of contents reads thus: 

  • I. Origins by Gaius Jackson Slosser, Professor of Ecclesiastical History and History of Doctrine, Western Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA;
  • II. Beginnings in the North by William W. McKinney, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Ambridge, PA; 
  • III. Beginnings in the South by Ernest Trice Thompson, Professor of Church History, Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, VA; 
  • IV. The United Presbyterian Church by John H. Gerstner, Jr., Professor of Church History, Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary;
  • V. The Reformed Presbyterian Church in America by David M. Carson, Professor of History, Geneva College; 
  • VI. The Founding of Educational Institutions by William Warren Sweet, Professor Emeritus of American Church History, University of Chicago Theological Seminary; 
  • VII. Service in Founding and Preserving the Nation by H. Gordon Donald, Pastor, Bellefield Presbyterian Church, PIttsburgh, PA; 
  • VIII. Missionary Expansion at Home by Clifford M. Drury, Professor of Church History, San Francisco Theological Seminary;
  • IX. Serving Overseas by Kenneth Scott Latourette, Professor Emeritus of Missions and Oriental History, Yale Divinity School;
  • X. Wrestling With Human Values: The Slavery Years by Edward Burgett Welsh, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, New Concord, OH;
  • XI. Events and Trends - Early Nineteenth Century by James Hastings Nichols, Professor of Church History, University of Chicago Theological Seminary;
  • XII. Some Trends and Events Since 1869 by Lefferts A. Loetscher, Professor of American Church History, Princeton Theological Seminary; and 
  • XIII. Today and Tomorrow: The Road Ahead by Gladys Schmitt, Professor of English, Carnegie Institute of Technology; Frank H. Caldwell, President, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary; and John A. Mackay, President, President, Princeton Theological Seminary.

    Also included is a "Who's Who" of American Presbyterianism; an appendix listing all of the Presbyterian educational institutions founded in America or, internationally, by Americans; useful endnotes; and two fold-out diagrams by Slosser illustrating the splits within both Scottish and American Presbyterianism. 

    This is a wonderful resource for both the pastor-scholar and the lay student of church history. We recommend that you add it to your library, and you can do so by ordering it through our bookstore page. Be sure to check out our expanded list of additional secondary resources there, and the works published by Log College Press, as well!