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Seeking a Better Country: 300 Years of American Presbyterianism
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Seeking a Better Country: 300 Years of American Presbyterianism

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  71 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Seeking a Better Country is a readable and lively survey of American Presbyterianism since its founding in 1706. Its aim is not to celebrate but to understand how Presbyterians formed one of the largest and most influential denominations in the United States, and those historical developments that led to their decline.
Published by P & R Publishing
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Annie Rose
Dec 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a very accessible review of the history of Presbyterianism in America. It is easy to read and very interesting.
Erin Livs Livingston
Dec 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
This was a great, READABLE summary of Presbyterian History.
The author's do such a good job of keeping various divisions and theological debates concisely explained.
Blake Jameson Harris
Great history that is both scholarly and straightforward. Useful for pastors, students, and laymen alike, for its insight and guidance in understanding Presbyterianism in the USA.
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a really good book that went through the full history of American Presbyterianism without (to my knowledge) falling to one of the twin errors of over-glamorizing or over-vilifying the movement, instead striking a really helpful balance that portrayed both Presbyterian's strengths and weaknesses over the centuries. As someone who was not terribly familiar with the history of the Presbyterian church in America before reading this book, this book did a great job of illuminating the basic c ...more
I liked this book more the second time round. Granted, there are some problems with the introductory chapter, but you do not read Darryl Hart and John Muether for 17th century Scottish and Irish history. The general survey of American Presbyterianism from 1706 to 2006 is about as good as you could reasonably expect. Basically the authors' regard the modern Orthodox Presbyterian Church as standing in closest continuity with the Old School Presbyterians of earlier years, although they are careful ...more
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a surprisingly good book. You might think from its subject that it could be dry or slow, but it was not. It traces the history of Presbyterianism from its first presbytery (Philadelphia, 1706) through the current day. So you might the Old Light/New Light controversies, the Old School/New School split, the Civil War (or, in Presbyterian circles, the why have 2 denominations when you could have 4? event), the modernism/ecumenism controversy of the '30s, reunions in the 50s and 80s, the PC ...more
Bob O'bannon
Nov 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is depressing. It documents the way American Presbyterians over the years have consistently gravitated away from reformed convictions and even basic Christian orthodoxy, even to the point where the PCUSA sponsored a conference in 1993 that introduced goddess worship and Wicca practices (p. 249). Of course the PCUSA does not represent all Presbyterians. The PCA, OPC and EPC are all champions of orthodoxy, but readers should know that the book spends little time on the history of these d ...more
Andrew Canavan
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Good overview of the history of Presbyterianism in America. The authors, perhaps, make too much of "the spirituality of the church" and the degree to which confessional fidelity equates with spiritual vitality. Other than that, a good book that could be paired with Sean Lucas's On Being Presbyterian.
Jared Mcnabb
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a fine American Presbyterian History. It is well written and easy to follow. For those familiar with Hart's theological distinctives they tended to surface more as the narrative came closer to the present.
Aug 15, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was much harder to read and understand than I expected. There was so much information to keep track of that I found myself struggling to make sense of it all. I have to say, I was disappointed in what I did learn about the history of this denomination.
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The authors accomplished their purpose of putting forward a critical history of mainstream American Presbyterianism from 1706 to 2006.

Exceptionally lucid, fast-paced, and substantive, this book is a must-read for any student of American religious (and/social) history.
Jul 08, 2010 marked it as to-read
Got about halfway through (c. 1850s) before I had to return it to Covenant and wouldn't mind picking it up again sometime.
Aijalon Church
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Solid read. If you're Presbyterian and not sure what that means, this is a really great place to start.
JR McCravy
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: church-history
Well-organized and readable overview of Presbyterianism. Might have been 5 stars if not for the slight pro-OPC slant. As long as you're aware of those leanings going in, it's not a problem.
Feb 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: church-history
Readable overview of Presbyterian History. At times, the authors biases toward an Old School Presbyterianism were a distraction.
Dec 11, 2012 rated it liked it
helpful, but dry
Paul SHane
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Darryl G. Hart (Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University) directs the honors programs and faculty development at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and serves Westminster Seminary California as adjunct professor of church history. He has written or edited more than fifteen books, including Defending the Faith, a biography of J. Gresham Machen. He is coeditor of the American Reformed Biographies series.