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The Days of the Fathers: John Kennedy of Dingwall and the Writing of Highland Church History

The Days of the Fathers: John Kennedy of Dingwall and the Writing of Highland Church History Between 1843 and 1900, the evangelical Presbyterianism of the Highlands of Scotland diverged from that of Lowland Scotland. That divergence was chiefly the product of Lowland change, as southern evangelicals increasingly rejected Calvinistic theology, conservative practices in worship, and high views of Biblical inspiration. The essay addresses the question why this divergence occurred: why did the Highlands largely reject this course of change? This article argues for the significance of the historical writings of John Kennedy (1819–84), minister of Dingwall Free Church, the ‘Spurgeon of the Highlands’. In his book, The Days of the Fathers in Ross-shire (1861), Kennedy offered a commendatory if sentimental account of the history of a conceptualised Highland Church, which, by implication, challenged readers of his own day to uphold the same priorities. This article demonstrates that by his writing of history, Kennedy helped to guide the trajectory of evangelicalism in the Highlands in a conservative direction that emphasised personal piety, self-examination of religious experience, and theological orthodoxy, in consistency with the Highland ‘fathers’. Kennedy's work was influential in instilling a new confidence and cohesion in the Highland Church around its distinctive principles, in opposition to the course of Lowland evangelicalism. Finally, Kennedy's influence became evident in the divergence between Highland and Lowland evangelicalism, which led eventually to divisions in 1893 and 1900, when his heirs took up separate institutional forms, as the Free Presbyterian Church and continuing Free Church, to maintain these principles. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Scottish Church History Edinburgh University Press

The Days of the Fathers: John Kennedy of Dingwall and the Writing of Highland Church History

Scottish Church History , Volume 49 (2): 18 – Oct 1, 2020

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
2516-6298
eISSN
2516-6301
DOI
10.3366/sch.2020.0032
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Between 1843 and 1900, the evangelical Presbyterianism of the Highlands of Scotland diverged from that of Lowland Scotland. That divergence was chiefly the product of Lowland change, as southern evangelicals increasingly rejected Calvinistic theology, conservative practices in worship, and high views of Biblical inspiration. The essay addresses the question why this divergence occurred: why did the Highlands largely reject this course of change? This article argues for the significance of the historical writings of John Kennedy (1819–84), minister of Dingwall Free Church, the ‘Spurgeon of the Highlands’. In his book, The Days of the Fathers in Ross-shire (1861), Kennedy offered a commendatory if sentimental account of the history of a conceptualised Highland Church, which, by implication, challenged readers of his own day to uphold the same priorities. This article demonstrates that by his writing of history, Kennedy helped to guide the trajectory of evangelicalism in the Highlands in a conservative direction that emphasised personal piety, self-examination of religious experience, and theological orthodoxy, in consistency with the Highland ‘fathers’. Kennedy's work was influential in instilling a new confidence and cohesion in the Highland Church around its distinctive principles, in opposition to the course of Lowland evangelicalism. Finally, Kennedy's influence became evident in the divergence between Highland and Lowland evangelicalism, which led eventually to divisions in 1893 and 1900, when his heirs took up separate institutional forms, as the Free Presbyterian Church and continuing Free Church, to maintain these principles.

Journal

Scottish Church HistoryEdinburgh University Press

Published: Oct 1, 2020

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