The Untold Origins of the Presbyterian Church in America

William Harrison Taylor | March 7, 2016

In his seminal book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (1994), Mark Noll dolefully observed: “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.” More than simply lamenting the situation, though, Noll challenged evangelicals to embrace the life of the mind. Many since have answered that call to action, resulting in a wealth of excellent scholarship across a broad range of disciplines. Not since the mid-to-late 19th century have American evangelicals made such an impact on academic research. Fortunately, through the efforts of individuals such as Sean Michael Lucas, that will continue.  

In his most recent book, For A Continuing Church: The Roots of the Presbyterian Church in America, Lucas offers the first scholarly treatment of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) while deftly avoiding the pitfalls associated with addressing a subject close to one’s heart.

While one can sense Lucas’s support for the denomination throughout—he is a senior minister in the PCA and associate professor of church history at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi—he doesn’t shy away from or dismiss troublesome thoughts and practices of his subjects. To borrow a well-worn phrase, it’s all here: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Someone needed to tell this story faithfully, and Lucas’s ability…

To read the rest of this article, visit