Primitivist Piety: The Ecclesiology of the Early Plymouth Brethren

By Foster, Douglas A. | The Catholic Historical Review, January 1999 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Primitivist Piety: The Ecclesiology of the Early Plymouth Brethren


Foster, Douglas A., The Catholic Historical Review


Primitivist Piety: Tbe Ecclesiology of the Early Plymouth Brethren. By James Patrick Callahan. [Studies in Evangelicalism. Volume 12.] (Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. 1997. Pp. xix, 287. $48.00.)

In this study based on his doctoral work at Marquette University, James Callahan presents an intricate yet fascinating picture of the essence of Plymouth Brethren self-identity in the early 1800's. Scholars have often characterized the group as restorationist or primitivist, using the terms interchangeably. The author insists that such an analysis fails to discern an important conflict in Brethren thought between primitivism and restorationism.

Callahan follows an introductory historiographical essay with four heavily documented chapters in which he briefly chronicles the early formation of the group, its place both among and against other British dissenters, and its role in British millenarianism and prophecy conferences. Ernest Sandeen characterized the Plymouth Brethren, particularly as seen in the theology of John Nelson Darby, as a dispensational premillennial sect. One of Callahan's contributions in the book is to demonstrate that the group's primitivist ecclesiology, founded on a literalist reading of the New Testament, was responsible for Brethren eschatology rather than vice versa.

The major argument of the book, however, is found in chapters six and seven. Here the author carefully delineates Brethren ideas of primitivism and restorationism. The difference is epitomized by, though by no means confined to, the stances of early leaders Anthony Groves and J.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Primitivist Piety: The Ecclesiology of the Early Plymouth Brethren
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?