Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 38:1 (Fall 1975)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous


Book Reviews

Andrew L. Drummond and James Bulloch: The Scottish Church 1688–1843: The Age of the Moderates. Edinburgh: The Saint Andrew Press, 1973. 282. £4.00.

Scottish church history from the Reformation onwards is a fascinating story indeed, to which the present volume, despite certain shortcomings, is an interesting and noteworthy contribution. Much has been written on the Reformation and Covenanter periods. This work attempts to survey the less well known period from the so-called “Glorious Revolution” of 1688 to the “Great Disruption” of 1843.

The authors, pastors in the Church of Scotland, both hold doctorates from Edinburgh and are the authors of several other works in the field of church history. At his death in 1966 Andrew Drummond left behind a manuscript on the history of the Scottish Church since 1688. The first half of this, considerably revised and rewritten by James Bulloch, comprises the present work. Presumably Bulloch plans to rewrite and publish the second half at a future date.

Before attempting a few critical remarks, a brief summary of the book’s contents is in order. Chapter I presents the state of the Scottish Church at the end of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth century in terms of the demise of intolerance or the cooling off of the strong convictions of covenanting days. The old forms of Presbyterianism were still there, but its spirit had changed, at least for most of the clergy and laity, although it is admitted that the older theological passions were still far from dead.

Chapter II deals with the state of the Church in the first quarter of the eighteenth century leading to the establishment of the Secession Church in 1723. At this point it should be noted that, as would be expected, the book majors on the established Church of Scotland. It does, however, attempt to depict the religious life of the people as a whole and includes brief accounts of dissenting groups: the Scottish Episcopalians, the Cameronians, the Seceders, the Sandemanians, the Relief Church, the Old Scots independents, the Baptists, and the Church of Rome.

Chapter III portrays roughly the second quarter of the eighteenth century, while Chapter IV depicts the “Reign of the Moderates” in their heyday from 1752 to 1780 under the leadership of Principal William Robertson. The theme of Chapter V is the new world of thought which broke upon Scotland during the century of the Enlightenment including its influence upon the church. Of particular interest are deism and the skepticism of David Hume. The burden of the chapter is that Calvinism was in eclipse, that eighteenth century Scotland was not a Calvinist utopia, and that the cultural co...

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