Dictionary of the Presbyterian & Reformed Tradition in America

Here’s a helpful resource to for studying and understanding the history of Presbyterian and Reformed churches in America: Dictionary of the Presbyterian & Reformed Tradition in America (ed. D. G. Hart and Mark Noll). It’s a three hundred page dictionary that includes articles on important people, events, doctrines, and denominations of Reformed and Presbyterian churches in America. For example, you’ll find entries on the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, John Girardeau, Carl McIntire, Charles Hodge, Presbyterian Polity, New Side Presbyterians, Francis Grimke, and Princeton Theology, just to name a few. The articles are very informative but also succinct and to the point. For example, here’s an excerpt of the entry for Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield:

(1851-1921) Princeton theologian and educator. Born near Lexington, Kentucky, the grandson of Robert J. Breckenridge, Warfield graduated from the College of New Jersey with the highest honors in 1871. Entering Princeton Theological Seminary, he studied under Charles Hodge (B.D., 1876). After traveling and studying in Europe (1876-1877) Warfield ministered at Baltimore’s First Presbyterian Church (1877-1878) and then began his teaching career in New Testament at Western Seminary in Allegheny, Pennsylvania (1878-1887). When Archibald Alexander Hodge died in 1887, Warfield succeeded him as professor of didactic and polemic theology at Princeton….

…Although he did not write a systematic theology, he left behind a considerable intellectual legacy for Reformed Christianity. Besides monographs and articles written for learned journals, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and the popular press fill more than ten volumes. For more than ten years (1890-1903) he was editor of ‘The Presbyterian and Reformed Review,’ and he was a constant contributor to that journal’s successor, ‘The Princeton Theological Review.’

After his wife, Annie Pearce Kinkead, whom he married in 1876, suffered from a debilitating injury that left her a life-long invalid, Warfield refrained from engaging in ecclesiastical battles that Hodge had tackled. He faithfully cared for his wife, avoiding prolonged absences from Princeton for her sake…”

…Warfield also developed a rigorous apologetic for Scripture. In the 1881 article ‘Inspiration,’ written in collaboration with A. A. Hodge, Warfield defended a totally trustworthy and inerrant Scripture. In numerous articles and reviews he described carefully reasoned nuances of the Princeton view by examining biblical data and demonstrating that conservative teaching rested on the Reformed confessions….

I know a person can Google these kinds of things, but Google searches are hit or miss and are not always reliable and accurate. If you want a reliable, concise, and legitimate resource on the history of Reformed and Presbyterian churches in America, put Dictionary of the Presbyterian & Reformed Tradition in America on your book list.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015

2 thoughts on “Dictionary of the Presbyterian & Reformed Tradition in America”

  1. Pastor Lems,
    I enjoy your insights into books you review, as a layman I may not have a grasp on many for their content but it is good to get introductions by you. I make my comments about this current book a bit tongue in cheek. I would say the “Reformed Tradition” part of the title might be a misnomer. I have not reviewed the book but read a review of it and I believe there is no mention of Confessional Baptists in this publication. So there is a bit of a gap in talking about the Reformed Tradition and excluding Baptists that hold to a Federalist position and a Confession (the 2d London Baptist Confession) that is largely based on the Westminster. This is not a surprise, I have met Dr. Hart and I know he personally think it’s pretty ridiculous to use the terms “Reformed” and “Baptist’ in the same sentence. Dr. Hart is a good man and very faithful to his position so I don’t fault him but it is a bit sad.
    Continue sending out reviews and your Baptist cousins, holding to our confession, will benefit from your scholarships
    Blessings in Christ,

    G. Frank Strickland
    Grace Reformed Baptist Church
    P.O. Box 152
    Brunswick, Maine 04011-0152
    Cell: 207-749-0290

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Frank: Thanks for the kind words. I guess I hadn’t thought of that. It’s hard to do it all in one dictionary like this. In fact, there are similar books on Baptist history in America, Lutheran history in America, and so on. I wouldn’t read into it so much. In a short book like this the editors couldn’t include everything. For example, there are not articles in this dictionary about Westminster Seminary (PA) or Westminster Seminary (CA). It’s a basic resource, not an exhaustive one. Hope this helps!
    Blessings in Christ,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s