Category Archives: July 4rth

Schaff on Non-Establishment

schaffA Prussian immigrae, Phillip Schaff (1819-1893) was committed to the idea of uniting Lutheran and Reformed churches which began in Germany under the aegis of Prince Frederick William IV. Dr. Schaff is perhaps better known for his voluminous writings on Church history and the ancient fathers. His contribution alongside John W. Nevin in making “Mercersburg Theology”(1) is also significant as a traditional Protestant answer to American revivalism. Initially scandalized by the proliferation of enthusiastic sects, Schaff gradually found a silver-lining in American disestablishment, concluding God’s Providence set aside the United States to play a crucial role in forging an Evangelical Christendom by voluntaristic means. His change of opinion on freedom of religion is worth study, answering questions perhaps vexing for Anglicans-abroad who normally are ambivalent about their Republican advantages and not-too-distant past with Royal Supremacy.  Continue reading