The Cultural Ramifications of Theological Trends and Vice Versa
My current research concerns the roots and fruits of the controversial American Presbyterian doctrine of the “spirituality of the church.” In brief, the doctrine states that the church and the state have been given specific jurisdictions of authority by God, limiting church authority to spiritual matters and state authority to civil matters. The doctrine has been used, particularly by southern Presbyterians, to avoid matters like slavery and segregation, leading many historians to argue that the doctrine is inherently pro-slavery and peculiarly southern. My work complicates these narratives, paying close attention to the doctrine’s broader Protestant framework of Two-Kingdom Theology and its Scottish predecessor, “the spiritual independence of the church.” Furthermore, my work follows the nuanced approaches of both white Presbyterians in the North and African American Presbyterians throughout the country as they addressed political matters while maintaining a belief in the church’s spiritual independence.
Awards & Honors
J.O. Terrell History Award, Gardner-Webb University, Boiling Springs, NC, 2019-2020.
Philosophy & Theology Award, Gardner-Webb University, Boiling Springs, NC, 2019-2020.