Philip Schaff and Brooks Holifield on a tendency in American Christianity

April 8, 2009

Here’s a quote to chew on (even more relevant in an internet age than when its sentiments were uttered in the nineteenth century).

Philip Schaff observed, with dismay, the popularity in America of self-educated theologians, unexposed to the traditions of the academy, who presumed to establish themselves as authorities in matters of religious truth. He lamented that “every theological vagabond and peddler may drive here his bungling trade, without passport of license, and sell his false ware at pleasure.”

E. Brooks Holifield, Theology in America: Christian Thought from the Age of the Puritans to the Civil War (Yale University Press, 2003). Quote is on page 17, in the introduction.