The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971 Page: 325
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Old School Presbyterians
In an environment which rewarded the revival preacher with the
most abundant harvest of converts, the Old School clergy stubbornly
held to a conception of the clerical office more typical of the Scottish
or New England pulpit than of the frontier camp meeting. Commonly
equipped with college, seminary, and, on occasion, master's degrees,
these Presbyterians expected a clergyman to be an educated expositor
of the Word and not an itinerant "preacher" and "soul-winner" whose
major qualifications were a datable "conversion" and a dramatic "call
to preach." When ministers of the Texas Church failed to recruit suf-
ficient graduates of the eastern universities to meet increasing pastoral
needs, they sought to maintain the same high standards through ex-
aminations at presbytery meetings. One candidate for the ministry,
J. D. Sharpe, a practicing physician, was examined on Latin, Greek,
Hebrew, natural and revealed theology, ecclesiastical history, the sac-
raments, and church government.' Levi Tenney, a younger candidate
without college preparation, was required to pass comprehensive ex-
aminations on the "arts and sciences" and on classical languages be-
fore he was allowed to demonstrate his professional competence in
Biblical exegesis and the sermonic arts." The conservatism of the Old
School may be seen by a comparison with the Cumberland Presbyte-
rians, who retained most of the historic Presbyterian language, but
whose accommodation to the revival ethos led to a noticeably different
emphasis. The Cumberlanders continued to extol education, but the
essential qualification of the prospective candidate was "God's dealing
with him in conviction, conversion and an internal call to the min-
In both sermon content and pulpit manner, the typical Old School
preacher differed from the revivalist. The Central Texas Presbytery had
to caution its ministers against reading sermons, a practice common in
the East. Its resolution approved the "most careful preparation pos-
sible for the pulpit," but thought the "habitual reading of sermons"
to be inexpedient, "especially in our section of the church."' Daniel
Baker was a notable exception to the usual Old School pulpit manner.
Early in his illustrious ministerial career, he adopted a revivalistic
'Presbytery of Brazos, Minutes, November, 1844 (Archives, University of Texas Library,
Austin). All church minute books cited are located in the Archives, University of Texas,
"Ibid., April, 1855, April, 1854.
*White Rock Presbytery, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Minutes, October, 1856.
7Presbytery of Central Texas, Minutes, April, 1855.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971, periodical, 1971; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101200/m1/337/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.