Daniel Weller


Biblical interpretation; periodicals; Henry Holsinger; Samuel Kinsey; Old German Baptist Brethren


Historical research involving the schism within the German Baptist Brethren Church in the 1880s has only been found within broad, general histories of the church. The explanations given by historians relating to the cause of the split have previously centered on individuals and the church publications between 1850 and 1883, and on contemporaries who argued among themselves about whether to adopt practices common among surrounding American religions and society. No known project has focused directly on the content within the publications as it relates to the way these brethren used the Bible and other religious and spiritual rhetoric to substantiate their arguments on either side. My research focused on Brethren periodicals printed between about 1850 and 1880. I selected four of the most prominent papers of the period: the Gospel Visitor, the Christian Family Companion, The Vindicator, and the Progressive Christian. Each of these periodicals contained arguments for or against adopting practices not previously accepted within the church. Within their pages I found that every argument, for or against a particular practice, was based on scriptural interpretation or other religious commentary used to persuade readers. [Abstract by author]


I thank Kyle Bulthuis, Angela Diaz, Norm Jones, Tammy Proctor, and Victoria Grieve at Utah State University for their help throughout the research and writing process, and the university’s Department of History that provided crucial funds for research travel. Thanks to Karen Garrett, Gale Honeyman, and Marcus Miller at the Brethren Heritage Center for their shared time. Thanks to Denise Kettering-Lane who suggested I use the Brethren periodicals as a focal point. And there is no way to properly thank Dr. Dale Stoffer for his knowledge and constant support. Special thanks is reserved for Cory Anderson who encouraged me to see this through, and all others at JAPAS who assisted. I thank my wife and precious daughters for all they put up with. I love them. My parents have always provided moral support, and my mom has always been eager to read my work just because it is mine. Above all, I thank my Father in Heaven, the God who hears and answers prayers. Without His divine guidance, I would not have been able to even begin. He provided strength when needed, and helped me find the people and material I needed.



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