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Jesse Mercer (1769–1841) was a Baptist pastor, editor, and denominational statesman who figured prominently in the debates over Calvinism among Southern clergymen. Most studies of Calvinism in America have focused on Jonathan Edwards, the New Divinity Movement, and the Princeton theologians. Calvinism, however, played a key role in shaping the religious mind of the South, particularly among Baptists who debated the relationship between divine sovereignty and human responsibility as it related to missions, education, and social reform. These debates led to the formation of two Baptist groups, Primitive and Missionary, the latter of which ultimately became Southern Baptists. This book explores the role of Jesse Mercer within these debates as he promoted the first form of the Georgia Baptist Convention. His Calvinistic theology governed his actions and life. He emphasized missions, theological training for pastors, and cooperation between churches in fulfilling the Great Commission. Calvinism is as important a topic today in the study of religion as it ever has been. This book gives perspective and history to current trends and understandings.


Anthony L. Chute received his Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is assistant professor of church history at California Baptist University, Riverside, California.