May 9, 2020

The Beginning of American Presbyterianism

1 Min Read

How did the Presbyterian church arrive in the United States? In this brief clip, W. Robert Godfrey employs his characteristic wit to tell the story as it relates to a Quaker in Pennsylvania.


The Presbyterian church was a church that was founded largely in the 18th century in America by immigrants. Presbyterianism in America was long an immigrant church of Scots and Scots-Irish people who had been Presbyterians in the Old Country. When they came as immigrants to America, they established the church of their fathers here. The story goes that the Scots-Irish immigrant movement was encouraged by William Penn, who was a Quaker and the founder of Pennsylvania. What he discovered was that Quakers don’t make very good guardians of borders because Quakers are pacifists. So, he decided he needed somebody in the southeast of Pennsylvania to protect his borders from the people in Delaware and the people in Maryland that were constantly putting pressure on the border. And so, the story goes that he looked around the world to find the most difficult, bellicose, and pugnacious people on the face of the earth and concluded that was Scots-Irish Presbyterians. So, he invited them to Pennsylvania, and that was the beginning of the Presbyterian immigration and community in America.