by Noël Pretila, Saint Louis University

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The Mercersburg Movement came into existence nearly a decade after the birth of the Oxford Movement (1835). It began in 1844, when a Swiss-born, German-educated theologian by the name of Philip Schaff (1819-93) accepted a teaching position at the struggling Mercersburg Seminary in Pennsylvania at the suggestion of his mentor at the University of Berlin, Augustus Neander (1789-1850). After taking the post, Schaff teamed up with an American theologian on the Mercersburg faculty by the name of John Williamson Nevin (1803-86). Before Schaff’s arrival, Nevin had already been laying the groundwork for this high-church movement. After hearing Nevin preach a sermon entitled “Catholic Unity,” Schaff knew he shared a kindred spirit in Nevin: “I feared I might not find sympathy in him for my views of the church; but I discover that he occupies me in my position. He is filled with ideas of German theology.”[1] Read the rest of this entry »