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The Adorable TrinityStanding for Orthodoxy in Nineteenth–Century America

The Adorable Trinity

Standing for Orthodoxy in Nineteenth–Century America

Mantle Nance
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The Adorable Trinity investigates the little–known yet fascinating conflict between Trinitarianism and Unitarianism in the nineteenth century American South. It explores the lives, ministries, and theological contributions of three Southern Presbyterian pastor–scholars associated with Columbia Theological Seminary – James Henley Thornwell, Thomas Smyth, and Benjamin Morgan Palmer – and their winsome, fruitful stands for the Trinitarian faith in response to a burgeoning Southern Unitarian movement. In a readable and engaging way, the author provides readers with intriguing history that illumines the mind and warm theology that moves the heart to adore and serve the Triune God of love.    

Mantle Nance

About Mantle Nance

Mantle Nance (BA, Furman University; MDiv, Reformed Theological Seminary; PhD, University of Aberdeen) is senior minister at Ballantyne Presbyterian Church and a visiting lecturer at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is married to Sally, and they have two sons, Jackson and Aaron.


  • Author: Mantle Nance
  • Release Date: May 2020
  • Pages: 256
  • Format: Large trade paperback
  • Dimensions: 216 x 138
  • ISBN: 9781527105188
  • Imprint: Mentor
  • Category: Church > Christian Church > Church History


There is a certain lineage of southern Presbyterian theologians who, whatever their defects, nurtured a doctrine and devotion so intensely, pervasively, and uniquely trinitarian that they have long stood in need of closer study. What can account for this revival of excitement about the doctrine of the Trinity at this particular time and place? This book unlocks at least one part of the secret: these theologians and pastors knew themselves to be contending against an organized unitarian movement. By establishing this polemical context for their work, and then reading them sympathetically against this background, Nance has shed much light on an often ignored phase of American theological history.

Fred Sanders, Professor of Systematic Theology, Torrey Honors Institute, Biola University, La Mirada, California

Mantle Nance’s study of the controversy in the Old South between Trinitarians and Unitarians is historically and theologically marked by careful scholarship and, although committed to the supernaturalism of Trinitarian belief, seeks to be fair and judicious throughout. Far from being a good, but dusty, relic of past concerns, it  touches on many of the most crucial issues facing human thought and destiny today (or at any time). It is very much alive; a penetrating word for our times…

Douglas F. Kelly, Professor of Theology Emeritus, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina
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