Separation of Church and State Law

Home » Book Reviews » Book Review: The Substance of an Argument against the Indiscriminate Incorporation of Churches

Book Review: The Substance of an Argument against the Indiscriminate Incorporation of Churches

by Dr. William S. Plumer
Link to online edition of book: The Substance of an Argument against the Indiscriminate Incorporation of Churches.
A hard copy can be ordered from Sprinkle Publications.

“Dr. [William S.] Plumer’s abilities were quite broad—from simple to complex. Not only would he tutor in elementary matters he would also take on complex issues. There was a petition introduced to the legislature of Virginia in 1846 requesting the passage of a law authorizing the incorporation of each congregation or religious society in the state. Plumer appeared before a legislative committee to speak against the petition…. He won the issue hands down, and the reader will be able to participate in this as he reads [The Substance of an Argument against the Indiscriminate Incorporation of Churches]” (pp. 9-10; citations are from the book).

“Seeing the danger of this proposal and the necessity of stopping it, Dr. …  Plumer appeared before the committee of the legislature in Richmond and spoke at length against the issue. He was opposed by two of the most eminent lawyers of Richmond.  Before the issue was settled and the two opponents were found to be ill equipped to deal with the Lord’s servant on the holy mission. He presented arguments from church history, legislated laws and legal opinions from eminent historians, judges and lawyers. The Lord’s servant reached into the centuries and retrieved arguments dispelling his opponents’ position. His breadth of coverage, genial spirit and good humor won over those who listened. Rev. Dr. William S. Plumer won and the issue was rendered nil…. Accusations that he was laboring under an hallucination or that an atheist even sided with him were turned upon those who opposed.”…  “In conclusion he quoted Bishop Meade, ‘Perseverance in a cause so just must eventually, by the blessing of heaven, be crowned with success.’ The lone preacher under God’s hand won the day” (pp. 3-4).


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