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Sandemanians

A body of Bible-loving Christians founded by John Glas* (hence the alternative name “Glasites”) which flourished from 1725 until about 1900. Robert Sandeman (1718-71), son-in-law of Glas, came to the fore after the publication of James Hervey's Theron and Aspasio (1755), a Calvinist evangelical work which Sandeman attacked on the ground that it made faith a work of man which earns salvation. Sandeman held that bare assent to the work of Christ is alone necessary. After the controversy many new churches were founded; numerous Inghamite churches in Yorkshire joined the movement after 1759, and the London church in the Barbican area, of which Michael Faraday* was a member, was founded in 1760. Sandeman left England in 1764 to found churches in the USA, where the group survived until 1890. Sandemanians upheld the views of Glas and Sandeman: infant baptism and foot- washing were practiced; churches were organized with several coequal presbyters; and agreement (not a majority vote) was deemed essential. Excommunication was practiced. The sect was exclusive, and intermarriage was usual. It was the butt of much ill-informed criticism. Conditions of membership were strict (the church could control the use of members' private money), and membership low, although attendance at worship was large, at least in London.

Sandeman's works, which compared with those of Glas are repetitive and of low intellectual level, include Some Thoughts on Christianity (1762) and Discourses on Passages in Scripture (the 1857 edition of which contains a biography of Sandeman).