This is the life-story of a Kentucky frontier preacher, lovingly and instakingly told. Young John Smith wrestled with the Calvinist doctrines of the and of predestination. He was God-fearing and right-living, but plagued with an inquiring mind. Marrying, settling down to farm and raise a family, he finally received the long-awaited call to preach. Too intelligent to be blindly faithful and too humanistic to accept the arbitrary damnation of his fellow mortals, he reasoned himself into heresy in the eyes of his Baptist peers. The climax of his career came in 1832 when he and Barton W. Stone, another free-thinking Christian, nited their followers in a ""pure instrument of God, rid of bigotry and dogma, releasing the redemptive power of the Almighty"". Cast in the form of a sprawling novel, with a sincerity which somehow escapes mawkishness despite a consciously Romespun style, this book contains some rather inspired theological hair-splitting.