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The Great Awakening

The Great Awakening






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    The Great Awakening The Great Awakening Presentation Transcript

    • The Great Awakening
    • Sources of the movement Grew out of • Loss of piety due to Enlightenment • Frontier establishments lacked traditional church structure • Seeming loss of piety among young – Young delaying marriage due to lack of land- increased sexual interests of unmarried – Rise in # of pregnancies out of wedlock. • Youth having co-ed parties • Hay rides under blankets • Bundling- parents actually allowed couples to sleep together clothed (but apparently they didn’t stay clothed)
    • Values of the movement: Emotion Challenged emphasis on rationality • Emotional experience a sign of conversion – Since everyone could potentially have this sort of emotional experience, listeners assumed salvation open to all. • A leveling affect- all equal opportunity – Whitefield preached that emotional experience the key test of conversion.
    • Whitefield Preaching
    • Values of the movement: Faith Justification by faith a key component of revivalism • “utter dependence on the saving Grace of God.” • Righteousness by God only – Contrasting faith with reliance on human virtue
    • Values of the movement: Faith • Not really a repudiation of predestination (although some listeners appear to have taken in that way). –Message of J. Edwards and others was that God can save anyone He pleases, and listeners hear that they can be saved. Listeners responded to an opportunity to pursue salvation through an emotional faith experience. –Began to see in sermons and publications a contention that the number of “select” may be very large (previously assumed small).
    • Values of the movement: Liberty(?) In some cases spoke for expanded vision of religious liberty- • “This right of judging every one for himself in matters of religious results from the nature of man, and is so inseparably connected therewith, that a man can no more part with it than he can with his power of thinking.” Elisha Williams, The Essential Rights and Liberties of Protestants, p. 62 Political Sermons of the American Founding Era, 1730-1805, vol. 1.
    • Values of the movement: Liberty(?) • “A Christian is to receive his Christianity from Christ alone.” Ibid, p. 64. • “The preservation of person or property, no ways requires the giving up this liberty [religious] into the hands of the civil magistrate. This therefore must remain in the individuals. The civil interest of a state is no more affected by kneeling or standing in prayer, than by praying with the eyes shut or open, or by making the figure of a triangle or cross upon a person in baptism, than by making no figure at all. They have indeed none of them any relation to the ends of civil administration. The civil authority therefore have no business with it.” Ibid, p. 70.
    • Values of the movement: Liberty(?) “Justice in rulers therefore put them upon leaving every member of the community…freely to chose his own religion, and profess and practice it according to that external form… Nor is this all; but they should guard every man from all insult and abuse on account of his religious sentiments… [Both freedoms predicated on the person in question’s religious beliefs not being a threat to public safety]” Charles Chauncey, “Civil Magistrates Must Be Just, Ruling in the Fear of God.” p. 158-9 Political Sermons of the American Founding Era, 1730-1805, vol. 1.
    • Jonathan Edwards
    • Consequences of the Great Awakening • Caused disputes over – nature of conversion – practices/roles of lay ministers – qualifications of ministers – style of preaching – behavior of converts (too emotional?)
    • Consequences of the Great Awakening • Split churches: New Lights v. Old Lights – Old Lights often accused revivalists of appealing to emotions only. Mistaking emotional experience with Godly communication. • Unifying many Americans w/ a common religious experience. • Created dissent and raised the prestige of dissent- challenging traditional views of religious leaders was accepted.
    • Consequences of the Great Awakening • Dissolving theocracy- disputes between church leaders weakened religious power structure. • Breakdown in theological consensus • Relieved people of much of their anxiety regarding salvation • New vision of religious liberty (?)- see above