3. Exhilaration and Dismay
• After Independence was won, excitement, optimism.
“This will be a great, a very great nation, nearly equal to
half Europe…. Before the millennium the English
settlements in America may become greater than the
Chinese Empire…the Lord shall have made his
American Israel high above all nations which he has
made -- in numbers, and in praise, and in name and
in honor.” -- Ezra Stiles, 1783.
4. Ezra Stiles - President of Yale
“Here Deism will have its full
chance; more need libertines
[any] more to complain of being
overcome by any weapons but
the gentle, the powerful ones of
argument and truth. Revelation
will be found to stand the test to
the ten thousandth examination.”
• Truth would prevail in the free
market of all religions….
5. Optimism turns to Dismay
• War left the colonies bankrupt, exhausted,
• Confederation could not provide leadership
• Confusion over how to govern
• How to be different from Europe?
• Confusion over identity: Who are we now?
– Forshadowed by Puritan declension and
jeremaids (Errand into the Wilderness)
6. Dismay spurs Innovation
• U.S. Constitution (1787)
• Second Great Awakening
• Frontier as crucible
• Louisiana Purchase
• The Mission
7. The Religion of the Republic
• Evangelical Religion = Church Religion
– Common, generally understood, “His
special kingdom of grace” available to the
– Inward, spiritual, special revelation
• Civic Religion = General Religion
– “God’s great kingdom, the world” available
to all people “by the light of nature”
– Outward, civil, public, natural reason
8. The Mission of the Nation
Version 1: “A Light to the Nations”
– Emancipation of mankind (France, Naples, Spain); passive
example to the nations.
– An example and “asylum for the oppressed”
Version 2: “Liberator of the oppressed”
– Servant image of a nation called to help others
– But also benevolent master….
– Muscular Americanism
Both required diligence and vigilance to fulfill the
covenant with God…
… Optimism and Pessimism
9. Reordering of the Denominations
Phase 1: Early Republic, 1783-
2. Congregationalists and Presbyterians
10. 1. Anglicans
• Many clergy had fled the War
• Methodist defections in the
South reduced ranks
• William White and Samuel
Provoost become independent
Bishops through Scottish
• General Convocation of 1789
• “Protestant Episcopal Church
• Slow recovery
11. 2. Congregationalism and
• All original dissenters linked by the doctrines of the
• All did well by the War, with Baptists becoming the largest
Puritan-Reformed denomination by 1800.
• Presbyterian General Assembly of 1789 healed many
• 1801 Plan of Union combined Presbyterian and
• After disestablishment, defection of Unitarians, and
conversion of wealthy Anglicans, some unity.
• But only until 1837 and after.
12. “ To them the want of knowledge in a teacher…may
easily be made up and overbalanced by great zeal,
and affecting tone of voice, and a perpetual motion of
the tongue. If a speaker can keep his tongue
running…and can quote memoriter a large number of
texts from…the Bible, it matters not to many of his
hearers whether he speaks sense or nonsense.”
- Noah Worcester, Congregational minister, Impartial Inquiries
concerning the Progress of the Baptist Denomination, 1794.
13. 3. Baptists
• Not too successful in the West
• Revivals helped due to emphasis on conversion as
• Most gains made in the East along the coast.
• Success due to loose requirements for leadership -
inspiration and charisma prioritized.
• Filled the gap left by other denominations that had
stricter standards for leadership (Presbyterians and
14. 4. Methodists
• Before 1784, not a church but a ‘religious society’
within the Church of England
• John Wesley opposed American Independence
• Francis Asbury (1745-1816) and the “Christmas
Conference” of 1784 established the Methodist
• By 1820 they are the largest denomination overtaking
• Success in West largely due to “circuit riders”
15. 5. “Christians”
• “party names” seen as divisive among some Methodists
• Goal was to unite all Christians…
• Thomas Campbell (Irish) settles in W. Pennsylvania in
• “Christian Association of Washington County, Pa.” formed
• Alexander Campbell (son) becomes leader of the
“Christians” or “Disciples of Christ” - by 1860, 200,000
members, 5th largest denomination.
• Methodist concerns for unity also inspire Philip William
Otterbein (German Reformed minister) to form the United
Bretheren in Christ Church in 1800.
16. Summary of Phase I (to 1820,
• Democratization of American Religion by Nathan O. Hatch
• BUT, church attendance:
– 1776: 17%
– 1850: 34%
– 1879: 37%
– 1890: 45% - so maybe institutional religious life is not as significant
as some scholars would like to think.
• Blacks, slaves, indians, Jews, Catholics largely outside of
the Protestant umbrella
• Overall: Church life clarified and reinforced belief in the
myth of a national mission -- both in being moral exemplar
AND in exporting democracy
18. Background to the Second Great Awakening
1) Constitution and Bill of Rights (1st Amendment)
removed government from any significant role in
2) French Revolution (1790-1793) attacked Church and
3) Deists (Enlightenment Rationalism) were attacking
traditional forms of Biblical Revelation as “an empire of
superstition.” -- Elihu Palmer (1764-1806).
4) New immigrants.
5) Volunteerism leads to schism, religious innovation,
with no recognized religious authority to referee the
scriptural debates and home-grown theologies.
19. Cane Ridge Revival
• The Kentucky Revival of 1801 really began in 1800 when camp
meetings were held in Logan County. A camp meeting was
scheduled in Cane Ridge later the same year and this venue
subsequently became the centre of the revival. The meetings often
witnessed scenes of astounding manifestations. Shaking, jerking,
shouting and catatonic (death-like) states were common. Laughter,
barking like dogs and convulsions often preceded great conviction
• “Conversion” vs. “New
• Erosion of Calvinism
– Limited Atonement
• Sin as human action not
21. Charles Grandison Finney
• Born - August 29, 1792
– 7th child of Josiah and Sarah
Finney who were not particularly
– Professor of Theology and
president of Oberlin College
– “In the Bible, the word of God is
compared to grain, and preaching
is compared to sowing seed, and
the results to the springing up and
growth of the crop.” No need to
wait for God.
– “More than five thousand million
have gone down to hell, while the
church has been dreaming, and
waiting for God to save them
without the use of means.”
• Died -August 16, 1875
22. “New Measures” of Revivalism
• Allow Women to “Testify”
• “Plain-speaking” preaching
– Typical preaching was seen as ineffectual because of lack of
– Said personal “you” instead of abstract “they”
• Protracted meetings
– 2-3 weeks of nightly meetings during off season
– Even in urban areas, peer pressure.
• “Anxious bench”
– In front of the church, meeting area, where the believers
could pray for the seekers
23. Oberlin College
• Finney President 1849,
• Revivalist center
• Abolitionist center
– Change in focus of
the nature of
humanity and the
nature of sin as
change in ethics
24. Significance of Charles Finney
• Introduction of New Measures into
• Argued that human beings could cause
revivals—did not have to wait for God to
• Argued for Perfectionism—human beings
could be sinless
25. Camp Meetings
• Cane Ridge, Bourbon
County, Kentucky - 10-
• Lexington was largest city
with just 1,795 people.
• Chaos of the Holy Spirit,
• Presbyterian General
Assembly 1805: “God is a
God of order and not of confusion,
and whatever tends to destroy the
comely order of his worship is not
• Methodist Doctrine of
Grace widely accepted.
26. Schism and Lights
• Barton W. Stone rejects the ordination requirements of
the Presbyterians and forms the Synod Of Kentucky
• John McGee, Methodist preacher emphasizes the help
of the Holy Spirit in winning one’s way into Heaven.
• By 1811, camp meetings almost exclusively Methodist.
• By 1830’s they are organized, disciplined, and evolve
into camp grounds, conference centers, or summer
• Chautauqua, Ocean Grove and some others still active
today in one form or another.
• Old Lights reject the new revivalism, while New
Lights form new denominations.
27. More Denominations and Lights
James Freeman made pastor of King’s Chapel, Boston in 1787. He
– Word of God is “written for mankind in the language of men” - just like
that of other books.
– Jesus is divine, but not the same as God, moral exemplar.
– Optimistic view of human nature, an “essential sameness between God
• American Unitarian Association formed in 1825
• 1782, Charles Chauncy’s Salvation for All Men
– Universalism is also anti-trinitarian
– Mostly poorer people, competes with Methodists
• Ashbel Green (1827) accuses various Yale
teachers of subverting orthodoxy.
• Heresy trials ensue against several prominent
theologians including Lyman Beecher. Charges
dismissed, but very inflammatory for the public.
• 1837 New School Synods in New York are
• Beginnings of Slavery as Religious issue.
• Charles Hodge - Princeton Seminary, Old
School Presbyterian, “a new idea never
originated” while he was there.
29. Baptists and Lutherans
• 1830’s sees the Baptist Old School party was never able to
organize above the association level and declined.
• Primitive Baptists split off as the New School or New Light
version but also do not fare well. Hardshell Baptists emerge
from them as well.
• Lutherans and Reformed churches had been infiltrated and
diminished by evangelicals. But in 1857, new Dutch immigrants
in Michigan form Christian Reformed Church
• Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri formed in 1847
• Several other synods formed, but all influenced by Carl F. W.
Walther, whose theology diminished some infighting among
30. Summary of Second Great
• Arminianism over Calvinism
– Human beings could affect their own salvation
– Kentucky—Cane Ridge (1801)
– New England—Yale
• Increased the powers and size of evangelicalism
• Set the stage for the “Benevolent Empire” and
31. More Summary of Second
• Institutionalized popular discontent
• Religion and politics combined
• Shift away from classical republicanism of the
• …toward populist democracy, rugged individualism
that characterize much American culture today.
• Irony and paradox of religious demogoguery
32. Protestant Conservatism (Ch 5)
• Unyielding defensiveness toward modernism
• Many heresy trials in every Protestant
denomination up to 1900.
• Many dismissals of liberal faculty from church
seminaries - especially in the South.
• Charles Hodge (1798-1878): “We can even afford
to acknowledge our incompetence to meet them in
argument, or to answer their objections; and yet our
faith remains unshaken and rational”
• Princeton doctrine of Inspiration - Biblical inerrancy.
33. Conservative or Confessional
• “Shall we sustain our Calvinism or see it run down to
the standard of Methodists and laxer men?”
• 1834: founding of Hartford Seminary by
Congregationalists to combat the influence of Yale
• 1831-1835: Heresy trials among Presbyterians; Old
School vs. New School or New Divinity.
• 1837: 4 New School Synods excluded from
• At first, Princeton was neutral, but the founding of
Union Theological Seminary in NYC in 1836 pushed
them into the Old School camp.
34. Charles Hodge (1797-1878)
• Most important Old School Presbyterian (Conservative
• Systematic Theology (1871-73) defended against any
• What is Darwinism? (1874)
• “…no such thing exists on the face of the earth as
Christianity in the abstract…Every man you see is either an
Episcopalian or a Methodist, a Presbyterian or an
Indpendent.… No one is a Christian in general.”
• May have kept Presbyterianism in a “theological
straightjacket” but smart and nuanced enough to be the
basis of Conservative Christianity even today.
35. Prophetic Movement
• 1875: first annual “Prophetic” Bible conferences held where prophecy
enthusiasts compare notes.
• Bible as device for telling the future (oracle? Idolatry?)
• At first, very diverse interpretations, but an influential consensus
develops by 1890:
• “Bible Schools”
– J. N. Darby (1800-1882) - “prophetic” understanding of scripture;
“any moment now”
– Scofield Reference Bible (1909) - annotated edition of Bible
divides it into historical eras or “dispensations”
• Moody Bible Institute in Chicago is at the center
• Leaders (A. C. Dixon) condemn Liberalism and Modernism as
• Beginnings of Fundamentalism *****
36. American Imperialism
• Naval base in
• Hawaii annexed
War of 1898
• Support of Panama
against Columbia in
• Dollar Diplomacy
37. Josiah Strong (1847-1916)
• 1885 Our Country implores American
churches to Christianize the world.
• “civil liberty” and “spiritual Christianity”
• “Without controversy, these are the
forces which, in the past, have
contributed most of the elevation of the
human race, and they must continue to
be, in the future, the most efficient
ministers to its progress.”
• The “Anglo-Saxon” is the highest
expression of these ideals and is
“divinely commissioned to be…his
• Racist and anti-Semitic
• Faith healing
• Charles F. Parham &
Bethel Bible College
• William J. Seymour &
Azusa Street revival
• Aimee Semple
• Mission to the World & Manifest Destiny
• Civilizing-Christianizing debate
• Hocking Report (1932)
• “…to transform ordinary life into the extraordinary” (131).
• “…conservatives sought to stop time…”
• New Testament and millennium prioritized.
• Conservatives claim the mantle of the Puritan forebears,
Revolutionary War patriots, and 19th century Evangelicals…..
• Cultural expansionism
• Is this a form of violence?