Lecture Notes From Summer Institutes

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Overview: Mid 18th Century religious revival - it is sometimes credited helping to

Ignite the American Revolution.

I. Trans Atlantic event

A. Strengthened bond within Colonies

B. Increased seeds of diversity

C. Theme of Revival and Reform

D. Affects a broad swath of Colonial society

II. Controversial Event: Butler (Yale) minimizes it.

III. Jonathan Edward's Revivals

A. First Intellectual

1. How do you perceive God reaching out and touching you?

2. New Divinity School studied him

B. Led North Hampton Congregations in series of revivals.

C. Jonathon Edwards philosophy

1. Predestination

2. Gave powerful and compelling sermons to convert

3. Gathered new members - drew people into church

4. Excitement developed, talked to the ministers and moved among

the people.

IV. Other ministers saw his success

A. Asked for advice:

Edwards wrote books/articles published internationally.

B. George Whitefield (pronounced Whit -field: SPG Society for Propagation of Gospel (in foreign parts).

1. Church of England minister

2. Sent from England to bring religion to Empire and Colonies - enticed

people into church.

3. Recruited missionaries

C. Georgia: Intended Utopia

1. Where orphans could work productively

2. Religious liberty

3. No slavery

D. Whitefield's preaching tour to raise money for orphans in Georgia (1739-1775)

1. Met John Wesley founder of Methodism in Georgia

2. Whitefield - an Anglican minister, but took a personal approach to religion-

non-denominational. His approach "Go to your own church, have your

own experience."

3. Wesley and Whitefield turned more Calvinistic: to save your soul,

must have a "personal experience."

4. Whitefield - a powerful charismatic

a) first to use media effectively

keeps data in journal, then publishes in serial mode

b) has "advance men" - everyone is waiting for him

c) manipulates new print media - preys on "hunger" for news

d) non-denominational - no one feels threatened:

-Congregationals, Presbyterians, Methodists

E. Nathaniel Cole's description of going to hear Whitefield "mass of humanity

to see preacher"

1. Pennsylvania

2. New England: crowds broke in a Boston church killing a number of people.

Then they preached on Boston Commons.

F. Very successful - Whitefield's tour is part of a broad movement in England/Colonies


1. Everyone is writing about the "General Movement."

2. Coming directly from God - He has some plan for the World.

3. Facilitated contact with other parts of the Atlantic World.

4. Generated a lot of enthusiasm

G. More successful in New England (Butler agrees)

V. Religious practices get back to Basics of Earlier America

A. Itinerate ministers - Middle Colonies: Gilbert Tennant

"The Danger of an Unconverted Ministry

B. James Davenport - radical

C. In Britain, Wesley's Methodism

1. Gather together in "cells"

2. Hymns in home worship

D. Very active time 1739-1742: more radical implications made negative impression

E. Division in New England: Edwards, Price, pro-revival

Charles Chauncy opposed.

F. New Lights: Support revival, return to Colonial Values

Old Lights: new religion is an "enthusiasm" - uncontrolled.

Differed is style of preaching

- Old Lights: reasoned, dry- conversion experience turned off


-New Lights: enthusiastic, emotional

Edwards: some saved, some damned, and you can know the difference.


Whitefield: conversion experience can save anyone, but became more

Calvinistic over time.

VI. 1742 Old Lights clamp down: Revivalism must stop

A. Evolution occurs

1. Baptists - grow in latter Colonial Period

2. Diverse religious landscape in New England. Divisive - creates new


3. Connection between communities being made

4. Preachers in South for first time.

VII. Rise in number of Baptists/Methodists from Great Awakening

A. 10-20 years later they go South as missionaries to minister to slaves

("slave" comes from "slav" non-Christian)

VIII. Slave owners were Anglican

A. If slaves were converted to Christianity, it would help make them free.

B. Galvanized slaves to revolt

C. Slaves aren't interested in Anglican message or style

D. But Baptists and Methodists began to convert them from latter 18th through

19th Centuries

E. Vast majority of slaves were Christian by the Civil War.

IX. Methodism: 1750 -The Colonial Churches of New England were primarily Congregational

prior to the American Revolution.

A. Middle of the 19th Century, Congregational diminish

B. Anglicans became Episcopalians

C. Nathan Hatch: Democratization of American Religion (Christianity)

D. Religious style - compatible with Democracy in America: less educated,

Emotional, less structured, more accessible, temper of the time

E. Converted more slaves and individuals on the frontier.

X. Consequences

A. Actually got its name at the time of the Second Great Awakening 19th Century

B. Relationship to the American Revolution questioned.

1. questioned authority - could one question the King.

2. Individuals developed their own sense of "right."

C. Inter Colonial contact much more important - organizing the media

1. printing presses

2. developed institutions for contact between Colonies

D. Dissenters: many were Church of England

• British thought there were too many Colonies and they couldn't organize them


• New World just too different from England.

• British had more bodies in their Colonies than French, Spanish.

E. Enlightenment

1. Jonathan Edwards was an "enlightened intellectual"

2. Saw people's role in their own salvation

3. America is free from institutional constraints

F. Great Awakening:

1. Science contributed to God's glory

2. Royal Society had Colonial Ministers working with them.

3. Saw America as an improvement over Europe

G. Middle Class America: set apart from Europe

1. Land

2. Egalitarianism

H. Transformation of Virginia - Isaac

1. Patriots in Virginia needed to regain their position in Colonies after

Baptists took poor and Blacks - impetus for American Revolution

I. America is first Post- Protestant Reformation Empire.


July 25, 2005

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