By Stephen Cox
Christianity takes an surprising number of varieties in the United States, from church buildings that cherish conventional modes of worship to evangelical church buildings and fellowships, Pentecostal church buildings, social-action church buildings, megachurches, and apocalyptic churches—congregations ministering to believers of various ethnicities, social sessions, and sexual orientations. neither is this range a up to date phenomenon, regardless of many Americans’ nostalgia for an undeviating “faith of our fathers” within the days of yore. relatively, as Stephen Cox argues during this thought-provoking e-book, American Christianity is a revolution that's constantly occurring, and consistently must take place. The old-time faith consistently should be made new, and that's what american citizens were doing all through their history.
American Christianity is a fascinating publication, large ranging and good proficient, involved with the residing truth of America’s varied traditions and with the fantastic ways that they've got built. Radical and unpredictable switch, Cox argues, is likely one of the few accountable good points of Christianity in the United States. He explores how either the Catholic Church and the mainline Protestant church buildings have advanced in ways in which may cause them to appear alien to their adherents in prior centuries. He lines the increase of uniquely American events, from the Mormons to the Seventh-day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and brings to existence the shiny personalities—Aimee Semple McPherson, Billy Sunday, and lots of others—who have taken the gospel to the hundreds. He sheds new gentle on such concerns as American Christians’ extreme yet continually altering political involvements, their arguable revisions within the sort and substance of worship, and their persistent expectation that God is ready to interfere conclusively in human existence. announcing that “a church that doesn’t promise new beginnings can by no means prosper in America,“ Cox demonstrates that American Christianity needs to be obvious now not as a sociological phenomenon yet because the ever-changing tale of person humans looking their very own connections with God, consistently reinventing their faith, making it extra risky, extra colourful, and extra attention-grabbing.
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Extra resources for American Christianity: The Continuing Revolution (Discovering America)
11 All of America’s big denominations except one (the Congregationalists) competed throughout the nation, a sign that their theological differences were broadly significant. Whether to christen infants or immerse adults was an issue that aroused strong passions almost everywhere. Virtually any aspect of governance, procedure, or symbolism could provoke violent controversy among Protestants or between Protestants and Catholics. Before the mid-nineteenth century, few Protestant churches were “papist” enough to raise crosses on their steeples.
Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Baptists originally shared the Calvinist belief that God gives his grace as he wishes, regardless of what people do. That belief was contested by the events of the Great Awakening, during the eighteenth century, and of the Second Great Awakening, early in the nineteenth. The success of these movements implied that it wasn’t only grace but also human measures— evangelism, revival meetings, and preaching and praying designed to induce conversion—that led people to decide for Christ.
The movement’s greatest evangelist, George Whiteﬁeld, came to North America during the “Great Awakening” of religious fervor in the 1730s and 1740s. More than anyone else, Whitefield inspired the Awakening, addressing the largest crowds yet seen on the continent (25,000 or more) and stirring many of his listeners to frenzy. Benjamin Franklin, who had no theological sympathy with Whiteﬁeld, wanted to hear him preach but resolved not to contribute any money. 2 After the American Revolution, the Methodists organized themselves as a separate denomination, the Methodist Episcopal Church.
American Christianity: The Continuing Revolution (Discovering America) by Stephen Cox