By Stephen Cox
Christianity takes an impressive number of types 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 numerous ethnicities, social periods, 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 publication, American Christianity is a revolution that's continuously occurring, and constantly must take place. The old-time faith constantly needs to be made new, and that's what americans were doing all through their history.
American Christianity is a fascinating ebook, vast ranging and good knowledgeable, in contact with the residing truth of America’s assorted traditions and with the magnificent ways that they've got constructed. Radical and unpredictable switch, Cox argues, is without doubt one of the few accountable positive factors 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 might cause them to appear alien to their adherents in previous centuries. He lines the increase of uniquely American hobbies, 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 loads. He sheds new gentle on such matters as American Christians’ severe yet regularly altering political involvements, their arguable revisions within the type and substance of worship, and their persistent expectation that God is ready to intrude conclusively in human existence. saying 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, always reinventing their faith, making it extra risky, extra colourful, and extra interesting.
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Additional info for American Christianity: The Continuing Revolution (Discovering America)
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.
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.
And whatever the churches do, there will still be Christians, ardent Christians, who aren’t affiliated with any church at all. indd 27 1/16/14 11:08 AM = AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY = To say this is to recognize that there is a place where institutional histories and social theories stop, and the histories of individual men and women start. Consider the story of Frances Jane (Fanny) Crosby, one of the greatest celebrities of nineteenth-century Christianity. A proliﬁc hymn writer (“Blessed Assurance,” “Pass Me Not,” “To God Be the Glory,” and hundreds of other songs), Crosby had—and continues to have—more inﬂuence on religious feeling than an army of clergy.
American Christianity: The Continuing Revolution (Discovering America) by Stephen Cox