An Overview of Church History

MOPC Adult Sunday School

March, 2007


 “Sketches From Church History”, by S.M. Houghton
“The Church in History”, by B.K. Kuiper
“Church History in Plain Language”, by Bruce L. Shelley


Part 5

Post Reformation




Ordo Salutis:

            Election, predestination, union w/ Christ, calling, regeneration, faith, repentance, justification, sanctification, glorification




Union with Chirst:






            Sanctification Glorification



Some of the Reformed creeds still commonly in use are:

            French (or Gallic) Confession (1559),

            Scots Confession (1560),

            Three forms of Unity

o       Heidelberg Catechism (1563),

o       Belgic Confession (1566),

o       Canons of Dordrecht (1619),

            Second Helvetic Confession (1566)

            Westminster Standards

o       Westminster Confession of Faith (1646)

o       Westminster Shorter Catechism (1649)

o       Westminster Larger Catechism (1649


o       London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689)

            The Three forms of Unity are common among continental Reformed churches (especially those in the Netherlands). The Westminster Standards have a similarly common use, among Reformed and Presbyterian churches with origins in the British Isles.




            The Canons of Dort are the judgment of the National Synod held in the Dutch city of Dordrecht (Dort) in 1618-19 and form one of the confessional standards of many of the Reformed churches around the world. Their continued use as a standard still forms a dividing line between the followers of Arminius and Reformed Churches.

            These canons are in actuality a judicial decision on the doctrinal points in dispute from the Arminian controversy of that day. Following the death of Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609), his followers set forth a Remonstrance (published in 1610) in five articles formulating their points of departure from the stricter Calvinism of the Belgic Confession. The canons are the judgment of the Synod against this Remonstrance. Regardless, Arminian theology has since continued in various forms within Protestantism.

            The Canons were not intended to be a comprehensive explanation of Reformed doctrine, but only an exposition on the five points of doctrine in dispute. These Canons set forth what is often referred to as the Five Points of Calvinism and have since been identified with the acronym TULIP, which stands for...

o       T- Total Depravity of Man

o       U- Unconditional Election

o       L- Limited Atonement

o       I-  Irresistible Grace

o       P- Perseverance of the Saints



Synod of Dordt


Arminian Position

Reformed/Calvinist Position

Total Depravity

Weakness inherited from Adam, but the human will is free (and able) to do spiritual good

Man in his natural state is "dead in trespasses and sins". (Eph. 2:1,5)

Total depravity and guilt inherited from Adam; human will is in bondage to sin; man is unable to save himself

"The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so." (Rom. 8:7)

Unconditional Election

God enables salvation for those who he has seen in advance would believe.

"God the Father has sovereignly chosen those who will be saved; common grace given to all; saving grace given to the elect

""You did not choose me, but I chose you..."" (John 15:16);

""What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses,  ""I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."" It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. (Rom. 9:14-16)"

Limited Atonement

Christ's death a sacrifice that God benevolenetly accepted in place of a penalty, intended for all, by the power of the Holy Spirit in response to the will of the sinner

"The Lord Jesus died for all whom the Father had given to him, and for them only.

""For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him"" (John 17:2). "

Irresistible Grace

Enabling grace given to all; saving grace given to those who believe; persevering grace given to those who obey

"The Holy Spirit sovereignly and effectually applies salvation to the elect.

""All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away"" (John 6:37); ""No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him"" (vs. "

Perseverance of the Saints

Perseverance dependent on obedience

"Those who are truly saved will never be lost, by the grace of God

""They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us"" (1 John 2:19)

All those who really belong to him ""through fai"




Roots of Arminianism

            Pelagianism- denial of original sin; asserts that Adam’s sin did not affect the entire human race; man is born essentially good and is capable of doing what is necessary for salvation

o       Augustine & Jerome opposed Pelagius; contended that man is dead in sin, salvation is totally by the grace of God, which is given only to the elect; Pelagianism was condemned by Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D

            Semi-Pelagianism- God and man work together in salvation, but man takes the initiative; that justification is through faith, but that Adam's original sin was merely a bad example, humans can naturally seek God, and salvation is completed through works

            Medieval Catholicism- man is predisposed to evil, yet free to do good; salvation through sacramental grace and good works; salvation lost through “mortal sins”

            Arminianism- man is not totally depraved, God’s “election” dependent on man’s choice, Christ died for all (not just the elect), the Spirit’s work was resistible, salvation could be lost

            For the first 1700 years, the N.T. Church rejected the various forms of Pelagianism, but the last 300 years it has grown in the form of Arminianism and dominates many Protestant churches today.


Events Leading Up to the Westminster Assembly:

            Martin Luther posts his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the church in Wittenburg, Germany in 1517 and the Reformation begins there.

            Other reformers emerge in the mid-1500’s- John Calvin and William Farel in Switzerland and John Knox in Scotland.

            Reformed churches develop in other countries, especially France, Holland, Hungary, England, and Scotland. Despite early efforts to unify these churches, each were somewhat unique.

            In England, King Henry VIII breaks from the Roman church in 1534 when the Pope refuses to grant him a divorce and the Church of England (Anglican) begins. As a state-church, the king is the head of the church.

            Under Edward I, from 1547-1553, Protestantism grows rapidly in England.

            From 1553-1558, Queen Mary Tudor (“Bloody Mary”), a firm Catholic, severely persecutes the Protestants. Over 300 are martyred for their faith.

            From 1558-1604, under Elisabeth I, England makes a modest return to Protestantism. Although the Church of England adopts many of the doctrinal positions of the Reformation, it retains many of the worship and governmental practices of the Roman Catholic Church, so many yearned for additional reforms. Those who disagreed with the Church of England were called non-Conformists, Dissenters, or Puritans, and most of those who later participated in the Westminster Assembly were Puritans.



Events Leading Up to the Westminster Assembly (continued):

            Although the Puritans sought to reform the Church of England from within, others felt it was hopeless. They separated from the church and became known as Congregationalists.                    (The Pilgrims at Plymouth were Separatists/Congregationalists, while the Puritans established the Massachusetts Bay Colony 9 years later.)

            In the late 1500’s, reformed theology grows rapidly in the English universities and the Presbyterian form of church government emerges. The greater the opposition from the king, the greater Presbyterianism grew.

            From 1603-1625, James I resists Puritan growth but does authorize a new English translation of the Bible, which we know as the King James Version.



The English Bible

            At the time of the Reformation, the Bible was written in Latin and most people could not read it. Luther translated the Latin Bible into German, and Wycliffe and Tyndale translated it into English. The Geneva Bible, the first to use verse divisions, was completed in Geneva, Switzerland in 1560 and was the Bible used by Shakespeare. It was also the first “study Bible”, as it had notes regarding Reformed doctrines in the margins. The Pilgrims and the Puritans brought the Geneva Bible to the New World. The King James Version of the Bible was completed in 1611, but did not become the favored translation until fifty years later.



Events Leading Up to the Westminster Assembly:

            In other countries, the Reformed churches were meeting to agree upon and document the Biblical principles that were at the core of the Reformed faith. The Synod of Dort in 1619 was one of the more significant assemblies in producing Biblical standards of faith.

            From 1625-1649, Charles I married a Roman Catholic and strongly resisted the Puritans, who were increasingly represented in Parliament.

            There was a growing need for the Protestant-Reformation churches to unite in doctrine and work together.

            In 1643, against the opposition of the king, leaders in the Reformed churches in England successfully petitioned Parliament to convene “an assembly of learned, godly, and judicious divines” to further reform the liturgy, discipline and government of the church.

            The divines were directed to meet at Westminster in 1643 and the Westminster Assembly convened regularly until the Confession of Faith, the Directory for Public Worship, the Form of Church Government, and the Larger and Shorter catechisms were completed in 1647.



Westminster Assembly Facts and Trivia

            157 people made up the Westminster Assembly: 121 English ministers, 6 Scottish commissioners, and 30 laymen (from Parliament). The members of the Assembly were called “divines”.

            The meeting place was Westminster Abbey, London

            There were 1163 sessions with an average attendance of 60-80 members. The divines did most of their work in a room that was only 20 x 40 ft.!

            The initial assignment of the Assembly was to revise the Thirty-Nine Articles, which were early doctrinal statements of the English Church, but these articles were shortly set aside and they began to formulate the Westminster Confession of Faith.

            The furthering of the reformed faith through the formulation of doctrinal statements true to the Word of God was the pledge of the participants.

            Wanting an outcome that would unify other Reformed churches, the Assembly invited delegates from the Church of Scotland to attend, which they did.

            The youngest member of the Assembly was George Gillespie at 30, from the Scottish delegation.

            The work of the Westminster Assembly was approved by the English Parliament, which had commissioned the Assembly, but the Church of England never became Reformed because of the rise of the Independents under Oliver Cromwell.

            The Westminster Confession of Faith was adopted in full by the Presbyterians and with slight modification by the Congregationalists and the Reformed Baptists and became the worldwide standard for these churches

According to William Hetherington’s History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, the members of the Assembly, motivated by either fear or reverence, struggled to define the nature of God in the question, “What is God?”, and asked the youngest member, George Gillespie, to attempt it.  Before trying to do so, Gillespie opened with a prayer that began: “O God, thou art a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in thy being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.”  When he had finished, someone immediately jotted down the opening of the prayer, which the commissioners agreed was a perfect definition- in a sense, God’s own answer.



Major Themes of the Confession of Faith:

            The Holy Scripture

            The Lordship and Sovereignty of God

            The Covenant

            The Christian Life



Events Surrounding/Following the Westminster Assembly:

            By the early 1640’s, there was significant strife (civil war) in England over the impact of the Reformed faith and an opposing king.

            Oliver Cromwell’s forces (all devote men, sang Psalms into battle, studied their Bibles and prayed when not fighting) were never defeated and helped the forces of Parliament defeat the king’s army; Cromwell eventually rules England



Events Following the Westminster Assembly:

            Cromwell was not a Puritan and resisted the expansion of Presbyterianism; Congregationalism is rather supported

            When he died in 1658, England was dissatisfied with Puritanism and brought back the son of Charles I. Under Charles II, by 1662, England was strongly Anglican and 2000 Presbyterian/Puritan ministers were forced from their parishes

            The Scottish Protestants, known as the Covenanters, were hunted with bugles and bloodhounds

            John Bunyan, a traveling Puritan preacher, was imprisoned for his convictions for 12 years, where he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress

            John Milton, another Puritan, writes Paradise Lost, after being persecuted for his beliefs

            Charles II professes Catholicism in 1685; his brother James II, also a Catholic, plots with Louis XIV to restore Catholicism to England

            In 1688, William III of the Netherlands takes his army and his wife Mary (daughter of James II) and drives his father-in-law out of England, saving Protestantism; William and Mary become co-rulers of England

            James II tries to regain throne by landing in Ireland with a French army; the Irish in southern Ireland were Catholic and supported James II; the Protestants in northern Ireland supported William; because of this they were called Orangemen; William defeats James’ army in 1690 at the Battle of the Boyne

            James flees to France and Protestantism is saved in the Netherlands, England, and (indirectly) America

            The Church of England now dominates. In 1689, the Toleration Act granted freedom of worship to the Protestant Dissenters (Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, and Quakers) who totaled about 10% of the population in England; Catholics were denied that freedom



New Denominations Emerge from England :


o       Each local church is serve governing, choosing its own pastor elders and deacons; churches have no authority over another; while it may be desirable to gather to discuss issues, no church is bound to the decisions of the assemblies

o       In 1658, Congregationalists assemble and bodily adopt the Westminster Confession


o       John Smyth, a Congregationalist pastor who sought refuge in Amsterdam, becomes acquainted with the Mennonites and adopts believers baptism; a portion of his congregation returns to London in 1612 and establishes the first Baptist church in England

o       General Baptists were Arminian, while Particular Baptists were Calvinists


o       Founded in 1654 in England by George Fox, who was disillusioned by lukewarm &  worldly Christians; believed that Biblical understanding requires “illumination”, Christ’s light.

o       Members trembled with emotion when they gathered, hence nicknamed “Quakers” by opponents; preferred to be called “Society of Friends”

o       No pastors, pulpit, training, creeds, music, oaths… they gathered and waited for the Spirit to move someone; if not, after a time, everyone would leave without saying a word

o       Herbert Hoover came from a Quaker family



New Movement Emerges from Germany:


o       Movement founded within Lutheran Church in late 1600’s by Philipp Jacob Spener, who reacted to dead orthodoxy’s apparent purity, but no real faith; influenced by devotional works of Richard Baxter, started small group Bible studies to foster deeper spiritual life, devotion and service

o       Often ascetic, focusing on self-denial; critical and uncharitable of any others; denied anyone who could not point to conversion following intense struggle

o       Little regard for sound doctrine, emphasis on “Christian life”, experience, helped ease way for Liberalism & Modernism


o       Descendants of the Bohemian Brethren, influenced by the Pietists; reborn in 1727

o       Count von Zinzendorf (influenced by picture of Christ on cross with caption, “This I did for you. What do you do for me?”) reorganizes Moravian Church

o       Characterized by sentimentality in sermons and hymns

o       Zeal for missions; first Protestant body to take Great Commission seriously; established missions in Africa, Asia, Greenland, Lapland, and among American Indians

o       Still missions focused; with <70,000 members in the US, their missions zeal “out-proportions” their number


o       Reformed Church in Netherlands departs from historic Protestantism; Reformed doctrine viewed as out-of-date in early 1800’s; church in Netherlands at low ebb

o       Those wanting revival seceded in 1834 to form Christian Reformed Church; two leaders of secession lead their congregations to Iowa and Michigan in 1847-48

o       Abraham Kuyper (1837-__ ) become convinced Calvinist as a young minister; sought to apply Christianity to every domain of life- political, social, industrial, cultural, as well as ecclesiastical; organized Christian political party and entered Parliament; founded Free University in Amsterdam; pushed out of state church, leads 2nd secession from state church and merges with CRC to form Reformed Churches in the Netherlands; serves as prime minister of Netherlands from 1901-1905.  “On this earth, there is not a square centimeter that God does not say ‘It is mine!’”



New Denominations Emerge from England:


o       Founded by John Wesley (1703-1791), 15th child of Samuel Wesley, and brother of Charles (18th child)

o       Attended Oxford in 1720; ordained as Anglican priest in 1728

o       John & Charles organize “Holy Club” at Oxford dedicated to the ideal of the consecrated Christian life; members lived according to their agreed upon “method”; some started calling them Methodists, a name that stuck

o       1735-1738- John & Charles were missionaries in Georgia; influenced by Moravians met traveling to America and back in England

o       Troubled by lack of salvation assurance; experienced conversion in 1738… thereafter felt that genuine conversion was instantaneous, preceded by long struggle; that each believer should be able to note their conversion moment

o       England’s industrial revolution accompanied by spiritual weakness in the established Anglican Church; “societies” organized for prayer & Bible study spring up; John and Charles welcomed there to preach

o       George Whitefield invites Wesley brothers to join him in open-air preaching to coal miners

o       Next 50 years, John travels by horseback preaching through England, Scotland & Ireland under minimal oversight of the Anglican Church

o       Helped write and popularize hymns in England (several in Trinity hymnal)

o       In 1739, organizes Methodist Societies in London and Bristol and issues renewable tickets to faithful new members; organizes societies into classes of 12, each with a leader; lay preachers taught for 6-8 weeks and moved on; preachers gather annually for training and strategy

o       Couldn’t get his itinerant lay preachers ordained in Anglican Church, so he ordains them on his own to start the Methodist Church in 1784

o       Success factors:

§         Preached in open air to reach un-churched,

§         Preached everywhere, “raiding” others’ neglected parishioners,

§         Used unordained men to preach (reluctantly used due to lack of ordained men, but enabled himself to be more fully leveraged),

§         Support organization (classes)

            Wesley’s Doctrine

o       Generally orthodox Protestantism… deity of Christ, miracles, infant baptism, etc.

o       Emphasized… practical holiness, personal Bible study, need for conscious conversion, evangelistic preaching, devotional exercises, relief of poor and needy, experience more than doctrine

o       After death of Whitefield (staunch Calvinist) in 1770, becomes strong advocate of Arminianism, fearing that doctrine of election stifles the call to repentance and conversion



Post-Reformation departures from historic Protestant doctrine for the Methodist, Baptist, Quaker, Pietist, and Moravian movements…

            Were initiated in reaction to deadness and inactivity of the historic Protestant churches

            Relied on fundamental doctrines of Christianity

            Usually worked outside of church to bring about change; applied atypical church methods

            Strong emphasis on complete separation of church and state



Kuyper’s methods of reform…

            Were initiated in reaction to deadness and inactivity of the state church

            Did not slight doctrine; relied on historic doctrines of Christianity to combat false teachings

            Worked within church to effect reform, until put out

            Separation of church & state, but not religion and politics

            Inspired new zeal to be active in missions, education, politics, social reform, labor



New Denominations Emerge from England:

            Catholic Apostolic Church- begun by Edward Irving, a Presbyterian minister; taught that gifts of the apostolic age would be restored if people had sufficient faith; predicted imminent return of Christ

            Plymouth Brethren- expanded by John Nelson Darby in Plymouth, England; organized churches in Europe, Canada & US; do not believe in ministers; against creeds; claim faith and Christian love are only bonds; Darby articulated early expressions of dispensationalism

            Salvation Army- founded by William Booth; not a denomination, but engages in street ministry and works of mercy



Family Tree of Protestant Denominational Groups


Church Expands Worldwide

            30-400: civilized Roman Empire (Mediterranean area to Persia)

            500-1000: uncivilized Roman Empire (Europe) added; Africa and East lost to Islam

            1000-1500: no new conquests

            1500-1650: Spanish & Portuguese exploration brings Catholic religion to India, Japan, China, Philippines, South & Central America; French explorers bring Catholicism to Quebec, Louisiana, and Mississippi valley

            1600-1750: Protestant colonial settlements established for religious refugees from Europe (Separatists, Puritans, Congregationalists, Quakers, Huguenots, German Lutherans, Anabaptists, Moravians) or economic gain (Anglican, Dutch Reformed, Swedish Lutherans, etc.)



Church Expands into America

            1607: Anglican Church was first Protestant church in America (Jamestown); established church in all English colonies

            1620: Pilgrims (Separatists) establish colony at Plymouth, adopt Congregationalist form of government

            1626: Dutch establish colony at New Amsterdam (NYC today); Dutch Reformed Church established

            1628-1640: English Puritans establish Massachusetts Bay Colony; while initially strongly attached to “mother church”, also adopt Congregationalist view of church government

            1634: Catholic colony founded in Maryland, from which has grown the American Catholic church

            1636: Christian college built in Cambridge, Mass., named after Rev. John Harvard; now known as Harvard University

            1638: Roger Williams strongly advocates separation of church & state, gets in trouble with established Congregationalist Church in Massachusetts for those views; organizes first Baptist church in colonies in Providence

            1647: Rhode island state government founded on principle of separation of church and state, complete liberty of religion… ideals which spread quickly and became core to the America’s founding fathers

            1660: Quakers settle primarily in New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania

            1683: 13 German Mennonite families come to PA, in response to advertisement by William Penn, settle in Germantown; Swiss Mennonites follow and settle in Lancaster

            1683: Francis Mekemie organizes Presbyterian church primarily among Scottish immigrants; holds first synod in 1716; Scottish immigration after 1720 causes growth of Presbyterianism and influence within all colonies

            1701: Christian college established in Connecticut; named after benefactor Elihu Yale (Yale University)

            1720-1745: German immigration to Pennsylvania; mostly Lutheran, they eventually establish Lutheran Church in America; German Reformed Church also established, falls under care of the Reformed Church in the Netherlands, due to financial and ministerial limitations

            1740: Moravians come to Pennsylvania to do missionary work among destitute German settlers and Indians; settle in Bethlehem, PA, which is still a Moravian center

            1742: Baptist Association of Philadelphia adopt Confession of Faith that is strongly Calvinistic

            1766: Philip Embury brings Methodism to NYC, but church not established until after War for Independence

            1792: William Carey, “Father of Modern Missions” organizes first Baptist missionary society; translates Bible into 26 Indian languages



Birth of Modernism:

            Traceable to early 1700’s (i.e. emphasis on Christian life at the expense of doctrine)

o       Mind of man above the Scriptures

o       Scriptures are not infallible; rather the work of man

o       Reason above faith

o       No supernatural

§         No miracles

§         No virgin birth

o       Betterment through good works, humanitarianism

            Deism- God exists; he made the world, which now runs by itself according to the laws of nature; denies miracles, atoning work of Christ, regenerating work of the Holy Spirit; de-emphasizes Bible; Benjamin Franklin & Thomas Jefferson were deists; e.g. “honesty is the best policy”, not because God commands it, but because it pays

            Rationalism- Thomas Paine’s “The Age of Reason” swept Christian faith aside; questions about dogma seemed unimportant, only behavior; e.g. do your beliefs make you more tolerant, more responsive to true spirit of Jesus… a better person?

§         “As to Jesus of Nazareth, …I have…some doubts as to his Divinity, tho’ it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble. I see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that belief has good consequence… of making his doctrines more respected and better observed.” (Ben Franklin)

            The Enlightenment was an intellectual revolution against God and for man… the beginning of secularism

            Roots of the Enlightenment:

o       Emergence of concept of man’s “free will”

o       Affect of appalling religious conflicts… English Civil War, persecution of Huguenots, Thirty Years War in Germany… was a call for tolerance and decency

o       Emergence of scientific knowledge… Copernicus (1473-1543)- sun, not earth, at center of our universe, Kepler (1571-1630)- planets kept on courses my sun’s magnetic forces, Newton (1687)- law of gravitation… builds confidence in man’s ability to discover truth on his own

            French Revolution’s (1789) motto of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” evolve…

            Liberty -->  Liberalism- man above God

            Equality -->  Socialism- doctrine of human progress, social gospel

            Fraternity -->  Nationalism- independence from external authority (e.g. colonial powers)



First Great Awakening

            Wave of religious enthusiasm among Protestants that swept the American colonies in the 1730s and 1740s, leaving a permanent impact on American religion; occurred at same time as Methodist movement in England

            Roots traced to influence of Moravians and German Pietism movement

            Pulled away from ritual and ceremony, and resulted from powerful preaching that deeply affected listeners with a deep sense of spiritual guilt and redemption by Christ, the Great Awakening made religion intensely personal

            Result: out of a population of about 300,000 in New England, there were as many as 50,000 conversions; the moral tone of New England was lifted to a higher plane


o       Theodore Frelinghuysen- influenced by German Pietists; conversion emphasis in preaching in Dutch Reformed Church bears fruit; others request him to preach to them

o       William Tennent- Presbyterian minister instills fervent evangelical spirit to trainees of “Log College”; evangelical preaching spreads rapidly from NY to Virginia

o       Jonathan Edwards- Leading intellectual thinker in colonial America, graduated from Yale at 17, Congregationalist minister in Northampton, Mass.; in 1734, preaches series of Calvinist sermons on justification and 300 profess Christ; in 1741 preaches “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and had to stop and request silence that he might be heard above the loud weeping

o       George Whitefield- “one of the greatest preachers of 18th century”; worked with Wesley’s in England; made seven preaching tours in American colonies from 1738-1770, extending the movement; preached to everyone, even the slaves; thousands saved through his preaching



First Great Awakening Aftermath

            As the revival faded, disagreements arose that eventually weakened Calvinistic roots and led to liberalism; the First Great Awakening was followed by a sharp decline in spiritual life

            Emphasis on personal, individual salvation was transformed into concept of individual consent as proper basis of other organizations, including government, which helped sow the seeds of the American Revolution 



Second Great Awakening (1800–1830s)

            Traces origin to Timothy Dwight, president of Yale and grandson of Jonathan Edwards, who presented a series of lectures against Deism, infidelity, and materialism in 1802; revival starts and one-third of students are converted; similar revivals with similar results occur at Dartmouth, Amherst, Williams, and College of New Jersey; religious awakening in East advances without evangelists or much emotional excitement

            Presbyterian minister James McGready leads “Cumberland Revival” in Kentucky, beginning western revival; utilizes “camp meetings”



Second Great Awakening Results

            Although begun by Presbyterians, divisions caused their efforts to suffer; Methodists and Baptists take lead; leaders included Charles Grandison Finney, Lyman Beecher, Barton Stone, Peter Cartwright and James B. Finley

            American Bible Society founded in 1816; American Tract Society founded in 1825

            Methodists introduce Sunday School and by 1816, they were found throughout the country

            Seminaries established in US for Congregationalists, Dutch Reformed, and Presbyterians (Princeton); 25 founded by 1840

            Numerous denominational colleges are started

            Camp meetings concept becomes “summer camps”; Chautauqua Lake community starts as summer camp (along with many others)

            New denominations spring up:

o       Cumberland Presbyterian Church… advocates of camp meetings, circuit system, weakened Calvinism

o       The Christian Church… couldn’t accept doctrine of election

o       The Church of the Disciples… wanted to model 1st century church

o       The Methodist Protestant Church… wanted greater democracy

o       United Brethren in Christ and the Evangelical Church… organized by German preachers,

o       Unitarian Church in America… Congregationalists who rejected Trinity

o       Also started were the Latter Day Saint’s (Mormons), the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the Holiness Movement

            Social activism inspired by the revival gave rise to slavery abolition groups as well as the Society for the Promotion of Temperance, and began efforts to reform prisons and care for the handicapped and mentally ill, plus initial women’s rights initiatives



The Church in America During the 1800’s:

            Influenced by external events:

o       Western expansion

§         Presbyterians and Congregationalists combine efforts, but trained pastors requirement slows them down

§         Baptist churches grow fast (didn’t require trained pastors)

§         Methodists grow fastest due to Arminian free will doctrine (appealed to independent pioneers) and circuit preaching with lay pastors (covered more territory & preached every day)

o       New immigration -- Brought new denominational variations; increased fragmentation

o       Civil War -- Caused existing denominations to split into new denominations

            Presbyterians split in 1837- liberals establish Union Seminary

            Episcopalians decline following split over War of Independence and minimal participation in western movement

            Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, and Baptists split over slavery & Civil War



The Church in America During the 1800’s  (continued):

            Conservative Lutherans form Missouri Synod

            The Dutch Reformed Church becomes the Reformed Church in America

            The Christian Reformed Church expands when the RCA doesn’t take stand against Free Masonry

            Catholic Church grows with influx of Irish Catholics

            Lutheran and Catholic immigrants bring “Continental Sabbath”, reject strict Sabbath keeping

            Social gospel emerges from several social movements

            Sects also arise…

o       Mormonism- founded by Joseph Smith in 1830

o       Adventists- founded by William Miller in 1844; salvation through faith plus keeping Mosaic Laws, including dietary

o       Spiritualists- 1855, believed in direct contact with dead spirits

o       Christian Science- founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879; pantheism (all is God); “mind heals the body” knowing that sin and evil do not exist;

o       Jehovah’s Witnesses- founded in 1884 by Charles Taze Russell; believe Satan’s allies to be 1) the tyranny of government, 2) the “false” teachings of the church, and 3) the  oppression of business; non participation in government; denies Trinity and deity of Christ, only Jehovah Witnesses in heaven

            Doctrine of Eschatology Challenged

o       Premillenialism concepts developed by A.J. Gordon at conferences in NY and Chicago in 1878 & 1886

o       Premillennialism- world degrades into utter wickedness at which time Christ comes again to set up earthly kingdom for 1000 yrs before eternal kingdom is established

o       Postmillennialism- world is gradually becoming Christianized (with set-backs) and Christ will return after long period of righteousness and peace

            Amillennialism- no separate millennium, but when Christ comes again, resurrection and judgment take place and eternal, perfect Kingdom of God established forever  

            Still debated today…

            Premillennialism’s growth attributed to pessimistic period from Civil War to WWI to WWII and emergence of Dispensationalism



The Church in America During the 1800’s  (continued):

            Dispensationalism Emerges

o       Started by John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) in early 1800’s

o       Advanced by Cyrus Scofield (1843-1921) who wrote annotated reference Bible, defining dispensationalism

            Key beliefs:

o       History divided into seven periods in which God acts uniquely with his people… Innocence (pre-Fall), Conscience (Adam), Human Gov’t (Noah), Promise (Abraham), Law (Moses), Grace (Christ’s 1st Coming), Kingdom (Christ’s 2nd Coming)

o       Human history in decline

o       Two historical purposes… one for Israel and one for believers

o       Old Testament not binding unless specifically commanded

o       Individual salvation emphasized; social responsibility deemphasized due to pessimistic outlook