⒈ Great Awakening Rationalism

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Great Awakening Rationalism



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The Second Great Awakening

He preached twice in the parish church while Edwards was so moved that he wept. From there he traveled down the coast, reaching New York on October Whitefield's assessment of New England's churches and clergy prior to his intervention was negative. And the Reason why Congregations have been so dead, is because dead Men preach to them. Whitefield met Gilbert Tennent on Staten Island and asked him to preach in Boston to continue the revival there.

Tennent accepted and in December began a three-month long preaching tour throughout New England. Like Whitefield's, Tennent's preaching produced large crowds, many conversions and much controversy. While antirevivalists such as Timothy Cutler heavily criticized Tennent's preaching, most of Boston's ministers were supportive. Tennent was followed in the summer of by itinerant minister James Davenport , who proved to be more controversial than either Tennent or Whitefield.

His rants and attacks against "unconverted" ministers inspired much opposition, and he was arrested in Connecticut for violating a law against itinerant preaching. At his trial, he was found mentally ill and deported to Long Island. Soon after, he arrived in Boston and resumed his fanatical preaching only to once again be declared insane and expelled. The last of Davenport's radical episodes took place in March in New London when he ordered his followers to burn wigs, cloaks, rings and other vanities. He also ordered the burning of books by religious authors such as John Flavel and Increase Mather. Whitefield, Tennent and Davenport would be followed by a number of both clerical and lay itinerants.

However, the Awakening in New England was primarily sustained by the efforts of parish ministers. Sometimes revival would be initiated by regular preaching or the customary pulpit exchanges between two ministers. Through their efforts, New England experienced a "great and general Awakening" between and characterized by a greater interest in religious experience, widespread emotional preaching, and intense emotional reactions accompanying conversion, including fainting and weeping.

It is estimated that between 20, and 50, new members were admitted to New England's Congregational churches even as expectations for members increased. By , the Awakening had begun to wane. Revivals would continue to spread to the southern backcountry and slave communities in the s and s. The Great Awakening aggravated existing conflicts within the Protestant churches, often leading to schisms between supporters of revival, known as "New Lights", and opponents of revival, known as "Old Lights".

Old Lights saw the religious enthusiasm and itinerant preaching unleashed by the Awakening as disruptive to church order, preferring formal worship and a settled, university-educated ministry. They mocked revivalists as being ignorant, heterodox or con artists. New Lights accused Old Lights of being more concerned with social status than with saving souls and even questioned whether some Old Light ministers were even converted. They also supported itinerant ministers who disregarded parish boundaries. Congregationalists in New England experienced 98 schisms, which in Connecticut also affected which group would be considered "official" for tax purposes.

It is estimated in New England that in the churches there were about one-third each of New Lights, Old Lights, and those who saw both sides as valid. Around Separatist congregations were organized throughout the region by Strict Congregationalists. Objecting to the Halfway Covenant , Strict Congregationalists required evidence of conversion for church membership and also objected to the semi—presbyterian Saybrook Platform , which they felt infringed on congregational autonomy.

Because they threatened Congregationalist uniformity, the Separatists were persecuted and in Connecticut they were denied the same legal toleration enjoyed by Baptists, Quakers and Anglicans. The Baptists benefited the most from the Great Awakening. Numerically small before the outbreak of revival, Baptist churches experienced growth during the last half of the 18th century. By , there were over Baptist churches in New England. This growth was primarily due to an influx of former New Light Congregationalists who became convinced of Baptist doctrines, such as believer's baptism.

In some cases, entire Separatist congregations accepted Baptist beliefs. At issue was the place of revivalism in American Presbyterianism, specifically the "relation between doctrinal orthodoxy and experimental knowledge of Christ. Whitefield's tour had helped the revival party grow and only worsened the controversy. Evangelicals considered the new birth to be "a bond of fellowship that transcended disagreements on fine points of doctrine and polity", allowing Anglicans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists and others to cooperate across denominational lines.

While divisions between Old and New Lights remained, New Lights became less radical over time and evangelicalism became more mainstream. In part, this was due to the growth of the New Side and the numerical decline of the Old Side. In , the pro-revival party had around 22 ministers, but this number had increased to 73 by The Great Awakening inspired the creation of evangelical educational institutions.

The Great Awakening was not the first time that Protestant churches had experienced revival; however, it was the first time a common evangelical identity had emerged based on a fairly uniform understanding of salvation , preaching the gospel and conversion. The major figures of the Great Awakening, such as George Whitefield , Jonathan Edwards , Gilbert Tennent , Jonathan Dickinson and Samuel Davies , were moderate evangelicals who preached a pietistic form of Calvinism heavily influenced by the Puritan tradition, which held that religion was not only an intellectual exercise but also had to be felt and experienced in the heart.

The first stage was conviction of sin , which was spiritual preparation for faith by God's law and the means of grace. The second stage was conversion, in which a person experienced spiritual illumination, repentance and faith. The third stage was consolation , which was searching and receiving assurance of salvation. This process generally took place over an extended time. Conviction of sin was the stage that prepared someone to receive salvation, and this stage often lasted weeks or months. As Calvinists, revivalists also preached the doctrines of original sin and unconditional election. Due to the fall of man , humans are naturally inclined to rebel against God and unable to initiate or merit salvation, according to the doctrine of original sin.

Unconditional election relates to the doctrine of predestination —that before the creation of the world God determined who would be saved the elect on the basis of his own choosing. The preaching of these doctrines resulted in the convicted feeling both guilty and totally helpless, since God was in complete control over whether they would be saved or not. Revivalists counseled those under conviction to apply the means of grace to their lives.

These were spiritual disciplines such as prayer , Bible study, church attendance and personal moral improvement. While no human action could produce saving faith, revivalists taught that the means of grace might make conversion more likely. Revival preaching was controversial among Calvinists. Because Calvinists believed in election and predestination, some thought it inappropriate to preach to strangers that they could repent and receive salvation. For some, such preaching was only acceptable within their own churches and communities.

The revivalists use of "indiscriminate" evangelism—the "practice of extending the gospel promises to everyone in their audiences, without stressing that God redeems only those elected for salvation"—was contrary to these notions. While they preached indiscriminately, however, revivalists continued to affirm Calvinist doctrines of election and predestination. Another issue that had to be addressed were the intense physical and emotional reactions to conviction experienced during the Awakening.

Samuel Blair described such responses to his preaching in , "Several would be overcome and fainting ; others deeply sobbing, hardly able to contain, others crying in a most dolorous manner, many others more silently weeping. And sometimes the soul exercises of some, thought comparatively but very few, would so far affect their bodies, as to occasion some strange, unusual bodily motions. The conviction stage lasted so long because potential converts were waiting to find evidence of regeneration within their lives. The revivalists believed regeneration or the new birth was not simply an outward profession of faith or conformity to Christianity.

They believed it was an instantaneous, supernatural work of the Holy Spirit providing someone with "a new awareness of the beauty of Christ, new desires to love God, and a firm commitment to follow God's holy law. Regeneration was always accompanied by saving faith, repentance and love for God—all aspects of the conversion experience, which typically lasted several days or weeks under the guidance of a trained pastor. Following this illumination, converts placed their faith in Christ, depending on him alone for salvation. At the same time, a hatred of sin and a commitment to eliminate it from the heart would take hold, setting the foundation for a life of repentance or turning away from sin.

Revivalists distinguished true conversion which was motivated by love of God and hatred of sin from false conversion which was motivated by fear of hell. True conversion meant that a person was among the elect, but even a person with saving faith might doubt his election and salvation. Revivalists taught that assurance of salvation was the product of Christian maturity and sanctification.

The treatise Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards was written to help converts examine themselves for the presence of genuine "religious affections" or spiritual desires, such as selfless love of God, certitude in the divine inspiration of the gospel, and other Christian virtues. It was not enough, however, to simply reflect on past experiences. Revivalists taught that assurance could only be gained through actively seeking to grow in grace and holiness through mortification of sin and utilizing the means of grace.

In Religious Affections , the last sign addressed by Edwards was "Christian practice", and it was this sign to which he gave the most space in his treatise. The search for assurance required conscious effort on the part of a convert and took months or even years to achieve. The Awakening played a major role in the lives of women, though they were rarely allowed to preach or take leadership roles.

They became more independent in their decisions, as in the choice of a husband. The autobiography of Hannah Heaton —94 , a farm wife of North Haven, Connecticut , tells of her experiences in the Great Awakening, her encounters with Satan , her intellectual and spiritual development, and daily life on the farm. Phillis Wheatley was the first published black female poet, and she was converted to Christianity as a child after she was brought to America. Her beliefs were overt in her works; she describes the journey of being taken from a Pagan land to be exposed to Christianity in the colonies in a poem entitled "On Being Brought from Africa to America. She was a Rhode Island schoolteacher, and her writings offer a fascinating glimpse into the spiritual and cultural upheaval of the time period, including a memoir, various diaries and letters, and her anonymously published The Nature, Certainty and Evidence of True Christianity The First Great Awakening led to changes in Americans' understanding of God, themselves, the world around them, and religion.

In the southern Tidewater and Low Country, northern Baptist and Methodist preachers converted both white and black people. Some were enslaved at their time of conversion while others were free. Caucasians began to welcome dark-skinned individuals into their churches, taking their religious experiences seriously, while also admitting them into active roles in congregations as exhorters, deacons, and even preachers, although the last was a rarity.

The message of spiritual equality appealed to many enslaved peoples, and, as African religious traditions continued to decline in North America, Black people accepted Christianity in large numbers for the first time. Evangelical leaders in the southern colonies had to deal with the issue of slavery much more frequently than those in the North. Still, many leaders of the revivals proclaimed that slaveholders should educate enslaved peoples so that they could become literate and be able to read and study the Bible.

Many Africans were finally provided with some sort of education. George Whitefield's sermons reiterated an egalitarian message, but only translated into a spiritual equality for Africans in the colonies who mostly remained enslaved. Whitefield was known to criticize slaveholders who treated enslaved peoples cruelly and those who did not educate them, but he had no intention to abolish slavery. He lobbied to have slavery reinstated in Georgia and proceeded to become a slave holder himself.

Despite his stance on slavery, Whitefield became influential to many Africans. Samuel Davies was a Presbyterian minister who later became the fourth president of Princeton University. While I lived in my own country, I knew nothing of that Jesus I have heard you speak so much about. I lived quite careless what will become of me when I die; but I now see such a life will never do, and I come to you, Sir, that you may tell me some good things, concerning Jesus Christ, and my Duty to GOD, for I am resolved not to live any more as I have done.

Davies became accustomed to hearing such excitement from many Black people who were exposed to the revivals. He believed that Black people could attain knowledge equal to white people if given an adequate education, and he promoted the importance for slaveholders to permit enslaved peoples to become literate so that they could become more familiar with the instructions of the Bible. The emotional worship of the revivals appealed to many Africans, and African leaders started to emerge from the revivals soon after they converted in substantial numbers. These figures paved the way for the establishment of the first Black congregations and churches in the American colonies. The idea of a "great awakening" has been contested by historian Jon Butler as vague and exaggerated.

He suggested that historians abandon the term Great Awakening because the 18th-century revivals were only regional events that occurred in only half of the American colonies and their effects on American religion and society were minimal. Professor Alan Heimert sees a major impact, but most historians think it had only a minor impact. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Series of Christian revivals in Britain and its thirteen Colonies in the s and s.

John Wesley. Evangelical preachers and the people who converted to this religion spoke together and said their opponents lacked piety. Different people in churches got into fights over how to become a Christian. Some people say to be a Christian; you need to believe and think about Jesus. But other people said you needed to feel it and believe in your heart that you are. The Great Awakening was a time when people were divided into two groups. People who believed fervently in religion and people who did not. The First Great Awakening caused a lot of people to think differently.

It led to unity between people in different colonies because everyone was going through the same thing at the same time. But some people liked it so much that they became members of other Churches too. The government was finally involved in this. In colonies that one denomination received help from the government, other churches wanted to remove the idea of a privileged position for that religion. The Great Awakening can be said to be a reaction against the Enlightenment. On the other hand, it also made people think of the Revolution. Before, ministers were from the upper class.

The Great Awakening happened all over the country. It was the first event that helped break down differences between colonies. There was no such episode in England, which meant that Americans and English people were different. This religious upheaval had a big effect on politics. In the First Great Awakening, many ministers were not ordained, and they preached to ordinary people.

The overall message was that people were more equal. After this, there was a Revolutionary spirit. Many things changed, and new powers were involved with it. In the First Great Awakening, people were speaking about their spiritual equality. This led to the colonists thinking more about the need for democracy in both church and state. The Great Awakening was a religious revival that happened in the s and s. The movement came at a time when people were emphasizing rationalism rather than religion.

Many different religious leaders preached about the gospel, promoting salvation from sins and encouraging enthusiasm for Christianity. It made a significant impact on various Christian churches from American culture. Reformation in Europe Since the Reformation, people in Europe have argued about essential topics like religion and faith. Beliefs about religion started to change. Religious Fervor Spreads Religious enthusiasm was spread from the Presbyterians that lived in the Middle Colonies to some of the Congregationalists and the Baptists who lived in New England. The early revivals inspired them. Edwards was an evangelical preacher who led a Protestant revival in New England.

This was his most famous sermon, the text of which was reprinted often and distributed widely. Over the course of his seven preaching tours of the colonies, Whitefield reached 75 to 80 percent of the population, sometimes addressing crowds that approached thirty thousand listeners. His revivals were controversial. Local ministers resented Whitefield and other traveling preachers coming to their towns uninvited. When revivalists drew massive crowds and preached in public, local ministers and churches worried the preachers were undermining their spiritual authority. In addition to challenging religious authorities, the revivals could also challenge social conventions.

Smith preached the Gospel to this assembly for over two hours. White evangelicals even ordained converted African Americans and American Indians to preach or be missionaries, although typically only to their own communities. These egalitarian impulses were unprecedented in colonial society and challenged racial and social hierarchies, especially in the South. Evangelical teaching also challenged barriers based on social class. Uneducated, poor whites with no theological training often felt a strong calling to preach.

Their sermons were frequently highly charged, even frenzied, displays of emotion and, according to some critics, resulted in indecent and immoral behavior. However, the messages of these radical preachers resonated with those lower on the social ladder. Common people and American Indians loved the emotional, radical preaching of James Davenport, a college-educated preacher in New England. In , in New London, Connecticut, Davenport and his followers built a bonfire and instructed the audience to throw their religious books into it. Davenport led by example, pulling off his own pants and throwing them on the fire. But this action went too far for some audience members. A woman snatched his clothes off the flames and threw them in his face, and his audience rebuked him.

The New Light ministers rejected the rationalism of the Enlightenment and appealed to the passions of the audience members rather than their reason, which resulted in emotional reaction and immediate conversion. The main source of opposition was conservative pastors of the established churches, particularly Anglicans and Congregationalists. The Old Light ministers successfully banned the New Light ministers from preaching in several churches and towns. The revivals had weakened the hold of the established churches in colonial America, and large numbers of Christians joined new evangelical churches like those of the Baptists or Methodists. The Great Awakening also contributed to colonial religious liberty by changing the balance of religious power.

During the American Revolution and the struggle for individual liberty, Baptists used their new numbers and influence to challenge religious establishments, first in Virginia and then throughout the new nation. The founders believed that freedom of conscience was an inalienable right of all individuals.

Great Awakening Rationalism portal. John Great Awakening Rationalism. Historians Pips Transformation In Great Expectations the common understanding among participants of reform as being Great Awakening Rationalism part of God's plan.