Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The History of American Evangelicalism in Four Hours

Several of you have asked to see my notes/outline for the 4-week course on the history of American evangelicalism that I just finished at West Shore Evangelical Free Church in Mechanicsburg, PA.  First a bit about the logistics.  I was invited to come into an already established Sunday School class of mostly baby boomers.  Each class period (Sundays from 9:00-10:20) began with either prayer requests, singing, or announcements.  I usually took the lectern at about 9:20 and was given the rest of the class period to teach.  I mostly lectured, but tried to leave time at the end of each lecture for questions.  If I were to do it again I would probably use PowerPoint slides to compliment the lecture, but I am still not sure if a projector was available in the classroom.  I am assuming that most of the class did not have a problem with the lack of images.  (I did use the white board a lot).

Here is the basic breakdown of the material covered (not including stories, jokes, examples, etc...)

WEEK ONE: The Birth of Modern Evangelicalism
I.  What is Evangelicalism?  (Discussion)

  • Biblicism
  • Crucicentrism
  • Conversionism
  • Activism
  • Essentials vs. Non-Essentials (Diversity on issues such as women's role in the church, baptism, politics, eschatology, etc...)
II.  When Was Evangelicalism Born?
  • Early church?
  • Protestant Reformation?
  • Puritans?
III.  First Great Awakening
  • What is a revival of religion?  How do we identity a revival in history?
  • George Whitefield: Celebrity, voice, theater, communication networks, charisma, followers
  • Jonathan Edwards: Distinguishing Marks, Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God; The Nature of True Virtue
WEEK TWO: Evangelical America, 1800-1865

I.  The Results of Disestablishment and the New Religious Marketplace
  • Religion in decline during American Revolution
  • First Amendment disestablishment clause
  • Jefferson quote about everyone becoming Unitarians
  • Religious marketplace emerges
II.  The Second Great Awakening
  • The Second Great Awakening creates an evangelical America
  • The various manifestations of the Awakening: Colleges (Yale, Timothy Dwight), Cane Ridge, women's role in revival
  • Passions over reason
  • Primitivist
  • Use of communication and print
  • Change in religious music
  • Uneducated charismatic leaders
III.  Charles Finney and the New Measure
  • Lectures on Revival
  • Anxious bench
  • Protracted meetings
  • Free will theology and the decline of Calvinism
IV. The Reforming Impulse of the Second Great Awakening
  • Anti-slavery and abolitionism
  • Women's rights
  • Prison reform
  • Temperance reform
  • Poor relief
  • Postmillennialism
V.  The Americanization of Evangelicalism
  • Links between evangelicalism and democracy (individualism, Tocqueville)
  • Links between evangelicalism and consumerism  (marketplace, church shopping)
WEEK THREE:  American Evangelicalism in Crisis, 1865-1925

I.  Dwight L. Moody
  • Ruin by sin, redemption by Christ, regeneration by Holy Ghost
  • "I look upon this world as a wrecked vessel...God gave me a lifeboat and said to me 'Moody, save all you can.'"
II.  Dispensational Premillenialism
  • Defining premillenisalism
  • Defining dispensationalism (Darby, Scofield)
  • Prophecy conferences (Niagara, Winona Lake)
  • Schools (Philadelphia School of Bible, Evangelical Theological Seminary in Dallas, Moody Bible Institute, BIOLA)
III.  Threat to Evangelical Culture
  • Darwin
  • German Higher Criticism
  • Social Gospel
  • Religious Pluralism
IV.  The Fundamentalist-Modernist Controvery
  • The Fundamentals (1910-1915)
  • Defenders of a Christian Civilization:  Billy Sunday and William Jennings Bryan
  • Fight for control of denominations (J. Gresham Machen, Curtis Lee Laws coins term "fundamentalist," William Bell Riley)
  • Fosdick, Shall the Fundamentalists Win?
V.  Separation
  • Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Westminster Theological Seminary
  • Robert Ketcham and the General Association of Regular Baptists
VI.  Scopes Trial

WEEK FOUR: The Resurgence of American Evangelicalism, 1925-1980

I.  Post Scopes
  • Evangelical culture grows despite loss of cultural power
  • Bible colleges 
  • Radio
  • Leading personalities  (Ironside, DeHaan, Fuller, Barnhouse, etc...)
  • Publishing (Mears, Cook, Fleming-Revell, SS Times, Moody Monthly)
II.  Neo-Evangelicalism
  • Evangelism ("Puff Graham"
  • Great engagement with the world (Fuller Seminary, Carl F.H. Henry,Christianity Today
  • Restore a Christian civilization (Ockenga, Henry)
  • Rejection of fundamentalist label (National Association of Evangelicals)
  • Essentials vs. Non-Essentials
III. Separatist Fundamentalism
  • Cling to "fundamentalist" label
  • Second degree separation
  • Empires:  Bob Jones, Carl McIntire, John R. Rice
  • 1957 Billy Graham crusade
IV.  The 1960s and the "Perfect Storm"
  • Engle vs. Vitale
  • Abington v. Schempp
  • 1965 Immigration Act
  • Green v. Connally
  • Roe v. Wade
  • Bicentennial (1976)
V.  The Rise of the Christian Right
  • Jerry Falwell
  • Successful in local political races
  • Brings evangelicals back to public life
  • Fails to overturn Supreme Court cases
  • New alliance between most evangelicals and the Republican Party
  • Creates a sense of nostalgia for an evangelical "golden age."
  • For close to 300 years in America, evangelicals have consistently preached the gospel
  • Evangelicalism has moved from the center of American culture to the sub-culture status
  • Evangelicalism has always been associated with big personalities and new methods
  • Evangelicalism works particularly well in America