American Christianity: The Continuing Revolution by Stephen Cox

By Stephen Cox

Christianity takes an striking number of kinds in the USA, 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 variety a contemporary 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 taking place, and consistently must take place. The old-time faith consistently needs to be made new, and that's what american citizens were doing all through their history.

American Christianity is a fascinating publication, huge ranging and good educated, in contact with the dwelling truth of America’s diversified traditions and with the outstanding ways that they've got built. Radical and unpredictable swap, Cox argues, is without doubt one of the few in charge good points of Christianity in the United States. He explores how either the Catholic Church and the mainline Protestant church buildings have developed in ways in which could lead them to appear alien to their adherents in earlier centuries. He lines the increase of uniquely American activities, from the Mormons to the Seventh-day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and brings to lifestyles the bright personalities—Aimee Semple McPherson, Billy Sunday, and plenty of others—who have taken the gospel to the loads. He sheds new gentle on such matters as American Christians’ extreme yet consistently altering political involvements, their arguable revisions within the kind and substance of worship, and their continual expectation that God is ready to intrude conclusively in human lifestyles. 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 noticeable now not as a sociological phenomenon yet because the ever-changing tale of person humans looking their very own connections with God, continuously reinventing their faith, making it extra risky, extra colourful, and extra attention-grabbing.

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Additional info for American Christianity: The Continuing Revolution (Discovering America)

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Conflicts about these measures and the assumptions behind them prompted bitter divisions between Calvinist and Free Will Baptists; Old Light and New Light Congregationalists; Old Side and New Side, then Old School and New School Presbyterians. The result was shattered congregations, expulsions of clergy from their pulpits, charges and countercharges in the public press, and the warfare of rival ministerial associations and colleges (Yale advocating the traditionalists, and Princeton, the renegades).

One explanation is that some of its advocates discovered intellectual reasons to migrate to still other religious movements formed around the damaged framework of the Calvinist churches. Another is that Universalism was limited by its own intensity, its own strong focus on a single concept, the theological “measure” by which it had first gained adherents; it absorbed the core audience for this message and then found no other interesting idea. A third explanation is that other Christian denominations stopped focusing on damnation and started letting their members assume that everyone (or nearly everyone) might be saved.

The Baptists’ attempt to compete left them, too, heavily indebted. 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.

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