The Second Great Awakening
I. Revivalism ( a breaking away of Calvinistic Doctrine)
A. The SGA was a series of revivals, 1800-1837
a. propagated by Charles Grandison Finney, Lyman Beecher, Barton Stone, Peter Cartwright, and Asahel Nettleton became very well known as a result. Evangelical participation in social causes was fostered that changed American life in areas such as prison reform, abolitionism, and temperance
b. revival encouraged the emergence of Restorationism and other new religious movements, especially the Mormons[i] and the Holiness movement
c. Spearheaded by Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians
II. Methodists: Broke away from the Anglican Church, John Wesley, along with his brother and Whitefield, were branded as "Methodist" by opposing clergy within the Church of England.[ii] Initially Whitefield and the Wesleys merely sought reform, by way of a return to the Gospel, within the Church of England, but the movement spread with revival and soon a significant number of Anglican clergy became known as Methodists in the mid eighteenth century.
III. Cane Ridge, KY was a large camp meeting that drew Methodists, Baptists and Presbyterians.
I. This was the cause of the Restoration Movement which formed the Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, etc. Which held to total emmersion as necessary for salvation.
IV. "Stone-Campbell Movement" The nickname is taken from the names of Barton W. Stone (Presbyterian) and Alexander Campbell (Reformed Baptist), who are regarded by some historians as the leading figures of four independent movements with like principles who merged together into two religious movements of significant size. Many of the more conservative members of the Churches of Christ object to the phrase "Stone-Campbell Movement" as being derogatory. Restorationism sought to renew the whole Christian church, on the pattern set forth in the New Testament, without regard to the creeds
V. Out of this movement came William Miller (Millerites) which formed many cults that we have today such as Adventism, Ellen White and the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Charles Taze Russell and the Jehovah's Witnesses.
d. Great numbers of, what is known as the “Tidewater” area, southeast Virginia, North Carolina parts of Maryland. Most backwoods uneducated people who held to many old superstitions.
I. Ecstatic utterance was said to have been heard (pagan babble).
II. This became associated with Pentecostalism invented in 1901.
B. Old Doctrine and creeds abandoned
1. Original sin is redefined as simply a tendency to sin as opposed to being born sinners.
2. The redefinition of original sin implies a redefinition of predestination
3. free will dominates as predestination is redefined
a. Unregenerate man is now able to do moral good
b. Unregenerate man can turn from sin
c. Sin is redefined as simply breaking a list of dos and don’ts
4. Decisional regeneration is proclaimed
5. Logical implications lead to question the omniscience of God
the center of focus and purpose for the proclamation of the Gospel. The
emphasis on second coming produces a plea for an emotional response and
experience rather than Biblical study Charles Finney, preaching at Yale
1824-1837, developed the "invitation" and many other rituals common to modern
revivals .. The day after Finney was converted,
C. The SGA 1st arrives in rural areas, mostly uneducated and superstitious people
1. The Rural revivals were based on experience and emotionalism
2. The forsaking of old doctrine, creeds and superstitions. “Just what crowded out all other gospel truths-the superstitions and unbelief of the apostasy? But, thank God, the darkness is past and the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings is shining salvation and health to all who will forsake all their old doctrines, creeds and superstitions, and get back upon the old apostolic foundation, the Word of God.”[v]
3. Lead to a sense of American exceptionalism (the fuel for Dispensationalism)
II. The Root of the Origin
A. Creeds and confessions are viewed as a liberal agenda out of touch with personal experience
1. The definition of original sin is viewed as a liberal view
2. Predestination was a liberal view and an excuse to live in sin
3. Fundamentalism feels better with a more capitalistic society (after all we are the chosen generation)
B. Religion is viewed as social control and should be abandoned
C. Social changes to establish self edification and the right of the individual
D. Produced the haves and the have nots in spiritualism
E. Emphasis on personal moral reform
F. Attempts to control Society due to man as able for self correction.
G. Reduces class divisions
H. Attempts to control employee and employer behavior
1. Attempts to change consumerism to more moral spending
a. Asks for restrictions on alcohol and gambling
b. Emphasis on personal improvement by buying goods and services to achieve that moral reform.
I. Societal reform and alcohol
1. Alcohol consumption on the increase
2. New theology determines that alcohol causes corruption
3. New theology blames all social ills on alcohol consumption
I. domestic abuse
4. Alcohol consumption drops 75% from 1830 to 1845
III. Affect on Society
A. Urban Area
a. Tended to have a more conservative and institutional character that grew from the increasing distance between rich and poor.
b. This was created by the rapid economic growth of the early Industrial Revolution.
B. Religious commitment to social reform by elite and middle-class urban dwellers
a. Motivated by a concept of religious benevolence that encouraged them to try and improve the condition of spiritually impoverished people
b. created a national network of religious institutions
I. American Bible Society
III. American Tract Society
c. These institutions cooperated on an interdenominational basis to form what is often called the Benevolent Empire
hoped to overcome the great Pluralism within American Protestantism by
downplaying denominational difference.
IV. Moral reform
A. Women’s rights….
a. Finney and others stood against slavery and argued it was impossible in a prefect Christian society
b. The work of the Benevolent Empire more generally, impacted business leaders and middle-class people who had benefited from the increased standard of living brought about by the early Industrial Revolution. These groups recognized the rewards to be secured from hard work and self-discipline which they combined with a commitment to Christian morality that often included strong opposition to drinking alcohol.
c. Agricultural and unskilled labor largely excluded from the benefits of the Industrial Revolution, the new call for moral reform seemed to intrude on private family matters. Instead of seeing religion as the answer to social problems, some opponents of the Benevolent Empire began to call for workingmen's associations that could secure higher wages for ordinary laborers.
d. Perfectionism divide North and South
2. Finney and other Revivalist argued that slavery made a perfect Christian Society an impossibility
3. Northern Revivalists preachers argued that slavery interfered with man’s free will so that they could not choose salvation
4. By 1838, 1350 anti-slavery societies had appeared in the North inspired by the revivalist of the Second Great Awakening.
V. This contributed to if not caused the Civil War.
A. Led to the acceptance of Dispensationalism
I. William Miller (Millerites)
I. Seventh Day Adventist
II. Jehovah’ Witnesses
I. Latter Rain Movement (Charismatics)
II. Word of Faith
[i] Matzko, John (2007). "The Encounter of the Young Joseph Smith with Presbyterianism". Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 40 (3): 68–84. Presbyterian historian Matzko notes that "Oliver Cowdery claimed that Smith had been 'awakened' during a sermon by the Methodist minister George Lane."
[ii] Arnold Dallimore. George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Banner of Truth Trust, 1980.
[iii] Charles G. Finney, Memoirs of Charles G. Finney (New York: A.S. Barnes, 1876), p. 24.
[iv] Finney, Memoirs, p. 83.
[v] Marie Woodworth-Etter, Signs and Wonders, Chapter XIII
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