Global Christianity 19th-century American evangelicalism
Global Christianity

Movements for conversion and social reform, expressed in revivals and voluntary societies in the United States.

Nineteenth-century evangelicalism combined many impulses and movements

Nineteenth century evangelicalism inherited its commitments to conversion, holy living, and social reform from Puritanism, Pietism, and Methodism. Its mission strategy of revival preaching and itinerant ministry came from the Great Awakening of the 1740s; this was further refined by Charles Finney and others. Nineteenth-century evangelicalism took from the Enlightenment a belief in the progress and perfectibility of human beings and society. The basic paradigm of evangelicalism was conversion to faith in Jesus Christ, followed by a quest for holiness in one's individual life and in society. Evangelicalism shunned hierarchy, liturgy, and formality. It used lay leadership, including women and African-Americans. The movement pioneered practical ecumenism through its "benevolent empire" of anti-slavery and mission societies, Bible translators, tract distributors, and temperance advocates. Theologically, many evangelicals stressed free will: each person could choose salvation and pursue perfection. Everyone could interpret the Bible. Little attention was paid to sacraments, creeds, confessions, and ministerial training. Evangelicalism used revivalism as its main evangelism strategy and Roman Catholics employed similar techniques in their "parish mission" campaigns. The Methodists and the Baptists were probably the most thoroughly imbued with evangelicalism and had the greatest number of African-American churches. A few offshoots of evangelicalism, such as Mormonism, developed into new religions.

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