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New World


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Protestantism in the New World

Protestantism has been the dominant spiritual force in 1776American history for the past 300 years. 70% of the citizens of the United States consider themselves to be Protestants. Churches in the United States send missionaries out into the world, and finance hundreds of evangelistic organizations.

Freedom of Religion

The United States Constitution of 1776 offered freedom of religion, this despite the fact that Protestantism has reached a low ebb at the time, sapped of its strength by the tolerant apathy of enlightened thinkers.Colonial American Flag

The new Republic was to have no established church, with everyone free to worship God in his own way.

From the very outset, the many new denominations which had come to the New World, or sprung up there, faced a daunting task: converting a continent, nine-tenth of which was yet unsettled.

The task was undertaken with zeal, by means of revivalism and missionary evangelism. Wandering evangelists, interdenominational camp meetings, and revivals all contributed to the renewed growth of Protestantism in the New World.

Frontier Evangelism

The revival movement thrived on the American frontier, which moved westward steadily throughout the 19th century. Methodist traveling preachers, called circuit riders, preached salvation wherever they found an audience. Revivalists sought to rekindle the religious devotion of the rural population at camp meetings, the first of which was held in Kentucky in 1801.

As the frontier moved westward, ministers would gather fellow believers into a new church. Every crossroads in the American west was soon marked by a church steeple.

Methodist circuit rider

The revivalists also didn't ignore the newly developing cities. One of the earliest American evangelists, Charles Finney, established a method of revivals, first going to the smaller cities, then to New York, Boston, and other metropolitan areas by 1830.

Dwight L. Moody first made a reputation as an evangelist during a successful preaching tour of Britain in 1873-1875. He spent the remainder of his career evangelizing America, conducting revival campaigns, successful both because of his skilled preaching and organizational abilities.

A former baseball player, Billy Sunday, followed the pattern established by Moody. His flamboyant preaching, which reached hundreds of millions of people throughout his career, included a campaign against alcohol and the teaching of evolution.

The 1950s brought one of the most successful evangelists in history. Billy Graham began his revival crusades by mobilizing all of the forces of American business and communications. To achieve his goals, he used mass mailings, mass meetings, radio and television advertising, sponsored shows, and a professional public relations program. Since his beginnings in the early 1950s, he has held numerous crusades throughout the United States and the non-communist world.













Overview of Bible Study