The Old Religion in a New World The History of North

The Old Religion in a New World The History of North

The Old Religion in a New World The History of North American Christianity ❰Reading❯ ➷ The Old Religion in a New World The History of North American Christianity Author Mark A. Noll – One of our foremost historians of religion here chronicles the arrival of Christianity in the New World tracing the turning points in the development of the immigrant church that have led to today's d Religion in Epub Ü One of our foremost historians of religion here chronicles the arrival of Christianity in the New World tracing the turning points in the development of the immigrant church that have The Old MOBI :Ú led to today's distinctly American faithTaking a uniue approach to this Old Religion in a New PDF or fascinating subject Noll focuses on what was new about organized Christian religion on the American continent by comparison with European Old Religion in MOBI í Christianity In doing so Noll provides a broad outline of the major events in the history of the Christian churches that have filled North America with such remarkable vitality and diversity Old Religion in a New PDF or He also highlights some of the most important interpretive issues in the transfer of the hereditary religion of Europe to America.

About the Author: Mark A. Noll

Religion in Epub Ü The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind a book about the anti intellectual tendencies within the American evangelical movement was featured in a cover story in the popular American literary and The Old MOBI :Ú cultural magazine Atlantic Monthly He was awarded a National Humanities Medal Old Religion in a New PDF or in the Oval Office by President George W Bush in .

10 thoughts on “The Old Religion in a New World The History of North American Christianity

  1. Adam Shields Adam Shields says:

    Summary A readable textbook about North American ChristianityMark Noll is an author that I will always respect and read I had him for two undergrad classes and I audited a class with him when I was in grad school I have read a number of books by him since then His book The Civil War as Theological Crisis significantly shaped me and I have read it three times nowThe Old Religion in a New World is a textbook Interestingly Noll was commissioned to write a German language textbook on North American Christianity That became this book although he says he significantly reorganized and edited itWhat I most appreciate about this book is that Noll is particularly paying attention to the comparative aspects of North American Christianity It is in the comparisons that interesting aspects stand out Different geographical areas were settled by people from different areas of Europe who had different religious traditions Geographies do matter The Catholicism of Maryland is not the same as in Canada and while he does not spend a lot of time on Mexico his brief sketch of the Christian history of Mexico shows a very different Christian development from the US and CanadaI am very familiar with Christian history of the US I had Noll for a Christian History of the US and Canada class But there was still a ton of new information hereNoll is an Evangelical Reformed Protestant And many Evangelicals and Reformed present their history abstracted from the larger Christian context This is not an abstracted presentation Protestant Catholic Orthodox Black Church Pentecostalism and are all presented as interacting and learning and sometimes change from one anotherThe Old World state church model was the way that Christianity was understood to exist The gradual change from state church to religious freedom in the US had significant impact in how Christianity developed and predictably it is not all good Noll does a good job critiuing weaknesses of a competitive Christianity seeking converts But not all was negative the freedom to evolve and change to meet the culture allowed for good changesNoll also pay attention well to issues of discrimination slavery legal and cultural prejudice and how the church has not lived up to its ideal either the American ones or the Christian ones There is an enormous amount of content folded into a relatively short bookI listened to the audiobook Trevor Thompson is not a new narrator to me He is not my favorite narrator but he is clear and the text was well produced I know that Noll is unlikely to want to read it own textbook but I do know him well enough that I miss hearing his voice when I am hearing his words here

  2. Ryan Shelton Ryan Shelton says:

    Great overview I would recommend this to anyone who wants a uick overview of the development of Christianity in America with some comments on how the American trends are contrasted with Canada and Mexico

  3. Jeff Elliott Jeff Elliott says:

    I didn't know what to expect from this book but I really really enjoyed it I found it to be thorough yet not boring; fair and objective and short enough that it didn't take forever to get through I bet if you read it you will see many of your own historical denominations characteristics tooA few uotesp 12 the most obvious reason why the history of Christianity in Canada and the United States differs from the history of Christianity in Europe is that North America is so much bigger than Europe The huge expanse of North America gave churches the kind of breathing room that simply had not existed before This breathing room allowed Christian groups that had felt confined in Europe a chance to develop their own religious visions out of their own internal resources It allowed European religious antagonists to drift apart It also gave creative souls every possible opportunity to propose new versions of Christianitychokengtitiktitikchokeng 14 Of special importance for American Christian history is the fact that from the beginning settlement by Africans took place alongside settlement by Europeanschokengtitiktitikchokeng 26 Christian history in the United States and to a somewhat lesser degree in Canada differs from its counterparts in Europe because geography matters because race and ethnicity have shaped religion from the beginning of European settlement because North America enjoys a singular degree of religious pluralism and because European patterns of religious conservatism did not survive passage over the Atlantic If however the history of Christianity in North America is distinctive for these reasons Christian developments in North America still retain organic connections to historic European patterns as well as to the recent flourishing of Christianity around the globe p 41 the American Puritan effort to construct a theologically rooted comprehensively Christian society remains one of the most intriguing intellectual as well as practical efforts in the early modern history of Christianitychokengtitiktitikchokeng 48 Although Methodism spread uite slowly in America until after the American War for Independence 1775–1783 the arrival of those first itinerant or traveling preachers was extremely significant After the American Revolution Methodism became by far the fastest growing form of Protestantism in America and Methodist standards of piety worship and service exerted a huge impact on American religious lifechokengtitiktitikchokeng 52 His tour of New England that fall was one of the most dramatic events in American religious history For than a month Whitefield preached almost every day to crowds of up to eight thousand spellbound listeners at a time when the whole population of Boston the region’s largest city was not much larger than thatchokengtitiktitikchokeng 54 Religious leaders shaped by the colonial revivals joined founding fathers like Jefferson and Madison in working toward the First Amendment to the United States Constitution 1789 which prohibited the national government from establishing any one particular religion even as it guaranteed to all citizens protection for the free exercise of religionchokengtitiktitikchokeng 60 In December 1784 Asbury and his associates met in Balti to establish a formal organization and for the next century the Methodists were the driving religious force in Americachokengtitiktitikchokeng 61 The Methodists maintained about 30 churches or preaching stations in 1780; that number rose to 2700 by 1820 and to an incredible 19883 by the start of the Civil War in 1861 By 1860 there were almost as many Methodist churches as United States post officespgs 61 62 The intense focus of the laity in meeting together to read the Scriptures confess their faults to each other and encourage one another in godly living gradually gave way to a religion organized around public services in a church building under the oversight of a formally trained ministerchokengtitiktitikchokeng 62 the scholarly president of Yale College in Connecticut Timothy Dwight encouraged his students to experience evangelical conversions and then helped some of them find positions as pastors of already existing churches Dwight’s emphasis was on an orderly disciplined response to the gospelchokengtitiktitikchokeng 63 The essence of revivalism was direct appeal by a dedicated often passionate preacher to individuals who gathered expressly for the purpose of hearing the revivalist’s messageThe purpose of the revival meeting though approached in many ways was always the same to convert lost sinners to faith in Christ and through the reformed behavior of the converted to improve societychokengtitiktitikchokeng 64 The growth of the Baptists was only slightly less sensational than the growth of the Methodists Where there were only about 460 Baptist churches in the country at the end of the American Revolution in 1780 that number had risen to well over 12000 by 1860chokengtitiktitikchokeng 65 Within a century of its founding the Southern Baptist Convention had become the largest Protestant denomination in Americachokengtitiktitikchokeng 68 The rapid expansion of the United States created the need for such flexible agencies as voluntary societies Between 1790 and 1830 the population of the United States mushroomed from slightly under four million to almost thirteen million By 1840 there were people in the United States than in England and within twenty years the American population was almost eual to the national populations of France and of Germany defined as the constituent parts of the 1870 German empire Yet rapid as that population growth was the physical dimensions of the country posed even greater difficulties for coherence communication and community After the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803 doubled the size of the country the United States possessed a landmass four times the size of modern day France Germany and the United Kingdom combinedchokengtitiktitikchokeng 74 The separation of church and state has remained a singular feature of American history even if the principle has always been ambiguous in practice than in theoryThe Colonial PeriodDespite a persistent American mythology that features “religious liberty” as a main stimulant for British migration to North America the first colonies actually instituted a tighter governmental control of religion than existed in the Old WorldBefore the mid eighteenth century church and state were bound together closely in New England with the exception of Rhode Island and the Chesapeake colonies of Virginia and Maryland along with South Carolina than they were in England at the same timep 77 In his provisions for religion William Penn was literally than a century ahead of his time By reuiring citizens to be theists and by promoting religious observances common to Christian denominations while at the same time guaranteeing a wide religious toleration within those bounds he pointed the way to the church state arrangements that prevailed in most of the states during the first decades after national independence In the context of the eighteenth century it was a testimony to the liberality of Penn’s vision that Pennsylvania was the only one of the thirteen colonies where Roman Catholics were allowed the freedom for public worship p 80 The nation’s founders retained the conviction that religion in general was a necessity for public well being but they had reached the point of rejecting the kind of establishments favoring one particular church that were still the norm in Europepgs 82 83 At the start of the national period “no establishment” meant not having the church state situation that Southern Anglicans and New England Congregationalists had once enjoyed “Religious liberty” meant several things for almost all Protestants it meant the negative freedom of worshipping as one pleased but for many of the states it also meant a positive freedom to restrict the rights of non Protestants or non ChristiansAlmost no one in the early United States took this separation of church and state to mean the absence of religious influence on public life p 85 accepting the separation of church and state made many American church leaders into innovators in communication If it was necessary to promote a religious message oneself in order to have a church of any kind then it was imperative to be always inventing and improving new ways of promoting the messagepgs 97 98 Finney was a wholehearted advocate of “new measures” many of them taken over from the Methodists He encouraged women to speak publicly at his meetings he urged people who were sorry for their sins and who wanted to be converted to gather at an “anxious bench” and pray for divine grace and he often held “protracted meetings” that lasted for weeks or even months at a time These innovations were bitterly opposed by leaders of the older churches Some of Finney’s opponents also worried about the great stress he placed on the ability of individuals to turn to God as an exercise of their own willpower without divine assistancechokengtitiktitikchokeng 98 In the 1840s and 1850s Finney became increasingly concerned that the call to conversion was being overwhelmed by efforts to reform society His own preaching increasingly stressed “Christian perfection”—a transformation of inner life—rather than the transformation of American societyp 100 To empower ordinary people meant that some of the people so empowered might act in ways not conforming to inherited standards of faith and practicep 101 The history of the Seventh day Adventists is also of note because especially in the second half of the twentieth century it has gradually moved closer to the practices and beliefs of traditional evangelical Protestant churches p 121 A fairly thorough census of religious bodies by the United States government in 1906 showed that about 17 percent of the nation’s approximately 212000 local churches were African American In 1906 African Americans made up not uite 11% of the nation’s population of 83 million More than a third of the nation’s 55000 Baptist churches were African American as were about a fourth of the 65000 Methodist churchesAt the time of the nation’s founding in 1776 there were only 25000 Catholics one percent of the population served by only 23 priests The religious census of 1906 found that 130 years later the number of communicant Catholics stood at over 12 million 14% of the population served by over 15000 clergy in nearly 12000 church buildingschokengtitiktitikchokeng 122 The movement of peoples that brought 40 million immigrants to the United States between 1800 and 1920 dramatically affected the churches as well as every other aspect of American society About one fourth of these immigrants were Roman Catholicschokengtitiktitikchokeng 123 Know Nothings felt that immigrants especially Roman Catholics were damaging America’s Anglo Saxon stock and subverting American liberties by maintaining loyalties to a despotic foreign power—that is the pope Such anti Catholicism did not characterize all Protestants in all places But it did indicate that many Protestants thought that they and no one else owned Americachokengtitiktitikchokeng 125 The story of the Catholic church in America is a story of rapid numerical growth fueled by immigration but it is also a story of cultural indigenization As bishops and other church leaders struggled to preserve the faith by ministering to the special needs of immigrants some also took in hand the business of accommodating with Americapgs 128 129 Here it is possible to conclude that the nineteenth century success of the Catholic church in the United States might be regarded as a surprise The church largely overcame difficulties of sustaining many immigrant communities Antagonism from America’s Protestant majority never became crippling American political liberalism strained Catholic traditionalism but did not overcome it By the early twentieth century a church that many Americans had once despised and feared had become the largest denomination in the country and had begun to win at least a measure of respect So strikingly successful were Catholic efforts in the New World that some modern students see the American climate as better for the church than the traditions of Europepgs 130 131 Moody tried to talk in a plainspoken style to audiences about God and the need for a Savior He dressed like a conventional businessman and spoke with reassuring calm Moody summarized his basic Christian message as the “three R’s” Ruin by Sin Redemption by Christ and Regeneration by the Holy Ghost He did not expound learned theology nor did he promote sophisticated formulas for Christian action in society Instead he emphasized powerful themes of Christian sentimentpgs 131 132 One of the most successful of the newer bodies was the Salvation Army The Army had been founded in London in the 1860s by William and Catherine Booth in order to provide Christian witness and social service to the urban poor neglected by other churches Its brass bands its willingness to use popular entertainment to attract a crowd and its combination of spiritual and social activities made a deep impression in Britain William’s daughter Evangeline 1865–1950 eventually came to head up the work of the Army in the United States where she promoted the same range of activities that her parents had advanced in England—provision of food shelter and medical assistance; vocational training elementary schooling and internships in manufacturing and farming; and visits to prisons legal aid for the indigent and inexpensive coal in the winter By 1904 the Army had over nine hundred stations or corps in the United States It was and remains the most comprehensive Protestant urban outreach ever attemptedchokengtitiktitikchokeng 133 The Social Gospel is often associated with liberal trends in theologychokengtitiktitikchokeng 134 The events of World War I heightened fears of social disorder in America and paved the way for a prohibition amendment to the Constitution Growing fears about the effects of drink on the unsavory elements in American society together with a belief that the evils of drink had inspired the crimes of the Kaiser’s Germany motivated the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1919chokengtitiktitikchokeng 135 The prohibition movement however could be considered the last gasp of Protestant hegemony The rapid strengthening of African American churches Roman Catholicism Judaism and still other religious forces new to the United States also made it and anachronistic to speak of an America dominated by the descendants of the Puritans Unanticipated effects of the Civil War failure with respect to the newly emancipated slave population large scale industrial development and a series of changes in the universities—all these undermined Protestant cultural dominancechokengtitiktitikchokeng 137 In 1905 Tikhon Bellavin 1865–1925 the Russian Orthodox bishop in North America transferred his see from San Francisco to New York in order to minister effectively to newer centers of Orthodox settlementchokengtitiktitikchokeng 142 The picture of a unified dominant American Protestantism has never actually applied in the realities of American history Before the start of the twentieth century however there was at least a measure of truth to the image; after the turn of the century it became increasingly clear that Protestantism was a very rough general category for non Catholic Christians than a cohesive religious force At the start of the century two opposing factions—modernists and fundamentalists—began to diverge as they provided dramatically different responses to the era’s intellectual and social pressureschokengtitiktitikchokeng 147 Although the reality of what actually went on in Dayton Tennessee at the trial of John Scopes was uite different from this picture by the mid 1930s it had come to stand for the intellectual suicide of the fundamentalist movementFundamentalism was never as dead as it appeared in the aftermath of the Scopes trial But by the time fundamentalists re emerged into the public eye in the 1970s and 1980s the term had narrowed in meaning In recent decades it has stood not so much for a general defense of traditional principles of Protestantism but for a particular combination of biblical interpretations based on premillennial dispensationalism with attitudes and practices of nineteenth century populist revivalismchokengtitiktitikchokeng 174 all observers see Hispanics becoming a larger perhaps even a majority presence in the American church over the next half centurypgs 176 177 The colleges and seminaries of these older mostly Northern bodies were the centers of a generally liberal theology That theology stressed human capacities than traditional views of God’s loving power It tended to accent what humans could do for themselves in this life instead of how religion prepared people for heaven Sometimes it waffled in providing moral guidelines for church members To the extent that such beliefs prevailed in the older denominations or were even thought to prevail the churches lost credibility with some of their constituents and failed to recruit new members By contrast denominations that stressed traditional beliefs about the supernatural power of God and the reliability of the Bible or that featured the newer Pentecostal emphases on the immediate action of the Holy Spirit continued to expandSpecific numbers provide some help in charting these changes The steady growth of the Catholic church has made it overwhelmingly the most important Christian denomination in the country Where the national population grew 102% between 1940 and 1997 the number of Catholic adherents grew 188% With over 62 million adherents in 1998 the Catholic church in the United States is larger than the total population of either the United Kingdom or France Even if a large proportion of that Catholic population is nominal the remainder constitutes a huge vital force At least some polling in the 1990s suggests that over half of American Catholics practice their faith with some consistencypgs 177 178 The Protestant bodies whose rates of growth in recent decades have exceeded general population increases—sometimes far exceeded—are nearly all characterized by such labels as Bible believing born again conservative evangelical fundamentalist holiness Pentecostal or restorationist They include the Assemblies of God the Christian and Missionary Alliance the Church of God in Christ the Seventh day Adventists the Church of the Nazarene the Salvation Army the Baptist Bible Fellowship International the Churches of Christ and several chokengtitiktitikchokeng 178 The largest Protestant denomination the Southern Baptist Convention underwent a bruising internal struggle during the 1970s and 1980s between a conservative faction seeking to reaffirm staunchly supernaturalistic theology and traditional social programs against a moderate faction that resembled the inclusive mainline Protestants of a previous generation It is indicative of general trends among Protestants that the conservatives won that internal struggle and that the Southern Baptist Convention from 1960 to 1997 grew by nearly 6 million members and at a pace nearly 50 percent higher than the rate of national population growthpgs 178 179 In 1996 the Gallup Poll reported that 58 percent of American adults identified themselves as Protestants or about 110 million out of the country’s approximately 190 million people over the age of 20 Of the Protestants about one sixth are African Americans As noted the number of Asian American and Hispanic Protestants is each into the millionsThat's all there is room for in this review You'll have to read the rest yourself

  4. Shari Shari says:

    This book is severely hamstrung by the American and Christian centric views of the author The title is the first indication of what I mean If you google the phrase old religion you will find that it refers to Paganism But Noll either doesn't know or doesn't care and so has very misleadingly titled his book Nor is the book really about North American Christianity Canadian and Mexican Christianities are given only a cursory glanceThis kind of bias mars the rest of the book as well The attempted genocide of Native Americans in glossed over the witch trials in Salem are not mentioned at all that's right a book on the history of Christianity in the United States doesn't mention the 19 people hanged in Massachusetts AT ALL and the role of Christianity in endorsing the African slave trade is minimizedNoll ends his history with an overly optimistic assessment of the current state of Christianity ignoring statistics that show Christianity's popularity is on a slow but significant declineAll that having been said the book can be useful to those looking for a broad overview of Christianity in the United States as long as it is supplemented with other less biased material as well

  5. Calvary Church Calvary Church says:

    Mark Noll is at it again with an effortless survey of Christianity in North America Noll reminds us that Christianity in North America is an “import religion” with very few distinctly American denominations The religion of America is truly an “old religion in a new world” However over time the old religion takes on distinctly American features due in large measure to issues such as space North America is a big place with room for religious groups to spread out pluralism religious freedom has promoted religious diversity ethnicity immigration has greatly influenced religion in America and the absence of confessional conservatism making it conducive to democratization These and other features give religion in American a distinctly new flavoring Noll also gives a nice overview of Christianity in Mexico and Canada and uses as nice “case studies” the challenge of immigrant Lutheranism and Roman Catholicism to adapt to its new world environment One of the nicest contributions to this work is a list of 500 books devoted to the study of Christianity in North America subdivided according to subjects and periods Reviewed by F Lionel Young III

  6. Rebecca Rebecca says:

    Fantastic book The author went beyond recounting the witch trials and Great Awakenings and blah blah blah to dig into the context of Christianity in the US I recognize that few others are as fascinated by this as I am but I just soaked it upThe author is a professor at the evangelical Wheaton College and his perspective bias? definitely was evident Plus he just skimmed right over pesky topics like missionary work among the Native Americans and only gave a nod to black churches But he really explored the intersection of factors like geography immigration democratic competition rejection of traditionalismOK I'll stop now

  7. Ronnie Murrill Ronnie Murrill says:

    I read this for a class at Southern Seminary I took for post graduate study on the history of the Church in America It was a great book and a interesting study

  8. Reg Rivett Reg Rivett says:

    Christianity is not native to North America It’s a faith that was brought here immigrated here changed hereTake that last one however you will The Christianity of Europe and the Middle East may have come across the Atlantic but what grew up on the land of the United States Canada and Mexico was something else Something differentHow did that happen? What did this new brand of Christianity do to these “developing” nations? Or to the nations that were here before? What have they done to the world as a whole?The Old Religion in a New World The History of North American Christianity seeks to explore the past and see how Christianity has been shaped and how it has shaped the West And how it has shaped ChristianityMark A Noll reaches back to the days of Christopher Columbus and takes readers through the history of North America discussing the different ways that Christianity has changed Take that “changed” how you willIt is truly fascinating what history can teach us what tidbits will spark something in our minds The Old Religion in a New World is chalked full of them While it can be a bit dry it is a history book after all Noll brings the powerful reality and present repercussions of past actions to the forefrontWhile this may not be a book that everyone picks up to read for “fun” I have to say that this was truly insightful and a topic that I would be happy to return to again Whether written by Noll or notWhat disappointed me about this book was the lack of “North American” coverage Yes the United States was talked about a great deal However the US of A is not all of North AmericaMexico was given the majority of one chapter Canada got the rest of that same chapter I can appreciate that an author doesn’t want to rehash the exact same information when it is shared between two nations like Canada and the US But to simple remark “it was basically the same” diminishes the uniue and terrible Christian heritage that Canada hasNoll does acknowledge that it would take it’s own book to properly discuss the uniue histories of Christianity in Canada and Mexico citing books that have done just that But one chapter for the two neighbouring countries?This is an information history book It’s stats and names and dates Unless you really have an interest in the power of history on your nation or neighbouring nation The Old Religion In A New World will probably not interest youBut I would still recommend this book for its powerful insight into the way Christianity has shaped our cultures and societies as minimal as the Canadian coverage is Church planters long time ministers and thoughtful Christians will definitely glean worthwhile information that could impact their work

  9. Arthur O& Arthur O& says:

    This book is excellent for what it does describing the history of Christianity in America in relation to its roots in Europe and its continuing interaction with Europe That is what the book is Here is what the book is not1 It is not an exhaustive survey of the history of Christianity in America Nor does it claim to be The author has a different book if you are interested in that 2 It is not a history of American religion It is focused solely on Christianity There are other books that discuss the diverse religions in America 3 It is not an introductory textbook The author assumes the reader knows enough about American history and Christianity to follow the discussion This also means it isn't an easy read if you don't have the proper background That said it isn't a difficult read either Anyone who is interested in the subject will benefit by reading this book 4 The main focus is on the United States Canada and Mexico receive brief treatments in rwo or three of the chapters but the meat of the book centers on the United States If your prinary interest is in the other countries another book may be a better choice That said the comparisions between the three countries are fascinating

  10. Jonathan Jonathan says:

    From colonization to the modern 21st century Prof Noll takes you on a journey of the Christian faith in North America The text serves as a wonderful reference textbook The United States is the focal point of the historical account with minor detours to French Catholic Canadians and Spanish Mexican The earlier chapters have a historical progression while the latter chapters become topical in nature I especially enjoyed the history of state and church interaction in the United States and brief comparisons to Canada I was very impressed by Prof Noll's balanced and fair description of different groups in conflict eg modernist vs fundamentalist The cross comparisons in time of different religious groups in conflict provided some of the most thought provoking commentary

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