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The Age of Reason and Revival

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  1. The Age ofReason and Revival RISE OF THE MODERN WESTERN WORLD

  2. Age of “Enlightenment” • Delimitations: • Began: 1687 Newton’s Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy • Ended: 1789 French Revolution • Descriptions: • Less a set of ideas than it was a set of attitudes • A critical questioning of traditional institutions, customs, and morals • Intellectual movement advocating reason as primary basis of authority • Keynotes of Enlightenment Era: • Governmental consolidation, nation-creation, greater rights for common people • Decline in influence of authoritarian institutions such as nobility / church • Focus on science: natural philosophy was making astounding advances

  3. Enlightenment Motifs • Reason • Autonomy • Nature • Tolerance • Optimism • Humanism

  4. Post-Reformation Transitions in European Governance • Devastation from religious wars • France inherited bulk of political power on continent • Austria the new political power in Eastern Europe • Ottoman empire repressed at Battle of Vienna • England: leading hub of liberalism • Guy Fawkes Rebellion and Catholic intolerance • Netherlands: leading hub of tolerance/commerce

  5. Post-Reformation Transitions in European Governance • Expanding power/influence of middle class • Period of political polarization • Trends toward democracy vs. trends toward centralization of power • England: monarchs appealed to “divine right” theory • Consensus politics prevailed(Glorious Revolution of William & Mary in 1688) • France: Louis XIV (Sun King) • Held supreme power • Revoked Edict of Nantes

  6. The Age ofReason and Revival CHANGING PHILOSOPHIESin theMODERN WORLD

  7. Rise of Rationalism:The Veneration of “Reason” • Genesis of new ideology • Exhaustion from Medieval approaches to religion • Cartesian Philosophy: René Descartes • “Cogito, ergo sum” • Cartesian philosophy as ally of Christianity • Leibniz: truth uncovered by reason alone • Rationalism as means of reconciliation

  8. The Risk of Rationalism/Reason in the Court of Religion • Socinianism / Unitarianism – Reasonable denial of Trinity • Held to authority of Scripture, but felt some “non-rational” doctrines were unbiblical • Faustus Socinus – Father of Unitarianism • Racovian Catechism of Polish Brethren • Intellectual rationalists in England • John Biddle, Isaac Newton, Joseph Priestly • Theophilus Lindsey: first Unitarian Church

  9. The Risk of Rationalism/Reason in the Court of Religion • Deism – Elite English/French version of rationalistic religion • True religion was more basic/fundamental than squabbles over orthodoxy • All men given reason, and true/common religion afforded to all and reasonable • Reject teachings of Bible if unreasonable • A “watchmaker” God [William Paley] • Opposed religious dogmatism and the opposite, apathetic religious skepticism • Empirical, tolerant and reasonable

  10. The Risk of Rationalism/Reason in the Court of Religion • Famous English advocates of Deism • John Toland: Christianity Not Mysterious • Matthew Tindal: Christianity as Old as Creation

  11. The Risk of Rationalism/Reason in the Court of Religion • Latitudinarianism – 17th c. Anglicans who were “gentlemen of a wide swallow” • High regard for authority of reason and tolerant, anti-dogmatic temper • Reacted against the Calvinism of the Puritans and were broadly Arminian in outlook • Supported scientific developments • John Locke (d. 1704): British “empiricist” • Essay Concerning Human Understanding • The Reasonableness of Christianity

  12. The Risk of Rationalism/Reason in the Court of Religion • Allowed only a narrow core of fundamentals in religion • Held "true philosophy can never hurt sound divinity” • Theologically vague / spiritually insubstantial / strongly moralistic • Foreshadowed skepticism of Hume • Precursors of the Broad Churchmen of the 19th century

  13. The Risk of Rationalism/Reason in the Court of Religion • Philosophes – French rationalist / materialist intellectuals • Hostile deists replacing Christianity with more reasonable religion • The great name of Deist, which is not sufficiently revered, is the only name one ought to take. The only gospel one ought to read is the great book of Nature, written by the hand of God and sealed with his seal. The only religion that ought to be professed is the religion of worshiping God and being a good man. [Voltaire] • Voltaire: Leading voice denouncing RC church • Candide: satire attacking war, religiouspersecution, unwarranted optimism • Philosophical Dictionary: humorously pointedout inconsistencies in Bible narratives andimmoral acts of biblical heroes

  14. Cultural influences of philosophes • The Encyclopedia • Attack on established religion • The focus on human relationships / social laws • Beccaria: “On Crimes and Punishments” • Physiocrats: philosophes on economic policy • Adam Smith • Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations • laissez-faire economics • Political opinions • Jean-Jacques Rousseau: “Social Contract” • Enlightened absolutism • Prussia: Frederick II • Austria: Joseph II • Russia: Catherine II • Portugal: Pombal


  16. The Tolerant Church in Canada • Product of political necessity rather than Enlightenment ideals • British crown forced (pragmatism not idealism) to provide level of religious liberty to large Catholic population • Roots of tolerance in Canadian churches

  17. Enlightenment Ideals in America • Deism embraced by revolutionary figures • Jefferson / Franklin / Allen / Palmer / Paine • Pamphlets/books rocked American orthodox religion • Political leaders influenced by French deists • Thomas Jefferson • Religious tolerance for VA / Jefferson Bible • Thomas Paine • Common Sense / The Age of Reason • Enlightenment thought: Catalyst for education • Harvard (1636) & Yale (1701)

  18. Russian Enlightenment • Tsar Alexis’ assistance to Ukraine draws Russian church into western influence • Ukrainian Catholic Church imports Enlightenment ideals into Russian Orthodox Church • Patriarch Nikon and the Old Believers • Attempted reform of church to restore Greek (not western) ways • Peter the Great: Russia pressed into modern age • Built St. Petersburg on Baltic Sea • Replaced patriarch with “holy synod” • Catherine the Great • Model of enlightened absolutism • System of schools for enlightened religious teachings


  20. A Unique Marriage ofFaith & Reason • “Reason” as viable route to vital piety • Where “head and heart go hand in hand” • The studious vital piety of the 17th-18th century Philosophers, Spiritualists, Pietists and Revivalists

  21. Emergence of “New Theologies” in Line With Reason • The “Cambridge Platonists” • Informal group of moralistic Cambridge dons • Non-extreme (moderating) theology • Reason as the proper judge of all disagreements • Mystical understanding of reason as imprint of God • The Neologians • Liberal theologians of Germany • Aim of religion reduced to production of human virtue • Targeted elimination of medieval Lutheran doctrines

  22. New Catholic Spirituality- Quietism in France • Total passivity before God • All activism of body or soul to be set aside • Visible signs of church as well • Madame Guyon • Emphasizing contemplation and visions • A Short and Simple Means of Prayer • Francois Fénelon • Main advocate of Quietism • Became social model of compassion

  23. German Pietism • Reaction to scholastic Lutheranism • German tradition of mysticism • Luther’s German Theology • Johann Arndt’s True Christianity • Philipp Jakob Spener (1635-1705) • “The Father of Pietism” • Conventicles (collegia pietatis / ecclesiolae in ecclesia) • Pia desideria (Holy Desires) • August Hermann Francke (1663-1727) • Educational reformist at Halle • Pietistic social action type of ministry

  24. German Pietism • Impact of German Pietism • Negative reaction among some whofelt it was too subjective, emotional • Birth of Protestant Missions • Danish-Halle Mission • Infiltrated German Reformed Churches • Spiritual legacy of fostering vital piety • New hymn-writing (Tersteegen)

  25. The Moravians • Origins: Legacy of Unitas Fratrum • Refugees led by Christian David at Berthelsdorf • Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf • Pietist upbringing at Francke’s Halle school • Conversion via Ecce Homo(by Domenico Feti) • Johann Rothe as pastor in Berthelsdorf • Hutberg (Watch Hill) or Herrnhut (“The Lord’s Watch”)

  26. Ministry of Herrnhut Community • Holy Spirit Revival of 1727 • Missionary vision as body of soldiers for Christ • Community emphases as form of Protestant monasticism • Missionary emphasis leavened European Protestantism • Strong links to British evangelical revival • Circle of Hussite/Moravian influence completed by Wesley • Moravians 3-fold influence on Wesley • Visit to Herrnhut for ideas

  27. The Age ofReason and Revival THE GREAT AWAKENING IN AMERICA

  28. Nation Ripe for Religious Revival • Reasons for the decline in vital religion • Development of commerce • Puritan ideal society ruled by God collapsed • Spreading rationalism and cultural confusion • Clerical concern for situation was mounting • Increase in the use of “jeremiad” • Earthquake in 1727

  29. Early Indications of Awakening • Dutch Reformed: Frelinghuysen • Raritan Valley, NJ revival • Presbyterian: Tennents • William Tennent Sr. – Log College • Gilbert Tennent – “On the Dangers of an Unconverted Ministry” • Old Lights vs. New Lights • Congregationalism: Jonathan Edwards • “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” • Old Light resistance led by Charles Chauncy • Rise of Arminianism and Unitarianism

  30. The Awakening Takes Hold:Whitefield Colonial Tour (1739-40) • Came on wave of popularity in English Revivals • Gilbert Tennent retains Whitefield • Six week tour of revival • “Reason congregations are so dead…is because dead men preach to them.”

  31. Consequences of Awakening • New emphasis on evangelism • Denominational barriers diminished • Mission enterprises expanded (e.g. Brainerd) • Church growth / expansion • Higher Education expanded • Dartmouth / Univ. of PA / Princeton / Rutgers / Brown Univ. • Enlarged appreciation of religious / political liberty • United colonies along entire seaboard

  32. The Age ofReason and Revival BRITISH REVIVALSof the18TH CENTURY

  33. Scotland:Ebenezer & Ralph Erskine • Ebenezer preached in fields outside his church to accommodate crowds • The Marrow of Modern Divinity • Formed independent presbytery (Seceders) • Whitefield tours promoted revival fires

  34. Wales:Simultaneous Revivals • Griffith Jones • Morning Star of the Methodist Revival • Howell Harris • Lay minister • Evangelized north Wales • New House at Trevecca (Welsh Calvinist Methodists) • Daniel Rowland • “The Welsh John Wesley” • Worked with Howell Harris in Welsh Revival

  35. England:Multiple Awakening Forces • Launching Point: Fetter Lane Society • Love feast with Holy Spirit outpouring • John Wesley emerges as key leader • Methodism was to Anglicanism what Pietism was to Lutheranism • Three distinct but related strands • Anglican Evangelicals • Operating within parish setting • Calvinist Methodists • Whitfield / Countess of Huntingdon • Methodist Societies • John and Charles Wesley

  36. Evangelical RevivalWithin Church of England • Cradled in Cornwall area • Moderate Calvinistic form of Methodism • Significant figures • William Grimshaw: Pioneer of loose-knit group • Henry Venn: Famous evangelical missiologist working in North • John Newton • Slave-trading shipmaster turned preacher and hymn-writer • Curate of Olney (published Olney Hymns hymnbook) • Friend William Cowper was great English poet contributor • Augustus Toplady • Famous evangelical hymn-writer

  37. George Whitfield:Calvinistic Methodists Revival • Biography • Oxford Holy Club • Persuader, not administrator • Peak Period – Split time Britain & America • 14 visits to Scotland / Frequented Wales • 7 trips to America (1739-40 Great Awakening Tour) • Association with Wesleys • Invited John to join in open air preaching at Bristol • Parted over Calvinistic doctrines • Association with Countess of Huntingdon • Calvinist Methodist Connexion • Polemics with John Wesley and John Fletcher • Checks Against Antinomianism and Further Checks

  38. Charles Wesley(1709-1788)Sweet Singer of Methodism • Always in shadow of John’s efforts • Lacked his iron constitution and even temperament for hard ministry • Most gifted English hymn-writer • Methodist Hymn Book of 1780 • “A little body of experimental and practical divinity”

  39. John Wesley: “A Burning Heart” • Itinerant Preacher / Teacher • Adaptation of means to circumstances • Unequaled Evangelist • Popular effectiveness – earnest, practical, biblical, fearless • Remarkable responses to his bold expositions • Appealed to working classes

  40. John Wesley: “A Burning Heart” • Writer: Balance of scholarship & piety • Letters, books, notes on Bible, sermons • Journal / 52 Standard Sermons / Plain Account • Virtually invented the religious tract • Edited the “Christian Library” • Pioneered idea of a “monthly magazine”

  41. John Wesley: “A Burning Heart” • Social Activist • Clinical Officer: opened a medical dispensary and treated for free • Loan Officer: operating credit unions for poor urbanites • Labor Supporter: defended rights of coal miners and others in sweat shops • Abolitionist: pressed for an end to slave trade • Prison reformer: urged better conditions

  42. John Wesley: “A Burning Heart” • Tireless servant • Active life for all 88 years • Began every day at 4 AM • Spent 2-4 hours in study every day • Pastoral implementation of holiness message • Traveled over 250,000 miles on horseback • Preached 42,000 sermons • Wrote over 200 books • Organized most powerful movement in England

  43. Key Contributions of English Methodist Revival • Spiritual enrichment • Christian agencies multiplied • Passion for social justice • Evangelical Hymnody • Isaac Watts inspired “man-made” hymns • August Toplady / John Newton / William Cowper • Wesley Brothers • The Collection of Psalms and Hymns / The Collection • Charles Wesley wrote over 6000 hymns • Concept of evangelical holiness as a social holiness

  44. Resources Drawn From… • Cairns, Earle E. Christianity Through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church, Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996. • Dowley, Tim, ed. The History of Christianity: A Lion Handbook. Oxford: Lion Publishing, 1990. • Gonzalez, Justo. The Story of Christianity Vol. 2: Reformation to the Present Day. San Francisco: Harper, 1985. • Hill, Jonathan. Zondervan Handbook to the History of Christianity. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006. • Kagan, Donald, S. Ozment and F. Turner, eds. The Western Heritage. New York: Macmillan Pub. Co., 1987. • Miller, Glenn T. The Modern Church. Nashville: Abingdon Press: 1997. • Needham, N.R. 2,000 Years of Christ’s Power Pt. 3: Renaissance and Reformation. London: Grace Publications Trust, 2004. • Noll, Mark . Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity. Leicester, England: IVP, 1997. • Walker, Williston A History of the Christian Church. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1985.

  45. Photo Sources • Christian History & Biography Magazine • • Wikipedia •