Welcome to...

by Pastor Gordon Brubaker

Christ Meeting the World

"Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them,
for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you."

1 Timothy 4:16


Serious Study Home / Community Door





302-313: Systematic Executions of Christians. Rome was breaking apart. Emperor Dioclecian had attempted to reform Rome and give it a solid base to stand on with an attempt to reinvoke the Roman religion. Christians were considered to be atheists and lower class, therefore they were bad people. A 313 Edit of Milan gave safety to the radical Christians as Roman deities were no longer acceptable to the people.

Constantine identified himself with an oppressed yet popular Christian faith and rose to power. Constantine looked to the Church to help provide a unifying religious structure to the Kingdom, to replace the Roman religious system. Christianity became an inside religion. Rome, embracing a highly structured system of laws gave rise to a legal and highly formalized dogma.

Arius in 318 attacked the orthodoxy of the patriarch, or bishop, Alexander of Alexandria who was a powerful figure in Egyptian (bread belt) culture and thus the Empire. This division became an embarrassment to Constantine who had delivered the Christians from social unacceptability!

There were 5 Major Patriarchs or Bishops (in order of significance): 1) Rome (West); 2) Constantinople; 3) Alexandria; 4) Antioch; 5) Jerusalem.

A. Ecumenical Councils: 300-530

1. Council of Nicea: 325

This council arose from a dispute with the Arians over the definition of Christ's relationship to God. The Arians were trying to protect the doctrine of monotheism (One God) by denying that Christ was the eternal Son of God and asserting that Jesus had been created and thus was NOT of the same substance or essence as the father.

a. Arguments:

1-1) Arius:

1) There is only ONE unbegotten God, the Son dare not be represented as an emanation, or a part of the Father having the same nature, nor as alike created.

2) The Son had a beginning, being created by God BEFORE the beginning of the world.

3) Son is the Logos and the Wisdom of the Father, but he is different from the Logos immanent in God.

4) The Logos is a creature of the Father, created by him as the medium in the creation of the world.

5) The Logos is changeable, inconsistent. But since God foreknew that he would remain good, he bestowed upon him in advance the glory which he afterward as man merited by his virtue. Christ is through unity of will one with the Father.

6) Arians were attempting to establish their own view and disprove that which was becoming the accepted doctrine of the church.

2-2) Athenasius 293-373: Became Bishop of Alexandria in 328. Major opponent of Arianism.

1) If Arius is right, God is not eternal. If God has wrought the Son and Holy Spirit from the non-existent, who can assure us that there will not be more? The trinity is destroyed and the divinity of the Father is questioned. The Father has had to change in the course of time, and he did not always have within him the Word, Light and Wisdom!

2) Leads to worship of the creature, Jesus, rather than the creator! 3) Destroys the certainty of salvation. If the Logos is changeable, how can he reveal to us the Father, and how can we behold the Father in him? In this way man would never reach the assurance of salvation, fellowship with God, forgiveness of sins or immortality.

b. Major Influences:

1-1) Origen 185-254: Believed in the coequality, coeternality of God. We are immortalized by our association with God, by God becoming one with us. Expressed the Eastern Church's emphasis upon the incarnation and resurrection and our identification with God; where the Western church emphasized forgiveness and the freedom from guilt and moral purity. The West Saw God alone as being transcendent from the world, thus our need for a mediator; God must not be compromised. Origen saw the deliverance of flesh from mortality.

2-2) Tertullian 160-220: There is One God with three personifications. There is One Substance with three personalities. Used the example of property: one piece of land can be owned by three people!

c. Results:

Nicene Creed: Council of Nicea 325

"I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:

And in our Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of Gods, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, And was made man: And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried: And on the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets:

And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church: I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins: And I look for the resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen."

Being the first of the great Councils, the truth of the Nicean Creed of Athenasius was soon lost in regional politics. The Eastern Church, because of its emphasis upon mysticism and identification couldn't adhere to its own council.

Beside Arius, five others refused to sign the Nicene Creed. The Emperor Constantine deemed it to be his duty to give legal force to the decrees of the council, demanding obedience to them and punishing those who opposed them. Thus we have the rise of a state church.

Instead of producing peace the Nicene Creed produced further controversy. Constantine attempted to make peace between the groups and retrying the debates reinstated Arius and his followers, removing from office Athanasius of Alexandria and the Bishop of Antioch for their slanderous treatment of their opponents.

After the death of Constantine. Athenasius was permitted to return, but had to flee to Rome in 339. It was necessary again to form a doctrinal statement that would establish their own view, and out of regard for their Western theologians, avoid extreme Arianism. This resulted in the Council of Antioch in 341.

In 341 the Western church endorsed the doctrine of Athanasius unconditionally at the Councils of Rome.

2. Council of Constantinople: 381

a: Results:

Reaffirmed the Nicene Creed with some minor changes in the wording. This Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed is the only one received by the Eastern Orthodox churches. At the end of the sixth century in the West an addition was made to emphasize the coequality of the Son with the Father. This later version is the form used in the West among Roman Catholics and Protestants.
3. Augustine:

Augustine of Hippo (354-439): Directed religious thought for the next 1000 years. Came from Carthage to Rome. Converted in 386, Wrote his confessions in 397. Introduced the doctrine of double predestination.

The Donatist Controversy: In the 4th Century the Bishop of Casae Nigrae in North Africa raised the issue of salvation; "Can one be saved by an unconverted minister?" The question arose when the Bishop of Carthage denounced Christ rather than accept martyrdom. The legitimacy of their sermons, sacraments, baptisms were questioned.

What is the nature of salvation? Can the unconverted properly communicate the saving message of the Gospel? What assures one of salvation?

Augustine said that baptism is legitimate when they use water, the Trinity, and it is done with the same intent that the Church assumes when it does the sacrament.

Salvation becomes a personal act, not dependent upon the minister but upon God.

The concept of predestination is formed: that EVERYTHING is done in God! No one comes to salvation because they know God, but from a need of Salvation in their lives which is placed there by God.

4. The Sack of Rome: 410

Bishops became the rallying point of the oppressed people and rose to great power. The Egyptian Bishop of Alexandria became the greatest because Egypt was the bread basket of the world. The Bishops of Rome and Constantinople joined forces against Alexandria. It was a time of major political revolution. Christian dogma and doctrine followed political divisions. An anti Roman-Greek ground swell began. Egypt and two groups in Syria rebel against dogma of Monophysite. Coptics rebel. A native movement begins. Persians and northern tribes assert themselves against the Empire. Rome makes the doctrines of the church government policies. The enemies of Rome now also become the enemies of the Church. The Persian Church became Nestorian, to keep Jesus and yet oppose Rome. The Barbarians north of Rome became Arians.

5. Council of Chalcedon: 451

Reaffirmed the Nicene Creed and added a more detailed analysis of the union and the distinction of the human and divine natures in the one person of Jesus Christ.

This Symbol of Chalcedon dealt with four major controversies:

1) Arianism, which denied the full deity of Christ;

2) Apollinarianism, which denied the full humanity of Christ;

3) Nestorianism, which denied the union of the two natures;

4) Eutycheanism, which denied the distinction of the two natures.


The Symbol of Chalcedon

"We, then, following the holy fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable soul and body; consubstantial with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of two natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us."

6. The Fall of Rome:

The Western Empire falls in the year 476. The Church becomes the governing body holding together the civilization. Constantinople became the center of the Eastern Empire and the eastern Church.

7. Decrees of Orange: 530

Semi-Pelagianism was defeated. A moderate view of Augustinianism was adopted by the Western Church. The doctrine of "grace alone" came off victorious and the doctrine of predestination was abandoned.


B. Middle Ages: 500-1450

1. Consolidation of the Roman Catholic Church

In 553 the Second Council of Constantinople was held. It was an effort to reinterpret the Chalcedon formula to express the unity and not the dualism of Jesus. One will in Christ.

Rome turns its back on the Eastern Empire and seeks support elsewhere.

Gregory the Great (540-604) became the governor of Rome in 573. he quit to enter the monastery. He became Pope from 590-604. He was the first Pope to both lead the Church AND be the head of secular authority, the head of the state government!

He developed (1) a civil papacy; (2) the doctrine of Penance which reached its form as a sacramental means of dealing with a recurrence of guilt. Penance ultimately became the only means to satisfy God; (3) the doctrine of the Church. Under Gregory, the Bishop of Rome is also to be seen as the earthly head of the Church.

622 Was the first year of Islam, Mohammed migrated from Mecca. Mohammedism exploded on the scene which was to wipe out 2/3 to 4/5 of Christianity. By 711 Mohammedism controlled all of Spain and Africa. In 732 an invasion of Europe was turned back at Tours, france.

Christendom was swallowed up by the Islamic advance because people were discontented by Roman Ecclesiastical Authority!

In 681 a Third Council of Constantinople was held. Constantinople, the center of the Eastern Empire, yielded to Rome's demands of doctrines. They affirmed the Second Council of Constantinople.

The Second Council of Nicea was held in 787. This council approved the veneration, worship, of images by the Eastern Church.

Charlemagne (786-814) established the Holy Roman Empire in 800, as an attempt to revive the Roman Empire. The Pope of Rome crowned Charlemagne. The Church is now entangled in the affairs of politics. Charlemagne was Emperor from 800-814. The Roman Empire turned its back on the Eastern Church.

The Vikings begin to raid Europe in the 800's. The last of the Roman culture deteriorated. For protection against the Viking raids the Feudal System was developed as people attached themselves to those strong enough to protect them, signing over their freedoms and property.

The cradle of Western Theology was now cut off. Theology was now based on political aspirations and corrupted officials. A war ensued between the state and the Church as to who would be the foundation of culture. The Church won. The Church brought civil order into society.

1066: The Normans invaded and defeated England

1095: First Crusade

2. Scholasticism:

a. Scholasticism and Mysticism:

Aristotle was rediscovered and his methodology was applied to everything.

"But while scholastics spun their systems and constructed their Summae, there were mystics in monasteries pursuing a very different course of life and thought. If Aristotle was the patron philosopher of the medieval schoolmen (scholastics), Plato was the philosophical father of medieval mysticism. Since the soul of man, as Socrates had argued, is of divine origin, it not only knows and remembers its source but seeks to be reunited with it. The longing for reunion with eternal Being and the consequent reunification of every finite, mundane restriction upon that quest thus become the chief end of man and the purpose of religious life." Readings in Christian Thought, Hugh T. Kerr; page 81.

The mystics sought for an awareness of the Absolute, the consciousness of Divine Presence, the patient pilgrimage of the soul, the ladder of ascent from earth to heaven, illumination and union with God. They sought a divine relationship rather than speculation on God's existence. Knowledge and wisdom separated the scholastic and the mystic.

b. 11th Century Scholasticism:

An attempt to attain a TRUE Christianity by combining reason and faith. The great Gothic Cathedrals of Europe began to be built. Theology began to worship intellect as the Scholastics sought after a philosophy to end all revelation and put an end to all discrepancy. The Church passed the point of creativity. They saw it as a time to clarify the past because there was no new truth to be given. Revelation was closed.

Scholasticism believed if you could break the whole into small enough parts everything would be revealed. They broke the Scriptures into Chapter and Verse, invented outlining as a system of analysis.

Scholasticism failed to arrive at a synthesis of traditional beliefs. What they proved was that faith cannot be arrived at by reason; and reason does not come through faith.

The outgrowth of Scholasticism is NOMINALISM, which says that there is no connection between the spiritual and natural worlds. REALISM claims that there are universal realities from which the natural is produced! Nominalism: discovers the universal from the natural. Realists: the natural is not real but only a reflection of the universal, the object comes from the reality.

Paul and John are Realists when they speak of Jesus cleansing the Heavenly Holy of Holies and the New Jerusalem. Faith says there is something beyond that we can draw upon! Realism sees no discontinuity of nature and the supernatural, it says our existence means something, that life is explainable!

Nominalism's belief that the natural and supernatural do not touch each other gives the rise to science. Establishes a belief that we can not figure out what God is going to do, we only believe it because the Church teaches it. Therefore the Church is responsible for teaching, developing Creeds and Liturgy. Nominalism assumes that there is no continuity of this world and the next.

By the 14th Century a double truth was accepted. Truth is not one, but two! There is human truth and there is divine truth and the two may not have anything in common. Aristotle does not recognize anything apart from the substantial (real).

The focus began to shift from God being governed by intellect to God being governed by His will. God is not morally responsible since God is the one who created morals.

Scholasticism failing, the thought says to accept the given and don't inquire any further! All things relate to God, but not always to each other, at least rationally.

The only way to find out what God is doing is for God to tell you. Who do you listen to? The Scriptures become more important than before. The Church also becomes more central. Theologians believe "because this is what the Church teaches." The common man "believes because they understand."

Rationality is thrown out and doubt is playing a major role. A doctrine used to be true if it could be explained rationally, now dogma has become the legally binding way of thought.

Scripture and Tradition were put against each other as the people appealed to Scripture and the Church to their Tradition. The Church claimed Apostolic Tradition which was now in question. Scripture came from God while Tradition came from man. Man through Scholasticism had become fallible. There was a need that we MUST get back to a time when God was closer to us than he is now.

Scholasticism had succeeded in destroying the ideal for the real. The Universal (spiritual world) does not impose itself on the Real (natural world). The individual is now foremost over society. The collective is now the unreal, a thing only of the mind. Society sees no value in the spiritual which lies beyond the real. Life does not rest in perception or in revelation.

c. Middle Age Ideals:

That society was an organismic whole. All people receive from God and all should share freely. Economic Ideal: brought about barter as money was considered evil. But with the crusades and international trade developing, money came to a center place in the economy.

The Papacy came into an extreme economic need. They could not get financial support from its properties and had no armies. To raise revenue the SIN TAX was invoked, a Church tax! Papacy became involved in the licencing of abuses. With the administration entering into extortion, a reform from within became more impossible as religious rivals could not find institutional expression. For two centuries, the Reformation was aimed at the indulgences.

Apostolic poverty was a central understanding and when the Papacy was attacked for it's Tax, Pope John XXII decreed that to say the Apostles lived in poverty and had no property was a heresy!

d. Signs of Freedom:

1) 1100's: Albigenes and Waldenses were stressing Scriptural authority for the Christian life and doctrines. They were put out of the Church.

2) June 15, 1215 - Magna Carta signed. The Papacy had become rigid and irreformable. The Papacy was supreme and actually ruled over the Kings as they crowned them and validated their civil authority. This atmosphere brought about the signing of the Magna Carta, which forced the King to guaranteed certain civil and political liberties to the English people.

William of Occam (1280-1349): Revived the claims of the Pope's fallibility and the authority of the Scriptures.

1302 - Unam Sanctum: Pope Boniface VIII issued a decree that it is impossible to be saved without being subjected to the Pope. The Papacy was expressing what in 1200 was assumed.

1306 - 1378 Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy. Papacy was moved into France. The tendency of French Popes to be subject to the French King caused the relocation of the Papacy to Rome.

3) John Wycliffe (1320-1384): He translated the Bible into English. Wycliffe preached against church corruption, the Pope and for Scriptural authority.

4) 1347-1352 - BLACK DEATH KILLS 25 MILLION PEOPLE IN EUROPE. The Age began to think they were entering into the period of the Holy Spirit where no Pope or priests were needed! The peasant revolted against the state and religious oppression. There was a feeling of eminence of Christ's return. Even in the time of Luther he felt there was not much time left, so he had to act to overthrow the Papacy.

The old hierarchy of the Sacraments (Pope, Priest, Individual) mediating grace is questioned. A personal relationship with God begins to be emphasized, God and the individual. An indwelling God. It was God's will over God's intellect (since we could not make sense out of God). Those who emphasized God's will emphasized predestination.

1401: Possession of an English Bible was made punishable by death. Wycliffe's followers were forcibly repressed.

1415: John Hus (1369-1415) was burned at the stake for denouncing excesses of the church.

1428 - Joan of Arc leads French armies against the English.

IV. RENAISSANCE: 1400-1600

A revival of the Greco-Roman influence. With Islam conquering Constantinople, 1453, the Eastern Empire came to an end. Constantinople had become the center of the Empire when the Western Empire with Rome as its center collapsed, 476. The Rome library had been moved to Constantinople's library which was the greatest library of its day. Now all these books were transferred back to Rome, where eager theologians were waiting.

The first dated work for Gutenburg's printing was 1454.

In 1492 Columbus sailed to the New World.

V. REFORMERS: 1500-1650

Tried to reintroduce the Hebrew-Christian tradition.

A. The Reformers:

1. Martin Luther (1483-1546): Born in Northern Germany. Luther became the foremost representative of the Protestant Reformation. Luther was ordained a priest in 1507. Founded the Lutheran Church.

2. Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531): Claimed Priests did not have to celibate. His reforms actually reached further than Luther's. He sought to modify church practices to only Scriptural commands. He removed from the churches all pictures, tapestries, ornaments and even organs. Mass was celebrated in the language of the people.

3. Menno Simons (1492-1559): Joined the Anabaptist movement and supplied needed leadership. Anabaptist's, rebaptizers, claimed Christ was baptized as an adult, asserting that infant baptism was not Scripturally supported. Founder of the Mennonites.

4. John Calvin (1509-1564): Born in Noyon, France. He studied the priesthood and law, yet was never ordained or practiced law. Although Luther and Calvin shared a common cause, they never met. Luther and Calvin saw the Bible as the Word of God, and not necessarily the decrees of the (Catholic) Institutional Church. Founded the Presbyterian Church.

B. Historical Events:

1. Luther's Ninety-Five Theses - 1517: Nailed on the church door at Whittenburg, stressed justification by faith, Scriptural authority, priesthood of all believers and the role of the Holy Spirit. Eventually this led to his excommunication. Lutheranism spread through Germany and the Scandinavian countries and through these countries to America. Start of the Protestant Reformation.

2. Suleyman the Great's European invasion defeated at Vienna. In 1541 Suleyman annexes Hungary.

3. Calvin's "The Institutes of Christian religion" - 1536-1559: Here he broke with Catholicism. Calvinism, or the Reformed faith, moved from Switzerland into the Rhine Valley, providing the theological impulse in the French Huguenots, the Protestants in Holland, the Puritans of England and New England, and the Presbyterians of Scotland and America. Calvin stressed strict obedience, you could be fined for laughing or sleeping in church and imprisoned for rolling dice or wearing fashionable clothes.

4. COUNCIL OF TRENT (1545-1563): Counter Reformation starts. A restatement of the faith of the Roman Catholic Church and an excluding of the new heretical views. Lutheran Church cut off from the Catholic Church.

5. Puritanism begins in England (1560's). They sought to continue the Reformation of the Church.

6. COUNCIL OF CONCORD (1580): Lutheran Doctrine is formed.

7. 1588: England defeats Spain's Invincible Armada.

8. COUNCIL OF DORT (1618-1619): Predestination becomes a dogma. Arminianism is rejected by the Holy Catholic Church.

9. From 1618-1648 bloody religious wars broke out.

10. 1630's Puritan's arrive in England: Quest for religious freedom reaches the New World. Were the most educated group, including many business men, members of Parliament, and others formed the ground of American religious thought. They were seeking for the purity of the Church.

They were Zwinglian/Anabaptists.

C. New Religious Beliefs:

1. Anabaptist Beliefs:

a. Adult Baptism and invalidity of infant Baptism.

b. Individual responsibility to God; free will (choice) on man's part.

c. The true church is the elect or the regenerate.

d. Imitation of the Apostolic Church.

e. Scriptures as final authority, the right of individual interpretation of Scriptures under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

f. Acceptance of God-given authority of the government in civic matters. Denial of the right of secular government to intrude in spiritual matters. No force in religion.

g. Refusal to bear arms or do military service.

h. Salvation and an inner spiritual experience of God on the part of the sincere believer.

i. Baptism is not a sacrament, but a rite accepted in faith and marking entrance into the church.

j. Consistency between faith and works rather than justification by faith alone.

1648: TREATY OF WESTPHALIA: Ended open religious warfare.

Philip Spener (1635-1705): Founder of the Piestic movement which gained momentum under the leadership of Hermon Franke (1663-1727).

2. Pietistic Beliefs:

a. Necessity of repentance, self denial and absolute obedience to Christ and the New Testament.

b. Continued search for enlightenment and awakening through prayer, Bible study, devotional life and fasting results in an inner experience of sweetness and confidence.

c. Pious behavior and presentation of sincere godly life without hypocrisy.

d. Wrongness of expensive churches.

e. Condemnation of the clergy and the distinction between clergymen and laymen. A spiritual church with no outward form.

f. The true church consists of the "awakened" who are called to become the elect or regenerate.

g. Distrust of creeds.

h. Mysticism.

i. Community of goods.


A. Prominent People:

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758): Puritan. His ministry began in 1723. He reintroduces Covenant Theology.

John Wesley (1703-1791): Founder of Methodism.

1734, 1740 - PURITAN REVIVAL IN AMERICA: Problem of Puritan revival was a disapproval of excessive displays of emotion. The revival actually split the denomination into camps and upset the supposed unity.

B. First Great Awakening: 1740-1770's

Began in New England; in 1760, spread to Virginia, Maryland and through the South. The first uniting experience of the colonies, until now they had worked independently.

George Whitfield (1714-1779) visited all the American colonies as he became the first inter-denominational figure. Had profound side effects on political and social issues. He was a friend of John Wesley's until he switched from Armenianism to Calvinism.


1) Changed lives.

2) Excitement.

a) Caused division and controversies as the Puritans and Presbyterians split.

b) It also caused unity based on shared personal religious experiences which did not reflect the "creeds" being preached.

c) Caused a missionary zeal to the Indians. Quakers and Mennonites raised up against slavery.

d) Affected the doctrine and function of the Church.

e) People were taught to believe for yourself, volunteerism. Church membership up to this point was mandatory, but now seen as voluntary. This is a benefit for the unestablished churches such as the Baptists, Presbyterian, Methodists, etc. These churches now begin to grow rapidly while the established churches don't.

3) The political manifestation was an increased opposition to England which wanted to establish the Anglican Church and their Bishops. Raised questions about the call of a called ministry and the dangers of an unconverted ministry. The educated clergy opposed emotionalism of those converted. An anti-intellectual movement was thus created among the churches. The nature of the Church changed: they were no longer state supported, but voluntary in membership and ministers. Preachers began to preach "TO" and "FOR" the common people! This eventually effects the political system.

a) The emphasis for church membership was placed on the individual's response and free will, a switch over to Armenianism. Saw the development of the congregational system, expressing the freedom of believers to congregate as well as to exert some control over the unconverted clergy.

C. Second Great Awakening: 1790's

Lasts for decades. Started in established churches in the East. In 1800 the Camp Meetings began in Kentucky, Tennessee; an era of religious renewal with people "pealing over" with the Holy Spirit, also filled with great excesses. This being the main social events, the community rowdies disrupted the meetings. Conflict arose between the East and West revivalists. To keep the rowdies down, churches eventually began to hold their meetings in secret local meetings.

The third phase of revival was Finney's revivals. He organized revivals and created new measures to conducting meetings. Conversions became a personal experience. Finny believed that sinners were bound to change their own heart.

By 1830 all three types of meetings were being held.

The Camp meetings laid the base for Dwight Moody, Billy Sunday, Billy Graham.

The theology of free will is given to the people and a free response had to come from the people. The concept of free will and expression became influential in religious thought and experience.

DIVERSITY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH: While the GREAT AWAKENING produced the Evangelical movement of today, there was another outgrowth from the COVENANT THEOLOGY which eventually spilt into two major camps.


This era was a reaction to the Great Awakening, particularly of Finney's wide open revival meetings. These leaders were influenced by the European Enlightenment (Edward Lock of England, Isaac Newton and his scientific studies, and Deism). To this Jonathan Edwards introduced emotions along side reason in theology.

Out of the new found freedoms of a young nation emphasizing individuality men were set free of the limits of religious thinkers to devise their own theology as they saw fit.

This move is toward the expulsion of Predestination and the acceptance of Arminianism.

A. Major People:

Samuel Hopkins (1721-1803):

Lyman Beecher (1775-1865): Lyman Beecher (1775-1865) New Haven Theology defended the faith against the Unitarian error, he underlined the essential freedom and moral agency of man. He counteracted the new kind of "high-pressure revivalism which Charles Finney was spreading across the country." This "New Schoolism" became "the ecumenical theology of nonsectarian revivalism, the Sunday School movement, foreign and domestic missions and a wide array of organized reform activities, notably the temperance crusade. One can almost speak of it as the theology of American Evangelical Protestantism during its nineteenth-century heyday. It was frankly Arminian in its modifications of predestination dogma, vigorous in its emphasis on conversion and personal holiness, immensely moralistic in its definition of the good life, strong in its millennial fervor, determined to make a model of America's Protestant democracy..." (Theology in America, edited by Sydney E. Ahlstrom; page 45).

Horace Bushnell (1802-1876): stands at the head of American theological liberalism. Committed to the covenantal theology of the Puritans he sought how to preach traditional doctrines in a contemporary language. Bushnell turns from the excessive individuality to a more communal identity. He looks at the Bible as a continuing revelation rather than a complete revelation. There is a loss of the concept of the divine character of the Church and the Church bringing about the Kingdom of God.

B. A Christ Centered Liberalism:

1. The Nature of God: The stress is not on God's Being, but on His actions, Jesus being an example. God has Fatherly attributes. God is seen as imminent not lofty, but actively indwelling the world.

2. Doctrine of mankind, the nature of humanity: Emphases is on the dignity and worth of humanity. Sin entered in the organic order of society. More concerned over the effects of sin that the cause of sin. Does not believe in total depravity, but when we are born we share in the fallen humanity and thus need conversion.

3. Mission and Purpose of Christ: They deny that Jesus came to placate God or to pay a ransom. Jesus' life was lived vicariously (taking our place) with an emphasis upon our total life. Jesus revealed God's love and our proper response. They have accepted Church tradition, but have re-interpreted it.

4. The Kingdom of God: Is a dominant feature. Jesus has ushered in the Kingdom! There is no other kingdom to look forward to. God's Kingdom is a present social reality. God's Kingdom is the goal of history, everything that has happened has been to bring the fulfillment of God's Kingdom. This Kingdom is to be progressively actualized in the world, as we work to produce it. Thus the focus of liberalism is the change of social patterns and behavior and not the individual.

C. Unitarianism:

Started with the "Old Calvinists" (Mathers and Reason). The New Calvinists were also influenced by the European Enlightenment. John Wise (1652-1725) was influential The "Natural Law" concept gave the initiative to man, not God (Predestination), thus human capacity becomes enhanced and there is a subtle withdrawal from God. Natural Law defends the rights (destiny) of the natural man, eventually the Natural Law dropped God and we find natural man dealing with himself apart from the concept of the ordered universe and creation. Chauncy (1705-1787) and Mayhew (1720-1766) were also major leaders, who "illustrated how closely the cause of reasonableness and moralism was linked with the growing demands for a political order based on natural law and self-evident principle" (Theology in America; page 38).

From 1805-1820 Unitarianism is forced into the open. Channing was their clearest articulator in a classical mode. They revived the Arianism controversy that was settled at the Council of Nicea that Jesus is not God, but a second creation. Parker was the social reformer (humanism) and his ideals ultimately win. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was the best known spokesman. This has developed into the Modern Unitarian-Universalist Movement.

D. The Holiness Movement (1880-1905):

Almost all Wesleyan based faiths were going through a search for holiness. Eventually holiness became absolute and produced a schism. In the 1890's Holiness was rejected in the Methodist Church.

The conservatives lost support and the Social Gospel began to occupy the abandoned space. Personalism gained ground also. Personalism believes that their is no authority outside the self, it has little room for "upper management", accepts no ecclesiastical norms and accepts that the church cannot guide development or thoughts because the self is supreme.


From 1830-1930 American religion was dedicated to the creation of a Christian nation. By 1933 Protestant morals no longer existed on a national level.

A. The Social Gospel (1900-1917):

Gains acceptance in America.

Three reactions to the Social Gospel:

1. Conservative: Rescue Missions started, Good Will Industries, an institutional type of church motivated by ministry to individuals. Black churches were developed.

2. Radical: Not geared to meet the needs of individuals, but a revolution of the social order advocating a total overthrow of the structure as corrupt and unredeemable.

3. Moderates: The real Social Gospel, set out to reform society not trying to establish new structures but realizing that structure can be a cause of problems which cannot be alleviated by individual conversion. Believe the Church has the responsibility to work on the structure to make it Christian. Realized that God also works outside of the Church. The chief architect is Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918) who saw America as a Christian nation but not a reformed society, also saw the Kingdom of God on earth saving the social organism - transforming life on earth to the society of heaven. The complete Christianization of the social order is the goal of the Church.

B. The "FUNDAMENTALS" (1909-1910):

The "Fundamentalists" printed their paper listing the Fundamentals of true Christian faith. Movement had begun about 1890. This was not a reaction to liberal theology but was a modern outgrowth of an understanding of Christianity dealing with the relation of the Church to culture. Today when people are called "Fundamentalists" they are referring to those who accept these basic guidelines of faith.

C. Historic Events:

1912: The election of Woodrow Wilson is the peak of the social movement. Teddy Roosevelt is the hero of the Social Gospel. Liberals rose to power and influence as pastors, teachers, administrators, with a disproportionally large voice; they did not respect the masses as they pushed programs through.

WORLD WAR I: Following the war the religious conflict explodes and camps are formed. The Fundamentalists shifted into neo-evangelical. While the Liberals become neo-orthodox.

1930's - Neo-Orthodoxy: A response to the self authentification of Personalism, bringing a body, a church back into authority.

D. The Failure of Liberalism:

1. Lewis: (1933) said of liberalism's weaknesses:

a) They did not retain the Bible as authority.

b) They lost sight of the divine Christ.

c) They weakened the dogmatic basis of the Church by asking, "Who is Christ?", instead of "What was Christ?". Lifted the human Christ against the divine.

d) They did not fulfill their promise to save the world.

2. Harry Emerson Fosdick: wrote in 1935 "BEYOND MODERNISM" which listed these points of failure:

a) An excessive preoccupation with intellectualism.

b) Dangerously sentimental.

1-1) Had an illusion of inevitable progress.

2-2) They eliminated a God of moral judgement.

c) Watered down the central message and distinctive truth of the reality of God.

1-1) An absolute rejection of the supernatural.

d) Lost its ethical standing ground and its power of moral attack.

1-1) Christianity moved into a conciliatory position, making concessions, being enslaved to society.

3. Reinhold Niebuhr: listed six problem points:

a) They sacrificed most of the essential Christian doctrines.

b) They were unable to cope with political and religious problems.

c) They were simplistic and held excessive moralism.

d) They believed in the basic goodness of man.

e) Thought of the modern mind as God.

f) They failed to recognize man as a spirit.

4. Summation of Liberalism:

a) The loss of traditional Christian beliefs.

b) Too much emphasis on man instead of Christ.

c) Naive.

Liberalism brought Christ down to a man. They worked off the moral examples of Christ. Jesus became a friend and not a Savior.

5. Responses to Modernism:

a) Lewis: A reaffirmation of Christ, de-emphasizing the humanity of Jesus and emphasizing the divinity of Christ.

b) Lewis: A reaffirmation of the Church, Trinity and the Kingdom of God.

c) Fosdick: A need to go beyond modernism.

d) Fosdick: For the Church to re-establish it's identity and to take a stand against the culture.

e) Niebuhr: Become Christ centered.

f) Niebuhr: Faith transcends reason.

1950's: Neo-orthodoxy created a new liberalism and new evangelicals. The new evangelicals did not accept the 1909-1910 Fundamentals but did accept their concepts distinguishing the Church from Society.


What Has become known as the Charismatic movement began in January of 1901. It grew from the Holiness movement and became denominationalized as the Pentecostal Church. In the 1960's and 70's the move began spilling over into mainline denominations.

The Emphasis of the movement is upon the current workings and revelations of the Holy Spirit.

Serious Study Home / Community Door


Living Faith Ministries
1 North Main Street
Keyser, WV 26726