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UPDATE – Chapter 20: Part II- Evangelical Christianity in America during the Revolutionary War and the Moravian Church

Ascension to Heaven - George Washington

“George Washington’s Ascension to Heaven” – “[T]he present-day American religious right, anxious to appropriate the Revolution for their own version of modern American patriotism, have sought comfort in the ultimate Founding Father, George Washington, but here too there is much to doubt… In the nineteenth century, patriotic and pious artists often spiced up Washington’s deathbed with religion, giving him on occasion an almost Christ-like ascension into Heaven accompanied by a heavenly choir, but the reality of the scene in 1799 did not include any prayers or the presence of Christian clergy.” – Diarmaid MacCulloch, loc. 14806 – 14809



Here’s two essays for the conclusion of our study of Chapter 20 on evangelical Christianity in America during the Revolutionary War and the Moravian Church.


In the upcoming couple of weeks we will be delving into the Enlightenment period.





Chapter 20: Part II – Pietism, Moravians, Methodists, The Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards, African-American Spirituality, and the Founding Fathers

Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening


We will be concluding Chapter 20 this Sunday.


For this Sunday, please write on one of these topics:


  1. Discuss the origins and goals of Pietism.  Why was it formed?  What were their grievances against conservative (‘Orthodox’) Lutheran civil authority and clergy?  What influence did Lutheran pastor August Hermann Francke have with the Pietist movement?  How did this movement affect the Great Awakening in America?
  2. How did the Moravian Church come about?  What was unique about their beliefs?  Discuss the impact Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf had upon the Moravians.
  3. Discuss John Wesley and how the Methodist Church came about.  What was Wesley’s greatest impact to Evangelical Christianity that still resonates into the modern era?
  4. Discuss the Scotish-Irish impact upon Evangelical Christianity and their outside gatherings to hold ‘revivals‘.  How did their churches flourish across America, especially the Middle colonies in America?
  5. What were Jonathan Edwards contributions to the Great Awakenings in America?  Discuss how his eschatology of ‘postmillennialism‘ shaped part of American identity during this time.   In fact, what was the overall impact of the Great Awakenings upon American religion?  How did worship change as a result of it?
  6. Why was the Great Awakenings such a great success among the African-American slave population?  What was it about the evangelical message or theology that attracted them to convert?  What was the reaction of the white Evangelical population to their presence?
  7. What were the reactions of American Evangelical denominations toward the American Revolutionary War (i.e., Baptists, Quakers, Methodists, Anglican, etc.)?   After reading about MacCulloch’s viewpoint of the spirituality of the Founding Fathers, would you consider America to be founded upon Christian principles?  Why or why not?  How did the shaping of the Constitution by the Founding Fathers and the revolutionary elite impact the way religion was practiced in America?


Please submit by tomorrow, Saturday, July 26.