Revivalism

Revivalism is phenomenon where a new and unexpected burst in spiritual concern spurs a sudden increase in religious outpourings and intense and surprising conversions. This in turn leads to the increased piety and influence of the Church. There have been four major periods of religious revivalism in the United States.

All four of these periods have had an impact on the rise of modern Fundamentalism, but especially the last two are directly related to it.

The Holiness Movement and Dwight L. Moody

Dwight Lyman Moody (1837-1899) started out humbly. His father died when he was young, leaving his mother with nine children. Moody wasn't at all religious in his early years. His first exposure to the Congregational Church occurred when he was 17 and began working for his uncle as a clerk, on the condition that he would attend church every Sunday. Moody quickly became wrapped up in the services, and began teaching Sunday school. When me moved to Chicago in 1856, he founded the North Market Hall Sunday School, which expanded to include over 1,500 students and became the Illinois Street Church. By this time, Moody was well-known throughout Illinois. He was now working solely for the Church.

In 1867 and 1872, Moody travelled to England and his preaching there gained national acclaim. When he returned to the United States, he started receiving many invitations to preach all over the country. He made several more trips to England during his life, and continued to preach across America. He died in 1899 of heart failure.



















Dwight Dwight L. Moody
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Dwight L. Moody was one of the most influential revivalists of the late 19th century. He dominated the Holiness Movement, a movement initiated by Charles Finney and others that was a sort of “perfectionist revivalism” and called for Christians to have a “second conversion”. He modernized revivalism, making it more organized and using a budget. He encouraged revivalistic reforms for all churches, and thus extended the force of revivalism to many branches of Protestantism. His musical director was a very respected gospel singer. He also founded several educational institutions on the premise of religious revivalism, and thus expanded his legacy. His methods of revivalism are widely used among the Fundamentalists in America today.

Christian rally
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Evangelism

Evangelism means literally the proclamation of the Christian Gospel. The evangelist movement began in the 1950s and encompasses all churches that embrace the doctrine of “soul-saving” and welcome converts into their church. One of the major movements in evangelism has been Evangelical Protestantism. There are four major characteristics of evangelical Protestants:

  • emphasis on conversions (Evangelicals are often called born-agains because of this)
  • use of the Bible as the ultimate authoritative text
  • use of evangelism to spread God's word and convert others
  • focus on Christ's death on the cross for the redemption of all of our sins

 

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