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“Revivalistic Innovations,” by C.C. Goen

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“Revivalistic Innovations” 

by C.C. Goen

in Revivalism and Separatism in New England, 1740-1800

(Wesleyan, 1987) pages 8-35

Goen is professor of history at Wesley Theological Seminary. This reading highlights the reasons the Great Awakening became such a cleavage among New England churches. The dispute could be said to be a key beginning for Unitarianism. Beyond all theological dispute about revivals, their advent posed the question of what was “proper” in religious practice and set a division between thought and feeling in preaching.

  1. The popularity of revivalists (Goen calls Whitefield America’s first national figure), their temporary work, and the undercutting of the institutional church, made the Great A wakening resented by established ministers. What were the polity threats in tie revival?
  2. Did revivals undercut Puritanism since they, in effect, denied election in favor of individual decision for salvation? Also in the emphasis on the person reaching God directly was there a certain heralding of transcendental thought? Could these trends be perceived rightfully as destructive to organized religion?

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Series Navigation<< “The Declaration of a Number of the Associated Pastors Relating to the Reverend Mr. James Davenport and His Conduct”“On Revivals of Religion,” by Nathaniel Thayer >>