Early American Church History

A Study in the Religious History of Early America

Curated from the video series by Ryan Reeves

Pilgrims and the New World (1600s)

What was the primary reason for the founding of Jamestown?

The primary reason was not for religious freedom but for economic endeavors.

What state was established for Catholics to find freedom in the new world?


Catholics in America (1649–Present)

When did the majority of Catholics come into America?

The majority of Catholics came to America after the New World was settled by, mainly, Protestants. Waves of Irish, Italian, and other immigrants came to America, bringing with them their Catholic heritage.

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Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758)

What was the "Half-way Covenant?"

The Half-way Covenant brought people partially into church membership on the basis of agreement to a doctrinal confession, not on the basis of a conversion experience.

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The First Great Awakening (c. 1730–1750)

  • Part 1: Introduction to the Great Awakenings

  • Part 2: The First Great Awakening

What were two major moral issues fought against by the Holiness and Restoration Movements in the 19th century?

Slavery and Women’s Rights

Did the women's rights movement in America originate in the 1970's?

The women’s rights movement in America, known primarily because of the events in the 1970’s, actually originated in the 19th century during the Temperance Movement.

What are the three possible impacts that came from the Great Awakening?
  1. The Great Awakening was the origin of Fundamentalism.
  2. The Great Awakening provided the context of the American Revolution.
  3. The Great Awakening gave rise to emotional revivalism.
What is one of the difficulties, historically, with revival preaching?

It’s not always clear when true revival ends and where emotional, ecstatic excess begins.

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American Revolution and the Church (1765–1783)

How did the American spirit of hostility against hierarchy affect the church after the American Revolution?

Generally speaking, early Americans were less tolerant of church denominations, such as the Church of England, with a greater amount of hierarchy in their church polity, tolerating at most the Presbyterian model of church government.

What Christian denomination was quick to spread to the expanding areas of America after the Revolutionary War?

The Methodists

Who were two prominent Methodist leaders during the expansion of Methodism after the Revolutionary War?

Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke

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The Second Great Awakening (c. 1790–1840)

What group started off as a small denomination in America at the beginning of the nation's history to, in the 19th century, the largest denomination in America?

The Methodists

What was Charles Finney's "New Divinity?"

This view combined Finney’s revivalistic Arminianism with his alternative views of the work of Christ.

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