The First Great Awakening 1730-1830
Problem: The Enlightenment emerged out of Renaissance humanism, the Scientific Revolution and the work of Francis Bacon and Isaac Newton, culminating in the 1789 outbreak of the French Revolution. Philosophers and scientists of the period widely circulated their ideas through meetings especially at Masonic lodges, and through mass publications made possible with the printing press, Emphasizing the replacement of religious orthodoxy, the Enlightenment broadcast new ideas of the sovereignty of reason and primacy of the the scientific method through the evidence of the senses as the source of knowledge instead of religious revelation, the priority of the pursuit of happiness over religious duty, and new ideals of liberty, progress, constitutional government, and separation of church and state. The Enlightenment was converting many people to atheism, Deism, Unitarianism and Universalism.
Reaction: Revival services placing an emphasis on sinners personally experiencing God’s love and forgiveness through sensing outpourings of the Holy Spirit held across denomination lines produced an evangelical Protestantism. Individual choice replaced the traditional Calvinist doctrine of God’s sovereignty expressed in predestination. Emotional expression of the Holy Spirit encouraged visions and mystical experiences. Critics called this enthusiasm while accusing the revivals of fostering disorder, fanaticism and heresy by enabling uneducated, itinerant preachers to build churches. The loosened denominational boundaries helped forge a common evangelical identity which became a political force.
The First Great Awakening began in the 1730s… Jonathan Edwards’ congregation was involved in a revival later called the “Frontier Revivals” in the mid-1730s…But…the Great Awakening “was still to come, ushered in by…the British evangelist George Whitefield. Whitefield arrived in Georgia in 1738…making a “triumphant campaign north from Philadelphia to New York, and back to the South”. In 1740, he visited New England, and “at every place he visited, the consequences were large and tumultuous”. Ministers from various evangelical Protestant denominations supported the Great Awakening...Additionally, pastoral styles began to change. In the late colonial period, most pastors read their sermons, which were theologically dense and advanced a particular theological argument or interpretation. Nathan O. Hatch argues that the evangelical movement of the 1740s played a key role in the development of democratic thought, as well as the belief of the free press and the belief that information should be shared and completely unbiased and uncontrolled.
But ironically, the belief of information being shared completely unbiased and uncontrolled is contradicted by the emotional strings being played by the purveyor of information, frankly exhibited today in the press by the conservative (Fox News) and liberal (CNN).
Michał Choiński argues that the First Great Awakening marks the birth of the American “rhetoric of the revival” understood as “a particular mode of preaching in which the speaker employs and it has a really wide array of patterns and communicative strategies to initiate religious conversions and spiritual regeneration among the hearers”.
Evangelistic fervor is absolutely what fans the winds of political change invariably resulting in war.
All these theological, social, and rhetorical notions ushered in the period of the American Revolution. This contributed to create a demand for religious freedom.
During the Revolutionary era, the pulpit played a key role in encouraging dissent. The political activism of these black-robed ministers earned them the name “the black regiment…”At the bottom of the original Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress ordered copies of the Declaration first be sent not to town clerks or newspapers but to parish ministers, who were “required to read the same to their respective congregations, as soon as divine service is ended, in the afternoon, on the first Lord’s day after they have received it.”
Solution: The American Revolution supported by churches as a consequence of the widespread adoption of egalitarianism vs predestination, the priority of the pursuit of happiness over religious duty, and the new ideals of liberty, progress, constitutional government, and separation of church and state.
But the churches were just pawns in the hands of the political players. The new American nation was modeled on the Roman Republic / Fourth Empire and designed, not by Christians, but by Enlightenment Deists and Freemasons such as George Washington, Paul Revere, John Paul Jones, and the Marquis de Lafayette.
The Freemasons were a fraternal society that advocated Enlightenment principles of inquiry and tolerance… Masonic lodges (local units) soon spread throughout Europe and the British colonies. One prominent Freemason, Benjamin Franklin, stands as the embodiment of the Enlightenment in British America.
In recent years, we have been told by a variety of conservatives that America’s founding fathers established the country under Christian doctrine—that we are a “Christian nation” and should operate accordingly.
only one of the 56 founding fathers was a member of the clergy…James Madison objected to chaplains opening the proceedings of Congress with prayer…Many of the founding fathers—Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison and Monroe…[were] Deists [who] believe in a supreme being who created the universe to operate solely by natural laws—and after creation, is absent from the world…
A treaty of peace and friendship between the United States and Tripoli that was approved by George Washington explicitly stated: “The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion…”
[Enlightenment Philosopher Francis] Bacon promoted colonization of the New World…to found a new and better world…driven by dissatisfaction with the Divine Right of Kings, taxation without representation, and…religious intolerance. As part of new reformation, Bacon wrote the charter for the Virginia Colony. Both The Tempest and Bacon’s New Atlantis are allegorical descriptions of an ideal way of life. The American Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence exactly 150 years after Francis Bacon’s death. Bacon’s vision of a better world was cherished by Thomas Jefferson, who considered Bacon one of the three greatest thinkers of modern times. In a sense, Bacon can be seen as the Godfather to the Founding Fathers.
Unknown to most people, Sir Francis Bacon has been one of the most influential people in western society since Jesus Christ. Few people are aware of the full story of Francis Bacon or why it has been hidden for so long by those who have written our history…
he was the father of modern science because he introduced research through recorded trial and error.
He was the editor in chief for the King James Bible…
he was perhaps the greatest politician who ever lived having represented 3 seats in the House of Commons plus a Member of the House of Lords all concurrently…
He created a new religion combining Jesus, Horus and Lucifer under the banners of Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry.
See the post The Fourth Kingdom for details on the pagan roots of of the American Republic.
Can we not see how Christianity’s reaction to the ideals of the Enlightenment played right into the Deist and Freemason founders of America? Was this Hegelian dialectic
- a conspiracy setup by dark forces
- or an intrinsic flaw in Christianity itself?
Based on Jesus Christ’s statement that “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” (Matthew 16:18), we have to conclude that the Christian churches whose revivals assisted in the American Revolution were not part of the church of Christ.