American originals: homemade varieties of Christianity by Paul K. Conkin

By Paul K. Conkin

In a piece of amazing breadth and readability, Paul Conkin deals an even-handed and in-depth examine the foremost American-made sorts of Christianity—a different team of non secular traditions, each one of which displays an important holiday from western Christian orthodoxy.Identifying six special forms, Conkin examines the key denominations consultant of every unique number of American Christianity: recovery (Churches of Christ, Disciples of Christ); humanistic (Unitarians, Universalists); apocalyptic (Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses); Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints); religious (Christian technology, Unity); and ecstatic (Holiness and Pentecostal denominations). concentrating on the early years and maturation of those teams, he discusses their founders and leaders, origins and previous international roots, and crucial doctrines and practices. Conkin closes each one bankruptcy with a advisor to additional reading.The first finished survey of those American originals, this ebook will function a invaluable source on a couple of spiritual traditions whose participants not just contain an important percent of the yank inhabitants but in addition make up an expanding share of Christian converts around the world.

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We now refer to the polar positions as Arminianism and Calvinism. But the labels are misleading, since many disciples of Calvin moved to an Arminian position, including Arminius himself. Here the subtleties defy any easy or simple explication. As the divisions deepened, professed Calvinists at Dort, in Holland, and then at Westminster, near London, worked out fighting confessions. The label ''Calvinism" soon designated the doctrines affirmed in these assemblies. Such latter-day, or scholastic, Calvinists offered an uncompromising defense of the following doctrines: God fully determines who will be the beneficiaries of his grace, and not because of any foreknowledge of any virtue in those whom he elects.

Stone's demystifying bent even led him to defend a new understanding of saving faith the one doctrinal position that moved him closest to a view earlier affirmed by Robert Sandeman and later accepted by Alexander Campbell. For Presbyterians or other evangelicals, faith entailed much more than simple belief or intellectual assent to the scriptures; it meant special religious affections and unswerving trust or love, or what was impossible for anyone to affirm without the prompting of the Holy Spirit and thus the special initiative of God.

Earlier than any other American sect save the Shakers, these New England Christians accepted women as preachers and evangelists. Orthodox clergymen ridiculed Smith because he accepted the ministry of a woman, Nancy Cram, in 1811. Neither annihilationism nor the so-called unitarianism of Smith and Jones became obligatory doctrines in this creedless movement, but at least avowed unitarians remained in the church throughout the nineteenth century. These New England Christians joined with the American Unitarian Association (AUA) to establish a joint seminary at Meadville, Pennsylvania, in 1844, but offered such limited support that it eventually became a fully Unitarian institution.

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