We are on our way home from a brief trip to Ft. Collins, CO where I did a seminar on the roots of American evangelicalism. The people of the Faith Evangelical Free Church who attended the seminar were very engaged with the subject.
On the first night I discussed the First Great Awakening. I concentrated mostly on the definition of evangelicalism, the role of George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards, and the impact of the Awakening on eighteenth-century British-America. As expected, the audience was quite interested in this subject.
I started the next day with a session on whether or not America was founded as a Christian nation. I was not sure what to expect from this fairly conservative and very evangelical congregation, but the people were gracious and many of them seemed to agree with what I presented. There were a few “pro-Christian America” types in the audience, but they responded to my lecture with much civility.
I ended the seminar with a session on the way American evangelicalism accommodated to the democratic and market culture of the early republic. We discussed things like “church shopping,” the changes that Charles Finney brought to revivalism, and Nathan Hatch’s thesis in The Democratization of American Christianity.
Thanks to Ryan Kelly of the “Faith-LED” ministry for inviting me to come and conduct this seminar.
I hope to do more seminars like this in the future in conjunction with my forthcoming book, Was America Founded as a Christian Nation: A Primer for Christians. (Westminster/John Knox Press, 2010), so if your church might be interested in such a presentation don’t hesitate to contact me.