Two Great Awakenings in America — will there be a Third???? Let’s look at our Background of History.
The Puritans came to America’s Shores in 1620 and made several lasting contributions. Some of these were a Respect of Lawful Government, Value of Useful Work, Civic Participation and Responsibility and Concern for Education i.e. (Harvard University was founded by them in 1636). They also had a sense that a nation under Divine Guidance has a special mission to the entire world. They provided a religious background for many moral and social reform movements that continued into the following centuries. Some of these people were William Bradford (1590-1657), Thomas Hooker (1586-1647), Ann Hutchinson (1591-1643), Mary Dyer (1611-1660), and Roger Williams (1604-1682).
The next generation (children of the “First Comers”) watered down the Puritan Church of the First Comers. It was a movement that was brought in by the First Comers’ children now adults which was known as the “Half Way Covenant” (1657-1662). This movement allowed unsaved children and unsaved adults who had been baptized but “Not Saved” into the church and the church itself became liberal and lax. In other words they were allowing people into the church who were not True Followers of Jesus Christ and had not made a Commitment to follow Jesus, they were baptized but just going through the head knowledge without a Heart Commitment to the Lord.
The First of the Two Great Awakenings
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
This Liberal Church that the Half Way Covenant created led into the First of the Two Great Awakenings. It started with the Ministry of Jonathan Edwards and continued with that of George Whitefield (1714-1770). Some of their contributions were a resurgence of Calvinism and a test of personal conversion. They also stimulated concern for higher education as was seen in the opening of some major colleges of today Princeton (1746 Presbyterian), Brown University (1764 Baptist), Rutgers (1766 Dutch Reformed), and Dartmouth (1769 Congregational). They stressed Lay Leadership and the Elevation of the Common Person, Separation of Church and State, New Forms of Assembly and this was actually the first stage of the American Revolution!!!
The Second of the Two Great Awakenings
The second of the Two Great Awakenings stemmed from Deism which is a Philosophy (not an organized religion). This Deism Philosophy denied the doctrines of the Trinity and also denied the Atonement as well as denying Original Sin. It insisted that Salvation was by Character alone. This became known as the Universalist Church. Here is where Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) with his Transcendentalism came into existence. Now there were conditions being set up for Revival to happen. Many denominations grew through the teachings of Charles Finney (1792-1875), John Wesley (1703-171791), Thomas Cooke (1747-1814) and Francis Asbury(1745-1816). Roman Catholicism arrived from Europe. Sunday Schools were formed during this period, women were testifying and praying in public places, great moral and humanitarian crusades were formed like the Abolitionist Movement. This was followed by the years of Dwight Moody (1837-1899). Adoniram Judson Gordon (1836-1895), William Ashley Sunday known as “Billy Sunday”(1862-1935), C.I. Scofield (1843-1921), Harold John Ockenga (1905-1985) as well as William Franklin Graham known as “Billy Graham” (1918-still living). All these Preachers had a Movement of Spiritual Renewal. These Two Great Awakenings in America may be a backdrop to a Third Great Awakening in our Country of America through a history of former days into future days ahead. Watch and see what happens in the days ahead. You may just see a Third Awakening on the horizon!!!
Billy Graham (1918-still living)