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Revivalism is increased spiritual interest or renewal in the life of a church congregation or society, with a local, national or global effect. This should be distinguished from the use of the term "revival" to refer to an evangelistic meeting or series of meetings (see Revival meeting).
Revivals are seen as the restoration of the church itself to a vital and fervent relationship with God after a period of moral decline. Mass conversions of non-believers are viewed by church leaders as having positive moral effects.
Within Christian studies the concept of revival is derived from biblical narratives of national decline and restoration during the history of the Israelites. In particular, narrative accounts of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah emphasise periods of national decline and revival associated with the rule of various wicked or righteous kings, respectively. Josiah is notable within this biblical narrative as a figure who reinstituted temple worship of Yahweh while destroying pagan worship. Within modern Church history, church historians have identified and debated the effects of various national revivals within the history of the USA and other countries. During the 18th and 19th centuries American society experienced a number of "Awakenings" around the years 1727, 1792, 1830, 1857 and 1882. More recent revivals in the 20th century include those of the 1904–1905 Welsh Revival, 1906 (Azusa Street Revival), 1930s (Balokole), 1970s (Jesus people), 1971 Bario Revival and 1909 Chile Revival which spread in the Americas, Africa, and Asia among Protestants and Catholics.
Many Christian revivals drew inspiration from the missionary work of early monks, from the Protestant Reformation (and Catholic Reformation) and from the uncompromising stance of the Covenanters in 17th-century Scotland and Ulster, that came to Virginia and Pennsylvania with Presbyterians and other non-conformists. Its character formed part of the mental framework that led to the American War of Independence and the Civil War.[ citation needed ]
The 18th century Age of Enlightenment had two camps: those who identified humans as only intellectual beings, Rationalists, and those who believed humans to be only passionate beings, followers of Romanticism. The philosophy of Earl of Shaftesbury III led to a Proto-Romanticism that mixed with Christian worship to produce a tertium quid. The Methodist revival of John Wesley, Charles Wesley and George Whitefield in England and Daniel Rowland, Howel Harris and William Williams, Pantycelyn in Wales and the Great Awakening in America prior to the Revolution. A similar (but smaller scale) revival in Scotland took place at Cambuslang, then a village and is known as the Cambuslang Work.
In the American colonies the First Great Awakening was a wave of religious enthusiasm among Protestants that swept the American colonies in the 1730s and 1740s, leaving a permanent impact on American religion. It resulted from powerful preaching that deeply affected listeners (already church members) with a deep sense of personal guilt and salvation by Christ. Pulling away from ancient ritual and ceremony, the Great Awakening made religion intensely emotive to the average person by creating a deep sense of spiritual guilt and redemption. Historian Sydney E. Ahlstrom sees it as part of a "great international Protestant upheaval" that also created Pietism in Germany, the Evangelical Revival and Methodism in England.It brought Christianity to the slaves and was an apocalyptic event in New England that challenged established authority. It incited rancor and division between the traditionalists who argued for ritual and doctrine and the revivalists who ignored or sometimes avidly contradicted doctrine, e.g. George Whitfield's being denied a pulpit in Anglican Churches after denying Anglican Doctrine. Its democratic features had a major impact in shaping the Congregational, Presbyterian, Dutch Reformed, and German Reformed denominations, and strengthened the small Baptist and Methodist denominations. It had little impact on Anglicans and Quakers. Unlike the Second Great Awakening that began about 1800 and which reached out to the unchurched, the First Great Awakening focused on people who were already church members. It changed their rituals, their piety, and their self-awareness.
The Hungarian Baptist church sprung out of revival with the perceived liberalism of the Hungarian reformed church during the late 1800s. Many thousands of people were baptized in a revival that was led primarily by uneducated laymen, the so-called "peasant prophets".
During the 18th century, England saw a series of Methodist revivalist campaigns that stressed the tenets of faith set forth by John Wesley and that were conducted in accordance with a careful strategy. In addition to stressing the evangelist combination of "Bible, cross, conversion, and activism," the revivalist movement of the 19th century made efforts toward a universal appeal – rich and poor, urban and rural, and men and women. Special efforts were made to attract children and to generate literature to spread the revivalist message.
Gobbett (1997) discusses the usefulness of historian Elie Halévy's thesis explaining why England did not undergo a social revolution in the period 1790–1832, a time that appeared ripe for violent social upheaval. Halévy suggested that a politically conservative Methodism forestalled revolution among the largely uneducated working class by redirecting its energies toward spiritual rather than temporal affairs. The thesis has engendered strong debate among historians, and several have adopted and modified Halévy's thesis. Some historians, such as Robert Wearmouth, suggest that evangelical revivalism directed working-class attention toward moral regeneration, not social radicalism. Others, including E. P. Thompson, claim that Methodism, though a small movement, had a politically regressive effect on efforts for reform. Some historians question the Halévy thesis. Eric Hobsbawm claims that Methodism was not a large enough movement to have been able to prevent revolution. Alan Gilbert suggests that Methodism's supposed antiradicalism has been misunderstood by historians, suggesting that it was seen as a socially deviant movement and the majority of Methodists were moderate radicals.
Early in the 19th century the Scottish minister Thomas Chalmers had an important influence on the evangelical revival movement. Chalmers began life as a moderate in the Church of Scotland and an opponent of evangelicalism. During the winter of 1803–04, he presented a series of lectures that outlined a reconciliation of the apparent incompatibility between the Genesis account of creation and the findings of the developing science of geology. However, by 1810 he had become an evangelical and would eventually lead the Disruption of 1843 that resulted in the formation of the Free Church of Scotland.
The Plymouth Brethren started with John Nelson Darby at this time, a result of disillusionment with denominationalism and clerical hierarchy.
The established churches too, were influenced by the evangelical revival. In 1833 a group of Anglican clergymen led by John Henry Newman and John Keble began the Oxford Movement. However its objective was to renew the Church of England by reviving certain Roman Catholic doctrines and rituals, thus distancing themselves as far as possible from evangelical enthusiasm.
Many say that Australia has never been visited by a genuine religious revival as in other countries, but that is not entirely true. The effect of the Great Awakening of 1858–59 was also felt in Australia fostered mainly by the Methodist Church, one of the greatest forces for evangelism and missions the world has ever seen. Records show that the Methodist Church grew by a staggering 72% between 1857 and 1864, while the Baptists, Anglicans, Presbyterians and other evangelicals also benefited. Evangelical fervor was its height during the 1920s with visiting evangelists, R. A. Torrey, Wilbur J. Chapman, Charles M. Alexander and others winning many converts in their Crusades. The Crusades of American evangelist Billy Graham in the 1950s had significant impact on Australian Churches.Stuart Piggin (1988) explores the development and tenacity of the evangelical movement in Australia, and its impact on Australian society. Evangelicalism arrived from Britain as an already mature movement characterized by commonly shared attitudes toward doctrine, spiritual life, and sacred history. Any attempt to periodize the history of the movement in Australia should examine the role of revivalism and the oscillations between emphases on personal holiness and social concerns.
Historians have examined the revival movements in Scandinavia, with special attention to the growth of organizations, church history, missionary history, social class and religion, women in religious movements, religious geography, the lay movements as counter culture, ethnology, and social force. Some historians approach it as a cult process since the revivalist movements tend to rise and fall. Others study it as minority discontent with the status quo or, after the revivalists gain wide acceptance, as a majority that tends to impose its own standards.The Grundtvigian and Home Mission revival movements arose in Denmark after 1860 and reshaped religion in that country, and among immigrants to America.
In the U.S. the Second Great Awakening (1800–30s) was the second great religious revival in United States history and consisted of renewed personal salvation experienced in revival meetings. Major leaders included Asahel Nettleton, James Brainerd Taylor, Charles Grandison Finney, Lyman Beecher, Barton Stone, Alexander Campbell, Peter Cartwright and James B. Finley.
Rev. Charles Finney (1792–1875) was a key leader of the evangelical revival movement in America. From 1821 onwards he conducted revival meetings across many north-eastern states and won many converts. For him, a revival was not a miracle but a change of mindset that was ultimately a matter for the individual's free will. His revival meetings created anxiety in a penitent's mind that one could only save his or her soul by submission to the will of God, as illustrated by Finney's quotations from the Bible. Finney also conducted revival meetings in England, first in 1849 and later to England and Scotland in 1858–59.
In New England, the renewed interest in religion inspired a wave of social activism, including abolitionism. It had been here, in upstate New York's 'Burned-over district,' in the 1810s and 20s, that the religious fervor acquired a fevered pitch, and this intense revivalism spawned an authentically new American sect – which ultimately would become a major worldwide religion – Mormonism, founded by a young seeker of Christian primitivism, Joseph Smith, Jr (1805–1844).
In the West (now upper South) especially — at Cane Ridge, Kentucky and in Tennessee — the revival strengthened the Methodists and Baptists. The Churches of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) arose from the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement. It also introduced into America a new form of religious expression — the Scottish camp meeting.
A movement in Swiss, eastern French, German, and Dutch Protestant history known as le Réveil (German: die Erweckung, Dutch: Het Reveil).Le Réveil was a revival of Protestant Christianity along conservative evangelical lines at a time when rationalism had taken a strong hold in the churches on the continent of Europe.
In German-speaking Europe Lutheran Johann Georg Hamann (1730–88) was a leading light in the new wave of evangelicalism, the Erweckung , which spread across the land, cross-fertilizing with British movements
The movement began in the Francophone world in connection with a circle of pastors and seminarians at French-speaking Protestant theological seminaries in Geneva, Switzerland and Montauban, France, influenced inter alia by the visit of Scottish Christian Robert Haldane in 1816–17. The circle included such figures as Merle D'Aubigne, César Malan, Felix Neff, and the Monod brothers.
As these men travelled out, the movement spread to Lyon and Paris in France, to Berlin and Eberfeld in Germany and to the Netherlands. Several missionary societies were founded to support this work, such as the British-based Continental society and the indigenous Geneva Evangelical Society.
As well as supporting existing Protestant denominations, in France and Germany the movement led to the creation of Free Evangelical Church groupings: the Union des Églises évangéliques libres and Bund Freier evangelischer Gemeinden in Deutschland.
In the Netherlands the movement was taken forward by Willem Bilderdijk, with Isaäc da Costa, Abraham Capadose, Samuel Iperusz Wiselius, Willem de Clercq and Groen van Prinsterer as his pupils. The movement was politically influential and actively involved in improving society, and – at the end of the 19th century – brought about anti-revolutionary and Christian historical parties.
At the same time in Britain figures such as William Wilberforce and Thomas Chalmers were active, although they are not considered to be part of the Le Reveil movement.
In North America the Third Great Awakening began from 1857 onwards in Canada and spread throughout the world including America and Australia. Significant names include Dwight L. Moody, Ira D. Sankey, William Booth and Catherine Booth (founders of the Salvation Army), Charles Spurgeon and James Caughey. Hudson Taylor began the China Inland Mission and Thomas John Barnardo founded his famous orphanages.
Representative was Rev. James Caughey, an American sent by the Wesleyan Methodist Church to Canada from the 1840s through 1864. He brought in the converts by the score, most notably in the revivals in Canada West 1851–53. His technique combined restrained emotionalism with a clear call for personal commitment, coupled with follow-up action to organize support from converts. It was a time when the Holiness Movement caught fire, with the revitalized interest of men and women in Christian perfection. Caughey successfully bridged the gap between the style of earlier camp meetings and the needs of more sophisticated Methodist congregations in the emerging cities.
In England the Keswick Convention movement began out of the British Holiness movement, encouraging a lifestyle of holiness, unity and prayer.
On 21 September 1857 Jeremiah Lanphier, a businessman, began a series of prayer meetings in New York. By the beginning of 1858 the congregation was crowded, often with a majority of businessmen. Newspapers reported that over 6,000 were attending various prayer meetings in New York, and 6,000 in Pittsburgh. Daily prayer meetings were held in Washington, D.C. at 5 different times to accommodate the crowds. Other cities followed the pattern. Soon, a common mid-day sign on business premises read, "We will re-open at the close of the prayer meeting". By May, 50,000 of New York's 800,000 people were new converts.
Finney wrote of this revival, "This winter of 1857–58 will be remembered as the time when a great revival prevailed. It swept across the land with such power that at the time it was estimated that not less than 50,000 conversions occurred weekly."
In 1857, four young Irishmen began a weekly prayer meeting in the village of Connor near Ballymena. See also Ahoghill. This meeting is generally regarded as the origin of the 1859 Ulster Revival that swept through most of the towns and villages throughout Ulster and in due course brought 100,000 converts into the churches. It was also ignited by a young preacher, Henry Grattan Guinness, who drew thousands at a time to hear his preaching. So great was the interest in the American movement that in 1858 the Presbyterian General Assembly meeting in Derry appointed two of their ministers, Dr. William Gibson and Rev. William McClure to visit North America. Upon their return the two deputies had many public opportunities to bear testimony to what they had witnessed of the remarkable outpouring of the Spirit across the Atlantic, and to fan the flames in their homeland yet further. Such was the strength of emotion generated by the preachers' oratory that many made spontaneous confessions seeking to be relieved of their burdens of sin. Others suffered complete nervous breakdown.
The most recent Great Awakening (1904 onwards) had its roots in the holiness movement which had developed in the late 19th century. The Pentecostal revival movement began, out of a passion for more power and a greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In 1902 the American evangelists Reuben Archer Torrey and Charles McCallon Alexander conducted meetings in Melbourne, Australia, resulting in more than 8,000 converts. News of this revival travelled fast, igniting a passion for prayer and an expectation that God would work in similar ways elsewhere.
Torrey and Alexander were involved in the beginnings of the great Welsh revival (1904).
In 1906 the modern Pentecostal movement was born in Azusa Street, in Los Angeles.
The rebaibal, as it is known in Tok Pisin, had begun in the Solomon Islands and reached the Urapmin people by 1977. The Urapmin were particularly zealous in rejecting their traditional beliefs, and adopted a form of Charismatic Christianity based on Baptist Christianity. The Urapmin innovated the practices of spirit possession (known as the "spirit disko") and ritualized confessions, the latter being especially atypical for Protestantism.
The Welsh revival was not an isolated religious movement but very much a part of Britain's modernization. The revival began in the fall of 1904 under the leadership of Evan Roberts (1878–1951), a 26-year-old former collier and minister-in-training. The revival lasted less than a year, but in that period 100,000 converts were made. Begun as an effort to kindle nondenominational, nonsectarian spirituality, the Welsh revival of 1904–05 coincided with the rise of the labor movement, socialism, and a general disaffection with religion among the working class and youths. Placed in context, the short-lived revival appears as both a climax for Nonconformism and a flashpoint of change in Welsh religious life. The movement spread to Scotland and England, with estimates that a million people were converted in Britain. Missionaries subsequently carried the movement abroad; it was especially influential on the Pentecostal movement emerging in California.
Unlike earlier religious revivals that pivoted on powerful preaching, the revival of 1904–05 relied primarily on music and on paranormal phenomena as exemplified by the visions of Evan Roberts. The intellectual emphasis of the earlier revivals had left a dearth of religious imagery that the visions supplied. They also challenged the denial of the spiritual and miraculous element of scripture by opponents of the revival, who held liberal and critical theological positions. The structure and content of the visions not only repeated those of Scripture and earlier Christian mystical tradition but also illuminated the personal and social tensions that the revival addressed by juxtaposing biblical images with scenes familiar to contemporary Welsh believers.
The Pyongyang Great Revival (1907-1910) in North Korea started when the Korean church was barely 20 years old. The effect was still strong in 1910.
Evangelicalism, evangelical Christianity, or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide, trans-denominational movement within Protestant Christianity which maintains the belief that the essence of the Gospel consists of the doctrine of salvation by grace, solely through faith in Jesus's atonement. Evangelicals believe in the centrality of the conversion or "born again" experience in receiving salvation, in the authority of the Bible as God's revelation to humanity, and in spreading the Christian message. The movement has long had a presence in the Anglosphere before spreading further afield in the 19th, 20th and early 21st centuries.
The Great Awakening refers to a number of periods of religious revival in American Christian history. Historians and theologians identify three or four waves of increased religious enthusiasm occurring between the early 18th century and the late 20th century. Each of these "Great Awakenings" was characterized by widespread revivals led by evangelical Protestant ministers, a sharp increase of interest in religion, a profound sense of conviction and redemption on the part of those affected, an increase in evangelical church membership, and the formation of new religious movements and denominations.
The Second Great Awakening was a Protestant religious revival during the early 19th century in the United States. The movement began around 1790, gained momentum by 1800 and, after 1820, membership rose rapidly among Baptist and Methodist congregations whose preachers led the movement. It was past its peak by the late 1840s. In a reflection of Romanticism, the Second Great Awakening was characterized by enthusiasm, emotion, and an appeal to the supernatural. It rejected the skeptical rationalism and deism of the Enlightenment.
The Third Great Awakening refers to a historical period proposed by William G. McLoughlin that was marked by religious activism in American history and spans the late 1850s to the early 20th century. It influenced pietistic Protestant denominations and had a strong element of social activism. It gathered strength from the postmillennial belief that the Second Coming of Christ would occur after mankind had reformed the entire earth. It was affiliated with the Social Gospel Movement, which applied Christianity to social issues and gained its force from the awakening, as did the worldwide missionary movement. New groupings emerged, such as the Holiness movement and Nazarene movements, Jehovah's Witnesses, Spiritualism, Theosophy, Thelema, and Christian Science.
Charles Grandison Finney was an American Presbyterian minister and leader in the Second Great Awakening in the United States. He has been called The Father of Modern Revivalism. Finney was best known as an innovative revivalist during the period 1825–1835 in upstate New York and Manhattan, an opponent of Old School Presbyterian theology, an advocate of Christian perfectionism, and a religious writer.
The Holiness movement involves a set of beliefs and practices which emerged chiefly within 19th-century Methodism, and to a lesser extent other traditions such as Quakerism and Anabaptism. The movement is Wesleyan-Arminian in theology, and is defined by its emphasis on the doctrine of a second work of grace leading to Christian perfection. As of 2015, a number of Evangelical Christian denominations, parachurch organizations, and movements emphasize those beliefs as central doctrine. Holiness-movement churches had an estimated 12 million adherents.
The history of religion in the United States begins in 1776 with the American Revolution. For religion in North America before that, see the histories of particular colonies or the traditions of the continent's diverse Indigenous peoples.
The First Great Awakening or the Evangelical Revival was a series of Christian revivals that swept Britain and its Thirteen Colonies between the 1730s and 1740s. The revival movement permanently affected Protestantism as adherents strove to renew individual piety and religious devotion. The Great Awakening marked the emergence of Anglo-American evangelicalism as a trans-denominational movement within the Protestant churches. In the United States, the term Great Awakening is most often used, while in the United Kingdom, it is referred to as the Evangelical Revival.
The Fourth Great Awakening was a Christian awakening that some scholars — most notably economic historian Robert Fogel — say took place in the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s, while others look at the era following World War II. The terminology is controversial, with many historians believing the religious changes that took place in the US during these years were not equivalent to those of the first three great awakenings. Thus, the idea of a Fourth Great Awakening itself has not been generally accepted.
The 1904–1905 Welsh Revival was the largest Christian revival in Wales during the 20th century. While by no means the best known of revivals, it was one of the most dramatic in terms of its effect on the population, and triggered revivals in several other countries. "The movement kept the churches of Wales filled for many years to come, seats being placed in the aisles in Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Swansea for twenty years or so, for example. Meanwhile, the Awakening swept the rest of Britain, Scandinavia, parts of Europe, North America, the mission fields of India and the Orient, Africa and Latin America."
Protestantism originated from the Protestation at Speyer in 1529, where the nobility protested against enforcement of the Edict of Worms which subjected advocates of Lutheranism to forfeiture of all of their property. However, the theological underpinnings go back much further, as Protestant theologians of the time cited both Church Fathers and the Apostles to justify their choices and formulations. The earliest origin of Protestantism is controversial; with some Protestants today claiming origin back to groups in the early church deemed heretical such as the Montanists.
Christianity is the most adhered to religion in the United States, with 65% of polled American adults identifying themselves as Christian in 2019. This is down from 85% in 1990, 81.6% in 2001, and 12% lower than the 78% reported for 2012. About 62% of those polled claim to be members of a church congregation. The United States has the largest Christian population in the world, with nearly 240 million Christians, although other countries have higher percentages of Christians among their populations.
Christianity was introduced to North America as it was colonized by Europeans beginning in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Spanish, French, and British brought Roman Catholicism to the colonies of New Spain, New France and Maryland respectively, while Northern European peoples introduced Protestantism to Massachusetts Bay Colony, New Netherland, Virginia colony, Carolina Colony, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Lower Canada. Among Protestants, adherents to Anglicanism, Methodism, the Baptist Church, Congregationalism, Presbyterianism, Lutheranism, Quakerism, Mennonite and Moravian Church were the first to settle in the US, spreading their faith in the new country. Notwithstanding this commonplace timeline, scholars of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints assert that Christianity was first introduced to the Americas approximately 34 A.D., according to what is recorded in 3 Nephi Chapter 43, which chronicles the appearance of Jesus Christ to the Native Americans.
Christianity in the 18th century is marked by the First Great Awakening in the Americas, along with the expansion of the Spanish and Portuguese empires around the world, which helped to spread Catholicism.
Characteristic of Christianity in the 19th century were Evangelical revivals in some largely Protestant countries and later the effects of modern Biblical scholarship on the churches. Liberal or modernist theology was one consequence of this. In Europe, the Roman Catholic Church strongly opposed liberalism and culture wars launched in Germany, Italy, Belgium and France. It strongly emphasized personal piety. In Europe there was a general move away from religious observance and belief in Christian teachings and a move towards secularism. In Protestantism, pietistic revivals were common.
Protestantism is the second-largest form of Christianity with collectively between 800 million and more than 900 million adherents worldwide or nearly 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone rather than also by good works, and the highest authority of the Bible alone in faith and morals. The "five solae" summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church.
In the United States, evangelicalism is an umbrella group of Protestant Christians who believe in the necessity of being born again, emphasize the importance of evangelism, and affirm traditional Protestant teachings on the authority and the historicity of the Bible. Nearly a quarter of the US population, evangelicals are diverse and drawn from a variety of denominational backgrounds, including Baptist, Mennonite, Methodist, Holiness, Pentecostal, Reformed and nondenominational churches.
Christianity was introduced with the first European settlers beginning in the 16th and 17th centuries. Colonists from Northern Europe introduced Protestantism in its Anglican and Reformed forms to Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts Bay Colony, New Netherland, Virginia Colony, and Carolina Colony. The first arrivals were adherents to Anglicanism, Congregationalism, Presbyterianism, Lutheranism, Quakerism, Anabaptism and the Moravian Church from British, German, Dutch, and Nordic stock. America emerged as a Protestant majority nation, with significant minorities of Roman Catholics and Jews.
The history of Methodism in the United States dates back to the mid-18th century with the ministries of early Methodist preachers such as Laurence Coughlan and Robert Strawbridge. Following the American Revolution most of the Anglican clergy who had been in America came back to England. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, sent Thomas Coke to America where he and Francis Asbury founded the Methodist Episcopal Church, which was to later establish itself as the largest denomination in America during the 19th century.
The history of Christianity in Britain covers the religious organisations, policies, theology, and popular religiosity since ancient times.
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