Christianity

The Modern Era

The Modern EraSince the 17th century, Christians have disagreed about how to interpret the Bible, relate religious faith to scientific discovery, and incorporate broader social changes into church structure. The Second Vatican Council in the 1960s led to Roman Catholic ecclesiastical change, while Protestant churches have offered diverse, sometime ecumenical, and sometimes conflicting answers to these questions. In more recent years, the world has seen a resurgence of evangelical Christianity as well as an increase in pentecostalism, particularly in Latin America, Africa, and the U.S. ... Read more about The Modern Era

Abolition and Women’s Rights

Abolition and Women’s Rights

In the first decades of the 1800s, a coalition of Protestants made arguments grounded in scripture for the abolition of slavery. This group laid the foundation for later social movements, including the women’s rights movement. Although cooperation between churches gave momentum to these campaigns, political and religious arguments led to internal divisions, often along racial and geographic lines. ... Read more about Abolition and Women’s Rights

The Protestant Mainstream

The Protestant Mainstream

In the early 19th century, many so-called “mainstream Protestants”—Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and Anglicans—understood themselves to be responsible for the future of the fledgling United States. Although they founded interchurch agencies that worked toward social reform, some religious alliances eventually split as denominations took either “liberal” or “fundamentalist” stances.... Read more about The Protestant Mainstream

American Protestant Awakening

American Protestant Awakening

The 18th century brought a series of religious revivals to the American colonies. Preachers traveled through Congregationalist, Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist communities, speaking to large crowds, urging renewed piety and personal conversions, and infusing American Protestantism with a lasting individualistic spirit.... Read more about American Protestant Awakening

New Immigrant Christianity

New Immigrant Christianity

The Immigration Act of 1965 allowed entry of greater numbers of Asian and Hispanic immigrants who transformed the American religious landscape, bringing their own forms of worship and expression. One physical change is the emergence of “nesting churches,” buildings that house multiple congregations with different religious identities.... Read more about New Immigrant Christianity

Fundamentalism, Evangelicalism, and Pentecostalism

Fundamentalism, Evangelicalism, and Pentecostalism

American evangelicalism dates back to the New England Puritans. Today, the term references a diverse group of Christians who often prioritize spiritual rebirth, proselytizing, and spiritual piety. Fundamentalism emerged in the 20th century as a particular theology characterized most notably by biblical literalism. Pentecostalism refers to Christian denominations who prioritize the spirit and whose worship services may include speaking in tongues, faith healings, and other charismatic expressions.... Read more about Fundamentalism, Evangelicalism, and Pentecostalism

The Social Gospel

The Social GospelProponents of the “social gospel” connected social reform to scriptural ideals, calling for regulation of the rapidly industrializing, vastly unequal society that emerged in the early 1900s. The following decades, characterized by war and social unrest, saw a series of Christian movements—notably those organized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—and intellectual positions, including liberation theology, a new and progressive theology that emerged from Latin American Catholicism.... Read more about The Social Gospel

Latter Day Saints Movement

Latter Day Saints MovementThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known for many years as the Mormon Church, is the largest movement descended from the prophetic claims of Joseph Smith. In the mid-19th century, the Church moved from upstate New York, Smith’s home, to the West, eventually reaching Utah where Mormons founded Salt Lake City. Through the present day, members of the church continue to negotiate their place within Christianity and American society.... Read more about Latter Day Saints Movement

The Growth of Eastern Orthodoxy

The Growth of Eastern Orthodoxy

The ecclesiastical authority of Eastern Orthodox churches, which lack universal leaders comparable to the Pope in Roman Catholicism, resulted in the relatively independent organization of Eastern Orthodox churches in the United States, where congregations are often drawn together by a shared national origin.... Read more about The Growth of Eastern Orthodoxy

American Catholicism

American Catholicism

American Catholicism was defined by waves of immigration: older populations in Maryland and the Southwest were joined in the 19th and 20th centuries by immigrants from Italy, Ireland, and Poland, among other countries. Tension between various nationalities, in addition to a dialectic between assimilation and the preservation of devotional practices, defined 20th century Catholic religious existence. The 20th century also saw the election of a Catholic president of the United States.... Read more about American Catholicism

African American Christianity

African American Christianity

The First Great Awakening led many enslaved people in the United States to convert to Christianity. Through the 18th and 19th centuries, distinct black churches emerged, seeking autonomy from white Christians. These denominations grew and now thrive in the present day. They are historically influenced by various political and religious movements, including black nationalism and liberation theology.... Read more about African American Christianity

Christian Settlements

Christian Settlements

The European colonization of North America created a range of Christian societies along the Atlantic coast. From the Puritans of Massachusetts, to the Dutch Calvinists in New York, to the Spanish Catholics across the Southwest, Christian towns and communities emerged across the land that is now the United States.... Read more about Christian Settlements

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