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Christian History: Top 5 Religious Movements That Changed America

Thursday, 07 May 2015 04:48 PM

Churches encapsulating the entire spectrum of Christian theology from modern Christian history have a presence within the United States. Only a handful of these movements have had a big enough impact to change how America has evolved since independence from Great Britain. These five Christian religious movements have done the most to change the face of America since the 18th century.

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1. Evangelicalism
No other religious movement reshaped America quite like Evangelicalism. It arose during the First Great Awakening in the 18th century when pastors emphasized personal salvation rather than ritual and tradition. Evangelicalism inspired the rise of missionary societies in the 19th century. Evangelicals turned their attention to applying gospel principles to the social, political, and economic issues in the 20th century.

2. Restorationism
The Second Great Awakening stirred a fervor in getting back to the roots of Biblical Christianity. This gave rise to the Restorationism movement where leaders sought to restore Christian doctrines to their purity from the time of the Apostles. The most prominent denomination to arise out of this movement was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – founded by Joseph Smith. Fleeing persecution, Mormon pioneers settled the Intermountain West during the latter half of the 19th century.

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3. Pentecostalism
Within the Pentecostal movement, Christians sought direct personal experience with God through the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Pentecostals emerged in the early 20th century as an outgrowth of the 19th century Holiness movement. They believed the end times were near and that spiritual gifts would be renewed before Christ returned. Pentecostalism helped spawn early televangelists like Oral Roberts and Rex Humbard who, according to the Financial Times, popularized television as a medium for spreading religious messages.

4. Christian Fundamentalism
Christian fundamentalists first emerged early in the 20th century in response to mainline Protestant denominations liberalizing Biblical teachings. Fundamentalists saw the Bible as the inerrant word of God and took a radically conservative approach to interpreting it. Christian fundamentalists became a major political force late in the 20th century when several fundamentalist groups began supporting Republican candidates who took conservative stances on key social and political issues.

5. Charismatic Movement
Charismatic Christians believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit – such as healing, visions, prophecy and speaking in tongues – are available to believers in modern times. This movement arose in the 1960s and gave birth to neo-charismatic churches like the Vineyard Movement and led to the rise of mega-churches, with tens of thousands of members, across the nation. More than 300 million Christians worldwide identify with the Charismatic movement according to the Pew Forum.

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Churches encapsulating the entire spectrum of Christian theology from modern Christian history have a presence within the United States.
christian history
Thursday, 07 May 2015 04:48 PM
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