America's God : From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln (Google eBook)

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Oxford University Press, Sep 13, 2002 - Religion - 640 pages
4 Reviews
Religious life in early America is often equated with the fire-and-brimstone Puritanism best embodied by the theology of Cotton Mather. Yet, by the nineteenth century, American theology had shifted dramatically away from the severe European traditions directly descended from the Protestant Reformation, of which Puritanism was in the United States the most influential. In its place arose a singularly American set of beliefs. In America's God, Mark Noll has written a biography of this new American ethos. In the 125 years preceding the outbreak of the Civil War, theology played an extraordinarily important role in American public and private life. Its evolution had a profound impact on America's self-definition. The changes taking place in American theology during this period were marked by heightened spiritual inwardness, a new confidence in individual reason, and an attentiveness to the economic and market realities of Western life. Vividly set in the social and political events of the age, America's God is replete with the figures who made up the early American intellectual landscape, from theologians such as Jonathan Edwards, Nathaniel W. Taylor, William Ellery Channing, and Charles Hodge and religiously inspired writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe and Catherine Stowe to dominant political leaders of the day like Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln. The contributions of these thinkers combined with the religious revival of the 1740s, colonial warfare with France, the consuming struggle for independence, and the rise of evangelical Protestantism to form a common intellectual coinage based on a rising republicanism and commonsense principles. As this Christian republicanism affirmed itself, it imbued in dedicated Christians a conviction that the Bible supported their beliefs over those of all others. Tragically, this sense of religious purpose set the stage for the Civil War, as the conviction of Christians both North and South that God was on their side served to deepen a schism that would soon rend the young nation asunder. Mark Noll has given us the definitive history of Christian theology in America from the time of Jonathan Edwards to the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. It is a story of a flexible and creative theological energy that over time forged a guiding national ideology the legacies of which remain with us to this day.

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Review: America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln

User Review  - Jim - Goodreads

Noll continues his excellent career with a work that is nothing sort of stunning. America's God is an absolute must for anyone with an interest in American religious history. His findings will shed much needed light onto America's unique theological history and revise many (mis)conceptions. Read full review

Review: America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln

User Review  - Luke Evans - Goodreads

This was a good book. It is very detailed and very academic. I wish he would write a layman's version of this book and argue his main theses. This would help his important message make some headway in the evangelical world. It is good to see evangelicals doing first-rate historical work. Read full review


Theology and History
Theology in Colonial America
The Long Life and Final Collapse of the Puritan Canopy
The American Exception
Christian Republicanism
Theistic Common Sense
Colonial Theologies in the Era of the Revolution
Ideological Permutations
The Bible and Slavery
Failed Alternatives
Climax and Exhaustion in the Civil War
Contexts and Dogma

Innovative but Not American Theologies in the Era of the Revolution
The Evangelical Surge
and Constructing a New Nation

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Page 16 - He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat : Oh ! be swift, my soul, to answer Him ! be jubilant, my feet ! Our God is marching on. In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me : As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, While God is marching on.

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