Church History | Christianity in America

frisermonLately, I’ve been spending a lot more time studying Christian History and Orthodoxy than I have listening to current, mainstream preaching. In my wandering through a few Confessional Lutheran groups, someone shared a link to this teaching series by Dr. Dan van Voorhis  entitled Christianity in America. This series covers American Christianity from the Puritans through the modern-day Emergent Church. Fascinating series.

Daniel van Voorhis, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of History and Political Thought and Assistant Dean in the school of Arts and Sciences at Concordia University, Irvine. He has a BA in Theology and earned his PhD in Modern History from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland) in 2007. (source)

Dr Dan van Voorhis makes mention to handouts in the video that are available below. I’ll try to share some notes and links to things mentioned in the video that you may find helpful in understanding this material.


UPDATE 3/15/16

I just heard back from the wonderful folks at Faith Lutheran, and the handout for this video is available via their website Look for Christianity in America Part 1, Word Doc under Attachments.

Some General Notes on things mentioned in this lesson:

I had posted this before I knew where to find the handouts. I tried to provide some useful links for understanding key people/events mentioned in this lesson.

  • Mark A. Noll is the non-Lutheran Historian quoted. (read more)
  • “A Brief History of Lutheran Pietism” series taught by Dr. Dan Van Voorhis
  • For an overview of the 30 Years War, click here.
  • England and Scotland was a place where many Christians sought refuge from persecution, they sought religious freedom in England. Let’s look at the monarchs and their reigns.
  • The New World
    • English Puritans weren’t leaving persecution. They were separatists leaving the protestant safe haven of England, where different “denominations” exchanged ideas.
    • “American” Christianity was born out of the Puritan Separatists came over pushing for a better Christianity, a Purer Christianity. American Christianity was novel and it measured its purity not by the Word of God, but by whether or not the nation would be successful. Things went well, so they assumed their version of Christianity was the right version.
    • Other individuals mentioned who are “the preachers; the Billy Grahams of the early American Church”
    • These early Puritan separatists attempts to create a new mix of faith and politics with poor uses of the Old Testament leading to Theonomy. In our day, there are self-labeled Theonomists in the trendy Calvinist camps. They are pointing back to these Puritans.

Some additional reading:

Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV)

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will,working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,

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