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A Controversial SpiritEvangelical Awakenings in the South$
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Philip N. Mulder

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195131635

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195131630.001.0001

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Choosing God's People

Choosing God's People

(p.130) 6 Choosing God's People
A Controversial Spirit

Philip N. Mulder (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Laity in the audiences and congregations embraced the message of the preachers all too well during the Great Awakenings. Accounts show that men, women, Anglo‐, and African‐Americans accepted not only the general need for salvation, but also the denominations’ prescriptions for conversion. True conversion required selecting the particular beliefs of one denomination and specifically rejecting those of the others. The reborn had to turn away from false churches and teachings just as they cast aside their sinfulness. Choice, the celebrated feature of evangelical religion, emboldened laity and helped the democratization of American Christianity, but it also assured that a spirit of distinction would hover over the quarreling faithful of the South. Baptists’ oppositional religion steadily displaced Methodists’ universal faith.

Keywords:   African‐Americans, congregations, conversion, democratization, evangelical, laity, oppositional religion, Religious Choice, universal faith, women

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