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Naming the AntichristThe History of an American Obsession$
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Robert C. Fuller

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780195109795

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195109795.001.0001

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Impediments to Christian Commonwealth

Impediments to Christian Commonwealth

(p.74) Three Impediments to Christian Commonwealth
Naming the Antichrist

Robert C. Fuller

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses what is often referred to as “the Second Great Awakening,” in which popular opinion was galvanized around the belief that moral resolve alone is sufficient to bring about salvation and the regeneration of society. White Anglo-Saxon Protestants confidently set about the task of constructing an empire that they believed would in and of itself inaugurate the millennium. This view, known as post-millennialism, touts the power of concerted human effort to perfect the earth in expectation of—and prior to—Christ's final return. Those in the consensus culture knew full well what agencies of the Antichrist still stood in their way: non-Protestants, immigrants, intemperance, the city, and—at least to Northerners—the institution of slavery. Yet new religious voices were championing the pre-millennial form of apocalyptic thought, in which Christ was expected to return to earth in order to defeat the Antichrist personally. The Mormons and Millerites (later to emerge as the Seventh-Day Adventists) appeared on the American religious scene as forerunners of the revival of pre-millennial and apocalyptic understandings of the Antichrist tradition.

Keywords:   Second Great Awakening, Antichrist, Protestants, Mormons, Millerites, apocalyptic thought, salvation, Christ, post-millennialism, slavery, Seventh-Day Adventists

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