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REVIVALISM IN AMERICA Without an Understanding of Which One Cannot Grasp the Nature of Modern Christian Music and Worship.

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Presentation on theme: "REVIVALISM IN AMERICA Without an Understanding of Which One Cannot Grasp the Nature of Modern Christian Music and Worship."— Presentation transcript:

1 REVIVALISM IN AMERICA Without an Understanding of Which One Cannot Grasp the Nature of Modern Christian Music and Worship

2 THE GREAT AWAKENING Jonathan Edwards 1703-1758 “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (1741) Strongly Calvinist: You need salvation but God may or may not grant it. Revivals were characterized by “travail” as souls awaited manifestations of grace.

3 SECOND GREAT AWAKENING  First half of 19 th century  Far more Arminian: it’s up to you to accept Christ, which you can do if you want to  Postmillenial: the world is getting better by getting converted, and when things are truly in order, Christ will return  Resulted in sweeping social reform regarding working conditions, abolition, alcoholism, morals, care for the poor, and founding of colleges and schools. “The Benevolent Empire.”

4 CHARLES FINNEY 1792-1875

5 INNOVATIONS  Justified the use of “measures” to aid in evangelism  Discovery that song contributes to arc of the revival service  Innovations: anxious bench, extemporaneous preaching and praying, calling out individuals in the crowd, working the crowd individually, lay preaching and praying, women testifying, house-to- house “prep”

6 CANE RIDGE  A massive revival meeting in Cane Ridge, Kentucky, over a week in August, 1801. Estimated attendance of 10,000-20,000.  Came to be seen as the inception of the Second Great Awakening.  Emotional displays of crying out, fainting, falling down  Not typical of Presbyterians at all  “Lord, make it like Cane Ridge!”



9  Converted baseball player  Conducted massive evangelistic services nationwide with custom- built “tabernacles”  Dramatic, pugilistic, and folksy rhetorical style  Emphasized “manly” religion  The sworn enemy of the liquor trade

10  In the early 1900s, Billy Sunday sold what was then a unique brand of muscular, testosterone-laden Christianity.Today, ministered in some of the country's largest churches and preached in shirtsleeves about God in terms of football or golf. Billy Sunday was one of the first to do this. He was a professional baseball player turned tent preacher who became the richest and most influential preacher of his time. Sunday was "one of the most acrobatic evangelists of the age." One newspaper columnist at the time estimated that Sunday traveled about a mile during each sermon. The physicality of Sunday's sermons was an outgrowth of the preacher's stint as a pro baseball player. As a young man, he moved from rural Iowa to Chicago to play for the Chicago White Stockings (later the Cubs).

11  There, he not only wowed the crowd with his considerable athletic skills, but he won the public over with his "squeaky clean Christian image," says Martin. Baseball proved to be a "convenient entrée into the hearts and minds of his audience," Martin says. And the transition to preaching was almost seamless. He often employed football and baseball metaphors (sometimes in the same sentence) in his sermons. The prohibition movement gave Sunday a political platform. In arguing for prohibition, Sunday was particularly animated — and sometimes vitriolic. The "muscularity" and movement of his sermons was meant to counter the view by some that Christians were docile and fragile. Sunday, Martin says, wanted to prove that Christians could be "as strong and as tough as anybody else. NPR summar:y “Billy Sunday, Man of God”



14 MARK DRISCOLL  “Those who want to portray Jesus as a pansy or a pacifist are prone to be very selective in the parts of the Bible they quote. But the God of the bloody Old Testament is Jesus Christ. When he became a man, he walked the earth as a working-class carpenter. The European, long-haired, dress-wearing, hippie Jesus is a bad myth from a bad artist who mistook Jesus for a community college humanities professor.”

15 HOMER RODEHEAVER  Billy Sunday’s music leader  Led immense crowds in song with trombone and voice  Founded first sacred music publishing company  Commercially successful recording artist



18  By now, Angelus Temple was beginning to appear a bit shabby. The biggest project in the remodeling of the Temple was the installation of the beautiful proscenium arch flanked by two choir lofts. This change afforded greater opportunity for the presentation of my illustrated sermons and all of the sacred operas the Lord gave me.  The development of this type of message came as a result of my disappointment that many left my meetings unconverted, in spite of the fact that hundreds and sometimes thousands flocked to the altars. The thought struck me that perhaps if people could see the messages as well as hear them, more would come to Jesus.

19  In the beginning, the illustrations were quite elementary compared with their later development. My first sermon to be presented in this way was titled, “Weighed in the Balances.” A large pair of scales was erected on the platform, over which a structure of wood canopied by velvet was built. Inside, a man was hidden.  I placed toys representing worldly amusements on one of the scale pans: a toy automobile to represent a joyride, a little house for a dance hall, a miniature oil derrick to represent the search for worldly riches, and so forth. As each object was added, the operator inside would tip the scales further downward.

20  Then a tiny girl clad in white and carrying a huge family Bible came forward. With the aid of a chair and a lift, she got into the opposite pan. The pan with the girl was lowered.  The illustration brought to the hearts of the people the assurance that the Bible, when received as a little child, outweighs the world with all its riches and amusements, no matter how high they are piled.  As time passed, these sermons were worked out much more elaborately and effectively. Beautiful paintings and pastel lightings, planned and prepared by artists and construction experts, were brought into use, and the musical programs were coordinated with the themes of the messages.

21  Through the years, these illustrated sermons proved to be a joy to the hearts of thousands, besides a delight to the eye and ear. Through them, countless souls who otherwise might not have come to Christ were born into the kingdom of God.  Forty days before Christmas in 1939, God gave me the idea of Regem Adorate—“O Worship the King”—my first sacred opera. It commenced with the creation and fall of man, and continued to the Christmas story. The opera had eight showings at the Temple.  Other sacred operas followed as the years ensued: The Iron Furnace, The Crimson Road, The Rich Man and Lazarus. And individual songs multiplied. Sometimes incidents in my ministry prompted a song, such as when someone commented that I could not be sincere, because I smiled so much on the platform. So I wrote, “Should Christians Smile?”

22  Another interesting event resulted in my song, “In the Center of God’s Will.” This I wrote on a paper sack retrieved from the floor of a railroad train when I heard newsboys hollering an extra heralding that I had been killed in an airplane crash. (I had missed that plane and taken the train.)  Adapted from Aimee: The Life Story of Aimee Semple McPherson by Aimee Semple McPherson, copyright 1979. Published by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

23 AND YOUR POINT IS?  Revivalism is among the most important formative movements in American evangelicalism. It is our history, and it has formed us. Much of what we take for granted as common sense Christianity was invented between 1801 and 1950.

24  Our practice of music in the church developed in tandem with revivalism. Important musicians such as Ira Sankey (Moody’s guy), Rodeheaver, McPherson, and later Dino Kartsonakis (Kathryn Kuhlman’s pianist) and countless others learned their craft in the midst of revival culture.

25  The formation of music within revival culture means that with our musical heritage we import cultural aspects of revivalism. We usually do this without knowing it.

26 WHAT DO WE IMPORT?  Music as supporting the emotional arc of a revival service.  Music as a calculated means to a specific end. What is the end?  The free and ambitious acquisition of popular culture forms (radio, Hollywood, publicity, evolving forms of pop music, theatricality, spectacle, glamour, folksiness, image cultivation)

27 TWO WEIRD EXAMPLES  Rez Band sounds like AC/DC (video)  Dino poses on a motorcycle:


29 WHAT ARE WE TO DO?  Interestingly, our impulse to make a list of action items (boycott Disney, burn some records, start our own cable channel, etc) is itself a culture inheritance from the tradition of evangelical preaching and teaching which must always culminate in “application”. The implication is that within the space of one hour we know all we need to know to go into action.

30 REMAIN CALM AND LEARN MORE  Read  Listen  Learn about your history  Be slow to judge  Gradually become self-aware without becoming a snob

31 CAN’T WE BE BIBLICAL?  If revivalism is the story of the Gospel importing cultural influences, let’s just stick with the pure Gospel.  That has never worked and that is not a problem.  The task is not to live a-culturally, but to live both culturally and wisely.

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