Summary Of The American Evangelical Story By Douglas Sweeney

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Introduction The American Evangelical Story written by Douglas A. Sweeney offers an appealing read and presentation to the history and theology of the evangelical movement. Douglas Sweeney serves as the associate professor of Church history and is the Director of the Carl F. H. Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. [1] The author informs the reader in the very beginning to his message,, “I tell the story of the birth of evangelicalism in the transatlantic Great Awakening and its development in the United States through many challenges. [2] In this short book which is primarily written for those who are interested in the role of the evangelical movement throughout history we begin by trying to define …show more content…

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Generations”. He begins by stating that evangelicals are gospel people, we are people of the Great Commission found in Scripture such as in Matthew 28:18-20. With this the author wishes to define the word evangelical which comes from the Greek word evangelion —meaning. “good news” [5]“ He offers Timothy George’s definition from Christianity Today as he states, “Evangelicals are a worldwide family of Bible-believing Christians committed to sharing with everyone everywhere the transforming good news of new life in Jesus Christ, an utterly free gift that comes through faith alone in the crucified and risen Savior. [6] Sweeney attempts to differentiate the confusion that comes with the term “evangelical” by those who offer many such different ideas. One such historian Randall Balmer prefers to refer to evangelicalism as a “patchwork quilt” a metaphor better suited to signify “folk art rather than fine art”[7] Sweeney, states that the movement is difficult because of all the off shoots such as Calvinists, Pentecostals, etc. but Sweeney writes, “Evangelicals comprise a movement that is rooted in Christian orthodoxy, shaped by a largely Protestant understanding of the gospel, and has distinguished itself from other such movements by and eighteenth-century twist.” [8] At the very heart of the matter we see that evangelicals“are committed to right doctrine and worship which as he writes are the defining features and …show more content…

Although he was not the only one in the colonies preaching that led these revivals it was actually “Johnathan Edwards (1703-58) who proved the single most important evangelical in America.” Pg 37 Sweeney adds some bittersweet statistics to these glory days of conversions when he states that with conversion came controversy as we delve into some serious problems, such as blacks and the slave movement which led to a detrimental effect on the “evangelical movement” Sweeney’s interpretation of prejudice is worthy of a re-read although he writes that “Evangelicals” did not invent racism but they did participate in the slave trade which made their sharing of the gospel a bit deceptive because they condoned it. Sweeney hence buffers the “evangelicals involvement” by stating that “evangelicals played a greater role than any other group in taking the gospel to the slaves and treating them as spiritual equals” 100

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