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Nevin's _Anxious Bench_ is a critique of the artificial methods revivalists, evangelists, and pastors were using in the mid-1800's to stimulate "conversions" in their moribund congregations and communities. With much insight, Nevin dissects both the rationale and practice of getting people onto the anxious bench. Anyone who has indured altar calls in fundamentalist churchs, listened to all 67 verses of "Just as I am", or remembers the phrase "Every head bowed and every eye closed" has a watered down taste of the what Nevin was addressing. I was also struck by how appropriate his work was for the recent past. Almost every use of the the term "anxious bench" could have had the words "laughing revival" substituted and the meaning would not have changed. I would have liked more exegesis from Nevin, but that was not the point of his work.
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