From Publishers Weekly
In the inaugural volume of an anticipated five-volume history of evangelicalism, Noll, one of the deans of American church history, eloquently chronicles the development of evangelicalism in North America and Britain. Defining evangelicalism by four key ingredients (conversion, the Bible, missionary activity and the centrality of the cross in atonement for sin), Noll traces the contours of religious movements between 1730 and 1790 that he argues formed the core of the evangelical approach to Christianity. Paving the way for the revivals and religious reforms in the colonies, Noll points out, were the increasing dissatisfaction with the established church in England and the subsequent rise of reform movements such as Puritanism and Pietism. Primary among the leaders in colonial evangelicalism were Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield and John Wesley, each of whom led people in life-changing revivals emphasizing conversion and atonement. The latter part of the 18th century witnessed the formation of a variety of religious groupsincluding Baptists and Methodistsflying the evangelical banner. Admirably, Noll incorporates materials on the roles of women and blacks in evangelicalism, pointing out that writers such as Hannah More and Olaudah Equiano, a former slave, offer compelling views on the relationship between gender and race and evangelical religion. Many will find it strange that Noll anachronistically baptizes Edwards as an evangelical when he saw himself as a Calvinist. Otherwise, Noll's fine study is marked by his usual graceful style and his peerless insights into American religious history.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Carefully researched and well-written analysis. . . . Pleasingly clear writing style. . . . This book is highly recommended as a reliable and insightful account of the rise of evangelical Christianity." (Mark Hepner, Ashland Theological Journal)
"There is to date no more succinct or accessible an introduction to the far-flung networks of friendships and rivalries that inspired these transforming cultural movements." (The Journal of Religion)
"This remarkable book provides an illuminating synthesis of the origins of evangelical culture. Noll travels easily across Great Britain, the European continent and North America, uncovering the intricate interplay of heroic theologians and their disciples, transformative ideas, and responsive congregants. He balances revealing examples against strikingly clear presentations of theologies within the social and political cultures of instability that included religious warfare, Atlantic exploration and settlement, and the rise of commercial capitalism. The result is a powerful narrative that envisions evangelicalism as the product of its era as well as an ascendant force that would change radically the nature of religious culture in Britain and North America." (Marilyn J. Westerkamp, University of California, Santa Cruz)
"Evangelicalism is heart-religion upheld and propelled by a variety of aids both temporal and spiritual. The historical form of the religion we are familiar with is of relatively recent vintage, but its seeds can be traced to ancient soil. Mark Noll's book describes the eighteenth-century background of evangelicalism, showing how its taproot gave us a large trans-Atlantic stem of awakening, and how that in turn produced a good number of branches and no small amount of fruit. Without ignoring the bramble mixed with the fruit, Noll offers an authoritative, surefooted guide through the halls of fractious contention and unyielding disputations that marked the origins of evangelical thought. It is clear from his account that excitement was linked to vigilant wariness and fastidious attention to ideas. The book is a valuable summary of an important force in eighteenth-century intellectual thought and ideas." (Lamin Sanneh, historian of religion, professor at Yale University and coauthor of Abolitionists Abroad: American Blacks and the Making of Modern West Africa)