Thursday, October 4, 2012

Presbyterian Controversy / Millenialism /Holiness

We are still looking at the Presbyterian Controversy.

"While some Christians were trying to make peace with modernity through liberal adaptation, others developed more conservative innovations.  As the country was struggling through the era of Reconstruction, a new type of millennial thought, dubbed dispensational premillennialism, was winning adherents.  Developed primarily by the Englishman John Nelson Darby around 1840, dispensationalism asserted that the history of the world was divided into seven dispensations including the historical "parenthesis" of the current church age.  Grounding his theology on a complex literal interpretation of the prophetic Scriptures, Darby maintained that the present era would steadily deteriorate until it ended with the secret rapture of the church and the return of Christ.  Popularized by Darby on seven missionary journeys to the United States and Canada from 1862-1877, dispensationalism received its greatest impetus from annual Prophetic and Bible Conferences initiated in 1875 and from the publication of the dispensationalist Scofield Reference Bible in 1909.  The founding of the Moody Bible Institute in 1886, the bible Institute of Los Angeles in 1907, and numerous bible schools, gave dispensationalists institutional bases from which to propagate their doctrine.  
The rise of the Holiness movement lent further support to conservative Christianity in the late nineteenth century.  Springing mainly from Wesleyan roots, the Holiness teachings were also propagated in America by adherents of the more Reformed Keswick and Oberlin movements.  Despite the resultant doctrinal variations, all Holiness teaching stressed a literal biblicism, emotional fervor, strict moral conduct, and most important sanctification through the work of the Holy Spirit.  Disseminated through camp meetings, conferences, and Holiness denominations such as the Church of God and the Nazarenes, perfectionism became a pervasive theme in conservative theology.   Holiness doctrines inspired a dramatic concern for social work among the poor, resulting in the establishment of nurseries, diet kitchens, relief programs, and employment bureaus to help the needy.  Through at least the early part of the twentieth century, therefore, conservative evangelicalism and social concern were wedded in an effort to christianize America." (p.21)

I just marvel at all these people coming up with their own thing and having the audacity to preach it far and wide.

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