The Great Revivalists in American Religion, 1740–1944

The Careers and Theology of Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finney, Dwight Moody, Billy Sunday and Aimee Semple McPherson


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About the Book

This book presents a historical and theological understanding of how and why Christian revivalism came to be what it is, mainly a series of ineffective meetings. The work shows how revivalism moved from the Edwardian emphasis on the amazing works of God, as the Puritans would have put it, to the “new methods” of Charles Finney and revival as the reasonable works of man as befits Jacksonian democracy. Later, D.L. Moody concentrated on methodology to such a degree that revivals became big business and the focus of the Gilded Age. With Billy Sunday, revivalism has lost all content and has become nothing more than entertainment.

About the Author(s)

Freelance writer William H. Cooper, Jr., is a retired minister and former adjunct professor at Birmingham Theological Seminary in Birmingham Alabama. His book reviews have appeared in Presbyterian Journal and Reformed Theological Seminary bookstore. He lives in Battlefield, Missouri.

Bibliographic Details

William H. Cooper, Jr.
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 192
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6055-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-6206-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

Introduction      5

I. Jonathan Edwards:      Revival as the Amazing Work of God      11

II. Charles Finney:      Revival as the Reasonable Acts of Men      54

III. Dwight L. Moody:      Revival as Big Business      104

IV. Billy Sunday:      Revival as Entertainment      128

V. Aimee Semple McPherson:      Revival as Spectacle      144

Conclusion      164

Chapter Notes      175

Bibliography      179

Index      183