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Great Awakening Essay

892 words - 4 pages

The Great Awakening
The Great Awakening was the evangelical revival in America during the 18th Century that lasted for thirty years. The Awakening combined unsophisticated mass evangelism with the Enlightenment. In 1842, Joseph Tracey came up with the term “Great Awakening.” This widespread social movement grew because of dissatisfaction in the White American community. The community had a deterministic and formalistic Protestantism style, which denied a lot of people salvation. Basing on the fact that America was a Protestant nation; the Anglican Church purged emotional Christian Faith. Christianity at that time in America was ceremonial. The Great Awakening, following a new commitment ...view middle of the document...

The first reason is that the slave masters feared their slaves would use the new ideal of religion to demand for equality and freedom. Secondly, most of the slaves still worshiped in their ancestral ways and so paid no attention to Christianity. The Great Awakening brought about a general conversion process among the African American. They linked the spiritual message preached by ministers to hope for equality and further tied the soul’s salvation to the body’s liberation. The African American Christians realized the resemblance in the style used by evangelists during preaching with their traditional West African preaching that entailed “spirit possession.” Just like in West African, North American revivalism in the eighteenth century laid much emphasis on singing with movements, personal rebirth and emotions. The Baptist church derived its name from the practice of immersing the whole body in a pond, lake or river, just as it is in West African water rites.
The Great Awakening fostered mutual white-black acculturation because of its influence of the African American society. This period saw revivalists appealing to people of all races emphasizing on equality in spirit. It was also during this period that the Baptist, Presbyterian, evangelical Anglican and Methodist churches allowed black people to worship together with the Whites and the members of these biracial churches referred to each other as sister or brother. The black church members served as officers and took communion together with the Whites. By the end of the eighteenth century, some black men became ministers while others ordained as priests although they remained slaves. The Black worshippers also had an impact on the white people’s religion. A particular case concerns a white minister in Virginia who realized that some African Americans spent nights in his...

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