Chelsea and I start a new series about the Christian revivals in American history.
The controversy over the recent "Asbury revival" drove us to ask the question "What is a revival?"
Using a dictionary, Scripture, and a Spurgeon quote, we come up with a working definition of a revival. Then, we dive deep into the setting of the American colonies in the 1600's and early 1700's.
As church life was decaying since the first generation of pilgrims covenanted the first Congregational churches in the Massachusetts Bay colony, pastors begin to look for revival.
Congregationalist churches practiced infant baptism but only granted church membership to attendees who could evidence regeneration. As the first generation's children became adults but didn't become fully covenanted members, could their children be baptized? Could they partake of the Lord's Supper?
Boston pastor Richard Mather argued that the children were proper covenant members in some sense. The question remained whether to baptize children of "unregenerate" members into the third generation.
In 1662, Mather collaborated on what became known as the Half-Way Covenant to revive the church with a structural and political solution. Would it work?
"Revival," Websters Dictionary 1828, Accessed February 19, 2023.
C. H. Spurgeon, "What Is a Revival?" Sword and Trowel, December 1866.
Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Richard Mather." Encyclopedia Britannica, January 1, 2023.
"BIOGRAPHY: RICHARD MATHER (1596-1669)," The Mather Project, Accessed February 19, 2023.
Richard Mather, "A DISPUTATION CONCERNING Church-Members AND THEIR CHILDREN IN ANSWER to 21 QUESTIONS," 1657.
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