Wednesday, October 11, 2006

American Gospel

This skirts just shy of our historical period but has some pertinence nonetheless. Darrell Bock has posted a short and helpful review of a new book by Jon Meacham: American Gospel: God, The Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation. Here's part of what he said:
This book is one of the clearest and most interesting books I have read recently. Meacham takes us through a history of religion and the USA from the arrival of the pilgrims all the way to the present. The book is loaded with citations by the key players, in some cases several of them so the context of the citations is clear. In particular, Meacham focuses on the founding fathers who contributed to both the Declaration of Independence, where God is mentioned with various terms (from Creator to Nature's God) and the Constitution which does not mention him at all. The key idea of the book is that the US was designed to be a pluralistic state with no establishment of a particular religion or belief at its base, but with a respect for what Meacham calls "popular religion" which does and should have a role in our nation's public life ...
See the full review here at Bock's Blog.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with the excerpt from the book. By the time America had left the Aricles of Confederation and drafted the Constitution, the country had already vastly moved from it's Puritanical and Calvinistic roots towards a grossly liberal theology (particually in the North-East). The affects of the Second Great Awakening were most troublesome.

The Scot-Irish tradition in the Southern states and as manifested in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, the "ARP" (USA's oldest Presbyterian denomination, derived from the Covenanters) and the old Southern Presbyterian Church, reflected the enduring presence of Calvinistic and Reformed thinking in the Southern States long after it had left the North. It was only after the WBTS that the Christian influence and culture of the South was destroyed.


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