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The History of Christianity in North America

June 23 @ 9:00 am - 10:30 am

The course is intended to make attendees aware of the church’s roots in North America as it accompanied European explorers in the 16th and 17th centuries and how it has progressed to the current state. Since this migration of people and faith is concurrent with the Protestant Reformation, the split between Catholics and Protestants and the ensuing religious and political conflicts that marked the period will be covered. New faith groups (denominations) would emerge in North America seeking to avoid the political struggles or persecution in Europe. The course will discuss the establishment of the Pilgrim/Puritan colony in Massachusetts, the Anglican-oriented colony in Virginia and the emergence of new Protestant groups seeking religious freedom from the Church of England.

The course will also cover the French Catholic presence in Canada (New France), the small but influential Dutch Reform-oriented colony in New York (New Amsterdam) and of course the sizable Spanish Catholic presence in Mexico, the American Southwest, Florida and the Caribbean. The establishment of an independent United States in 1783 would have a profound impact of the church in America, with no state church and greatly expanded religious freedoms. In fact, the relationship of religious freedoms with political freedoms were closely linked, sometimes with profound challenges for the Protestant dominated church in America, particularly with the separation caused by slavery and the greater acceptance of secularism associated with scientific culture based around Darwinism. I will cover major religious movements such as the First and Second Great Awakenings, Modern Revivalism, the birth of the American evangelist/missionary movement, the growth of Catholicism in the late 19th century and other movements affecting the church like Mormonism, Charismatics, the establishment of the Black church, and interaction/witnessing to indigenous peoples.

The course will last eleven weeks, starting on June 2nd and cover the period of 1500 to the present, with detailed coverage on different periods and topics. I do plan to cover the major American denominations that appear as well as the associated church governance principles these groups embraced. It is not my intent to criticize or judge any of these groups, but rather explain what they are and how and why they came into existence. I will be presenting this information through talk and accompanying slides. I am still looking for a simple and relatively inexpensive book to accompany the class. I have a couple books I use, mainly, A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada by Mark Noll.


June 23
9:00 am - 10:30 am
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Ashley Turk


Room 1003
9900 Old Keene Mill Rd
Burke,VA22015United States
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(703) 250-3960