revivalism


revivalism
/ri vuy"veuh liz'euhm/, n.
1. the form of religious activity that manifests itself in revivals.
2. the tendency to revive what belongs to the past.
[1805-15; REVIVAL + -ISM]

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Reawakening of Christian values and commitment.

The spiritual fervour of revival-style preaching, typically performed by itinerant, charismatic preachers before large gatherings, is thought to have a restorative effect on those who have been led away from the right path. Various Protestant sects have experienced periods of revivalism at different times since the 17th century, and many, notably Methodism, came into being during revivalist periods. Common themes are strict interpretation of the Bible, rejection of literary or historical study of the Bible, emphasis on the conversion experience, and a call to live devoutly. Revivalism can be interpreted as a precursor of 20th-century Christian fundamentalism. See also Great Awakening; Dwight Moody.

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      generally, renewed religious fervour within a Christian group, church, or community, but primarily a movement in some Protestant (Protestantism) churches to revitalize the spiritual ardour of their members and win new adherents. Revivalism in its modern form can be attributed to that shared emphasis in Anabaptism, Puritanism, German Pietism, and Methodism in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries on personal religious experience, the priesthood of all believers, and holy living, in protest against established church systems that seemed excessively sacramental, priestly, and worldly. Of central importance, however, was the emphasis on personal conversion.

      Among the groups that contributed to the revival tradition, the English Puritans (Puritanism) protested against what they saw as the sacramentalism and ritualism of the Church of England in the 17th century, and many migrated to America, where they continued their fervour for experiential religion and devout living. The Puritan fervour waned toward the end of the 17th century, but the Great Awakening (c. 1720–50), America's first great revival, under the leadership of Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and others, revitalized religion in the North American colonies. The Great Awakening was a part of a larger religious revival that was also influential in Europe. From the late 17th to the mid-18th century, Protestantism in Germany and Scandinavia was revitalized by the movement known as Pietism. In England a revival led by John Wesley and others eventually resulted in the Methodist movement (Methodism).

      Toward the end of the 18th century another revival, known as the Second Great Awakening (c. 1795–1835), began in the United States. During this revival, meetings were held in small towns and the large cities throughout the country, and the unique frontier institution known as the camp meeting began. The Second Great Awakening produced a great increase in church membership, made soul winning the primary function of the ministry, and stimulated several moral and philanthropic reforms, including temperance, emancipation of women, and foreign missions.

      After 1835 revivalists traveled through the towns and cities of the United States and Great Britain, organizing annual revival meetings at the invitation of local pastors who wanted to reinvigorate their churches. In 1857–58 a “prayer meeting revival” swept U.S. cities following a financial panic. It indirectly instigated a revival in Northern Ireland and England in 1859–61.

      The preaching tour of the American lay evangelist Dwight L. Moody (Moody, Dwight L) through the British Isles in 1873–75 marked the beginning of a new surge of Anglo-U.S. revivalism. In his subsequent revival activity, Moody perfected efficient techniques that characterized the urban mass evangelistic campaigns (mission) of early 20th-century revivalists such as Reuben A. Torrey, Billy Sunday, and others. The interdenominationally supported revivalism of Moody and his imitators in 1875–1915 constituted, in part, a conscious cooperative effort by the Protestant churches to alleviate the plight of urban industrial society by evangelizing the masses and, in part, an unconscious effort to counter the challenge to Protestant orthodoxy brought on by the new critical methods of studying the Bible and by modern scientific ideas concerning evolution.

      Although American Protestantism in general lost interest in revivalism in the first half of the 20th century, tent revivals as well as annual revivals in churches in the South and Midwest continued to be an important feature of Protestant church life. After World War II, however, a renewed interest in mass evangelism was especially evident in the widespread support given to the revival “crusades” of the American evangelist Billy Graham (Graham, Billy) and various regional revivalists. Graham's crusades, often conducted in major metropolitan centres, were but the best known of many such revivals.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Revivalism — Re*viv al*ism, n. The spirit of religious revivals; the methods of revivalists. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • revivalism — [ri vī′vəliz΄əm] n. 1. the fervid spirit or methods characteristic of religious revivals 2. a desire to revive former ways …   English World dictionary

  • revivalism —    The term revival, in its most general sense, refers to a period of renewal within a Christian country or community during which many nonbelievers become believers, and many of the faithful find a new level of religious commitment. More… …   Encyclopedia of Protestantism

  • revivalism — [[t]rɪva͟ɪvəlɪzəm[/t]] N UNCOUNT: usu adj N Revivalism is a movement whose aim is to make a religion more popular and more influential. ...a time of intense religious revivalism. ...Hindu revivalism …   English dictionary

  • Revivalism — Revival in a Christian context generally refers to a specific period of spiritual renewal in the life of the Church. While elements such as mass conversions and perceived beneficial effects on the moral climate of a given culture may be involved …   Wikipedia

  • revivalism — re|viv|al|ism [ rı vaıvl,ızəm ] noun uncount 1. ) a religious movement encouraging people to be interested in Christianity: Methodist revivalism 2. ) the process of encouraging new interest in something such as an old tradition or a type of music …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • revivalism — UK [rɪˈvaɪv(ə)lˌɪz(ə)m] / US [rɪˈvaɪv(ə)lˌɪzəm] noun [uncountable] 1) a religious movement encouraging people to be interested in Christianity Methodist revivalism 2) the process of encouraging new interest in something such as an old tradition… …   English dictionary

  • revivalism — noun Date: 1815 1. the spirit or methods characteristic of religious revivals 2. a tendency or desire to revive or restore …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • revivalism — noun The spiritual fervour of a religious revival …   Wiktionary

  • revivalism — re|vi|val|is|m [rıˈvaıvəlızəm] n [U] organized attempts to make a religion more popular >revivalist adj …   Dictionary of contemporary English


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