Nathan Hatch wrote this book to help understand American Christianity and the courses of action that have brought us to the present. The books states that Hatch is a professor at the University of Notre Dame where he teaches history and also works with graduate studies. However, a recent inquiry finds that he is president of Wake Forest University, a position he has held since 2005. A well renowned scholar, Hatch has been very influential in studying religion and history.
The book begins with a clear understanding of the direction the author is heading. Within the first few sentences the thesis is clearly stated. Democratization is central to understanding the development of American Christianity, and the early years of this republic are the…show more content… Because of this common, ordinary people were free to think for themselves when it came to religion. Christianity was made into a popular theology combining pop culture, renewed supernaturalism, and biblical literalism. This made numerous religious opportunities in America.
Because of the free thinking that was taking place during this time, Hatch claims that there was a sort of inversion of authority. Before, the intellectuals were the main source of knowledge. Now, commoners were a source of Biblical knowledge. Commoners disagreed with the clergy accepting a salary. Because Jesus lived in poverty, so should they. And the methods of Scripture interpretation threatened the orthodox views that Beecher held to.
American Methodist ministers helped organize a version of camp meetings that originated in England. They were controversial because many involved unlicensed ministers who allowed testimonies by anyone. Even though they were being led by the Methodists, the British Methodist leaders disapproved of these functions due to the orthodox teaching the British held to. But these meetings were highly popular in America and carried charismatic values that recruited new followers who were hostile to the orthodox belief and