Christian History Institute

Sharing our story of faith across the ages

items tagged with 18th century

Magazine Issues


15 May 2014

The Nineteenth Century

by Jennifer Trafton | Resource Guide


Unitarianism, whose central tenets were a belief in the unity (not Trinity) of God and a denial of the divinity of Christ, flourished in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and influenced many Christians in other denominations. Most Unitarians denied the natural immortality of the soul and eternal punishment, instead emphasizing future physical resurrection and progress towards a restored paradise. Some suggested an intermediate state after death when the wicked would be purified of evil. The statement by Unitarian minister...

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31 May 1993

George Whitefield: A Gallery of Leaders of the Awakening Army

by Mark Galli | Issue 38

Jonathan Edwards 

Passionate theologian

At age 14, Jonathan Edwards, already a student at Yale University, read philosopher John Locke with more delight “than the most greedy miser finds when gathering up handfuls of silver and gold, from some newly discovered treasure.”

He also treasured spiritual qualities. At age 17, after a period of distress, he said holiness was revealed to him as a ravishing, divine beauty. His heart panted “to lie low before God, as in the dust; that I might be nothing, and that God might be all, that I...

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1 Sept 1991

Three Hymnals That Shaped Today’s Worship

by William J. Reynolds | Issue 31

THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY has been called the “century of divine songs.”

Isaac Watts wrote hymns and metrical versions of the psalms for his London congregation. During the week as his sermon took shape, he wrote a hymn to provide a congregational response to his message. Watts’s Hymns and Spiritual Songs  (1707), and his Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament  (1719), marked a growing acceptance of singing. They also set the stage for hymn writers who would follow.

Hymn singing was slowly accepted among the Dissenting...

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1 Sept 1991

A New Species of Christian Song

by Madeleine Forell Marshall | Issue 31

WHAT GAVE RISE TO THE ENGLISH HYMN in the eighteenth century? What determined its form and the way it worked? Many earlier texts were transformed into congregational hymns (for example, texts from the breviary, from the German tradition, and from Herbert and Milton). Yet the hymns of Watts must be our starting point. The roots of his hymns are the roots of hymnody in English. At least four major roots can be identified.


Throughout the eighteenth century, metrical psalms continued to influence the English hymn. It’s a safe bet that...

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31 Aug 1991

Radicals in Times of Revolution

by James Townsend | Issue 31

CHARLES AND JOHN WESLEY in some ways presaged the later romantic movement, with its emphases on the lower classes, upheaval, and above all, imagination and strong feelings.

Lower classes:  Contemporary with the Wesleys was Jean Jacques Rousseau and his romanticized “noble savage.” (John Wesley found himself disabused of this notion in America; he reported, “All except perhaps the Choctaws are gluttons, thieves, dissemblers, liars.”) Yet the clientele of the Wesleys were usually commoners. Charles Wesley penned: “Outcasts of men, to you I call,...

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31 May 1993

Heavenly Comet

by Dr. Harry S. Stout | Issue 38

PERHAPS NO EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY RELIGIOUS FIGURE was better known than George Whitefield. He was termed the “marvel of the age”—a preacher capable of commanding mass audiences (and offerings) across two continents, without any institutional support, through the sheer power of his personality. Whitefield wrote best-selling journals and drew audiences totaling in the millions. White and black, male and female, friends and enemies—all flocked in unprecedented numbers to hear the “Grand Itinerant.” Wherever he visited, people could do anything,...

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15 Feb 2013

Wealth, socialism, and Jesus

by Janine Giordano Drake | Issue 104

“I believe in God, the Master most mighty, stirrer-up of Heaven and earth. And in Jesus, the Carpenter of Nazareth, born of the proletarian Mary, toiled at the work bench, descended into labor’s hell, suffered under Roman tyranny at the hands of Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. The power not of ourselves which makes for freedom, he rose again from the dead to be lord of the democratic advance, sworn foe of stagnancy, maker of folk upheavals. I believe in work, the self-respecting toiler, the holiness of beauty, freeborn...

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Blog Posts


  • Wesley: The Faith That Sparked the Methodist Movement $14.99

    Wesley: The Faith That Sparked the Methodist Movement

    • DVD
    • Documentary
    • 55 Minutes
    • 2014
    • All

    This documentary traces the story of John Wesley the 18th century evangelist and social reformer who launched the worldwide Methodist movement. Using excerpts from the 2010 dramatic film Wesley by John Jackman plus interviews with experts and on-location footage shot in Wesley’s England, this program takes you inside the world of this influential Christian leader.