Mister Richardson's
Church History Class


Chapter 44: The Second Great Awakening


A. Presbyterians
1. As the Scotch Irish moved west, they took their Presbyterian beliefs with them.
2. In order to meet the needs of the frontier, the Presbyterians and Congregationalists adopted the Plan of Union.
3. This plan permitted the free exchange of ministers between the denominations and allowed both groups to meet together in sparsely populated areas.
4. In this way, many Congregational churches became Presbyterian throughout the west.

B. Methodists
1. The Methodists were able to take advantage of the frontier in many ways that were to help them grow quickly.
2. Their Arminian beliefs seemed to fit the frontier better than Calvinism.
3. They did not have the strict education requirements of the Presbyterians.
4. The use of lay preachers also aided the Methodists.
5. Most Methodist preachers traveled and were not confined to one congregation only.
6. These circuit-riding preachers did not wait for churches to be formed, but went out preaching to any group of people who cared to listen, thereby forming more Methodist groups.
7. In 1800, there were 3000 Methodists in the West. In 1830, there were 175,000.

C. Timothy Dwight
1. Timothy Dwight was the grandson of Jonathan Edwards.
2. He became the president of Yale in 1795.
3. A revival started there in 1802 with about one third of the students being converted.
4. His leadership was influential throughout the Second Great Awakening.

D. Camp Meetings
1. James McGready came to Logan County, Kentucky, in 1796 to pastor three Presbyterian churches.
2. Revival came to the area through the camp meetings that were held.
3. But division soon arose over the emotionalism that was present in the meetings.
4. The Methodists thought this should be encouraged, while the Presbyterians were split about it.
5. Ultimately, a great split occurred among the Presbyterians about these physical manifestations that accompanied the revival.
6. As a result of this and the Presbyterians' Calvinistic beliefs, they soon began to lose influence.
7. From the Kentucky revivals there came some new churches, all Arminian in belief: the Cumberland Presbyterians, the Churches of Christ, and the Disciples of Christ all had their start here.

E. Charles Finney
1. Charles Finney was probably the most influential preacher of the Second Great Awakening.
2. He had a dramatic conversion and then began preaching in the 1820's.
3. He came to reject Calvinism, even though he was a Presbyterian.
4. He emphasized free will and the anxious bench, which was an early form of an altar call.
5. Finney helped start Oberlin College in Ohio, which was one of the first colleges to admit black students.
6. He was also a leader in the Abolition movement.


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