The growth of evangelicalism in the Church of Scotland, 1793-1843
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This thesis examines Evangelicalism as a broadly-based intellectual and social movement which sought to shape the overall thought and life of the Church of Scotland during the first half of the nineteenth century. A set of distinctive organisations --religious periodicals, voluntary societies, education, and corporate prayer-- provided its institutional structure. They represented the practical response to a general concern for revitalising the Church, for evangelism, and for social morality. 'Evangelicals' are defined as those who combined participation in these institutions with a fundamental commitment to the Church of Scotland as an established, national church. The development of each of these institutions is explored as a means of tracing the growth of the movement as a whole. Religious periodicals helped to unite scattered individuals within the Established Church who shared a desire to spread experiential Christianity. By providing a forum for discussing issues related to this concern, these publications communicated Evangelical ideas throughout the Kirk, giving Evangelicals far greater influence than their relative lack of power in the ecclesiastical courts around the turn of the century suggested they would have. Religious voluntary societies enabled Evangelicals to translate their ideas into action on a wide range of issues. The seeming effectiveness of groups such as missionary and Bible societies made Evangelicalism increasingly attractive, and led to the incorporation of their activist approach into existing Kirk structures after the mid-1820s. However, Evangelicals struggled with the tensions between the gathered and territorial views of the Church inherent in their commitments both to societies and to the Establishment. Because Evangelicals, following the Scottish Reformers, believed that education encouraged biblically-based Christianity, they were actively involved in all levels of education, from Sabbath schools to the universities, helping to spread Evangelical ideas and practice among young people. Evangelicals' emphasis upon corporate prayer not only reflected their belief that they needed divine aid to achieve their aims, but built up social bonds at a local level and reinforced commitment to the other Evangelical institutions.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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