Chapter

After Christendom: Evangelical Conversion After Christendom: Evangelical Conversion Narrative and its Alternatives

D. Bruce Hindmarsh

in The Evangelical Conversion Narrative

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199245758
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602436 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199245754.003.0011
After Christendom: Evangelical Conversion After Christendom: Evangelical Conversion Narrative and its Alternatives

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Begins by reviewing the chronological proliferation, literary elaboration, and theological differentiation of the genre of conversion narrative over the course of the eighteenth century in England. In order to see the genre whole, however, and to appreciate the conditions in general under which people turned to this form of spiritual autobiography, the chapter turns to examine first the ways in which the genre fared at the end of the eighteenth century in the context of evangelical mission enterprise beyond the borders of Christendom, and, second, at the ways in which the genre contrasted with the new forms of modern autobiography in England that appeared ‘after Christendom’. The non-Western case studies include David Brainerd’s mission to the Delaware Indians in New Jersey, the conversion of David George and others associated with the Sierra Leone Colony, and the conversion of South Sea Islanders at the turn of the century. Then, finally, the unconversion and re-conversion of the English entrepreneur James Lackington illustrates both the conditions of narratable evangelical conversion in general and the ways in which the evangelical experience moderated and revised modern ideals of individuality associated with the Enlightenment.

Keywords: Christendom; David Brainerd; David George; Delaware; Enlightenment; genre; individualism; James Lackington; Sierra Leone; South Pacific; Western and non-Western

Chapter.  13695 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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