Heaven in the Gilded Age

Gary Scott Smith

in Heaven in the American Imagination

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199738953
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897346 | DOI:
Heaven in the Gilded Age

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During the Gilded Age, a plethora of books and sermons provided portraits of heaven. Through their preaching and publications, urban revivalists, led by Dwight L. Moody, and prominent pastors, most notably Henry Ward Beecher, T. Dewitt Talmage, and Phillips Brooks, extolled the glories of the celestial realm and urged people to prepare properly for heaven. Theological liberalism, especially “Progressive Orthodoxy,” attracted many proponents who either repudiated or downplayed the conventional notion of hell and salvation. Religious leaders debated whether those who did not hear the gospel message on earth would have a chance to respond to it after death. Whether they were evangelicals or liberals, Gilded Age Christians emphasized the happiness, holiness, and love of heaven. They also accentuated, more than earlier generations, the concepts of vigorous and varied activities, progress, and personal growth, themes that became dominant in Progressive portraits of paradise.

Keywords: heaven; Dwight L. Moody; Henry Ward Beecher; T. Dewitt Talmage; Phillips Brooks; theological liberalism; hell; salvation

Chapter.  11395 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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