Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century American Millennialisms

Jon R. Stone

in The Oxford Handbook of Millennialism

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780195301052
Published online January 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century American Millennialisms

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This article discusses American millennialism, which can be categorized as pre-millennial—believing in Christ's return before doomsday, the post-millennial—believing in the return, and amillennialism—interpreting the Revelation as symbolic. The year 1878 was a defining year in American millennialism. The prophecy conference movement began in the 1860s, when a small group of millenarians gathered to share their views on the Second Coming of Christ. During the early nineteenth century, a series of revivals and awakenings resulted in a groundswell of religious fervor that added thousands upon thousands of believers to the churches. During the 1890s, a dramatic shift in the understanding of the signs of the times and the eschatological role of the Church took place within premillennial thought. Social Christianity or gospel emerged from the belief that, presently residing in the postmillennial phase, only social relations need be perfected for Christ's return.

Keywords: American millennialism; amillennialism; communism; eschatological role; Second Coming of Christ; social Christianity

Article.  11223 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion

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