Douglas L. Winiarski

in Darkness Falls on the Land of Light

Published by University of North Carolina Press

Published in print March 2017 | ISBN: 9781469628264
Published online September 2017 | e-ISBN: 9781469628288

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During the next several decades, from the 1750s through the 1770s, Congregational ministers across New England struggled and frequently failed to corral the unruly religious experiences of their inspired parishioners. Part 5 recounts the strife that plagued not only well-established churches such as Jonathan Edwards’s Northampton, Massachusetts, congregation but also upstart separatist groups led by ardent revival proponents like Separate Baptist minister Isaac Backus. Radical sectarian communities, Perfectionist seekers set out on a ceaseless quest for spiritual purity that led many of them to question all institutions—churches, communities, and families—and to generate startling new conceptions of the body and sexuality; others sought shelter from the growing ecclesiastical maelstrom in the rational faith and orderly worship of the Anglican church. Thrust into a dizzying and unstable religious marketplace, godly walkers, Separate Congregationalists, Anglican conformists, immortalists, Shakers, and “Nothingarians” trafficked in and out of the churches of the standing order at a startling rate. By 1780, religious insurgents had shattered the Congregational establishment.

Keywords: Separate Congregationalists; Separate Baptists; Isaac Backus; immortalists; Shakers; Anglicanism; Northampton; Massachusetts; Nothingarians

Chapter.  60552 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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