Sowing and Reaping

Philip N. Mulder

in A Controversial Spirit

Published in print May 2002 | ISBN: 9780195131635
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834525 | DOI:

Series: Religion in America

Sowing and Reaping

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With the Revolutionary trauma and Anglican Church swept away, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists could turn their full attention to each other as they competed for converts and ascendancy in the religiously free nation. The insular Presbyterians and Baptists struggled to keep pace with the Methodists by experimenting with some of their tactics, including warm, extemporaneous preaching, lively music, and itinerancy, yet ultimately they relied on their traditional distinctions in appeals for converts. Methodists forged ahead with their universal designs and waves of quarterly and annual meetings that fostered outdoor preaching events and camp meetings, but as they encountered their competitors, they had to define their distinctive message, and, doing so, they addressed their Calvinist rivals on the enemies’ terms: the controversial spirit that the Methodists had hoped to convert.

Keywords: Baptists; Calvinist; camp meetings; converts; extemporaneous preaching; itinerancy; music; outdoor preaching; Presbyterians; Religious Rivalry

Chapter.  9468 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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