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Why Protestantism developed in North America - Essay Example

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Protestantism is one of the three main groups of Christianity. Though there is no specific definition for this religion, Protestants are seen as Christian denominations which are separate from the Roman Catholic Church. The origin of this religion can be traced back to the 16th century and was initiated by Martin Luther…
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Why Protestantism developed in North America
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Download file to see previous pages Protestantism came to North America a few days before Christmas in 1606 through the Englishmen under King James. They carried with them their official religion known as the Church of England. However, their goal to baptize the Indians who were then thriving in the Virginia failed. Years later, the Puritan separatists from the Church of England who first migrated to Holland were permitted to build colonies in New England which was later became the United States. This marked the famous entry of Protestantism in the country. Puritans, like their Anglican predecessors were not able to maintain their doctrinal and spiritual rigor giving way to the birth and growth of other denominations like Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterian. It can be seen that the doctrines held by Protestantism hugely mirrors the pluralistic values of North America. It should be noted that a religion can only prosper and flourish if it embodies the concerns of the individuals in the society (Bauer 1).
Looking at the Baptists and Methodist Churches in the United States, it can be seen that their success can be attributed to their ability of successfully meeting the needs of the frontier people than any other denomination: "In face of the new challenge to the Churches, their view of the ministry and the Christian faith was most successful in finding and holding the people of the west. Furthermore, they were from their inception Churches of the common people, the underprivileged" (Bauer 6).
Baptists Churches became popular in North America because of their appeal to the common people, the uneducated and dispossessed. Their ministry is led by simple individuals who have heard their calling from the Lord. Thus, the great advantage of Baptists is the abundance of workers in a locality. It should also be noted that Baptist's ministers are untrained and unsalaried (Bauer 6).
Like the Baptists, Methodism is also considered as a "frontier faith" which developed after the American Revolution. The development of Methodism is also due to its "frontier structure" which suits the environment and people they are ministering to. Their ministers often travel from place to place conducting classes which latter grow as churches allowing them to reach people in isolated regions. In specific localities, it is also common to find gifted laymen who are appointed to preach if the minister is absent. This ensures that Bible studies and congregational activities are being carried out regularly. The Methodist Church is also seen to preach a "frontier message" as it carries a gospel which stresses the dignity of the poor and rural families: "The circuit riders proclaimed that their faith and that of their congregations was of more worth in the sight of God than the college-learned theologies of elite city preachers and their wealthy churches" (Methodism and the Frontier 1)
Protestantism also owes its stability and sustenance to the numerous revivals which renews the commitment of members to their covenant with God. The Great Awakening is noted to have united 4/5 of Americans in the understanding of the Christian faith and life. This revival has also instilled a deeper sense of responsibility for the Indians and slaves. It should be noted that Protestantism strongly opposes slavery and emphasizes the equality of each ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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