In this seventh session of Dr. Godfrey’s adult Sunday school class at the Escondido URC, he continues to show the challenges to Christendom due to the Enlightenment and how it took shape in America. The Enlightenment sought a political solution to how it evaluated the world. But in America, things were different than how Europe sought to cast off the old order. The American Revolution took on a different character than what happened in Europe and the French Revolution because there was no king to kill.
The American spirit of individualism dominated the new world and became an alliance of Enlightenment thinkers and Christian thinkers. Americans wanted to be left alone to practice their religion and pursue their own life and politics. This pursuit took a religious course as America was dominated by Anglicans, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians. In the 19th century, things shifted and the Baptists and Methodists became the largest and most influential churches in America as they were driven by experience and less by doctrine. People sought to be free from clergy and doctrine. This produced an attitude among the people that they knew more than anyone else. Feeling governed the religious experience in America.
This has important implications for understanding our current confusion. Take some time to listen to Dr. Godfrey’s seventh session as this trajectory in America helps to appreciate how we are to understand our current challenges.