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Revival - Yale College

By Jay Rogers
Published March 31, 2008

In the 1700s, the First Great Awakening came to an end because of the influx of rationalistic thinking from Europe in the form of literature. Revival waned because books containing the philosophy of the Enlightenment were disbursed on the college campuses by the ton. Books containing rationalistic principles which mocked the Bible, such as Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason, were given out to the students for a few pennies. If the students wouldn’t buy them they would be given to them for free.

Dr. Timothy Dwight, then the President of Yale College, described the literature as “the dregs of humanity vomited on us … the whole mass of pollution emptied on this country.”

The effect on U.S. colleges was disastrous. Students looking for an excuse to rebel against Christianity embraced rationalism. Bible colleges became centers of skepticism. Students formed societies calling themselves by the names of the French philosophers of the Enlightenment. In radical movements, similar to the 1960s, students took control of entire campuses. Students held mock communion services. One group forced the resignation of a Bible college president. Another group attempted to blow up a campus building.

But God had a surprise in store. Timothy Dwight, the grandson of Jonathan Edwards, became the president of Yale in 1795. Under his administration the whole moral and religious atmosphere of the college was changed for the better.

He met the students on their own ground and in a series of frank discussions in the classrooms treated subjects such as “The Nature and Danger of Infidel Philosophy,” “Is the Bible the Word of God?” He gave a notable series of lectures in which he grappled with the principles of deism and materialism. Soon he had the admiration of the students and in 1802 a revival began in which a third of the student body professed conversion, to be followed at frequent intervals by other awakenings.

Dartmouth, Williams and Amherst colleges experienced similar spiritual awakenings while the movement spread to other parts of the United States. The “Infidel Movement” was checked and the resulting awakening became the impulse for the founding of numerous academies and colleges.


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Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

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With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

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God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.

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3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?

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Running Time: 240 minutes

Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.

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