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Spencer, Herbert

(165 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] (Apr 27, 1820, Derby, England – Dec 8, 1903, Brighton, England), social scientist and popular writer, worked as a railway engineer and political journalist. His System of Synthetic Philosophy (1862–1896) established his reputation as a comprehensive thinker about society, education, ethics, and politics. To each of these domains he applied general evolutionary ideas. Evolution also explained the history of religions, which mirrored the social systems in which they existed, reinforced the practices of existin…

Stone, Barton Warren

(131 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] (Dec 24, 1772, near Port Tobacco, MD – Nov 9, 1844, Hannibal, MO), leader of the American Restoration Movement, was ordained as Presbyterian, but early on began to doubt aspects of traditional Presbyterian practice. In 1801 he was the ¶ key figure in the great Cane Ridge revival meeting in Kentucky (Revival/Revival movements: II). In an active career as preacher, writer ( Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery, 1804), and editor, he promoted an apocalyptic vision of Christian faith, the practice of baptism by immersion, and the resto…

Mind-Cure Movements

(266 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] Mind-cure movements, which arose in several places in the United States throughout the 19th century, shared a common commitment to metaphysical idealism and a belief in the ability of the mind to overcome physical illness. They were anticipated by aspects of animal magnetism supported by F.A. Mesmer and the spiritual biblical hermeneutics of E. Swedenborg. An earlier proponent was W.F. Evans (1817–1887), author of The Primitive Mind Cure (1885). Even more important was P.P. Quimby (1802–1866), who viewed God as a personified First Cause and perso…

Evangelical Union, The

(143 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] The Evangelical Union was formed in Scotland in May 1843 by James Morison and several other theological Arminians who had been excluded from the United Secession Church for promoting a theology of universal atonement, human free will, Congregational polity, and the Bible alone without ¶ creeds. The Union was influenced in many of its views by the American revivalist Charles G. Finney. It enjoyed particular success in urban ministry, where it was known for a firm stand against t…

Scougal, Henry

(94 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] (Jun 1650, Leuchars, Scotland – Jun 13, 1678, Aberdeen, Scotland), was appointed professor of divinity at King’s College, Aberdeen, in 1673. His The Life of God in the Soul of Man, or, The Nature and Excellency of the Christian Religion (1677) stressed the necessity for “true Christianity” in contrast to ecclesiastical formalism. He had great influence on the Wesley brothers and other leading figures of the 18th-century evangelical movement. Mark A. Noll Bibliography The Works of the Rev. Henry Scougal, 1818 D. Butler, Henry Scougal and the Oxford Methodists, 1899.

Sheen, Fulton John

(188 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] (May 8, 1895, El Paso, IL – Dec 1, 1979, NY), the leading public voice for American Roman Catholicism for much of the 20th century. He was ordained a priest in 1919 and then did doctoral study at Louvain, Rome, and Washington, DC. From 1926 to 1950 he lectured in philosophy at the Catholic University of America, and from 1966 to 1969 he served as bishop of Rochester, New York. Sheen’s public renown began in 1930 as the featured speaker on “Catholic Hour Broadcasts” for NBC radio. …

Weld, Theodore Dwight

(140 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] (Nov 23, 1803, Hampton, CT – Feb 3, 1895, Hyde Park, MA) was a leading opponent of slavery (Abolitionism); he was converted in 1826 under the preaching of C.G. Finney. In 1834 he led a group of students out of Lane Seminary, Cincinnati, in order to found Oberlin College, the nation’s first institution of higher learning to welcome women. From the mid-1830s Weld was one of America’s best-known abolitionist orators; he made converts but also generated mob opposition. Worn out by his…

Swift, Jonathan

(134 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] (Nov 30, 1667, Dublin – Oct 19, 1745, Dublin), Anglo-Irish satirist, poet, and patriot, studied at Trinity College (Dublin) before receiving his degree at Oxford (1692) and being ordained an Anglican clergyman (1695). From 1713 on, he served as dean of St. Patrick’s in Dublin. His graphic, forceful publications attacked Deism, dissenting Protestantism (Dissenters), scientific naturalism, and political corruption. His greatest satire, The Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World by Lemuel Gulliver (2 vols., 1726), used fanciful descriptions of i…

Lightfoot, John

(155 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] (Mar 29, 1602, Stoke-upon-Trent, England – Dec 6, 1675, Ely) was a noted Hebraist, educated at Cambridge. He later became influenced by Sir Rowland Cotton, a lay student of Hebrew, and began studying Semitic languages. From 1629 onwards he published a series of works using his extensive knowledge of the Talmud to elucidate the Christian scriptures. From 1643 until his death he served both as rector of Much Munden, Hertfordshire, and as master of Catherine Hall, Cambridge. During t…

Otterbein, Philipp Wilhelm

(170 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[German Version] ( Jun 2, 1726, Dillenburg, Prussia – Nov 17, 1813, Baltimore, MD), German Reformed minister who became a founder of the United Brethren in Christ. Otterbein went to the United States in 1752 at the invitation of the German Reformed Pietist, Michael Schlatter (1718–1790). Otterbein had been educated in Calvinist and Pietist teachings at the Reformed University of Herborn (Reformed Colleges in Germany). In America, Otterbein energetically encouraged prayer meetings, recruited lay le…

Northern America

(6,395 words)

Author(s): Noll, Mark A.
[ Note: In current U.N. usage “Northern America” comprises the United States and Canada, plus the island dependencies of Bermuda (U.K.), Greenland (Den.), and St. Pierre and Miquelon (Fr.). The U.N.’s “Latin America and the Caribbean,” then, includes Mexico and all of Central America, the West Indies, and South America. In its discussion here of the United States and Canada, with brief reference also to Mexico, this article uses throughout the more common phrase “North America.”] 1. United States-Canada-Mexico Spiritual as well as geographic orientation for the histo…
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