➸ The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (The Steven and Janice Brose Lectures in the Civil War Era) Free ➮ Author Mark A. Noll – Lectinshield.co.uk

The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (The Steven and Janice Brose Lectures in the Civil War Era) files The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (The Steven and Janice Brose Lectures in the Civil War Era), read online The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (The Steven and Janice Brose Lectures in the Civil War Era), free The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (The Steven and Janice Brose Lectures in the Civil War Era), free The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (The Steven and Janice Brose Lectures in the Civil War Era), The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (The Steven and Janice Brose Lectures in the Civil War Era) 21eeeb576 Viewing The Civil War As A Major Turning Point In American Religious Thought, Mark A Noll Examines Writings About Slavery And Race From Americans Both White And Black, Northern And Southern, And Includes Commentary From Protestants And Catholics In Europe And Canada Though The Christians On All Sides Agreed That The Bible Was Authoritative, Their Interpretations Of Slavery In Scripture Led To A Full Blown Theological Crisis

10 thoughts on “The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (The Steven and Janice Brose Lectures in the Civil War Era)

  1. says:

    Mark Noll s book argues, convincingly, that the civil war can be understood not simply as a constitutional crisis but a theological crisis for American Protestants and really, for Christianity at large in light of the existence of American Protestantism In fact, the constitutional crisis had significant theological roots, and we cannot understand the constitutional crisis in absence of this theological context Given that America was a de facto Protestant nation, with its firm belief in sola scriptura and individual liberty, it was essentially a crisis of Biblical hermeneutics After all, for anyone who bothered to look, it s clear that the Bible does not explicitly condemn slavery If anything, it seems to accept it as a fact of life I think, given that Protestant America is in a similar crisis right now with respect to gay rights, this is essential reading for those interested in how the Protestant Churches might adapt to the new reality in which their beliefs and practices are not only being called into question, but explicitly condemned as bigoted and immoral We can see here the clear paths that Protestants will likely travel They can follow certain abolitionists and just reject certain scriptural passages Or they can follow others who, rather than rejecting the passages, read them in the right spirit Here we can see parallels between distinguishing biblical slavery from american forms of slavery and biblical homosexual practices and same sex marriages Those who cleave to a certain conservative reading of the Bible on sex are uncomfortably close to conservative readers of the Bible on slavery, and thus will need to make the case that they are not repeating the same mistakes this will be especially difficult, I think, given the widespread Protestant embrace of sterile sex among heterosexuals if sterile sex is fine, what so wrong with gay sex again And, they will need to be realistic that the pressure to change that reading will only intensify as time goes on, and as a different hermeneutic begins to take hold among Protestants of a different geographic region within the US For Catholics, this history is also instructive, though less directly applicable Catholicism rejects the individualism of Protestantism and leaves the interpretation of scripture up to the Church s magisterial teaching authority Still, this leaves room for debate among Catholics theologians and scriptural scholars and Churchman to render judgment about what the magisterium ought to say This is exactly what is happening in advance of the Synod on the Family More important still is the fact that the Church does not think that morality can be read off from the Bible the Church has always had that morality is a matter of natural law, known through the use of right reason and available to all independent of revelation This is why the Church can allow that we have something important to learn from the likes of Plato and Aristotle And finally, the Church has never and likely will never endorse intrinsically sterile sex So she is not susceptible to the same charges of inconsistency and prejudice as Protestants Just as the Church was in a unique position to critique Protestant defenses of slavery as Biblically mandated a reading the Church rejected , the Church is also in a unique position to show the internal contradictions within Protestantism that leads to these perpetual cycles of Biblical hermeneutic crisis, crises that the Church does not face in the same way, given her fidelity to Tradition European Catholics found much to condemn in both the North and the South, and they saw clearly the rapacious drive for money and power that drove much of the moralizing rhetoric of the North The Church was always uneasy about the alliance between Protestants, unfettered capitalism, and liberal democracy, as all three presupposed a notion of freedom the Church thoroughly rejected That unease is instructive for those willing to listen to that critique This is the sort of book that could spawn a thousand interesting dissertations It deserves to be widely read.

  2. says:

    The Civil War as a Theological Crisis is The Steven and Janice Brose Lectures in the Civil War Era, delivered at the University of North Carolina, and as a book that came out of a series of lectures, it has a relatively conversational and approachable tone Mark Noll is an eminent historian of Christianity and specifically evangelicalism in America In these lectures, Noll looks at the theological issues, which Noll argues in fact constituted a theological crisis, that shaped the Civil War and informed the views of politicians and the populace on both sides of the conflict Noll begins by setting the stage with a look at the role of religion in American public life in the years leading up to the War, and especially at the role the Bible and its interpretation played He then looks closely at The Crisis over the Bible, the differing interpretations of various passages in the Bible, especially over the issue of slavery, that contributed so profoundly to the theological divide in the country This chapter forms the core of the book, as he looks at competing interpretations of the Bible and the methods and assumptions that led to these conflicting interpretations This then leads to a discussion of the negro question, a look at the role race played in the discussions, either implicitly or explicitly He shows that at the root, deep seeded racism lay behind many of the defenses of slavery, and ignorance of the importance of the race issue weakened many of the opponents arguments It is crystal clear that the Civil War was a war with race issues at the center, though Noll emphasizes equally strongly that the picture is far complex than a simple bifurcation of the country with the North fighting some type of righteous struggle on behalf of equality and the South fighting a bigoted battle to preserve the status quo.Noll s discussion then turns to a look at what role providence played in the preaching and thinking about America s destiny and the racism and slavery that were at issue He writes that confidence in the human ability to fathom God s providential actions rose to new heights Many on both side presumed to know God s will and intention in and for America By the end of the war, this view was strongly chastened, and Noll points to a connection between arguments concerning providence before and during the war and the movement of religion to the private sphere after the war After these substantive discussions, Noll takes an informative look at views of Protestants and Catholics abroad, and takes stock of these perspectives that give a different view point on the happenings in America.I found Noll s book to be compelling and important reading I think his careful appraisal of this important conflict over the role and interpretation of the Bible needs to inform evangelical approaches to Scripture today I think one of the clearest lessons needs to be a chastening of our American and Protestant impulse to read and interpret the Bible on our own, without recourse to church or magisterium, and often without regard for history Along with this goes a strong warning against assumptions of the simplicity of the Bible s message Throughout the era leading up to and including the Civil War, defenses of slavery had an easier time convincing much of the American public, often largely because of the simplicity of its arguments and the fact that it drew on plain and surface readings of the Biblical text Readings that opposed slavery often incorporated nuanced and historically couched arguments For many, this went against their protestant and American sensibilities and assumptions.It would seem that this book, and this historic situation, has much to say to our modern day church, and to the evangelical church in particular Issues such as the church s stance on women in ministry or the status of homosexuals can be well informed by this discussion That is certainly not to say that the historic move to condemn slavery should or could be directly applied to the acceptance of women in ministry or the full acceptance of homosexual activity, but this careful historical discussion provides some important context in which to judge our approaches to Scripture It also rightly calls us to examine our assumptions that we bring to the Bible I highly recommend it.

  3. says:

    This book shows how the beliefs and assumptions held by American Christians in 1860 precluded any kind of critical reflection on the Civil War If you ve read Nathan Hatch s Democratization of American Christianity, this serves as an excellent second installment in the saga Many of the ideals whose development Hatch chronicles played important roles in paving the way for the Civil War ethos This book is also a nice supplement to Harry S Stout s Upon the Altar of the Nation Stout beautifully chronicles Americans moral ambivalence, but doesn t really go into the root causes to the extent that Noll does Nor does Stout explore foreign commentary on the war Noll s exploration of foreign commentary, in fact, was one of the most fascinating aspects of the book Foreigners seem to have seen fairly clearly what nobody in America could see If you re looking for a rousing or moving narrative, this isn t the book for you But if you d like to understand why American theology was paralyzed in the face of the slavery crisis, this little book is ideal That it s a little book is also nice Noll says a whole lot in only about 160 pages.

  4. says:

    It seems unthinkable now that so many thousands of Christians thought the Bible justified the enslavement of an entire race of people Noll s book does a great job of explaining how Christians found themselves at that place at the beginning of the Civil War.Essentially, the ingredients that made the United States a perfect place for Christianity to thrive removal of ruling hierarchies, constitutionally guaranteed freedoms to worship and believe how you want, Enlightenment era thinking on individualism, etc turned out to be the exact same ingredients required to end up with a religious society that turned the Bible into whatever they needed it to be Whatever you already believed on whatever issue, you shaped your views on the Bible to fit it, instead of the other way around.Unfortunately, American Christians are still guilty of this today.The I read about the Civil War, the I realize it really was fought primarily on one issue slavery But it s tempting to oversimplify it and say half of Americans believed one thing and half believed the other Noll s research shows just how fascinatingly complex the slavery issue actually was.I didn t enjoy the chapters covering foreign Christians writings on the war as much, but it was necessary to get the whole picture An example the Catholic church knew the end of slavery would be a good thing, but the way the Protestant American church was getting it there was making them nervous Their arguments for why were really interesting.

  5. says:

    I ve gotten into debates with people about whether the Bible allows for slavery Everyone I have ever argued with has argued that the Bible condemns slavery We are unified as Christians in seeing slavery as a horrific sin.Yet go back to the era of the Civil War and the mainstream opinion was that the Bible approved of slavery Mark Noll s fantastic book documents this in great detail He shows that the very ideologies that made America what it was, such as individualism and democracy, led to a way of reading the bible literally that affirmed slavery Southern theologians argued that the Bible supported slavery They went further to argue that abolitionists went down a path that denied the Bible To deny the straightforward and literal reading of the text was to move away from orthodoxy Surprisingly, many in the North agreed Northern theologians often came at the Bible with the same presuppositions and thus said the Bible allows slavery The usual tact then was to argue that the form of slavery practiced in the south was far from the slavery allowed for in scripture Thus they allowed for slavery as an institution, but attacked the specifics of southern slavery.Overall it is a fantastic book But it is fantastic for making us think about how we read the Bible today then it is for shedding light on how it was read then That is because many who are so quick to say the Bible does not allow slavery are the theological descendants of those who said the Bible did allow slavery And many today read the Bible in the exact same way as those in the 1860s did The hot button issue of today is gay marriage and I could not help but think of that often The argument for slavery relied on a simple reading, picking out the clear proof texts from all over scripture Today the argument against gay marriage also rests on a few proof texts Further, back then those who argued the Bible does not allow slavery focused on the spiritual interpretation or the grand narrative of scripture In other words, they moved past the words of a few texts to emphasize the principle beneath For this they were accused of straying from orthodoxy Those who defend gay marriage today use the same sort of argument.How many who argue against gay marriage today shudder to realize how their theological arguments used the same arguments for slavery At the very least this ought to humble us It ought to make Christians very cautious when entering debate on these sorts of issues I listed this book as church history, but perhaps it ought to be required reading for those who interpret the Bible As we interpret the Bible we need to keep in mind lessons from those who interpreted it before us, to help us steer clear of their same mistakes.

  6. says:

    Highly recommended history of the pro slavery and anti slavery arguments made by pastors and theologians leading up to and during the The Civil War One of the results of the broad secularization of education in the 20th Century is that we don t teach the religious underpinnings of the Civil War or other major historical events Both sides understood this conflict as part of a religious narrative But now we only teach this as a legal and economic conflict As a result, we don t get the full picture of history, and the white church remains incredibly ignorant of its own history How could white theologians and pastors argue that the Bible supported American slavery while still claiming to be faithful a crucified king who came to set the captives free The answer, supported overwhelmingly by the historical evidence, is that the church was blinded by the Enlightenment s philosophy of white supremacy.

  7. says:

    This book is fantastic I had to slow myself down to consider and process some of the info and analysis It s a short volume but scholarly If you ve haven t read much on the Civil War you probably should read some generalized book s on the conflict unless you are only focused on the theological crisis And, this is not a history of religion in the Civil War nor does it focus on one denomination both the Methodist and Baptist church split over the slavery issue leading up to the war The scope of analysis is focused on the national scene and the big moral questions of the day Why is this an important subject Author James McPherson author of the American Civil War best seller, Battle Cry of Freedom states that Civil War armies were, arguably, the most religious in American history And, Religion was central to the meaning of the Civil War, as the generation that experienced the war tried to understand it Religion should also be central to our efforts to recover that meaning At the time leading up to and during the late unpleasantness, about 40 percent of the American population appear to have been in close sympathy identified with as evangelical Protestant Christianity The ratio of churches to banks was 35 to 1 Modernly, it s 4 to 1 Protestant Christians were the largest subgroup in America If they could only resolve the issues of slavery and economics that drove the country towards war among fellow believers, couldn t violent conflict be avoided Other countries ended slavery without civil war Christians are generally supposed to love peace and be known as peace makers With such a large influential cross section of society identifiably closely with Christianity, surly they could have resolved things without having a war that killed hundreds of thousands of American young men in combat We already know the answer was that Christians could not resolve the issue among themselves, so neither was society This book looks at why Christians could not agree on the issue of slavery and whether it was wrong according to the Bible There is a ton of material from that time the author quotes to ensure he is accurately portraying the issues the way the people in that time saw them He also looks beyond the borders of American and spends a little bit of time looking at how the rest of the world looked at the crisis One of the most fascinating parts was the analysis of what split Christians was the divide over whether to be Scripture text focused on what the Bible says, or to be focused on the general God is love so how should that drive behavior focus The different way people read the Bible and applied it, is a key factor in understanding why Christians could not agree and the states eventually had to resolve the conflict with violence abolitionist efforts left the impression in many minds that to employ Scripture for opposing slavery was to undercut the authority of Scripture itself In particular, arguments that contrasted the principles or the spirit of the Bible with the clear message of individual texts its letter were gravely suspect in a culture of democratic common sense that urged people to read and decide for themselves This history and analysis was by far the most fascinating part of the book for me I ve not read anything about this in the many other books on the American Civil War I ve read The fact that the church could not resolve the issue also impacted society That the church couldn t answer every question faced by society was the general impression That had an ongoing social impact that has probably not completely abated There is also a whole chapter on the crisis over the American belief in the providence of God and how by allowing the war between brothers and a long bloody one at that God appeared to be acting contrary to what American believers expected in a country they believed was blessed by God Some things that the author could have done better differently 1 the split between the Baptist and Methodist denominations in the North and South is something I wanted a little discussion of It was mentioned in passing but it was a huge event in American Christendom that probably deserved a bit analysis 2 The focus here is on the moral issue, slavery So that focus is eminently fair in the context of this book And, it is absolutely a major factor in why the war happened But, some minor mention at least could should have been made of those people that did not believe slavery was morally right but fought for the South Robert E Lee is probably the most famous example, he bluntly called slavery a political and moral evil He was a committed Christian and made his decision to fight for the South because he felt he had to follow his state s decision on which side to join Virginia joined the Confederacy only after Lincoln called for an army to be raised to invade the states that had declared they were seceding Slavery was the main moral issue, the author does touch on some of the other economic issues at play, but some discussion on people like Lee would have been a good addition 3 I would also liked a tad discussion focused on the revivals in the Army on each side and what impact did those conversions have on society Did it make reunion harder if people saved or rededicated while serving in the military saw their military service and lives thru the lens of fighting for their version of what the Bible says about slavery A thoughtful interesting book Well worth your time if you are interested in this subject as a historian or Christian.

  8. says:

    A fantastic, deep study of religion and society during the turning point in our country s history I m going to have to read books by Mark Noll, because he s bringing the intellectual study of Christianity that I ve always craved.I read the book on Sunday mornings, usually sitting outside with a cup of coffee and the chance to think hard about what I was reading One chapter or even just part of one was all I could manage at one time, since there was so much material to turn over in my mind About a third of the way through I decided to always have a pencil with me to underline parts and take notes in the margins Some day I may re read this book and will be interested to see what I found most meaningful in 2009 It will also give me a chance to mark up that first third of the book Right from the start, Noll points out how slavery and racism were co mingled in the American experience, but not necessarily so in the Biblical accounts of slavery.The book really got me thinking about how moral and religious authority is unique in America, and how it s changed over time Founded by Puritan fundamentalists, sure, but also founded with an intense belief in the individual When individual interpretations of scripture and moral behavior led to an impasse, the lack of singular religious authority in America no national church, no Pope, and no serious thought of the President as a religious example meant the problem when unresolved until it escalated to civil war The war may have been won by the side we now think of having the correct moral answer, but what was clear then and even now was that the North had a productive capitalist economy That s not how we want moral questions to be answered may the economically successful side win but neither do we want a central religious figure.Although the Civil Rights Movement a century later were far from easy, they also avoided escalation to war and that sort of economic decision making I think that can be taken as a positive sign for our society It is also telling that the military economic resolution of the Civil War had no appreciable sway over the moral resolution of racism.

  9. says:

    Much easier book to read than his massive America s God, this book does a great job of putting you into the theological arguments of a great number of antebellum Americans And theology leads to the Civil War by cutting off compromises Two good quotes The inability of evangelicals to agree on how slavery should be construed according to Scripture, which all treated as their ultimate religious norm, was in fact connected to the economic individualism of American society p 158 I don t know if I buy that, but certainly both read the same Bible in pretty much the same manner and but came up with different conclusions which were seen to be from God and, therefore, not to be compromised Knoll presents the Catholic perspective both domestic and foreign To Catholics slavery was an evil to be accepted as part of society, but which should be regulated and finally gotten rid of That attitude might have led to something less dreadful than war.This quote sums up the book In helping to provoke the war and greatly increase its intensity, the serious commitment to scripture rendered itself ineffective for shaping broad policy in the public arena In other words, even before there existed a secularization in the United States brought on by new immigrants, scientific acceptance of evolution, the higher criticism of Scripture, and urban industrialization, Protestants during the Civil War had marginalized themselves as bearers of a religious perspective in the body politic p 161

  10. says:

    Intriguingly even handed Won t just assume that the America of the past was religiously faithful, but endeavors to quantify that Won t just assume that the consequences of that fervor and piety are entirely positive but endeavors to show the firmly held divisions that result Even for readers not obsessed with help biblical interpretation impacted the Civil War, this is a good, brief read to consider how biblical interpretation impacts the current culture.

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