The Great Awakening caused division between "New Sides" & "Old Sides" took place in the Middle Colonies, causing a schism (1741-58) in the Presbyterian Church. AnswerParty on!
Christianity in the United States
The Old Side–New Side Controversy
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The Old Side-New Side Controversy occurred within the Presbyterian Church in Colonial America and was part of the wider theological controversy surrounding the First Great Awakening. The Old and New Side Presbyterians existed as separate churches from 1741 until 1758. The name of Old Side-New Side is usually meant as specifically referring to the Presbyterian Church. When one is referring to the debate as a whole, Old and New Light is usually used.
The term Great Awakening is used to refer to several periods of religious revival in American religious history. Historians and theologians identify three or four waves of increased religious enthusiasm occurring between the early 18th century and the late 19th century. Each of these "Great Awakenings" was characterized by widespread revivals led by evangelical Protestant ministers, a sharp increase of interest in religion, a profound sense of conviction and redemption on the part of those affected, an increase in evangelical church membership, and the formation of new religious movements and denominations.
The Middle Colonies comprised the middle region of the Thirteen Colonies of the British Empire in North America. Much of the area was part of the New Netherland until the British exerted control over the region. The French captured much of the area in its war with the Dutch around 1664, and the majority of the conquered land became the Province of New York. The Duke of York and the King of England would later grant others ownership of the land which would become the Province of New Jersey and the Province of Pennsylvania. The Delaware Colony later separated from Pennsylvania.
The Middle Colonies had rich soil, allowing the area to become a major exporter of wheat and other grains. The lumber and shipbuilding industries enjoyed success in the Middle Colonies because of the abundant forests, and Pennsylvania saw moderate success in the textile and iron industry. The Middle Colonies were the most ethnically and religiously diverse British colonies in North America, with settlers coming from all parts of Europe. Civil unrest in Europe and other colonies saw an influx of immigrants to the Middle Colonies in the 18th century. With the new arrivals came various religions which were protected in the Middle Colonies by written freedom of religion laws. This tolerance was unusual and distinct from other British colonies.
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1922 the British Empire held sway over about 458 million people, one-fifth of the world's population at the time. The empire covered more than 33,700,000 km2 (13,012,000 sq mi), almost a quarter of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse across the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.
During the Age of Discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal and Spain pioneered European exploration of the globe, and in the process established large overseas empires. Envious of the great wealth these empires generated, England, France, and the Netherlands, began to establish colonies and trade networks of their own in the Americas and Asia. A series of wars in the 17th and 18th centuries with the Netherlands and France left England (and then, following union between England and Scotland in 1707, Great Britain) the dominant colonial power in North America and India.
First Great Awakening
Presbyterianism is a branch of Reformed Protestantism which traces its origins to the British Isles. Presbyterian churches derive their name from the presbyterian form of church government, which is government by representative assemblies of elders. Many Reformed churches are organized this way, but the word "Presbyterian," when capitalized, is often applied uniquely to the churches which trace their roots to the Scottish and English churches that bore that name and English political groups that formed during the Civil War. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures, and the necessity of grace through faith in Christ. Presbyterian church government was ensured in Scotland by the Acts of Union in 1707 which created the kingdom of Great Britain. In fact, most Presbyterians found in England can trace a Scottish connection, and the Presbyterian denomination was also taken to North America mostly by Scots and Scots-Irish immigrants. The Presbyterian denominations in Scotland hold to the theology of John Calvin and his immediate successors, although there is a range of theological views within contemporary Presbyterianism.
Local congregations of churches which use presbyterian polity are governed by sessions made up of representatives of the congregation (elders); a conciliar approach which is found at other levels of decision-making (presbytery, synod and general assembly).
Old and New Light
The First Awakening (or The Great Awakening) was a Christian revitalization movement that swept Protestant Europe and British America, and especially the American colonies in the 1730s and 1740s, leaving a permanent impact on American religion. It resulted from powerful preaching that gave listeners a sense of deep personal revelation of their need of salvation by Jesus Christ. Pulling away from ritual and ceremony, the Great Awakening made Christianity intensely personal to the average person by fostering a deep sense of spiritual conviction and redemption, and by encouraging introspection and a commitment to a new standard of personal morality.
The movement was a monumental event in New England that challenged established authority and incited rancor and division between old traditionalists who insisted on the continuing importance of ritual and doctrine, and the new revivalists, who encouraged emotional involvement and personal commitment. It had a major impact in reshaping the Congregational church, the Presbyterian church, the Dutch Reformed Church, and the German Reformed denomination, and strengthened the small Baptist and Methodist Anglican denominations. It had little impact on most Anglicans or on Quakers. In some places it brought Christianity to African slaves.
The terms Old Lights and New Lights (among others) are used in Christian circles to distinguish between two groups who were initially the same, but have come to a disagreement. These terms have been applied in a wide variety of ways, and the meaning must be determined from context. Typically, if a denomination is changing, and some refuse to change, and the denomination splits, those who did not change are referred to as the "Old Lights", and the ones who changed are referred to as the "New Lights".
The terms were first used during the First Great Awakening, which spread through the British North American colonies in the middle of the 18th century.]citation needed[ In A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God (1737), Jonathan Edwards, a leader in the Awakening, describes his congregants vivid experiences with grace as causing a "new light" in their perspective on sin and atonement. Old Lights and New Lights generally referred to Congregationalists and Baptists in New England who took different positions on the Awakening than the traditional branches of their denominations. New Lights embraced the revivals that spread through the colonies, while Old Lights were suspicious of the revivals (and their seeming threat to authority). Historian Richard Bushman credits the division between Old Lights and New Lights for the creation of political factionalism in Connecticut in the mid-eighteenth century. Often many "new light" Congregationalists who had been converted under the preaching of George Whitefield left that connection to become "new light" Baptists when they found no evidence of infant baptism in the apostolic church. When told of this development, Whitefield famously quipped that he was glad to hear about the fervent faith of his followers but regretted that "so many of his chickens had become ducks." The Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania would experience a division during the Great Awakening, with those elements of the denomination embracing the revivals called "New Side" and those opposed to the revivals called "Old Side."
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