Presentation Title

F-1 God’s Moral Government of Love: The Theological Background of the Civil War

Presenter Status

Department of Church History

Location

Buller Room 208

Start Date

31-10-2014 3:00 PM

End Date

31-10-2014 3:15 PM

Presentation Abstract

The role of religion in the lead up to the U.S. Civil War is a contested topic, with many pointing to a secularized rights movement is being the primary motive for abolition. But this paper will show that the “arminianization” of American theology that led to the Second Great Awakening was not primarily a result of the secular enlightenment, but rather was largely a Biblically-conservative development flowing from roots deep within the Protestant theological heritage, going back to Arminius, and even earlier. Rather than a failure of Evangelical thought, as proposed by some, the Civil War represents the culmination of the moral teaching of this tradition. Rare is it in the history of the world where a nation has undertaken the sacrifice and suffering of a major war over the question of the moral treatment of an internal minority. But conceptions of God as a moral governor, who sits in judgment on the moral behavior of both people and nations, helped provide the popular impetus to support an extend a costly war effort in pursuit of a moral cause.

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Oct 31st, 3:00 PM Oct 31st, 3:15 PM

F-1 God’s Moral Government of Love: The Theological Background of the Civil War

Buller Room 208

The role of religion in the lead up to the U.S. Civil War is a contested topic, with many pointing to a secularized rights movement is being the primary motive for abolition. But this paper will show that the “arminianization” of American theology that led to the Second Great Awakening was not primarily a result of the secular enlightenment, but rather was largely a Biblically-conservative development flowing from roots deep within the Protestant theological heritage, going back to Arminius, and even earlier. Rather than a failure of Evangelical thought, as proposed by some, the Civil War represents the culmination of the moral teaching of this tradition. Rare is it in the history of the world where a nation has undertaken the sacrifice and suffering of a major war over the question of the moral treatment of an internal minority. But conceptions of God as a moral governor, who sits in judgment on the moral behavior of both people and nations, helped provide the popular impetus to support an extend a costly war effort in pursuit of a moral cause.