Is there an American form of Christianity? Many believers who live in the United States would be content simply to identify themselves as Christians, others as American Christians, and still others would be inclined to say they are Christians in America. But are believers in any of these groups able to identify distinctive traits of American Christianity? Do you know enough of the history of Christianity in this country to recognize how your own expression of Christian faith and practice has been shaped by America in the modern age, for good or ill?
None of us are simply “biblical Christians” but have a history that has shaped us in one way or another. Reformed Christians have a rich heritage going back to the Protestant Reformation in sixteenth-century Europe, but they also have a peculiar history in the United States. Join us for this free two day conference which will explore some of the major outlines of the history of Reformed & Presbyterian Christianity in the United States.
Friday, November 1
Session 1 at 7:00pm
Alan Strange: “The Tumultuous Beginnings of American Presbyterianism.” The beginnings of American Presbyterianism, with a focus on the First Great Awakening and the Old Side/New Side controversy. We’ll also briefly reflect on the Reformed in America and the phenomenon of “becoming American.”
Session 2 at 8:15pm
Darryl Hart: “The Challenge of Americanism.” The talk will cover the problems posed by new ways of recruiting and sustaining Christians (through the Second Great Awakening). It will cover Reformed responses to the predicament from German Reformed, Dutch Reformed, and Presbyterians.
Session 3 at 9:30am
Alan Strange: “Politics and the Pulpit.” Charles Hodge developed his doctrine of the spirituality of the church in a subtle and nuanced fashion that permitted him to distinguish the church from the state and its political concerns while allowing the church to retain a prophetic voice to society. We’ll examine Old School Presbyterianism with respect to the spirituality of the church and the place of the doctrine among the Reformed.
Session 4 at 10:45
Darryl Hart: “Kuyper & Machen–Models of Reformed Witness.” This talk will examine the differences between Machen and Kuyper’s attempts to recover a consistent Reformed witness, especially those that stem from the differences between church life in the United States and Netherlands.
Lunch 12:00pm ($5.00 Fee for all participating)
Session 5 at 1:00pm
Alan Strange: “Unity without Union — Beyond Acronyms.” The CRC recognized and congratulated the OPC on its formation and the OPC did the same with the URC on its formation. We’ll look at OPC/CRC union talks, the formation of the URC and OPC/URC relations.
Session 6 at 2:15pm
Darryl Hart: “Anti-Modernism.” This presentation will examine the efforts of conservative Presbyterians in the United States and Reformed Protestants in the Netherlands to combat theological liberalism and indifference in the dominant churches. It will also discuss the need for secession or separation when those efforts were no longer viable.
Session 7 at 3:30
Q&A with speakers
Reformed in America” will take place at Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church (3615 University Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa). This conference is hosted by Providence Reformed Church and Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church, which are both congregations in Des Moines.
Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church (OPC): http://www.GraceReformed.org
Providence Reformed Church (URCNA): http://www.ProvidenceRC.org
Please RSVP to: ReformedInAmericaDM2013@gmail.com