A recent article in the Boston Globe discerns a spiritual "New Day" in New England—a day in which evangelical Christianity has penetrated even the liberal fortress of Harvard and stands poised for a full-blown regional revival.
To some modern-day evangelicals this may seem a bizarre—if welcome—a piece of news. On a level with God's bulletin to Jonah that Nineveh would at last be saved. New England, such skeptics would say, long ago slid into a spiritual funk that has got to have John Winthrop (of Puritan "City on a Hill" fame) rolling around in his grave.
Never mind the glory days of Jonathan Edwards and his Northampton, Massachusetts-based Great Awakening (see last week's newsletter), the evangelical skeptic might say. In a time when Harvard Divinity School students eviscerate their Bibles and celebrate "Coming Out Day" to affirm their homosexual colleagues, this spiritual legacy is long buried. No, the Unitarians and other liberals have, the critic would say, definitively won the day in that erstwhile blessed region, and God has passed over the land of his chosen (Puritan) children, moving on to revive hearts where the prospects seem more promising.
As usual, it's time for a history lesson. Not all has been bleak in the New England of these past two centuries. If space allowed, we could dwell on the nineteenth-century successes of the Adoniram Judson Gordons and D. L. Moodys.
Well, maybe we have a little space. We forget, for example, that Moody, the man whose name was synonymous with American revivalism during the last few decades of the nineteenth century, was closely tied to his birthplace of Northfield, Massachusetts. Though most famously associated with the Chicago college and related ministries that bear his name, ...1