I still enjoy reading about some of the men and movements that came out of the Second Great Awakening beginning in the 1800's. Received some old documents from the estate of a Kentuckian that was handed down from his great grandfather.
Seems the frontier movement collided with rowdy men who hated religion of any kind. Vulgarly, profane event to the worse forms of blasphemy, and poured out scoffings and contempt on the scenes of drunkenness and profane revelry. Among the frantic rites observed were the mock of the Lord's Supper, and burning of the Bible. The last ceremony consisted in raking a place in the hot coals of a wood fire, and burying therein the book of God with shouting of prayer and songs,
Where before 1800 the mind (theology) of the church tended to control the life of the church, after 1800 the life exerted more control over the mind. The Western movement produced a general decline in religion and morals.
English Deism and French skepticism was popular on the frontier.
Lack of education moved religion from reason to emotion. Unbelief and immorality fed on one another. Religious individualism led to endless schisms
To preach Christ on the frontier a preacher would need to use his fists as well as a fast horse. Fishing for men was a dedication of casting a net over a barrel of beer to collect a few minnows.
The work of the frontier preacher in the 1800's as Presbyterians James McGready and Barton W. Stone, and others organized camp meetings in Kentucky. Thousands of rough frontiersman, emotionally starved and with spiritual longings, camped together for several days to hear preaching and to socialize It was said "a toss-up whether more souls were saved than conceived."
The most spectacular was the meeting at Cane Ridge, August 1801.
Estimates vary as to the number in attendance, from 10,000 to 25,000. A few contemporaries called the event as this assemblage,
"the greatest outpouring of the Spirit of God since Pentecost." Ministers of all persuasions were scattered about the grounds and preached simultaneous. participants could wander about and choose the speakers (both black and white) they wanted to hear.
Many churches sprang up and enjoyed growth and spirit, especially the Baptist and Methodists. The Methodists, largely to the credit of the circuit-riding preachers, became the largest domination in America.
The American Restoration Movement took root around 1800. Its purpose was and still is to restore the Church to the original or apostolic model in doctrine, polity, and life. The standard for the restoration is the New Testament, the Word of God is the basis for unity among believers.
Restoration vs. Reformation, such as Zwingli, Luther, Calvin and Wesley, aimed at reforming the Roman Catholic Church.
Because they were convinced that the theology of Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430) constitutes the correct statement of the Christian religion, Augustine became the norm for theological reformation.
While many abused and corruptions were corrected in the Protestant Reformation, there was no Restoration.
Just as the intellectual life of the Roman Catholic Church was (and still is) captive to absolute authority of councils and popes, Protestant thought was bound in the first generation by the creeds, confessions, and formulas; and has generally remained in this bondage. Augustine anthropology and epistemology effectively removed the written word of God from its essential place in conversion its goal; and for this and other reasons, Protestantism has never achieved its goal: the church standing on apostolic foundation.