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The Old Religion in a New World: The History of North American Christianity

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  97 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
One of our foremost historians of religion here chronicles the arrival of Christianity in the New World, tracing the turning points in the development of the immigrant church that have led to today's distinctly American faith.

Taking a unique approach to this fascinating subject, Noll focuses on what was new about organized Christian religion on the American continent by co
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 25th 2001 by Eerdmans (first published August 31st 2001)
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Calvary Church
Feb 19, 2008 Calvary Church rated it really liked it
Mark Noll is at it again with an effortless survey of Christianity in North America. Noll reminds us that Christianity in North America is an “import religion,” with very few distinctly American denominations. The religion of America is truly an “old religion in a new world.” However, over time, the old religion takes on distinctly American features due in large measure to issues such as space (North America is a big place with room for religious groups to spread out), pluralism (religious freed ...more
Ronnie Murrill
Jan 05, 2016 Ronnie Murrill rated it it was amazing
I read this for a class at Southern Seminary I took for post graduate study on the history of the Church in America. It was a great book and a interesting study.
Jacob Lines
Mar 29, 2016 Jacob Lines rated it liked it
In this book, Mark Noll addresses the questions of how American Christianity differs from its European roots and why. It makes for a good read. Besides the obvious differences of Europe having state churches for centuries, Noll looks to other major differences, including geography, diversity, race and ethnicity, and political thought. He does a great job of condensing a lot of history and theology into less than 300 pages. While the book is short for the broad scope it embraces, it doesn’t feel ...more
Jun 15, 2015 Tim rated it really liked it
A nice overview, not as detailed as his earlier history of Christianity in American and Canada, but still full of delightful insights and it works hard at addressing larger ideas.

"Together Bonhoeffer, Blaser, and Siebald point to the fact that Christianity in America is so intermingled with democratic, voluntaristic, and innovative aspects of American society that modern European models of a traditional church opposed by elite secular intellectuals in league with a sovereign state simply do not
Jan 26, 2009 Shari rated it it was ok
This book is severely hamstrung by the American- and Christian-centric views of the author. The title is the first indication of what I mean. If you google the phrase "old religion," you will find that it refers to Paganism. But Noll either doesn't know or doesn't care and so has very misleadingly titled his book. Nor is the book really about "North American" Christianity. Canadian and Mexican Christianities are given only a cursory glance.

This kind of bias mars the rest of the book as well. The
Dec 28, 2009 Adam rated it really liked it
"Christianity in America is so intermingled with democratic, voluntaristic, and innovative aspects of American society that modern European models of a traditional church opposed by elite secular intellectuals in league with the sovereign state simply do not apply. ... A history of Christianity in America provides many details to illustrate how this religious situation has pointed sometimes to Christian integrity, sometimes to the ironic loss of Christian integrity. Not historical scholarship bu ...more
Robert Branham
Aug 01, 2015 Robert Branham rated it it was amazing
I read this book for a graduate level course and found it highly engaging. There are some very insightful observations regarding the religion and culture of young America. It is thought-provoking to consider what religious establishments flourished in the colonies and why. It helps the reader to consider what makes certain denominations more attractive than others, and what role our culture and world view plays in that.
A concise overview from one of the top historians of the subject, this book hits the highlights of the story of Christianity in America to explore how and even why the American contexts remake Christianity again and again.
May 03, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book. The author went beyond recounting the witch trials and Great Awakenings and blah, blah, blah to dig into the context of Christianity in the US. I recognize that few others are as fascinated by this as I am, but I just soaked it up.

The author is a professor at the evangelical Wheaton College, and his perspective (bias?) definitely was evident. Plus he just skimmed right over pesky topics like missionary work among the Native Americans and only gave a nod to black churches. But he
Apr 10, 2014 Josh rated it liked it
Shelves: church-history
Helpful in analyzing what made American Christianity distinct from its Old World parents.
Jan 16, 2011 Christine rated it really liked it
A very dense but thorough book of American religious history, the movements that define it, and the individuals who shaped it. Definitely a book to have on hand as both reading and reference material.

The only reason I gave it four stars is I feel I didn't get as much out of it as a layperson. I loved all of the information in it, though I wish I had more background in American theologists. Perhaps a good book for me to revisit at some time in the future after more study.
Jun 28, 2008 Nathaniel rated it really liked it
Noll is an exceptional writer that takes the potentially boring topic of Church history in America and makes it applicable and interesting. Where this book does lack is that it focuses on the historical aspects and is a little thin on the Theological. This is a more academic work that his well known "Turning Points" and as a result Noll makes assumptions about his readers background of the theological. I highly recommend this excellent overview of the Church in America.
Oct 19, 2011 Diane rated it really liked it
This book tells the story of Christianity in North America, particularly the United States. It is an overall history, from colonial times to the present. Although much of the material is available elsewhere, the book is comprehensive and brings together the history, providing an excellent guide to the beginner or the more advanced student.
Erik Spohr
A balanced and well written overview of the Christian religion in North America from it's arrival to the year 2000. Noll moves at a pace which provides ample detail yet continual re-engagement with new material. He is neither needlessly complex nor casually brief.
Jul 09, 2013 Robert rated it liked it
This is a great book that educates us on early American Christianity, when the colonies were first formed.
Shauli Chaudhuri
Jan 26, 2013 Shauli Chaudhuri rated it liked it
If you are interested in the history of Christianity in North America, you can read this as an option
Oct 26, 2009 Brad rated it really liked it
Anything by Mark Noll is grrrrreat, and this book was no exception.
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Mark A. Noll (born 1946), Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, is a progressive evangelical Christian scholar. In 2005, Noll was named by Time Magazine as one of the twenty-five most influential evangelicals in America. Noll is a prolific author and many of his books have earned considerable acclaim within the academic community. The Scandal of the Evangelical ...more
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