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The Lost Soul of American Protestantism
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The Lost Soul of American Protestantism

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  61 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
In The Lost Soul of American Protestantism, D. G. Hart examines the historical origins of the idea that faith must be socially useful in order to be valuable. Through specific episodes in Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Reformed history, Hart presents a neglected form of Protestantism, confessionalism, as an alternative to prevailing religious theory. He explains that, unlike ...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (first published September 4th 2002)
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Jacob Aitken
Hart argues that American Protestantism lost its “liturgical” and churchly soul by its close contact with and sometimes imitation of the American “market” mentality. He sees the beginning with George Whitefield, whose friendship with Benjamin Franklin provides a “link between Evangelicalism and the emerging markets” (16). By market it is not meant an economic structure, but a system of choosing one thing over another.

From Whitefield we see a crasser revivalism. What is interesting for the Americ
Pete Williamson
This is a really important book for not only understanding the history of Protestantism in the US, but also the place and importance of confessional Protestantism in that story. For me personally, this was a very affirming book - I have thought for some time now that the revivalism of the 18th and 19th centuries has left a huge mark on evangelical Christianity today...some good, much not so good - but I had missed the role of pietism in that.
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, theology
Hart is right to steer the typical narrative of American Protestantism away from the two-category discussion of evangelicalism vs liberalism. He broadens the scope by accounting for confessional Protestants as a group that transcends the typical categories. My primary quibble is his "two-kingdom" agenda. He lumps all confessional protestants into his schizophrenic perspective.
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Todd by: Mollie Ziegler Hemingway
GREAT BOOK! Handles the Calvinist/Arminian distinction very well, and also has a nice little section on the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.
Richard Minor
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was impressive to me for a variety of reasons. I like a book that helps explain the way things are well and this does exactly that. Why is it that churches are, for the most part, so similar today? What happened to the confessionalism that so dominated American Christianity in the early day? Why is American Christianity so concerned with politics...and should we be? What does it look like to be a pilgrim in this world?

I greatly enjoyed this book and thought it was incredibly beneficial
Brett McNeill
Feb 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All pastors and the ambitious layman.

Hart presents an alternative view to categorizing trends within American Christianity. Historically the categories have been between the Modernists/Liberals and the Fundamentalists/Conservatives. Hart, however, believes this to be misleading on two fronts. F

First, the second group – the conservative/fundamentalists really is too broad. Two groups have really been associated with this group – Fundamentalists and Confessionalists. Fundamentalists are pietistic – placing an emphasis on pe
May 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This is a really important read. Hart shows how American Protestantism has been dominated by, what he calls, Pietism (personal spiritual experiences that are often emotional, individualistic, and low church). Hart says that there is another tradition, Confessionalism (high church, emphasizes the creeds and sacraments of the church) which goes back a ways in American history but it is not as influential in American culture as Pietism has been and is. Hart argues that Pietism is what is wrong with ...more
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Made the strongest case against revivalism of any written argument. Hart accounts for a number of trends and makes a valid case. However, the arguments were not entirely convincing and the book could present a better alternative picture or illustration. It most notably suffers when addressing evangelism/outreach because it almost seems to surrender that such efforts would not be as strong without revivalism, even if the results of revivalism can be circumspect. Worth the read to understand and l ...more
Mark Robert
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I refer back to this book again and again. It is very insightful regarding the influence peitism and revivalism have had on the religious and evangelical culture in America. Proposes a third way of a robust confessionalism and a high ecclessiology.
Apr 23, 2008 rated it liked it
I thought this was great window into the history and development of American Protestantism. It is specifically aimed at explaining how we got to where we are, and is not without bias. I like it.
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for those who walk the lonely way of confessional Christianity.
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Darryl G. Hart (Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University) directs the honors programs and faculty development at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and serves Westminster Seminary California as adjunct professor of church history. He has written or edited more than fifteen books, including Defending the Faith, a biography of J. Gresham Machen. He is coeditor of the American Reformed Biographies series.
More about D.G. Hart