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

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  174 ratings  ·  30 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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3.77  · 
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 ·  174 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Adam Shields
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Summary: A readable textbook about North American Christianity.

Mark Noll is an author that I will always respect and read. I had him for two undergrad classes and I audited a class with him when I was in grad school. I have read a number of books by him since then. His book The Civil War as Theological Crisis significantly shaped me and I have read it three times now.

The Old Religion in a New World is a textbook. Interestingly, Noll was commissioned to write a German language textbook on North A
Ryan Shelton
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great overview. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a quick overview of the development of Christianity in America, with some comments on how the American trends are contrasted with Canada and Mexico.
Jeff Elliott
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I didn't know what to expect from this book but I really, really enjoyed it. I found it to be thorough yet not boring; fair and objective and short enough that it didn't take forever to get through. I bet if you read it you will see many of your own historical denominations characteristics too!

A few quotes:
p. 12-the most obvious reason why the history of Christianity in Canada and the United States differs from the history of Christianity in Europe is that North America is so much bigger than Eu
Sep 05, 2008 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
Calvary Church
Feb 19, 2008 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
Apr 09, 2008 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
Ronnie Murrill
Jan 05, 2016 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.
Reg Rivett
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Christianity is not native to North America. It’s a faith that was brought here, immigrated here, changed here.

Take that last one however you will. The Christianity of Europe and the Middle East may have come across the Atlantic, but what grew up on the land of the United States, Canada, and Mexico was something else. Something different.

How did that happen? What did this new brand of Christianity do to these “developing” nations? Or to the nations that were here before? What have they done to t
Arthur O'dell
This book is excellent for what it does: describing the history of Christianity in America in relation to its roots in Europe and its continuing interaction with Europe. That is what the book is.

Here is what the book is not:

1. It is not an exhaustive survey of the history of Christianity in America. Nor does it claim to be. The author has a different book if you are interested in that.

2. It is not a history of American religion. It is focused solely on Christianity. There are other books that
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
From colonization to the modern 21st century Prof. Noll takes you on a journey of the Christian faith in North America. The text serves as a wonderful reference textbook. The United States is the focal point of the historical account with minor detours to French Catholic Canadians and Spanish Mexican. The earlier chapters have a historical progression, while the latter chapters become more topical in nature. I especially enjoyed the history of state and church interaction in the United States an ...more
Aug 10, 2019 rated it liked it
In the minus column, the way the content was covered seemed a bit scattershot, going back and forth from a linear approach to a thematic one. Certain topics felt like they should have received more coverage than they did, such as televangelism and connections between religion and partisan politics.

On the plus side, Noll covered his central idea--old religion in the New World--quite well, covering both continuity and discontinuity to establish what made Christianity in North America distinct from
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Very easy to read introduction to the history of Christianity in the United States. The major movements and figures are presented with enough detail to be understood. The book is very helpful with it's timelines and bibliographies. Excellent place to start if you want to dig further at this topic. Pastors will find this a very helpful volume in exploring the realities of faith in the American context. Noll's treatment of Lutheran church issues is helpful. The only drawback is that as this book i ...more
Mark Seeley
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this history a few years ago when the book was published and thought it gave a level account of the religious history of the United States. I appreciated Noll's insights on how the Civil War affected Christian faith with the upward trajectory of Darwinism. This is one I will re-read again down the road.
Jacob Stevens
A great and concise work about what happened to the Christian groups that came over and settled the new world. It was very helpful to see the factors that made the American Church become the American Church.
Preston Moore
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent overview of Christianity in America and the factors shaping American religious life.
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really interesting book! Great Christian history book. Somewhat easy to listen to. I'll have to listen to this one again to get everything out of it!
Anni Pronschinske
Mar 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: college-text
This was a required read for Religion in America at school. It's a rough read. Lots of names and dates and too much to rap your head around. Definitely not an enjoyable read by any means.
Jacob Lines
Mar 29, 2016 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
Dec 28, 2009 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
Jun 15, 2015 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
May 29, 2008 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.
Robert Branham
Jul 31, 2015 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.
Oct 12, 2009 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.
Oct 19, 2011 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.
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.
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.
Brad Hart
Sep 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Anything by Mark Noll is grrrrreat, and this book was no exception.
Apr 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: church-history
Helpful in analyzing what made American Christianity distinct from its Old World parents.
Feb 26, 2013 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 rated it liked it
If you are interested in the history of Christianity in North America, you can read this as an option
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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