Sesquicentennial provides an opportunity for a Bible Belt revival!
The years 2011 – 2015 are the 150th Anniversary of the War for Southern Independence. Along with battle re-enactments should be a Revival
by Mark Vogl
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
As previously written in Forged in Faith – book review, I discussed the essential, critical role of the Christian Church in the discovery, exploration, settlement and organziing of the colonies in the New World.
Much of the division of nation, in the ante bellum years, was in those very same Christian churches. And, those divisions were not about slavery, but the role of the Church in the nation, and differences in living the respective faith.
During the war, a wave of Christian revival flowed through the different armies of the Confederacy. In a book titled Christ in Camp, by J. William Jones, Chaplain of Longstreet’s Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, Jones penned almost six hundred pages discussing how the faith was integrated into the service with the armies. Jones credits Robert E. Lee, Thomas J. Jackson, J.E.B. Stuart and other senior Confederate leaders with creating the command environment which provided fertile ground for Christian evangelism in the Army of Northern Virginia.
The tremendous sacrifice, the carnage of the battles, the hardships of service which included near starvation, living in tattered clothes, exposure to extreme weather, the marching of hundreds of miles without shoes, and the savage torch applied to the Southland all spurred Southern men, and their families to seek Christ.
The Sesquicentennial offers an excellent opportunity for heritage organizations, and their chaplains to work with established churches to hold an historically relevant Christian Revival in Dixie. This Revival could take many forms. It could be one single, huge revival somewhere in Mid South. Or it could be a designated weekend where revivals were organized across the South simulataneously.
These Revivals could be held in Civil War era uniforms and clothing and camps. With some reseach, pastors could actually give sermons from the era. The Revivals would actually serve a dual purpose of presenting an oft unseen part of American history while simulataneously offering a religious outreach experience to people who might not normally attend a Revival.
The Revivals could also include the music of the era, possibly plays of the time. There are plenty of Civil War era impersonators available, who play the role of many of the important characters of the era, and they could be utilized to help educate the public to the politics and issues of the time.
This opportunity to coordinate the telling of important American history with Christian outreach, might then lead to classes in churches where the story of faith and the creation of America could take a new place. A new kind of revival could occur, a revival of original Americanism as documented in The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States. Patriotism, nationalism, love of liberty linked to Christianity, the way it was originially in the colonies. This revival could help the nation re-invite Christ back to the table of governance.
©2012 Mark Vogl