This week you should choose one of the final paper assignments and acquire the materials you will need to complete it. Most of these sources are readily available through any public library interlibrary loan network. In Session 5, you will need to submit a paper which demonstrates a thoughtful interaction with the topic and at least one of the suggested sources. This will be an ongoing project that will be completed and submitted in Session 5.
Final Paper Assignment:
Write a 5-6 page paper that advances a clear thesis, which addresses the questions below, and demonstrates a thoughtful acquaintance with one or more of the suggested sources. At least one other quality source that you find on your own should be referenced as well. Format your paper in APA format. If other materials are referenced, they should be properly cited. Be sure to organize your paper around a clear point (thesis), and demonstrate a thoughtful acquaintance with a suggested source or sources.
Option #1: George Whitefield
Some have called George Whitefield America’s first celebrity, or America’s spiritual founding father. What impact did George Whitefield have on the development of America? What were the main emphases of his life and theology? How did he respond to the time in which he lived? What relevant truths from his life are applicable for today? Students should show extensive familiarity and interaction with either Thomas Kidd’s George Whitefield: America’s Spiritual Founding Father (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016) or Arnold Dallimore’s George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival, 2 vols. (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1970). Students might also want to refer to Joseph Tracy’s The Great Awakening (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1989).
Option #2: Princeton Seminary
In the turbulent nineteenth century, the theologians of Princeton Seminary (e.g., Archibald Alexander, Charles Hodge, A. A. Hodge, B. B. Warfield) sought to carry forward confessional Protestantism in opposition to a number of new theologies and ideological movements. What were the main emphases of their lives and theology? How did they respond to the time in which they lived? What relevant truths from their experiences are applicable for today? Students should show extensive familiarity and interaction with either Gary Steward’s Princeton Seminary (1812–1929): Its Leaders’ Lives and Works (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2014) or David Calhoun’s Princeton Seminary (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1994–1996). Students might also want to refer to Archibald Alexander’s Thoughts on Religious Experience (Edinburgh, Banner of Truth, 1998).
Option #3: J. Gresham Machen and Theological Liberalism
Theological liberalism ravaged the American church in the later part of the nineteenth century. One of the most enduring responses to theological liberalism was written by J. Gresham Machen. What was at the heart of Machen’s critique of theological liberalism? How did he characterize it in comparison to traditional, historic Christianity? What broader cultural shifts did he oppose as well? Students should show extensive familiarity and interaction with Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009) and perhaps his Selected Shorter Writings (D. G. Hart, ed.; Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2004) as well. Students might also want to refer to D. G. Hart’s Defending the Faith (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2003).
Option #4: Shifts in Post-WWII Evangelicalism
American evangelicalism changed significantly after World War II. What shifts took place and why? What is the significance of these shifts for understanding American evangelicalism today? Students should demonstrate extensive familiarity and interaction with either Iain Murray’s Evangelicalism Divided (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2000) or David Well’s No Place for Truth (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994). Students might also want to refer to George Marsden’s Reforming Fundamentalism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995).
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