Skip to main content

Search LearnTheBible

American Christianity: 1897

On March 8, 1897, the English Baptist preacher F. B. Meyer made these observations from a trip to America: "For many years the pulpit in America has been too much given over to sensational preaching. Instead of what we should call textual, expository preaching, the great preachers have sought rather to develop topics, and they have therefore given themselves up to the treatment of subjects of burning interest, either in the political or social world.

"Then there has been a growing worldliness on the part of the churches. Fairs, social parties for raising the minister’s stipend, the introduction into the house of God of elements which we should taboo as being altogether unworthy, have been in vogue.

"Not only has there been a tendency in the direction of sensationalism and worldliness, but also of a spurious revivalism; that is to say, when the numerical increase has been unsatisfactory, and when the life of God in the churches has been diminishing, instead of going back to God Himself and His Word and prayer to revive the churches, there has been too large a disposition to call in revivalistic preachers, and to use every method in the newspapers by advertising, and in every way to get up a revival, the reaction from which has been disastrous."