American evangelicals, who have long understood the United States as a thoroughly Christian nation, once interpreted the consequences of their Christian heritage in ways quite different from evangelicals today.
This is illustrated in the Sixth General Conference of the Evangelical Alliance, which brought evangelical Christians from all over the world to New York City in 1873. Anyone was invited to participate who could affirm a belief in the inspiration of the Bible, the Trinity, the incarnation of Jesus Christ and his atonement for sins, justification by faith alone, the work of the Holy Spirit in the world, and the resurrection of the body. The minutes of this gathering and the host of addresses delivered by the participants provide a revealing snapshot of American evangelicalism in the wake of the Civil War.
Many speakers came from the United States, and lectured on topics that had particular relevance for evangelical attempts to sustain the country’s Christian identity. Sessions were devoted to atheism, Catholicism, the family, philosophy, world religions, wealth, literature, education, religious liberty, missions, caring for the sick, crime, and industry. Few topics (with the exception of race and immigration) escaped coverage during this eleven-day meeting. There was even a session on cruelty to animals.
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Of all the doctrinal affirmations required/requested for that 19th century convention, I would suggest that the one which has dropped off the radar of evangelicals more than any other is “the resurrection of the body” — which is both pathetic and at the same time almost comical.
If you don't believe me, just attend a sampling of funerals and listen to the theology of the sermons. If the bodily resurrection of the dead doesn't show up there, it ain't showing up anywhere, whether they teach it in seminary or not.