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Being born again-and again, and again: conversion, revivalism, and Baptist spirituality.


My title refers not to rebaptized converts, but to Baptist conversion itself being transformed again and again as it evolves over time. Now would be a good time for the next transformation, for academics agree: Revivalism is dead, or at least on life support, among the Baptists of Britain and North America and the territory they evangelized, which is a lot of territory. On Christian revivalism in general, conversion researchers John Lofland and Norman Skonovd noted in the 1980s that since WWII several good studies have debunked the notion that revivalism produced long lasting conversions, and declared, "We have thus become cynical about the existence of true revival conversions." (1) Revival conversions among Baptists with the Great Awakenings heritage are becoming rare as rented pews.

With Baptist revivalism's demise; the vital question becomes, did Baptist conversion die with it? The answer to that question is crucial to Baptist existence. Baptist congregations are voluntary associations of baptized believers, certified Christian converts. No Christian converts, no Baptists. Given that a large majority of Baptist converts in the last 250 years accepted Christ in a revival of some sort, and seeing that revivalism is in steep decline in core Baptist territories, the question becomes more than academic.

In order to answer this central query, "Is Baptist conversion endangered?" we must first be clear about what revivalism was, what Baptist conversion is, and how the two are related. In this paper, I take on four basic questions: One, what is revivalism? Two, what is conversion in the Baptist tradition? And three, how are the two related? Finally, I address the vitality of Baptist conversions in light of my findings.

Methodology: A Short Course on Christian Conversion and Conversion Motifs

You may well ask, "Do we not already know the answers to those questions? Have we not covered this ground before, again and again?" Yes, we have some good information, and we have researched this ground numerous times, but not with certain recently available tools. The current situation calls for historians to employ an interdisciplinary approach that includes social research findings about conversions. We need to avoid the sort of mistake made by Jerald C. Brauer in his 1978 article, "Conversion: From Puritanism to Revivalism." (2) Brauer's excellent paper dissects various purposes and consequences of conversion produced in three separate contexts: British Puritanism, Colonial American Puritanism, and the First Great Awakening. His historical method discovered important connections between revivalism and conversion, but his conclusions were incomplete due to his limited knowledge of the complex nature of conversion. Granted, he did consider the social science research on conversion of his day, but eventually concluded:
   Elaborate psychological analyses of the conversion experience have
   been made, and these are most helpful to the historian; however,
   such analyses are not the purpose of this paper. Suffice it to say
   that most psychological studies of conversion, from William James
   and Starbuck through contemporary efforts, divide conversion into
   two main categories: a volitional type which comes gradually, step
   by step, and a self-surrender type which comes suddenly, out of the
   blue, with no apparent effort on the part of the one converted. (3)

Brauer's points in this quote are three: first, social science research is helpful to historians; second, his paper's purpose is unrelated to those helpful findings; and third, conversion consists of only two kinds--the volitional and self-surrender types. He was right on the first count, social science research is helpful to historians, but he was mistaken in numbers two and three: the irrelevance of social science to his purposes and the simplistic binary nature of conversion. Had Brauer taken into account findings more recent than James's and Starbuck's, which were already seventy years old before his article was written, he might have corrected a basic error in his thesis.

That error is this: Brauer incorrectly believed a singular type of conversion produced different consequences in different contexts. In truth, different contexts produced plural types of conversion, different species of conversion, if you will.

"So what," some might object, "Surely the commonalities of Baptist conversions in history outweigh their anomalies." That might be true if Brauer's categories of sudden and gradual were sufficient, as he thought, but they are not. The varieties of conversion are more numerous and deeper in kind than he supposed. To get at the heart of Baptist revival conversions, one must realize that various historical contexts produce different species of conversion like different ecosystems produce different biological species. One cannot be mated with the other.

Of course, Brauer is not to be faulted for his restricted understanding. Writing over thirty years ago, he was like an evolutionary biologist prior to the discovery of DNA. DNA allows biologists to establish look-alike species as separate in kind, overthrowing many previous assumptions; current social science research performs the same function for religious conversions. To sum up, the conversion produced in one historical context is not the same conversion as one produced in another, and any comparison of conversions across historical eras must take this into account if Baptist history and Baptist spirituality are to be understood. An interdisciplinary approach using historical methods along with current models from social science research on conversions is called for.

Conversion: A Matrix of Transformations

Conversion is a matrix of transformations, interrelated and interdependent, with a myriad of possible combinations. Donald L. Gelpi demonstrates this in his conversion model, which is built upon the work of Bernard Lonergan. (4) Gelpi posits a matrix of five potential conversions from a normative Christian perspective. These five types are religious, affective, intellectual, personal moral and sociopolitical conversions. Gelpi sometimes lists these types in different order, and they do interact dynamically, but one of the types, the religious--or spiritual type, as I prefer to call it--is a special case in comparison to the others.

Three characteristics demonstrate the special nature of Christian spiritual conversion. The first is contact with the divine. Spiritual conversions are not exclusive to Christianity, but all spiritual conversions are experienced as an encounter with the Other, a transcendent Reality beyond the natural world. All conversion has a component of turning away and turning toward. Christian spiritual conversion is turning toward God. This turning to God, absent in Gelpi's other conversion types, which occur without reference to God, endows the convert with a vertical dimension in life not intrinsic to the other four types--affective, intellectual, etc. (5)

The second special case in Christian spiritual conversion is its claim concerning the nature of the divine. Christian spiritual conversion is personal encounter with God in Christ. Stephen Happel and James J. Walter summarize this point nicely: conversion "is specifically Christian when we turn to God by turning to Jesus Christ." (6)

The third characteristic of the special nature of Christian spiritual conversion is its power to transvalue the other conversion types. (7) To transvalue something is to abandon its old frame of reference and place it in a new one. Christian spiritual conversion gives the convert a vantage point for transvaluation of the other four types of conversion, which they, being on the natural and horizontal plane, can never possess without it. Conversions within the horizontal realms of affective, intellectual, moral, and sociopolitical are thoroughly Christian only by virtue of their connectedness to the vertical transcendent realm of reality made available by Christian spiritual conversion. This verticality is essential to the DNA of Christian spiritual conversion.

The key value of Gelpi's model for this paper is the assertion that all but the spiritual conversion type may and often do occur without reference to God or transcendence, though all the types are interrelated. For example, one may have a conversion of the intellect, right ordering of the reason according to Christian norms, without having a parallel conversion of the affections, a right ordering of the desires of the heart. Or vice versa. In the ideal of fully mature Christianity, all the horizontal conversion types are transvalued by the spiritual conversion, which is itself ongoing as the process of the matrix of conversions goes forward.

Just as the horizontal conversions in Christianity are transvalued by the spiritual conversion, they may serve in turn as preparatory precursors, though never causes, of spiritual conversion. The affective conversions produced by revivalism are a prime example, as we shall see. To reiterate, conversion is a matrix of transformations.

Revivalism as a Conversion Motif

Let us turn now to revivalism as a conversion motif. John Lofland and Norman Skonovd's research has isolated crucial religious conversion elements, which they argue point to real differences at the raw experience level of conversion. (8) Called motifs, these distinguishing marks reveal the essential elements of an individual's or tradition's perception of conversion. Admittedly, multiple motifs sometimes appear within a single tradition, but one is usually dominant at any given time. Lofland and Skonovd identify six conversion motifs: intellectual, mystical, experimental, affectional, revivalist, and coercive motifs. These motifs can be thought of as the dominant characteristics of the context or ecosystem in which a particular type of conversion takes place. (9) You will not be surprised to learn that the Revivalist Motif is the cluster of traits identified with the conversion context of Baptist revivals.

Motifs and Matrix Modes in Relationship to Each Other

Though the two models presented above are not strictly parallel, religious motifs in some cases may be thought of in relation to a conversion context that is dominated by a particular conversion type from Gelpi's matrix of conversion types. For example, Lofland and Skonovd's Intellectual Motif is dearly dominated by the type of activity Gelpi refers to in his intellectual conversion category. But spiritual conversion cannot be related to a particular motif in this direct way. It is more like a potential that is made more likely as a result of one or another of the conversion motifs.

We know the Revivalist Motif worked wonders for Baptist conversions, but it was not the first motif dominant among Baptists. And which category of Gelpi's horizontal conversion types--affective, intellectual, personal moral or sociopolitical--served so effectively to bring spiritual conversion from the revivals? The historical materials contain the answer.

Baptist Conversions Prior to the Second Great Awakening: The Mystical Motif

The Mystical rather than the Revivalist Motif of Lofland and Skonovd fits Baptist conversions before the Second Great Awakening. Prior to the camp meetings of the early nineteenth century, Baptist conversions display not the Revivalist Motif, but the Mystical, including in the First Great Awakening era. According to Lofland and Skonovd, conversions with a Mystical Motif are characterized first and foremost by their resistance to characterization. (10) Mystical motif conversions are not easily expressed in logical, discursive language. Therefore, testimonies to this type of conversion are dense with symbolic, affective language. In the Mystical Motif conversion, the converts, usually in solitude, experience spiritual transformation as something done to them rather than something done by them. God is the initiator, the convert the surprised recipient, who after relatively long periods of spiritual struggle is suddenly transformed. In the words of psychoanalyst Carl Christenson, quoted by Lofland and Skonovd, the actual conversion event consists of "'a sense of sudden understanding accompanied by a feeling of elation and by an auditory and sometimes visual hallucination.... There is a feeling of change within the self ... associated with a sense of presence'" (11) This shocking psychic invasion sometimes issues in altered perceptions of the physical world. Its outcome is, generally, commitment to participate in the particular religious institutions with which the event is associated. Yes, we are to think of Paul on the road to Damascus.

The conversion testimony of Virginia Separate Baptist pastor James Ireland (1748-1806) can easily stand as a normative example of Baptist conversions in the First Great Awakening. (12) This description of Ireland's conversion experience comes from his autobiography. It reads,
   I arose up out of bed, put on my clothes, went out into the woods a
   considerable distance with a full resolution not to return back
   until I had believed in Jesus Christ.... I considered that faith
   was an act of the whole soul; and that with the heart man believeth
   unto righteousness; in which view I conceive I was right, but herein
   lay my error; I was engaged to produce and perform that act myself.
   Through the greatest part of the day was I painfully and laboriously
   engaged to force my heart to believe on Jesus Christ and to throw
   myself upon him so as to derive comfort from him and salvation in
   him. It would appear almost incredible for me to tell how often I
   would drop from my feet upon my knees in order to affect what I
   went out resolutely determined to perform. At last it pleased God
   to give me to see that salvation was by grace through faith, and
   that not of myself, for it was the gift of God, for as the
   scripture saith, 'unto you it is given to believe,' and that faith
   by which the soul is saved must come from God, and be wrought in
   the heart by the holy spirit. Then was I led to cry to God to grant
   me that divine faith which I could not produce in myself. (13)

Sometime later, after months of spiritual struggle, Ireland's cry was unexpectedly answered one day as he was walking alone. Suddenly, he heard "what seemed a voice from heaven" and came to himself--in his words, returned to "the exercise of my rational powers"--on his knees. (14) At this divine encouragement, Ireland rejoiced that, in his words, "the great deep of the barren fountain of my heart was then broke up, my head I could then say was like to a well of water, whilst the tears from the two fountains of my eyes ran down for several hours without intermission." (15) James Ireland was converted.

This conversion testimony has numerous Mystic Motif elements: a long, solitary spiritual struggle culminating in the convert, in solitary, receiving a sudden inexplicable intervention from an unseen and unknowable auditory source, which released him from spiritual uncertainty. In addition, he responded to the event with great emotion, and described it as happening outside his "rational powers." This species of Christian conversion, so common in Ireland's time, yet so foreign to most current Baptist experience, is the classic form for Baptist conversions in the First Awakening before revivalism introduced a different species of spiritual transformation into Baptist tradition.

Baptist Conversions in Camp Meetings and Revivals: The Revivalist Motif

The Revivalist Motif usurped the Mystical in Baptist conversions during the camp meetings of the nineteenth century. Though professional evangelists, such as Jacob Knapp, standardized camp meeting revivalism, its crucial elements remained the dominant motif in Baptist tradition until the mid-twentieth century. According to Lofland and Skonovd's chart of the major variations that distinguish conversions, Revivalist Motif conversions are experiences of brief duration, occur in the context of a high degree of social pressure, and create a high level of emotional arousal involving negative and positive feelings, particularly fear or guilt and love. (16) Lofland and Skonovd isolate the central feature of this motif as "profound experiences which occur within the context of an emotionally aroused crowd." (17) I call it conversion by contagion.

Camp Meetings

The camp meeting phenomenon is best traced to a June 1801 Presbyterian sacramental meeting at Red River church in Kentucky. Even after the dismissal prayer, the participants, under intense spiritual agitation induced by sermons about the desperate nature of the sinful human condition, remained quietly weeping and praying in their seats. In earlier similar events, such conviction might be expected to lead individuals through weeks or years of solitary struggle toward a sense of assurance along the lines of the Mystical Motif, so fitting for a Calvinist worldview. At Red River, though, as the Presbyterian ministers sat unsure of their next move, a guest who was a Methodist minister, John McGee, rose to produce the emotional release his pietism associated with authentic conversion. Ellen Eslinger describes the scene from primary sources. First McGee exhorted the distressed penitents to submit to the Holy Spirit and live, then he led a hymn, "still singing, McGee slowly descended from the pulpit and moved toward ... individuals who seemed particularly stricken.... he reached out and clasped the hands of the persons nearest him. 'Suddenly persons began to fall as he passed through the crowd--some as dead.'" (18) Years later McGee remembered, "'I went through the house shouting, and exhorting with all possible ecstacy (sic) and energy, and the floor was soon covered with the slain.'" (19)

Of course, the Cane Ridge, Kentucky, camp meeting of August, 1801, has become the emblem of the emerging motif of revivalism introduced at Red River. Skeptical chronicler Reverend John Lyle reported from the scene some boys and gifts, "'singing and shaking hands, a sort of wagging that appeared like dancing at a distance." (20) They were, he said, "'verry (sic) loving and joyful[,] almost dizzy with joy.'" James B. Finley, an unbeliever also present at the Cane Ridge meeting, had no fear of getting caught up in the event or scared into faith. Entering the emotional scene surrounding the meeting house, however, he reported, "'My heart beat tumultuously, my knees trembled, my lip quivered, and I felt as though I must fall to the ground. A strange supernatural power seemed to pervade the entire mass of my mind there collected.'" (21) The camp meeting phenomenon gave rise to the Revivalist Motif.' a brief conversion event with sudden onslaught and great emotional depths of fear or guilt yielding to joy in the midst of the social pressure of a highly aroused crowd lifted to ecstatic heights by communal rituals of music, movement, exhortation and touch.

A few Baptists participated early on in the camp meetings, but most were slow to adopt the Revivalist Motif of conversion. In 1800-1801, the same years the Presbyterian Red River and Cane Ridge meetings gave birth to the Revivalist Motif, eighteen of the twenty-six member churches of the adjacent Elkhorn Baptist Association experienced a doubling in membership, but only two of the Association's churches adopted the Presbyterian and Methodist revival methods. Elkhorn Association Baptists gathered a crowd of eight to ten thousand the same month that thousands arrived at Cane Ridge. They were separate constituencies with separate conversion motifs. Baptists connected camp meetings with emotional excesses and with conversions too abbreviated to be genuine. Baptist preacher Johnson Olive, though converted at a Methodist camp meeting, complained that camp meeting religion was more a matter of "frames and feelings" than "a living and abiding principle in the soul." (22)

In 1831, Baptist minister Jeremiah Bell Jeter helped set up the grounds for the first Baptist camp meeting in the Northern Neck of Virginia. He later recalled that camp meetings were so "much at variance with views and tastes which had long prevailed among the brethren that they could scarcely look one another in the face without laughing," (23) and he quoted Baptist Elder William Davis's sarcastic comments:
   The Baptists ... are the greatest bunglers that I have ever known.
   I have been attending their Associations for many years, but I have
   never known a soul convicted, converted, and finished off at a
   single meeting; but the Methodist can convict, convert, and finish
   off from 50 to 100 souls at a single camp-meeting. (24)

The success of the venture, however, "slew all prejudices," Jeter reported, and the Baptists established a permanent campground to hold yearly meetings. (25)


Bill Leonard has described what happened as professional revivalists streamlined the Revivalist Motif introduced in the camp meetings. Business efficiency applied to revivalism gradually shortened the conversion process among Baptists from years to potentially the twenty-minute wait at a bus stop. Jeremiah Bell Jeter, who at first opposed camp meeting revivalism, came to believe that "passing through a round of experience in order to be prepared to receive Christ" was a "serious defect" in the teaching of his Baptist forebears. (26) Thomas Teasdale, Southern Baptist evangelist from 1873, bragged of converting twelve "young ladies" who came down at a revival meeting to be prayed for by the famous man. He told each one: "'Well, Miss, if you will solemnly promise to give your heart to Jesus, right here and now, I will pray for you and you will be converted.'" (27) They did, and he did, and they were, all in less than two minutes apiece.

Earlier camp meeting converts would likely have found the processes of mass revivalism unfamiliar: shorter services, calm assurance without a trace of doubt as the mark of genuine conversion rather than being slain in the spirit, and the downward spiral in the age of converts--Baptist revivalist Jacob Knapp gladly converted three and four year olds. In spite of all these modifications the conversion motif remained the same for camp meetings and mass revivalism. Each retained the Revivalist Motif's central feature: a profound religious experience which transpired under intense social pressure within the context of an emotionally aroused crowd.

The Death of Revivalism

So, what killed Baptist revivalism, eliciting the kind of death pronouncement that this presentation opened with? By the mid-twentieth century the outward trappings of Baptist mass revivalism looked similar in many ways to the revivals of the late nineteenth century, but the core experience had changed. Note: I am not saying revivalism or the Revivalist Motif has disappeared on the larger religious scene. On the contrary, it is still a force to be reckoned with in many religious traditions; a prime example is the explosive expansion of Pentecostal Christianity around the world. But in Baptist life in North America and Europe, revivalism is an inconsequential source of lasting Christian conversions.

The first step to unlocking the puzzle of revivalism's demise is to name the ultimate goal of Baptist revival conversions. Then and now, the goal for Baptist conversion efforts, including revival efforts, has been what Gelpi calls spiritual conversion, the vertically oriented experience of human communion with transcendence.

The second step in locating the cause of revivalism's plight is to identify the preparatory or horizontal conversion type dominant in revivals. In the First Great Awakening, the Mystical Motif prevailed; in the following period of camp meeting and classic revivalism, the Revivalist Motif was ascendant.

Having established spiritual conversion, a uniquely vertical type, as the primary goal of Baptist conversions and the Mystical Motif as indicative of the First Great Awakening and the Revivalist Motif of the Second Great Awakening and beyond, it remains to be asked what types in the conversion matrix are dominant in those motifs. If, as I proposed earlier, one views religious motifs as a conversion context dominated by a particular matrix type, a la' Gelpi's model, it is clear that the Mystical and the Revivalist Motifs are expressive of Gelpi's affective type. Gelpi describes affective conversion as the right ordering of one's desires by the eliciting of emotions by symbols and images appropriated by imagination. (28) In other words, affective conversion is a transformation of desire. Its language is that of symbol and imagery, and it is comprehended through the instrument of imagination.

In the Mystic Motif of pre-camp meeting Baptists, the symbols and images appropriated by the potential converts came mainly from hearing and reading scripture and meditating upon it as the subconscious brought particular verses forward. It is what E. Glenn Hinson means when he writes of Baptists as contemplatives. (29) The Revivalist Motif differs from the Mystical in that it is communal rather than solitary, liturgical rather than contemplative, and assumes an initiative on the part of the potential convert that the Mystic Motif does not. Nevertheless, the Revivalist Motif, as the Mystical, is in sync with Gelpi's affective conversion and its right ordering of unspoken desires. The Revivalist Motif is an offering of symbols and images in the forms of music, movement, and mutual participation with others in certain ritual actions designed to rightly order the potential convert's desires so that the unspeakable reality of the divine may be perceived. The affective nature of the Mystical is more solitary and the Revivalist more communal in practice, but each seeks to open the possibility of spiritual conversion by affective conversion.

Gradually, during the twentieth century, due to a myriad of changes in Baptist life, the revival form retreated from affective conversion as a precursor to spiritual conversion in favor of an intellectual conversion approach. Gelpi describes intellectual conversion as the decision to turn from unaccountable and uncritical acceptance of an external authority's accepted beliefs to a commitment to validate "one's personal beliefs within adequate frames of reference and in ongoing dialogue with other truth seekers." (30) This is a move from externally accepted intellectual beliefs to an internal authority regulating beliefs in light of those beliefs' rationality. I propose that the death of Baptist revivalism conversions came about by substitution of a disordered, if orthodox, intellectual conversion for healthy, if unorthodox, affective forms, which were so prevalent in the Mystical and Revivalist Motifs of pre-twentieth century Baptists.

Gradually, with the constant attenuation of conversion experiences at revivals, the deep attention to desires yielded to a shallow rational persuasion that sought to order the intellect in a certain way. "If you promise to believe ..." Teasdale suggested to those twelve young girls. The reality of affective conversion setting the table for spiritual conversion in Mystical or Revivalist Motifs faded in the face of efficient, practical, measureable--in a word, reasonable--results. Baptists unintentionally displaced the Revivalist Motif by an Intellectual Motif in their revivals. Lofland and Skonovd describe the Intellectual Motif of conversion as a thoughtful consideration of alternatives. Most importantly, these two researchers say of this motif, "a reasonably high level of belief occurs before participation in a tradition." (31) They describe this motif as occurring with little or no social contact. It can be done by reading a book or online study. Lofland and Skonovd insist the intellectual motif is relatively new and rare, and given their complete description, I agree, but I believe aspects of it became common decades ago in Baptist revivals, displacing the Revivalist Motif.

The problem is, not every conversion motif is equally helpful as a context for spiritual conversion. The great problem with the intellectual as a dominant approach to spiritual conversion is its unsuitability to the primary reality Christian spiritual conversion seeks to make known. If, as Karen Armstrong holds, myth is that by which the unspeakable and amorphous becomes knowable and particular through symbol and ritual, and reason is that by which the known is intellectually ordered, then I say the intellectual motif is bound to fail as a context for spiritual conversion. As Armstrong wittily declares, "Using reason to discuss the sacred [is] about as pointless as trying to use a fork to eat soup." (32) I would add that it is also about as pointless to use reason as a preparation for spiritual conversion. The intellect's place in the community of faith is to restrain emotional excesses and aberrant visions of faith prior to spiritual conversion, and the intellect is necessary to reflect upon and implement the horizontal conversions of the ethical dimensions, as well as scholarly perspectives on the larger matrix of Christian conversion, but it is woefully inadequate to the task of preparing candidates for personal encounter with Christ.

In short, Baptist revival conversions died out because they abandoned the Revivalist Motif of the camp meetings and nineteenth century revivalism for an inadequate Intellectual Motif more palatable perhaps to modern sensibilities, but totally incongruous with spiritual conversion. The means no longer suited the ends and the hearts of Baptists knew it before their heads, leading Baptists to look elsewhere for spiritual conversion, or to live in inarticulate religious malaise, or to accept the form of godliness even as they denied its power.

Post Script

On both sides of the Fundamentalist/Liberal divide, many of us inheritors of the camp meeting and revivalism Baptist heritage reject the affective conversion approaches of Mystical and Revivalist Motifs as foundations for spiritual conversions. Both rationalistic creedalists and reasonable academics grant intellectual conversion preeminence. The creedalists reject true Revivalist Motif conversions because they fear lack of doctrinal precision and loss of rational self-control, just what the opponents of the conversions of the First Great Awakening and camp meeting revivals feared. The liberal or progressive Baptists, on the other hand, reject the contemplative approaches of the Mystical Motif conversions as beyond the limits of academic discourse. They insist reason must sanction ritual, an oxymoron. They reject the Revivalist Motif as too emotional, assuming an unbridgeable chasm between strong emotion and reasonable faith. In both instances, liberals may long for the ineffable, but they shy away from the symbolic and imaginative means their forebears witness to as sure ways to attain it. Cold intellect alone makes a poor vehicle to lift one up from earthly commonplace to heavenly encounter. Better the fiery chariot of the Spirit reached for by the spirituality of Baptists who were awakened, revived, and transformed by conversion.

(1.) John Lofland and Norman Skonovd, "Conversion Motifs," Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 20, no. 4 (December 1981): 380.

(2.) Jerald C. Brauer, "Conversion: From Puritanism to Revivalism," Journal of Religion 58, no. 3 (July 1978): 227.

(3.) Ibid., 230.

(4.) I surveyed current social science research on conversion in The Baptist Seminary of Kentucky's E. Glenn Hinson Lectures, March 1, 2010, online at EGlennHinsonLectures/tabid/61413/Default.aspx.

(5.) Donald L. Gelpi, Committed Worship: A Sacramental Theology for Converting Christians, Vol. 1 Adult Conversion and Initiation (Collegeville, Minn: Liturgical Press, 1993), 29.

(6.) Stephen Happel and James J. Walter, Conversion and Discipleship (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986), 24.

(7.) Ibid., 30.

(8.) Lofland and Skonovd, Conversion Motifs, 374.

(9.) See Lewis R. Rambo, Understanding Religious Conversion (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993).

(10.) Lofland and Skonovd, Conversion Motifs, 377.

(11.) Ibid., 377.

(12.) See my dissertation, William Loyd Allen, "Spirituality among Southern Baptist Clergy as Reflected in Selected Autobiographies" (PhD diss., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1984), 196.

(13.) James Ireland, The Life of the Reverend James Ireland (Winchester, VA: J. Foster, 1819), 216.

(14.) Ibid., 105.

(15.) Ibid., 9.

(16.) Lofland and Skonovd, Conversion Motifs, 373; ibid.

(17.) Ibid., 380.

(18.) Ellen Eslinger, Citizens of Zion: Social Origins of Camp Meeting Revivalism (Knoxville: University of Tennessee, 1999), 194-95.

(19.) Ibid., 195.

(20.) Quoted in Ibid., 211.

(21.) Quoted in Ibid., 221.

(22.) Olive Johnson, One of the Wonders of the Age (Raleigh, NC: Edwards Broughton, 1886), 69.

(23.) Jeremiah Bell Jeter, The Recollections of a Long Life (Religious Herald Co., 1891), 154.

(24.) Ibid., 92.

(25.) Ibid., 196.

(26.) bid., 39.

(27.) Thomas C. Teasdale, Reminiscences and Incidents of a Long Life (St. Louis: National Baptist Publishing Company, 1887), 49.

(28.) Donald L. Gelpi, The Conversion Experience: A Reflective Process for RCIA Participants and Others (Mahway, N J: Paulist Press, 1998), 17.

(29.) See E. G. Hinson, "Baptist Approaches to Spirituality," Baptist History and Heritage 37, no. 2 (Spring 2002): 6.

(30.) Gelpi, Committed Worship : A Sacramental Theology for Converting Christians, 17.

(31.) Lofland and Skonovd, Conversion Motifs, 376.

(32.) Karen Armstrong, A Short History of Myth (New York City: Canongate, 2005), 116.

Wm Loyd Allen is Professor of Church History and Spiritual Formation at McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University.
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Author:Allen, Wm. Loyd
Publication:Baptist History and Heritage
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2010
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