The established churches, church growth, and secularization in imperial Britain, c1830-1930

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract

This chapter considers the question of whether church establishments, representing the alliance of church and state, contributed to church decline. It does so through a study of the established Church of England and the established Church of Scotland during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The chapter argues that these churches experienced a remarkable resurgence in the decades after 1830—the period representing the height of British world influence—building thousands of new churches, conducting a vibrant home and overseas mission, educating much of the British youth, mobilizing lay support, and raising significant financial donations to supplement their historic tithes and endowments. The motivation behind this growth was largely a sense of Christian responsibility for the higher interests of the British peoples and Empire. Although this revival of the established churches waned after about 1900, there is no evidence that established religion was a cause of church decline in Britain.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSecularization and Religious Innovation in the North Atlantic World
EditorsDavid Hempton, Hugh McLeod
PublisherOxford University Press
Chapter1
Pages25-43
ISBN (Print)9780198798071
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2017

Keywords

  • rational choice
  • established Churches
  • missions
  • education
  • parish system
  • Church of England
  • Church of Scotland
  • alliance of church and state
  • Christian responsibility

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