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History of Christianity in North America

Purposes: To gain an overview of events, ideas, people and groups that have helped to shape Christianity in the United States and Canada from the colonial era to the present (with primary emphasis on Christianity in the U. S.). To become aware of the tensions, challenges and opportunities facing various expressions of the Christian church in North America and to examine “how the Christian religion has fared in America” (Noll, 3). In the context of that examination, we will ask, among others, the following questions: What has it meant to be a Christian in America, in relation to the church and to the culture? How has the Christian faith affected the public and private lives of people in North America? Who has shaped the story of Christianity on this continent and why? To locate ourselves as representatives of various denominations and religious traditions within the “community of memory” we belong to as professed Christians. To cultivate an enjoyment and appreciation of the complexity and rich heritage of Christianity in North America.


This syllabus was created for the Young Scholars in American Religion program.

Kathryn Long

Wheaton College

Private College or University
Institution Type

Resource Type

Undergraduate Course, Graduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

Religious Studies, History

Catholic, Other Christianities, Protestant
Religous Tradition

Family/Children/Reproduction, Pluralism/Secularism/Culture Wars, Race/Ethnicity, Nationalism/War/Civil Religion

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