THE BRITISH INVASION of Christian Faith

The United Kingdom's Union Jack     [Photo by Vaughan Leiberum]

The United Kingdom’s Union Jack
[Photo by Vaughan Leiberum]

Fifty years ago the Beatles landed in America from England. Their songs soon dominated our popular music. They were followed by dozens of other groups and solo singers with British accents and cultural sway.

The invasion of singers from across the pond influenced aspects of our culture. other than music. The young fans who purchased records, posters, and concert tickets also imitated the singers’ hair-styles, clothing styles, and attitudes.

For decades there’s been a quieter British invasion on Public Television. It influences some of America’s entertainment tastes, from the plethora of “Britcoms” to TV detectives and ever-regenerating Dr. Who episodes to period pieces like Downton Abbey.

What about the Christian faith? Yes, there has been an undeniable infiltration of Christian influence from the UK to the USA. Most of it occurred somewhere between Paul Revere’s warning of the original British invasion and Ed Sullivan introducing the Beatles on his TV program in February of 1964.

That influx of British Christian influence has definitely impacted the spiritual life of the United States. The following list is far from exhaustive, but it’s a good sampler of how the United Kingdom has left its mark on the United States with positive, eternal consequences.

IT PROVIDED US CHRISTIAN SONGS TO CHERISH

  • -Charles Wesley gave a young America and its descendants enduring church standards-

Charles Wesley  [PD-USA]

Charles Wesley
[PD-USA]

While attending Oxford, brothers John and Charles Wesley were known for their methodical Christian disciplines. The Methodist Church eventually spread throughout North America. Its legacy  includes the doctrinally strong lyrics of Charles Wesley’s hymns.

Do you know which two of Charles Wesley’s holiday-themed songs are most strongly favored in the hymnals of various denominations?

For the answer to this question and other facts about Charles Wesley, read here.

  • -John Newton’s personal testimony in song became an American favorite-

1807 portrait of John Newton [PD-US]

1807 portrait of John Newton [PD-US]

He was once a wicked slave ship captain. When God captured his allegiance, John changed completely. As a pastor and a writer of hymns, he spent the rest of his life rescuing others from the slavery of sin.

Do you know, which Christian political leader is the subject of the 2006 movie titled, Amazing Grace, which features John Newton as a supporting character?

For the answer and to learn more about John Newton and the popularity of “Amazing Grace,” read here.

IT PROVIDED US CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES TO ADOPT

  • -Robert Raikes became known as “The father of Sunday schools”-

Robert Raikes.  [PD-USA]

Robert Raikes.
[PD-USA]

He was a Christian newspaper man. He used his influence to promote important social causes, including a Sunday classroom environment to help trouble-prone young men.

Do you know which American Christian leader included Sunday schools in the slums of Chicago in the late 1800s?

To find out and to learn more about England’s influential Christian named Robert Raikes, read here

  • -William Booth gave the world the Salvation Army-

William Booth  [PD-USA]

William Booth
[PD-USA]

William & Catherine Booth were a team dedicated to helping England’s poor. They improved their home country’s religious and social climate, then began making a difference in the United States.

Do you know in which United States city the first fundraising Christmas kettle was used?

To learn the answer and much more about William and Catherine Booth’s ministry, The Salvation Army, read here.

IT PROVIDED US CHRISTIAN BOOKS TO DEVOUR

  • -More of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons and other writings are available to read than those of any preacher that ever lived.-

Charles Spurgeon [PD-USA]

Charles Spurgeon
[PD-USA]

He introduced a preaching style in London different from the flowery eloquence of his day. Charles spoke in common language, used dramatic gestures, and included humor. He once explained his preaching plan as “I take my text and make a bee-line for the cross.”

Do you know what weather conditions led to a young Charles Spurgeon’s salvation experience?

For the answer and to learn more about his life and influential preaching and writing, read here.

  • -Oswald Chambers’ words fill the best-selling devotional of all time-

Oswald Chambers                    [PD-USA]

Oswald Chambers
[PD-USA]

He preached as an evangelist, a missionary, a leader of a Bible college, and as a chaplain. The once-aspiring artist knew how to paint word pictures. Many of his picturesque statements found their way into “My Utmost for His Highest.”

Do you know what happened to Oswald in 1917 that led to his death at age 43?

To find out and to discover more about Oswald Chambers and how “My Utmost for His Highest” came to be, read here.

  • -C. S. Lewis wrote prose and fiction that taps the imagination and teaches-
C. S. Lewis. Image: butterfunk.com.

C. S. Lewis. Image: butterfunk.com.

He was an atheist until age 33. He married in his late 50s. The avid reader-turned Oxford and Cambridge instruct0r-turned prolific Christian author, survived some emotionally painful experiences that helped him write about the human experience.

Do you know what The Searcher Centenary Statue, erected in Belfast in 1999, depicts?

To find out and to learn much more about Clive Staples Lewis, read here

——————————————————————————————————–

If you’ve enjoyed this article or any of the links it contains, please share this post with others. I hope you’ll also be inspired to discover other ways God has used his servants in the United Kingdom to spiritually influence the United States.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Advertisements

About William E. Richardson

I'm married to a wonderful woman named Deb. We're the parents of a son and daughter who bring great joy to our lives. I currently pastor the Assembly of God church in Afton, Iowa.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s