Cane Ridge Meeting House Preaching

At Cane Ridge meeting house, Bourbon County, near Paris Kentucky, Barton W. Stone as part of the Second Great American Awakening represented Presbyterians in a joint communion service with Methodists, Baptists and perhaps others. Barton W. Stone had studied the methods of producing the para-normal looking actions of religious revivalism. This would be interpreted as evidence of a direct operation of the Holy Spirit. This, in turn, was used at Cane Ridge and elsewhere as evidence of the new birth which for the many Calvinists was a sign that they had been predestinated from eternity past to be among the few saved. The supernatural signs which had not been produced under normal preaching were earlier interpreted by the authorities that one was not predestinated. This wholesale manufacture of the credentials naturally led to division among the Presbyterians.

The super level of preaching caused anxiety over the lostness connected with a life style which did not seem Christian was like a baloon filled super tight with air. When the pin pricked them at Cane Ridge there was a psychological release from the preasure imposed upon them by clergy. In time much of the "Christian church" which came out of this charismatic background reverted to the more rational methods of Alexander Campbell.

Among some there was a change in actions but one induced by unnatural efforts by their own bodies. In time, this wore off and men like Barton W. Stone saw the error in believing in a God Who only appeared at certain times but was not universally avaliable. Like the First Great American Awakeing much earlier, the major result was a growth of religious groups where unity had prevailed earlier.

The following view is a composite of one photo and one sketch by one of the audience.

Or Taking Some Liberty - Seen at Night


Many of the "exercises" at Cane Ridge took place at night after prolonged preaching, singing and exhorting people to get the spirit. As with all previous "awakenings" the majority effect was among women who on the frontier lacked any sense of security.

Kenneth Sublett

Restoration Movement Index Many other articles about Cane Ridge

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