chapter  VI
50 Pages

The Impact of American Revivalism, Modernism, and Secularism

The impact of American religion on Russian and East European Mennonites in central Kansas was both pronounced and complex. Mennonites arriving in America in the late nineteenth century encountered a religious atmosphere completely alien from their European experience. Although several factors accounted for the acculturation of Kansas Mennonite churches, none produced a response comparable to revivalism. In the new environment, Mennonite congregations encountered modernism, fundamentalism, secularism, liberalism, Calvinism, Arminianism, individualism, humanism, and a host of other "isms" not central to their Anabaptist heritage. American revivalism has been a recurring theme in American religious history. Mennonite involvement in the temperance movement and eventual support for prohibition was an additional sign of acculturation. Most Mennonite congregations in central Kansas survived the impact of American revivalism without a church split. Kansas Mennonites learned several painful lessons from World War I. Kansas Mennonites encountered a religious paradox in nineteenth century America.