For a while Christian History & Biography magazine ran a column titled “People Worth Knowing.” We’d find two or three people with some thematic connection and write up brief, linked profiles. Here is one of my favorites, on several fascinating woman leaders in 19th-century evangelical Protestantism. Appended to the end of the article is a brief piece by Jim Smith, who was an advisory editor for CHB and is now my colleague at Bethel Seminary (on the San Diego campus), on a 19th-century woman who wrote about women in church history:
People Worth Knowing
No Little Women here
It is not much of an exaggeration to say that women made revivalistic Protestantism happen in the nineteenth century. For example, as historian Mary Ryan has shown, Charles Finney’s New York revival meetings were organized, prepared, and prayed for by an extensive network of Christian women. Moreover, these women often brought the men in their lives—husbands, fathers, sons, and more distant relatives—to Finney’s meetings.
Women’s influence soon reached far beyond the prayer meeting and the revival, especially through their participation in social causes. It was in the crusades for educational reform, abolition, and temperance that three of nineteenth-century America’s most prominent Christian women made their names and changed their nation: Catharine Beecher, Sojourner Truth, and Frances Willard. Continue reading