C.R. Wiley - From The Household and the War for the Cosmos
"I hate to say it, but even the piety of Wesley and Whitfield was a downgrade of the real thing. This is because by the eighteenth-century piety’s sphere had already contracted. It is a well-documented story, so I won’t go into detail, but I think I can sum it up succinctly. By the time of Wesley and Whitfield, what had once been regarded as public truth had been reduced to private convictions. Authority in general had eroded due to revolutions in politics, the sciences, and even economics. To meet the challenge evangelists were forced to stress direct, very personal experience of the supernatural by everyone. The second-hand Truth contained in catechisms and confessions was no longer enough. Even eyewitness accounts of the risen Christ were not as trustworthy as a “warmed heart.” This is how we ended up with a hymn like “I Serve a Risen Savior.” In that song the line that is supposed to persuade you to believe that Jesus rose from the dead is, “You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart!” What we are left with today is heart religion, because now the heart is the only place Jesus can be publicly acknowledged to live. Ironically, many people think that this is the sum total of Christianity, and the notion that this is actually a downgrading of the faith is inconceivable."