Donald Trump met with hundreds of evangelical leaders in New York last Tuesday.
Shortly after the meeting, James Dobson, the founder of the group Focus on the Family, claimed Trump recently “[accepted] a relationship with Christ,” adding, “I know the person who led him to Christ.” His statement was first brought to public attention by the historian John Fea, and then picked up in The New York Times and other publications.
Over the 19th century and into the 20th, evangelicalism moved into mainstream American religious and cultural life.
While today’s conservative Christians often claim the United States was founded as a Christian nation, in fact, it took a great deal of missionary effort to evangelize the United States during the 19th century.
The evangelical revivals of the 1830s and 1840s continued to develop the idea of conversion as new birth.