Finally, the work of the minister tended to be judged by his success in a single area - the saving of souls in measurable numbers. The local minister was judged either by his charismatic powers or by his ability to prepare his congregation for the preaching of some itinerant ministerial charmer who would really awaken its members. The 'star' system prevailed in religion before it reached the theater. As the evangelical impulse became more widespread and more dominant, the selection and training of ministers was increasingly shaped by the revivalist criterion of ministerial merit. The Puritan ideal of the minister as an intellectual and educational leader was steadily weakened in the face of the evangelical ideal of the minister as a popular crusader and exhorter. Theological education itself became more instrumental. Simple dogmatic formulations were considered sufficient. In considerable measure the churches withdrew from intellectual encounters with the secular world, gave up the idea that religion is a part of the whole life of intellectual experience, and often abandoned the field of rational studies on the assumption that they were the natural province of science alone. By 1853 an outstanding clergyman complained that there was 'an impression, somewhat general, that an intellectual clergyman is deficient in piety, and that an eminently pious minister is deficient in intellect.

~ Richard Hofstadter