Evangelicalism in America
Evangelicalism has left its indelible mark on American history, politics, and culture. It is also true that currents of American populism and politics have shaped the nature and character of evangelicalism.
This story of evangelicalism in America is thus riddled with paradox. Despite the fact that evangelicals, perhaps more than any other religious group, have benefited from the First Amendment and the separation of church and state, several prominent evangelical leaders over the past half century have tried to abrogate the establishment clause of the First Amendment. And despite evangelicalism's legacy of concern for the poor, for women, and for minorities, some contemporary evangelicals have repudiated their own heritage of compassion and sacrifice stemming from Jesus' command to love the least of these.
In Evangelicalism in America Randall Balmer chronicles the history of evangelicalism--its origins and development as well as its diversity and contradictions. Within this lineage Balmer explores the social varieties and political implications of evangelicalism's inception as well as its present and paradoxical relationship with American culture and politics. Balmer debunks some of the cherished myths surrounding this distinctly American movement while also prophetically speaking about its future contributions to American life.
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About the Author
Randall Balmer is John Phillips Professor in Religion and Chair of the Department of Religion at Dartmouth College. His book The Making of Evangelicalism - From Revivalism to Politics and Beyond is also available from Baylor University Press.
Balmer writes in clear, engaging prose, providing lively and concise portraits of movements and individuals from the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries.--Bradley J. Longfield "Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology "
A vital contribution to the study of a movement which itself has made such a vital contribution to the very soul of the United States.--Joe Super "Fides Et Historia "
A quick primer for how Evangelicalism became what it is today.--Steve A. Wiggins "Reading Religion "
As a self-acknowledged sympathizer with classical Evangelicalism, Balmer laments its fading into a mere shadow of its founding idealism. His choice of final essay indicates that he holds little hope for the future of a religion that uses political power as its main form of self-identity in a land founded on religious freedom.--Steve A. Wiggins "Reading Religion "
For directors of parish discussion groups, professors teaching undergraduates about American religion looking for an accessible text, or pastors appointed to an ecumenical commission, I'd run out and buy this book.--Mark Massa, SJ "Theological Studies "
An entertaining and provocative book by a senior scholar of American evangelicalism.--Glenn R. Kreider "Bibliotheca Sacra "