American Evangelical Story, The: A History of the Movement

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The American Evangelical Story surveys the role American evangelicalism has had in the shaping of global evangelical history.

Author Douglas Sweeney begins with a brief outline of the key features that define evangelicals and then explores the roots of the movement in English Pietism and the Great Awakening of the eighteenth century. He goes on to consider the importance of missions in the development of evangelicalism and the continuing emphasis placed on evangelism. Sweeney next examines the different subgroups of American evangelicals and the current challenges faced by the movement, concluding with reflections on the future of evangelicalism.

Combining a narrative style with historical detail and insight, this accessible, illustrated book will appeal to readers interested in the history of the movement, as well as students of church history.

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Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
Intended for students, this short and sympathetic — although not uncritical — history of American evangelical religion serves admirably as a brisk and useful introduction to a vital subject. Helpful annotated bibliographies at the end of each chapter provide intelligent suggestions for further reading on specific topics. Although the book does not continue its story much past 1970 or wrestle with the theological support for racial segregation that continued until very recently, it does an excellent job of presenting the major events and personalities of the leading strands of American evangelicalism. Sweeney should be especially commended for trying to overcome the common tendency among evangelical intellectuals to give undue weight to "dead white male Calvinists." Sweeney's history is more inclusive, giving greater weight to those minorities, women, Arminians, Holinesses, and Pentecostals who have often had a greater impact on religious life. In placing great emphasis on the links between domestic evangelicals and foreign missions, Sweeney also highlights an area of particular importance to American foreign policy. Overall, this theologically insightful book will serve secular, non-Christian, and nonevangelical intellectuals especially as an excellent, if sometimes provocative, guide to an important and often misunderstood dimension of American life.
Library Journal
Sweeney (church history, Trinity Evangelical Divinity Sch.) surveys the development of the American evangelical movement, including its European influences, from the 18th century's Great Awakening to today. Often called a folk religion without doctrinal platform, evangelism, as rooted in scriptural orthodoxy, has held significant sway in Christian mainline churches. It is currently growing among Latin American and African congregants. Sweeney underscores the historical diversity and challenges of evangelism and is particularly strong in delineating the lesser-known story of the movement among African Americans. Each chapter contains annotated suggestions for further reading, which enhances the book's use for seminary and college courses in religion. Sweeney also details major figures, both male and female, from Jonathan Edwards to Charles E. Fuller and Billy Graham, noting their contributions of renewal within the greater universal church. With a clear writing style, refreshingly modern text, and black-and-white photos, the book offers insightful perspectives on today's many evangelical denominations and is recommended for religious, academic, and public library collections.-Anna M. Donnelly, St. John's Univ. Lib., Jamaica, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801026584
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/1/2005
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 766,938
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas A. Sweeney (Ph.D., Vanderbilt University) is associate professor of church history and the history of Christian thought and director of the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
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Table of Contents

1 Evangelical : what's in a word? 17
2 A surprising work of God : the eighteenth-century revival 27
3 Crafting new wineskins : institutionalizing the movement 53
4 As the waters cover the sea : the rise of evangelical missions 79
5 Crossing the color line without working to erase it : evangelical history in black and white 107
6 In search of a higher Christian life : the Holiness, Pentecostal, and Charismatic movements 133
7 Standing on the promises through howling storms of doubt : fundamentalism and neoevangelicalism 155
Conclusion : the future of evangelicalism 181
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