Protestantism in America / Edition 1

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As America has become more pluralistic, Protestantism, with its long roots in American history and culture, has hardly remained static. This finely crafted portrait of a remarkably complex group of Christian denominations describes Protestantism's history, constituent subgroups and their activities, and the way in which its dialectic with American culture has shaped such facets of the wider society as healthcare, welfare, labor relations, gender roles, and political discourse.

Part I provides an introduction to the religion's essential beliefs, a brief history, and a taxonomy of its primary American varieties. Part II shows the diversity of the tradition with vivid accounts of life and worship in a variety of mainline and evangelical churches. Part III explores the vexed relationship Protestantism maintains with critical social issues, including homosexuality, feminism, and social justice. The appendices include biographical sketches of notable Protestant leaders, a chronology, a glossary, and an annotated list of resources for further study.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Anglican Theological Review
Vivid and engaging

— Gardiner H. Shattuck, Jr.

H-Net Reviews
A highly useful text

— Amanda Porterfield

Booklist - Steven Schroeder

A useful starting point for reflection on the future of Protestantism.

Journal of Religion - Robert Bruce Mullin

[A]n innovative and insightful book... The volume [Balmer & Winner] have produced is succinct and sprightly, and full of insights. It is a welcome guide to American Protestantism at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Chicago Tribune - Christian Sheppard

Balmer and Winner boldly take hold of the large and complex topic of Protestantism in America by its most ungainly part, evangelicalism.

Anglican Theological Review - Gardiner H. Shattuck

Vivid and engaging

H-Net Reviews - Amanda Porterfield

A highly useful text

A useful starting point for reflection on the future of Protestantism.

— Steven Schroeder

Journal of Religion
[A]n innovative and insightful book... The volume [Balmer & Winner] have produced is succinct and sprightly, and full of insights. It is a welcome guide to American Protestantism at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

— Robert Bruce Mullin

Chicago Tribune
Balmer and Winner boldly take hold of the large and complex topic of Protestantism in America by its most ungainly part, evangelicalism.

— Christian Sheppard


Balmer and Winner have produced a book that is quite readable.

Journal of Church & State

A testimony to the historic centrality and energy of Protestantism in the broader American religious culture and a worthy and enlightening new study.

Library Journal
Following the general pattern of previous volumes in the "Columbia Contemporary American Religion" series (e.g., Jane I. Smith's Islam in America), this volume provides a brief historical overview, case studies of churches, and essays on significant issues facing Protestant congregations today. Balmer (American religion, Barnard Coll.) and Winner, a doctoral candidate at Columbia, do an admirable job of synthesizing recent scholarship and have created an engaging, if occasionally irreverent, account. While always acknowledging the diversity and complexity of Protestant denominations, this book basically divides Protestants into two camps evangelical and liberal with both camps receiving equally critical evaluations. In exploring the challenges of feminism, homosexuality, and social justice, the authors consider both how the issues have affected the churches and how the churches have affected the broader culture. The work also contains brief profiles of significant individuals, a time line, and a glossary. While the book could have used tighter editing virtually identical sentences explaining various terms appear multiple times the amount of information presented and the quality of the analysis make this a useful work for academic and public libraries. Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll. Lib., NC Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231111317
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 11/11/2005
  • Series: Columbia Contemporary American Religion Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Randall Balmer is the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of American Religion at Barnard College, Columbia University. He is the author of Religion in Twentieth Century America and Grant Us Courage. He has written and presented three PBS television documentaries, including Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America. He lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut.Lauren F. Winner is a doctoral candidate in history at Columbia University and a contributor to Christianity Today, The New York Times, and The Christian Century, among other publications.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface: Easter Sunday1. Protestantism in America2. Brief History of Protestantism in America3. Varieties of Protestantism in America4. Williston Federated Church5. Abyssinian Baptist Church6. New Life Family Fellowship7. Protestants and Feminism8. Protestants and Homosexuality9. Protestants and Social Justice

Columbia University Press

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