The Making of Evqangelicalism: From Revivalism to Politics and Beyond

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With impressively clear prose and a superb command of history, best-selling author Randall Balmer offers a spirited history of evangelical Christianity in the United States. Effortlessly situating developments in evangelicalism in their wider historical context, he demonstrates the ways American social and cultural settings influenced the course of the evangelical tradition. By revealing the four key moments in the movement's history, he ably demonstrates how American Evangelicalism is truly American. Concluding with a manifesto directing where evangelicalism must go from here forth, Balmer's The Making of Evangelicalism will interest every reader--evangelical, mainline, secular--who wants to better understand evangelicals today.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Balmer effectively argues, however, that the 'prophetic voice' of Evangelicals will ring more truly 'on the margins of society, not in the councils of power.'"
--W. B. Bedford, Crown College, CHOICE (2010, 48:2)

"Seldom has so short a volume produced as much bang as this gem by noted historian and sometime politician Randall Balmer. For those who seek a greater understanding of the peculiar successes of evangelicalism in the American environment there can be no better starting point than The Making of Evangelicalism."
--Harry S. Stout, Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Religious History, Yale University

"... this small book tells a story that should not be forgotten."
--Ré Stooksberry, Congressional Libraries Today, 2011

"The Making of Evangelicalism exhibits the acumen we have come to expect from its author. In eighty-four pages of sharp, passionate prose, Balmer manages to illustrate, instruct, redefine, excite, entertain, and most of all provoke, all the while tweaking the conscience of evangelicals as much the curiosity of outside observers. His approach results in a remarkable book, one that can (and should) be read by anyone who wants to learn the basic history of this movement and measure its profound and enduring impact on American society."
--The Journal of Southern Religion (2011, Volume XIII)

"Often challenging and at times provocative, The Making of Evangelicalism calls for serious reflection regarding evangelicalism's future. Even those who might disagree with Balmer's interpretations will profit from a serious reading and pondering of this engaging, lucidly written book."
--David S. Dockery, President, Union University

"Trademark Balmer: he has written in his characteristically elegant prose--not just 'accessible,' but lovely--without sacrificing sophisticated analysis."

--Lauren F. Winner, author of Girl Meets God, and Mudhouse Sabbath

Library Journal
First-time author Welch offers excellent prose with a laudable purpose: to promote understanding of evangelical Christians. In order to gain this understanding herself, Welch, a nonpracticing Jew, spent two years attending Jerry Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church, even joining a missionary trip to evangelize in Alaska, all the while concealing her identity as an unbeliever (she reveals the truth to her church friends at the end of her time with them). However, this is the record of "a journey to the heart of evangelical America" only if one considers Falwell to be at or near that heart—a claim most evangelicals would reject. Balmer (American religious history, Barnard Coll.; God in the White House), a well-known author on religious topics, provides a brief history of American evangelicalism with an emphasis on its genius for adaptability. He considers the rise of the religious Right to be a faulty adaptation and urges evangelicals to change course. VERDICT Welch's book offers an engaging, personal look at one variant of Christian fundamentalism. Her book may be useful for public libraries seeking to balance less benign assessments in their collections and will give fundamentalists a sense of how they may be perceived by kindly outsiders. The political argument of Balmer's final chapters, while worth serious consideration, is frequently marred by a sardonic tone and will appeal primarily to readers whose views already align with the author's.—Lisa Richmond, Wheaton Coll. Lib., IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781602582439
  • Publisher: Baylor University Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2010
  • Pages: 120
  • Sales rank: 765,192
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Randall Balmer is Professor of American Religious History, Barnard College, Columbia University, and Visiting Professor, Yale Divinity School. A prolific and highly esteemed writer, he is the author of Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America; God in the White House: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush; and Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America. He lives in rural Connecticut.
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Read an Excerpt

"Four turning points. Four critical junctures in the formation of American evangelicalism. Four times when, in Robert Frost's memorable words, 'two roads diverged in a yellow wood.' Each of these junctures - the transition from Calvinist to Arminian theology in the embrace of revivalism, the shift from postmillennialism to premillennialism, the retreat into a subculture, and the rise of the Religious Right - invites counterfactual speculation. What if evangelicals had gone another way, had taken a different road back there in Robert Frost's woods? Might history have been different? Might evangelicals had been more faithful to the gospel they espouse had they chosen a different course?"

--excerpted from the Introduction

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Table of Contents

Note on the Text
1. The Heritage of Nonviolent Thought and Social Action
2. The American Civil Rights Struggle
3. The Lessons of the Nonviolent Experience
4. The Fall and Rise of the Just War Tradition
5. The Science of Conflict
6. From the War of Joshua to Jewish Pacifism
7. Jesus and Nonviolent Liberation
8. Early Christian Cosmology and Nonviolence
9. Varieties of Catholic Peace Theology I: Nonviolent Spirituality
10. Varieties of Catholic Peace Theology II: Professors and Pastors
11. Varieties of Catholic Peace Theology III: Latin American Models

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