Who Is an Evangelical?: The History of a Movement in Crisis

Who Is an Evangelical?: The History of a Movement in Crisis

by Thomas S. Kidd


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A leading historian of evangelicalism offers a concise history of evangelicals and how they became who they are today

Evangelicalism is arguably America’s most controversial religious movement. Nonevangelical people who follow the news may have a variety of impressions about what “evangelical” means. But one certain association they make with evangelicals is white Republicans. Many may recall that 81 percent of self‑described white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump, and they may well wonder at the seeming hypocrisy of doing so.
In this illuminating book, Thomas Kidd draws on his expertise in American religious history to retrace the arc of this spiritual movement, illustrating just how historically peculiar that political and ethnic definition (white Republican) of evangelicals is. He examines distortions in the public understanding of evangelicals, and shows how a group of “Republican insider evangelicals” aided the politicization of the movement. This book will be a must‑read for those trying to better understand the shifting religious and political landscape of America today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300241419
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 09/24/2019
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 805,349
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Thomas S. Kidd is the James Vardaman Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor University. His books include Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father and American Colonial History: Clashing Cultures and Faiths.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 The Rise of Evangelicals 8

2 Evangelicals Ascendant and the Coming of the Civil War 28

3 The "Fundamentalists" and Evangelical Controversy 51

4 The Neo-Evangelical Movement and Billy Graham 74

5 Two-Track Evangelicals and the New Christian Right 94

6 Evangelicalism from Reagan to Obama 121

Coda. Donald Trump and the Crisis of Evangelicalism 144

Notes 157

Index 177

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