front cover of The Anointed
The Anointed
Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age
Randall J. Stephens and Karl W. Giberson
Harvard University Press, 2011

American evangelicalism often appears as a politically monolithic, textbook red-state fundamentalism that elected George W. Bush, opposes gay marriage, abortion, and evolution, and promotes apathy about global warming. Prominent public figures hold forth on these topics, speaking with great authority for millions of followers. Authors Stephens and Giberson, with roots in the evangelical tradition, argue that this popular impression understates the diversity within evangelicalism—an often insular world where serious disagreements are invisible to secular and religiously liberal media consumers. Yet, in the face of this diversity, why do so many people follow leaders with dubious credentials when they have other options? Why do tens of millions of Americans prefer to get their science from Ken Ham, founder of the creationist Answers in Genesis, who has no scientific expertise, rather than from his fellow evangelical Francis Collins, current Director of the National Institutes of Health?

Exploring intellectual authority within evangelicalism, the authors reveal how America’s populist ideals, anti-intellectualism, and religious free market, along with the concept of anointing—being chosen by God to speak for him like the biblical prophets—established a conservative evangelical leadership isolated from the world of secular arts and sciences.

Today, charismatic and media-savvy creationists, historians, psychologists, and biblical exegetes continue to receive more funding and airtime than their more qualified counterparts. Though a growing minority of evangelicals engage with contemporary scholarship, the community’s authority structure still encourages the “anointed” to assume positions of leadership.

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The Chance of Salvation
A History of Conversion in America
Lincoln A. Mullen
Harvard University Press, 2017

The United States has a long history of religious pluralism, and yet Americans have often thought that people’s faith determines their eternal destinies. The result is that Americans switch religions more often than any other nation. The Chance of Salvation traces the history of the distinctively American idea that religion is a matter of individual choice.

Lincoln Mullen shows how the willingness of Americans to change faiths, recorded in narratives that describe a wide variety of conversion experiences, created a shared assumption that religious identity is a decision. In the nineteenth century, as Americans confronted a growing array of religious options, pressures to convert altered the basis of American religion. Evangelical Protestants emphasized conversion as a personal choice, while Protestant missionaries brought Christianity to Native American nations such as the Cherokee, who adopted Christianity on their own terms. Enslaved and freed African Americans similarly created a distinctive form of Christian conversion based on ideas of divine justice and redemption. Mormons proselytized for a new tradition that stressed individual free will. American Jews largely resisted evangelism while at the same time winning converts to Judaism. Converts to Catholicism chose to opt out of the system of religious choice by turning to the authority of the Church.

By the early twentieth century, religion in the United States was a system of competing options that created an obligation for more and more Americans to choose their own faith. Religion had changed from a family inheritance to a consciously adopted identity.

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Church in the Wild
Evangelicals in Antebellum America
Brett Malcolm Grainger
Harvard University Press, 2019

A religious studies scholar argues that in antebellum America, evangelicals, not Transcendentalists, connected ordinary Americans with their spiritual roots in the natural world.

We have long credited Emerson and his fellow Transcendentalists with revolutionizing religious life in America and introducing a new appreciation of nature. Breaking with Protestant orthodoxy, these New Englanders claimed that God could be found not in church but in forest, fields, and streams. Their spiritual nonconformity had thrilling implications but never traveled far beyond their circle. In this essential reconsideration of American faith in the years leading up to the Civil War, Brett Malcolm Grainger argues that it was not the Transcendentalists but the evangelical revivalists who transformed the everyday religious life of Americans and spiritualized the natural environment.

Evangelical Christianity won believers from the rural South to the industrial North: this was the true popular religion of the antebellum years. Revivalists went to the woods not to free themselves from the constraints of Christianity but to renew their ties to God. Evangelical Christianity provided a sense of enchantment for those alienated by a rapidly industrializing world. In forested camp meetings and riverside baptisms, in private contemplation and public water cures, in electrotherapy and mesmerism, American evangelicals communed with nature, God, and one another. A distinctive spirituality emerged pairing personal piety with a mystical relation to nature.

As Church in the Wild reveals, the revivalist attitude toward nature and the material world, which echoed that of Catholicism, spread like wildfire among Christians of all backgrounds during the years leading up to the Civil War.

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Communicating Faith
John Sullivan
Catholic University of America Press, 2011
This book enriches appreciation of the many ways that Christian faith is communicated. It casts light on the sensitivities, skills, and qualities necessary for the effective communication of faith, where justice is done both to the "seed" to be sown and to the "soil" being cultivated.
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Deliverance and Submission
Evangelical Women and the Negotiation of Patriarchy in South Korea
Kelly H. Chong
Harvard University Press, 2008

South Korea is home to one of the most vibrant evangelical Protestant communities in the world. This book investigates the meanings of—and the reasons behind—an intriguing aspect of contemporary South Korean evangelicalism: the intense involvement of middle-class women. Drawing upon extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Seoul that explores the relevance of gender and women’s experiences to Korean evangelicalism, Kelly H. Chong not only helps provide a clearer picture of the evangelical movement’s success in South Korea, but interrogates the global question of contemporary women’s attraction to religious traditionalisms.

In highlighting the growing disjunction between the forces of social transformation that are rapidly liberalizing modern Korean society, and a social system that continues to uphold key patriarchal structures on both societal and familial levels, Chong relates women’s religious involvement to the contradictions of South Korea’s recent socio-cultural changes and complex engagement with modernity. By focusing on the ways in which women’s religious participation constitutes—both spiritually and institutionally—an important part of their effort to negotiate the problems and dilemmas of contemporary family and gender relations, this book explores the contradictory significance of evangelical beliefs and practices for women, which simultaneously opens up possibilities for gender negotiation/resistance, and for women’s redomestication.

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The Divine Institution
White Evangelicalism's Politics of the Family
Sophie Bjork-James
Rutgers University Press, 2021
The Divine Institution provides an account of how a theology of the family came to dominate a white evangelical tradition in the post-civil rights movement United States, providing a theological corollary to Religious Right politics. This tradition inherently enforces racial inequality in that it draws moral, religious, and political attention away from problems of racial and economic structural oppression, explaining all social problems as a failure of the individual to achieve the strong gender and sexual identities that ground the nuclear family. The consequences of this theology are both personal suffering for individuals who cannot measure up to prescribed gender and sexual roles, and political support for conservative government policies. Exposure to experiences that undermine the idea that an emphasis on the family is the solution to all social problems is causing a younger generation of white evangelicals to shift away from this narrow theological emphasis and toward a more social justice-oriented theology. The material and political effects of this shift remain to be seen.
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The Evangelical Crackup?
The Future of the Evangelical-Republican Coalition
Edited by Paul Djupe and Ryan L. Claassen
Temple University Press, 2019

Why did Donald Trump attract a record number of white evangelical voters without unified support—and despite nontrivial antipathy from evangelical leaders? The editors and leading scholars that contribute to the timely volume The Evangelical Crackup? answer this question and provide a comprehensive assessment of the status of evangelicals and the Christian Right in the Republican coalition.

The expected “crackup” with the Republican Party never happened. Each chapter in this cogent volume includes analyses of the 2016 election to explain why—and why that is critical. Chapters examine policy priorities, legal advocacy, and evangelical loyalty to the Republican Party; rhetoric, social networks, and evangelical elite influence; and the political implications of movements within evangelicalism, such as young evangelicals, Hispanics, and the Emergent Church movement.

Contributors include: Daniel Bennett, Mark Brockway, Ryan P. Burge, Brian R. Calfano, Jeremy Castle, Kimberly Conger, Daniel A. Cox, Kevin den Dulk, Sarah Allen Gershon, Tobin Grant, Robert P. Jones, Geoffrey Layman, Andrew R. Lewis, Ronald J. McGauvran, Joshua Mitchell, Juhem Navarro-Rivera, Jacob R. Neiheisel, Elizabeth Oldmixon, Adrian D. Pantoja, David Searcy, Anand Edward Sokhey, J. Benjamin Taylor, Robert Wuthnow, and the editors.

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Evangelical News
Politics, Gender, and Bioethics in Conservative Christian Magazines of the 1970s and 1980s
Anja-Maria Bassimir
University of Alabama Press, 2022
A comprehensive study of evangelical magazine discourse during the 1970s and 1980s and how it navigated and sustained religious convictions in a time of dramatic social change

The 1970s and 1980s were a tumultuous period in US history. In tandem with a dramatic political shift to the right, evangelicalism also entered the public discourse as a distinct religious movement and was immediately besieged by cultural appropriations and internal fragmentations. Americans in general and evangelicals in particular grappled with issues and ideas such as feminism, abortion, birth control, and restructuring traditional roles for women and the family. During this time, there was a surge in readership for evangelical periodicals such as Christianity Today, Moody Monthly, Eternity, and Post-Americans/Sojourners as well as the feminist newsletter Daughters of Sarah.

While each of these magazines—and other publications and media—contributed to and participated in the overall dissemination of evangelical ideology, they also had their own outlooks and political leanings concerning hot-button issues. In Evangelical News: Politics, Gender, and Bioethics in Conservative Christian Magazines of the 1970s and 1980s, Anja-Maria Bassimir presents a nuanced view of evangelicalism in the late twentieth century through the lens of the movement’s own media.

Bassimir argues that community can be produced in discourse, especially when shared rhetoric, concepts, and perspectives signal belonging. To accomplish this, Evangelical News traces the emergence of evangelical social and political awareness in the 1970s to the height of its power as a political program. The chapters investigate such topics as how evangelicals reenvisioned gender norms and relations in light of the feminist movement, the use of childhood as a symbol of unspoiled innocence, and the place of evangelicals as political actors.


 
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Evangelicals and Democracy in America
Religion and Politics
Steven G. Brint
Russell Sage Foundation, 2009
Separation of church and state is a bedrock principal of American democracy, and so, too, is active citizen engagement. Since evangelicals comprise one of the largest and most vocal voting blocs in the United States, tensions and questions naturally arise. In the two-volume Evangelicals and Democracy in America, editors Steven Brint and Jean Reith Schroedel have assembled an authoritative collection of studies of the evangelical movement in America. Religion and Politics, the second volume of the set, focuses on the role of religious conservatives in party politics, the rhetoric evangelicals use to mobilize politically, and what the history of the evangelical movement reveals about where it may be going. Part I of Religion and Politics explores the role of evangelicals in electoral politics. Contributor Pippa Norris looks at evangelicals around the globe and finds that religiosity is a strong predictor of ideological leanings in industrialized countries. But the United States remains one of only a handful of post-industrial societies where religion plays a significant role in partisan politics. Other chapters look at voting trends, especially the growing number of higher-income evangelicals among Republican ranks, how voting is influenced both by "values" and race, and the management of the symbols and networks behind the electoral system of moral-values politics. Part II of the volume focuses on the mobilizing rhetoric of the Christian Right. Nathaniel Klemp and Stephen Macedo show how the rhetorical strategies of the Christian Right create powerful mobilizing narratives, but frequently fail to build broad enough coalitions to prevail in the pluralistic marketplace of ideas. Part III analyzes the cycles and evolution of the Christian Right. Kimberly Conger looks at the specific circumstances that have allowed evangelicals to become dominant in some Republican state party committees but not in others. D. Michael Lindsay examines the "elastic orthodoxy" that has allowed evangelicals to evolve into a formidable social and political force. The final chapter by Clyde Wilcox presents a new framework for understanding the relationship between the Christian Right and the GOP based on the ecological metaphor of co-evolution. With its companion volume on religion and society, this second volume of Evangelicals and Democracy in America offers the most complete examination yet of the social circumstances and political influence of the millions of Americans who are white evangelical Protestants. Understanding their history and prospects for the future is essential to forming a comprehensive picture of America today.
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Evangelicals and Democracy in America
Religion and Society
Steven G. Brint
Russell Sage Foundation, 2009
By the end of the nineteenth century, the vast majority of U.S. churches were evangelical in outlook and practice. America's turn toward modernism and embrace of science in the early twentieth century threatened evangelicalism's cultural prominence. But as confidence in modern secularism wavered in the 1960s and 1970s, evangelicalism had another great awakening. The two volumes of Evangelicals and Democracy in America trace the development and current role of evangelicalism in American social and political life. Volume I focuses on who evangelicals are today, how they relate to other groups, and what role they play in U.S. social institutions. Part I of Religion and Society examines evangelicals' identity and activism. Contributor Robert Wuthnow explores the identity built around the centrality of Jesus, church and community service, and the born-again experience. Philip Gorski explores the features of American evangelicalism and society that explain the recurring mobilization of conservative Protestants in American history. Part II looks at how evangelicals relate to other key groups in American society. Individual chapters delve into evangelicals' relationship to other conservative religious groups, women and gays, African Americans, and mainline Protestants. These chapters show sources of both solidarity and dissension within the "traditionalist alliance" and the hidden strengths of mainline Protestants' moral discourse. Part III examines religious conservatives' influence on American social institutions outside of politics. W. Bradford Wilcox, David Sikkink, Gabriel Rossman, and Rogers Smith investigate evangelicals' influence on families, schools, popular culture, and the courts, respectively. What emerges is a picture of American society as a consumer marketplace with a secular legal structure and an arena of pluralistic competition interpreting what constitutes the public good. These chapters show that religious conservatives have been shaped by these realities more than they have been able to shape them. Evangelicals and Democracy in America, Volume I is one of the most comprehensive examinations ever of this important current in American life and serves as a corrective to erroneous popular representations. These meticulously balanced studies not only clarify the religious and social origins of evangelical mobilization, but also detail both the scope and limits of evangelicals' influence in our society. This volume is the perfect complement to its companion in this landmark series, Evangelicals and Democracy in America, Volume II: Religion and Politics.
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The Glass Church
Robert H. Schuller, the Crystal Cathedral, and the Strain of Megachurch Ministry
Mark T. Mulder
Rutgers University Press, 2020

Robert H. Schuller’s ministry—including the architectural wonder of the Crystal Cathedral and the polished television broadcast of Hour of Power—cast a broad shadow over American Christianity. Pastors flocked to Southern California to learn Schuller’s techniques. The President of United States invited him sit prominently next to the First Lady at the State of the Union Address. Muhammad Ali asked for the pastor’s autograph. It seemed as if Schuller may have started a second Reformation. And then it all went away. As Schuller’s ministry wrestled with internal turmoil and bankruptcy, his emulators—including Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, and Joel Osteen— nurtured megachurches that seemed to sweep away the Crystal Cathedral as a relic of the twentieth century. How did it come to this?

Certainly, all churches depend on a mix of constituents, charisma, and capital, yet the size and ambition of large churches like Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral exert enormous organizational pressures to continue the flow of people committed to the congregation, to reinforce the spark of charismatic excitement generated by high-profile pastors, and to develop fresh flows of capital funding for maintenance of old projects and launching new initiatives. The constant attention to expand constituencies, boost charisma, and stimulate capital among megachurches produces an especially burdensome strain on their leaders. By orienting an approach to the collapse of the Crystal Cathedral on these three core elements—constituency, charisma, and capital—The Glass Church demonstrates how congregational fragility is greatly accentuated in larger churches, a notion we label megachurch strain, such that the threat of implosion is significantly accentuated by any failures to properly calibrate the inter-relationship among these elements.

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It's a New Day
Race and Gender in the Modern Charismatic Movement
Scott Billingsley
University of Alabama Press, 2008
It’s a New Day chronicles the rise of women and African American evangelists in the independent charismatic movement in post-World War II America. Billingsley observes  current figures such as T. D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, and Creflo Dollar, who were deeply influenced by charismatic pioneers Oral Roberts and Kenneth Hagin. The evangelists adopted their ministry-building and prosperity gospel tactics and are notable for megachurches, televangelism, and health-and-wealth doctrines.
 
The modern charismatic movement has grown far more sophisticated and has become a truly international phenomenon, and Pentecostals and charismatics hold a wide variety of views on race and gender.  Charismatic women ministers take to the pulpit, manage publishing empires, and lead the faithful in modern America. Similarly, both black and white charismatic ministers preach to integrated churches and hold integrated revivals, even while racial divides endure in the larger society. It’s a New Day contributes to our understanding and appreciation of one of the most vital sectors in current American religious life.
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Kincraft
The Making of Black Evangelical Sociality
Todne Thomas
Duke University Press, 2021
In Kincraft Todne Thomas explores the internal dynamics of community life among black evangelicals, who are often overshadowed by white evangelicals and the common equation of the “Black Church” with an Afro-Protestant mainline. Drawing on fieldwork in an Afro-Caribbean and African American church association in Atlanta, Thomas locates black evangelicals at the center of their own religious story, presenting their determined spiritual relatedness as a form of insurgency. She outlines how church members cocreate themselves as spiritual kin through what she calls kincraft—the construction of one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Kincraft, which Thomas traces back to the diasporic histories and migration experiences of church members, reflects black evangelicals' understanding of Christian familial connection as transcending racial, ethnic, and denominational boundaries in ways that go beyond the patriarchal nuclear family. Church members also use their spiritual relationships to navigate racial and ethnic discrimination within the majority-white evangelical movement. By charting kincraft's functions and significance, Thomas demonstrates the ways in which black evangelical social life is more varied and multidimensional than standard narratives of evangelicalism would otherwise suggest.
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The Megachurch and the Mainline
Remaking Religious Tradition in the Twenty-first Century
Stephen Ellingson
University of Chicago Press, 2007

Religious traditions provide the stories and rituals that define the core values of church members. Yet modern life in America can make those customs seem undesirable, even impractical. As a result, many congregations refashion church traditions so they may remain powerful and salient. How do these transformations occur? How do clergy and worshipers negotiate which aspects should be preserved or discarded?

Focusing on the innovations of several mainline Protestant churches in the San Francisco Bay Area, Stephen Ellingson’s The Megachurch and the Mainline provides new understandings of the transformation of spiritual traditions. For Ellingson, these particular congregations typify a new type of Lutheranism—one which combines the evangelical approaches that are embodied in the growing legion of megachurches with American society’s emphasis on pragmatism and consumerism. Here Ellingson provides vivid descriptions of congregations as they sacrifice hymns in favor of rock music and scrap traditional white robes and stoles for Hawaiian shirts, while also making readers aware of the long history of similar attempts to Americanize the Lutheran tradition.

This is an important examination of a religion in flux—one that speaks to the growing popularity of evangelicalism in America.

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A New Vision for Missions
William Cameron Townsend, The Wycliffe Bible Translators, and the Culture of Early Evangelical Faith Missions, 1917-1945
William Lawrence Svelmoe
University of Alabama Press, 2008
“Cam” Townsend is rightly known as the visionary founder of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) and the Wycliffe Bible Translators. This joint effort is now the largest Protestant mission organization in the world, a mission which has dramatically changed the culture of what used to be known as faith missions.
 
Townsend revolutionized Protestant missions by emphasizing that missionaries needed to learn the language of the people to whom they were sent and to live among them in order to understand their communities. His system stressed training the missionaries in public health, basic education, and agricultural skills. The demonstrated success of missionaries who followed Townsend’s plan led to SIL/WBT influence in the larger societies in which the organization was present. Townsend was non-dogmatic in seeking allies to pursue his objectives, including local political movements and power structures, academics, and other religious faiths, increasing the influence of his group to the point that SIL/WBT became a major factor in the national affairs of the countries in which they were active, particularly in Latin America.
 
The very success of Townsend’s methods led to trouble with his base in the United States. As conservative and evangelical financial backers and prospective missionaries saw the organization and Townsend working amicably with Roman Catholics, leftist political groups, and atheist and agnostic academics, the SIL/WBT ran into trouble at home.
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Preaching to Convert
Evangelical Outreach and Performance Activism in a Secular Age
John Fletcher
University of Michigan Press, 2015
Preaching to Convert offers an intriguing new perspective on the outreach strategies of U.S. evangelicals, framing them as examples of activist performance, broadly defined as acts performed before an audience in the hopes of changing hearts and minds. Most writing about activist performance has focused on left-progressive causes, events, and actors. Preaching to Convert argues against such a constricted view of activism and for a more nuanced understanding of U.S. evangelicalism as a movement defined by its desire to win converts and spread the gospel.
 
The book positions evangelicals as a diverse, complicated group confronting the loss of conservative Christianity’s default status in 21st-century U.S. culture. In the face of an increasingly secular age, evangelicals have been reassessing models of outreach. In acts like handing out Bible tracts to strangers on the street or going door-to-door with a Bible in hand, in elaborately staged horror-themed morality plays or multimillion-dollar creationist discovery centers, in megachurch services beamed to dozens of satellite campuses, and in controversial “ex-gay” ministries striving to return gays and lesbians to the straight and narrow, evangelicals are redefining what it means to be deeply committed in a pluralist world. The book’s engaging style and careful argumentation make it accessible and appealing to scholars and students across a range of fields.
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The Sawdust Trail
Billy Sunday in His Own Words
William A. Sunday
University of Iowa Press, 2005
Billy Sunday (1862-1935) was the best-known evangelist in America in the first half of the 20th century. Impoverished midwestern farm kid, professional baseball player, showman extraordinaire, unabashed patriot, and foe of the demon rum, this self-styled muscular Christian brought his brand of manly gospel to millions of Americans nationwide. Sunday connected with his fans through a combination of theatrics, conservative theology, and fervent patriotism; the circumstances of his life and work were consistent with a Horatio Alger-like myth of success that resonated with the millions of Americans of his time who had been transplanted from the farm to the city.

Published serially in the Ladies’ Home Journal in 1932 and 1933 and now in book form for the first time, The Sawdust Trail is the only autobiography that this hugely popular and hugely controversial preacher ever wrote. From his childhood days in Iowa to the early days of his conversion in Illinois, from his baseball career with the National League teams in Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia to the challenges of preaching in New York City during his heyday, the sections of Sunday’s autobiography roll out like so many exuberant sermons, yet the sympathetic reader can hear echoes of the loneliness and misery of his early years.

In The Sawdust Trail the sometimes appalling but always appealing Billy Sunday creates a usable past for himself, notable for what he omits as well as for what he includes, which gives us insight not just into his own life and career but also into the peculiar history of evangelism in America.
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Science and Salvation
Evangelical Popular Science Publishing in Victorian Britain
Aileen Fyfe
University of Chicago Press, 2004
Threatened by the proliferation of cheap, mass-produced publications, the Religious Tract Society issued a series of publications on popular science during the 1840s. The books were intended to counter the developing notion that science and faith were mutually exclusive, and the Society's authors employed a full repertoire of evangelical techniques—low prices, simple language, carefully structured narratives—to convert their readers. The application of such techniques to popular science resulted in one of the most widely available sources of information on the sciences in the Victorian era.

A fascinating study of the tenuous relationship between science and religion in evangelical publishing, Science and Salvation examines questions of practice and faith from a fresh perspective. Rather than highlighting works by expert men of science, Aileen Fyfe instead considers a group of relatively undistinguished authors who used thinly veiled Christian rhetoric to educate first, but to convert as well. This important volume is destined to become essential reading for historians of science, religion, and publishing alike.
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Sins of Christendom
Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Evangelicalism
Nathaniel Wiewora
University of Illinois Press, 2024
Evangelical criticism of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dates back to the earliest days of the Church. Nathaniel Wiewora uses the diverse animus expressed by evangelicals to illuminate how they used an imaginary Church as a proxy to disagree, attack, compromise, and settle differences among themselves. As Wiewora shows, the evangelical practice to contrast itself with the emerging faith not only encompassed but also went beyond religious matters. If Joseph Smith was accused of muddling religious truth, he and his followers also faced accusations of immoral economic practices and a sinful regard for wealth that reflected worries within the evangelical world. Attacks on Latter-day Saints’ emotional religious displays, the Book of Mormon’s authenticity, and the dangerous ideas represented by Nauvoo paralleled similar conflicts. Wiewora traces how the failure to blunt the Church’s success led evangelicals to change their own methods and pursue the religious education infrastructure that came to define parts of the movement.
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Stained Glass Ceilings
How Evangelicals Do Gender and Practice Power
Lisa Weaver Swartz
Rutgers University Press, 2023
Stained Glass Ceilings speaks to the intersection of gender and power within American evangelicalism by examining the formation of evangelical leaders in two seminary communities.Southern Baptist Theological Seminary inspires a vision of human flourishing through gender differentiation and male headship. Men practice “Godly Manhood," and are taught to act as the "head" of a family, while their wives are socialized into codes of “Godly Womanhood" that prioritize prescribed gender roles. This power structure privileges men yet offers agency to their wives in women-centered spaces and through marital relationships. Meanwhile, Asbury Theological Seminary promises freedom from gendered hierarchies. Appealing to a story of gender-blind equality, Asbury welcomes women into classrooms, administrative offices, and pulpits. But the institution’s construction of egalitarianism obscures the fact that women are rewarded for adapting to an existing male-centered status quo rather than for developing their own voices as women. Featuring high-profile evangelicals such as Al Mohler and Owen Strachan, along with young seminarians poised to lead the movement in the coming decades, Stained Glass Ceilings illustrates the liabilities of white evangelical toolkits and argues that evangelical culture upholds male-centered structures of power even as it facilitates meaning and identity.
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The Truth about Conservative Christians
What They Think and What They Believe
Andrew M. Greeley and Michael Hout
University of Chicago Press, 2006

Ever since the reelection of President Bush, conservative Christians have been stereotyped in the popular media: Bible-thumping militants and anti-intellectual zealots determined to impose their convictions on such matters as evolution, school prayer, pornography, abortion, and homosexuality on the rest of us. But conservative Christians are not as fanatical or intractable as many people think, nor are they necessarily the monolithic voting block or political base that kept Bush in power. 

Andrew M. Greeley and Michael Hout's eye-opening book expertly conveys the complexity, variety, and sensibilities of conservative Christians, dispelling the myths that have long shrouded them in prejudice and political bias. For starters, Greeley and Hout reveal that class and income have trumped moral issues for these Americans more often than we realize: a dramatic majority of working-class and lower-class conservative Christians backed liberals such as Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton during their runs for president. And when it comes to abortion, most conservative Christians are not consistently pro-life in the absolute fashion usually assumed: they are still more likely to oppose the practice than other Americans, but 86 percent of them are willing to tolerate it to protect the health of the mother or when the woman has been raped, and 22 percent of them are even pro-choice.

What do conservative Christians really think about evolution, homosexuality, or even the meaning of the word of God? Answering these questions and more, The Truth about Conservative Christians will interest—and surprise—a broad range of readers, especially in this heated election year. 

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