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Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite Hardcover – September 24, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Lindsay, a sociologist at Rice University who has previously worked with pollster George Gallup Jr., looks at the rise of evangelical Christian influence in the spheres of power of American public life: political, intellectual, cultural and economic. Based on interviews with 360 leaders from these spheres, including two former presidents, as well as a command of what everybody else has heretofore written, Lindsay demonstrates how over the past two decades evangelicals have moved into positions of great influence. From a sociological point of view, their path to power is easy to discern through networks of relationships or institutions that have seeded larger political and economic institutions. This growing network has produced new leaders whose ideas and actions are motivated by their Christianity. The interviews allow Lindsay to cite numerous examples that make his point persuasively. He is a sympathetic observer who understands that evangelicalism is as reformist as any other movement that has ascended to power in America. Yet he also understands that evangelicalism has made accommodation to the larger public life it seeks to reform, a tension he calls elastic orthodoxy. This important work should be required reading for anyone who wants to opine publicly on what American evangelicals are really up to. (Oct.)
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"A clear-eyed, evenhanded analysis of evangelical influence that dispenses with overheated fears of theocracy to present a complex and nuanced portrait."
"Faith in the Halls of Power provides an extraordinary map of faith and power today." --Joseph Kip Kosek, Journal of the American Academy of Religion

"A book for serious readers, with insights into how Christians have shaped aspects of Republican Party policy; how they've engaged with the intellectual elite...and how corporate America has many Christians in the boardrooms." --Christianity

"As Lindsay demonstrates with overwhelming evidence, the rise of religious conservatives is a carefully orchestrated, well-financed, and systematic effort to inject evangelicals into the center of American society. ...revelatory." --Symposium

"The single finest account of the goals, ambitions, challenges, and complexities of evangelical elites I have ever read."--The Journal of Law and Religion


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 24, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195326660
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195326666
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.2 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #342,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gordon College President D. Michael Lindsay is an award-winning sociologist and educator who is an expert on religion, culture and leadership.

Since his inauguration as president of Gordon College in 2011, Dr. Lindsay has introduced several successful leadership mentoring initiatives and expanded the College's global outreach. Previously, he directed the Program for the Study of Leadership at Rice University, where he served on the faculty. He serves on the board of Christianity Today.

View from the Top, Dr. Lindsay's second book, is to be released in May 2014. It reports the findings of his 10-year Platinum Study, the largest-ever interview-based study of leaders. His Pulitzer-nominated first book, Faith in the Halls of Power, was listed in Publishers Weekly's "Best Books of 2007." The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN and hundreds of other media outlets have reported on his work. His research has been funded through fellowships awarded by the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Academy of Education and the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Lindsay graduated summa cum laude from Baylor University, and holds graduate degrees in theology from Princeton Theological Seminary and Wycliffe Hall at Oxford. He earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By SD in SD on July 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
I'll admit that I don't like the conservative Christian label thrown my way but I can't deny that I am an intellectual person and fervent in my evangelical Christian beliefs.
With that being said, I saw an except/interview about this book posted on a Christian website one day and thought I should attempt to give it a read.
And wow, did it offer a very unique view into the world of powerful evangelicals in our country and the way they think about their work and faith! I highly recommend it if you're a person of faith or just someone curious as to the influence these people of faith have on our culture. I do wish it did a more intensive treatment of this but it's still a fascinating look.
As an intellectual person I thought the critiques of their churches by these people of power was right on despite being quite sad at the same time. I can't say that I'm all the way in terms of their attitudes and connections to church but I'm definitely closer to them than my family and friends are.
Be warned though, this is quite an academic-type of read so I'm not sure it accessible for the general population and this general lack of excitement and relevance is why I couldn't ever give it a perfect score.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia on April 21, 2014
Format: Paperback
"Faith in the Halls of Power" offers insights & useful anecdotes on every page. I especially appreciated the narrative—for a research-based book it's messaging is very clear for both leader and aspiring leader. Each chapter provides a mini case study of influential Christian leaders highlighting the most useful observations through Lindsay research.

Since his departure from Rice University for a new leadership role in higher education as a College President, I'm looking forward to Lindsay's new book "View From the Top," and how his experience as a College president might translate to his next book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert Hill (Bob) Durham on February 21, 2014
Format: Paperback
The bright on Wall Street should read this. Many CEO's are making stellar incomes of about $15 million a year, which includes stock options for buying stock at 20% of what the average JOHN Q. INVESTOR pays for one share of stock. I like Dr. Lindsay's interviews with bright people who read the Bible and take it literally, as opposed to so many who pick and choose what to believe as it fits their lifestyle.
I met Dr. Michael and spoke to him briefly in October, 2013 in New Jersey. He is full of life and fit as a fiddle to lead and serve at
Gordon College. He himself benefited personally from the answers he received from his survey.
I don't like the fact that little is written by Dr Lindsay about the working class who will bring and be behind the next Great Awakening in the US. Immigrants will be praying and reading the Bible and turning from sin. That may awake everyone!!! (Brazilians, Vietnames, those from all over the planet!)
Johnathon Edwards and George Whitefield and Azuza Street 1906 California believers and the JESUS PEOPLE that Larry Eskridge writes about in
God's Forever People, just published in the last year by Oxford UNIV Press, saw great sweeping cultural changes in the US in their time.
One Evangelical said, though, "The culture never was ours." Evangelicals will never see everyone in the US turn to the Bible and start praying and going to Bible believing churches.
Dr. Liindsay deserves five stars out of five though, for his research. Read it. Buy it!!!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alan L. Chase VINE VOICE on June 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before he was named President of Gordon College, D. Michael Lindsay was a member of the sociology faculty at Rice University. During his time there, he launched a comprehensive project of interviewing hundreds of self-proclaimed evangelicals who are leaders in industry, government, entertainment, academia, church and parachurch ministries. The results of this research are cataloged in this in depth study of "How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite." In his research and his writing, Lindsay stands on the shoulders of Mark Noll, whose 1994 book, "The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind," served as a prod to many evangelical Christians to take a hard look in the mirror and be honest about their failings as thought leaders able to influence the broader culture.

In this book, Lindsay offers a clear definition of and paints a full-color portrait of the American evangelical microcosm as it exists at the beginning of the 21st Century. Evangelicals of often misunderstood and mislabeled -even within the Body of Christ - so the author's clear and unambiguous definition sets the stage beautifully for his treatment of some of the movement's key leaders and influencers:

"I define an evangelical as someone who believes (1) that the Bible is the supreme authority for religious belief and practice, (2) that he or she has personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and (3) that one should take a transforming, activist approach to faith.
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