In one of the best products of the current publishing passion for authoritative briefs on big subjects, religious historian Balmer summarizes American Evangelicalism. There are four great turning points in American Evangelical history, he says: the transition from Calvinist to Arminian soteriology (i.e., from regarding grace to regarding conversion as essential to salvation) during the two Great Awakenings, the nineteenth-century eschatological shift from postmillennialism to premillennialism (i.e., from believing the Second Coming will follow to believing it will precede the realization of a Christian world), the creation of an apolitical subculture in the wake of the 1925 Scopes trial, and the rise of the religious Right; he devotes a chapter to each. Evangelicalism’s arguably greatest distinction is its malleability, as seems certainly attested by the polar nature of the change involved in the first and second developments as well as from the third to the fourth. Trenchantly criticizing the religious Right, Balmer hopes that twenty-first-century Evangelicalism will revive the nineteenth-century postmillenarian concern for justice that animated abolition, temperance, and woman suffrage. --Ray Olson
"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