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The Making of Evangelicalism: From Revivalism to Politics and Beyond Hardcover – February 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Baylor University Press (February 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602582432
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602582439
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,006,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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

Review

"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

More About the Author

A prize-winning historian and Emmy Award nominee, Randall Balmer is Mandel Family Professor in the Arts & Sciences at Dartmouth College. Before coming to Dartmouth in 2012, he was Professor of American Religious History at Columbia University and at Barnard College for twenty-seven years. He has lectured at the Chautauqua Institution, the Commonwealth Club of California and the Smithsonian Associates and to audiences around the country. He has been a visiting professor at Dartmouth College and at Rutgers, Yale, Drew, Emory, Northwestern and Princeton universities, and he has also been a visiting professor in the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Mr. Balmer was Adjunct Professor of Church History at Union Theological Seminary for seventeen years, and from 2004 through 2008 was a Visiting Professor at Yale Divinity School. He was ordained an Episcopal priest in 2006.

Mr. Balmer, who earned the Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1985, has published widely both in academic and scholarly journals and in the popular press. His commentaries on religion in America have appeared in newspapers across the country, including the Des Moines Register, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the San Diego Times-Union, the Dallas Morning News, Slate, the Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Newsday, the Albany Times-Union, the Nation and the New York Times. His first book, "A Perfect Babel of Confusion: Dutch Religion and English Culture in the Middle Colonies," won several awards, and his second book, "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America," now in its fifth edition, was made into a three-part documentary for PBS. Mr. Balmer was nominated for an Emmy for his script-writing and for hosting that series.

His second documentary, "Crusade: The Life of Billy Graham," was aired on PBS and also appeared in A&E's Biography series. "'In the Beginning': The Creationist Controversy," a two-part documentary on the creation-evolution debate, was first broadcast over PBS in May 1995 and then recut and broadcast in fall 2001.

The author of a dozen books, Mr. Balmer has co-written a history of American Presbyterians, a book on mainline Protestantism, and another book, "Protestantism in America," with Lauren F. Winner. Other books include "Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism," published by Baylor University Press, and "Religion in Twentieth Century America," part of the Religion in American Life series, published by Oxford University Press. A spiritual memoir, "Growing Pains: Learning to Love My Father's Faith," published by Brazos Press in 2001, was named "book of the year" (spirituality) by Christianity Today. More recently, "God in the White House: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush," was released by HarperOne in January 2008, and "The Making of Evangelicalism: From Revivalism to Politics and Beyond" was published by Baylor University Press in 2010. His first biography, "Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter," was released in 2014.

Customer Reviews

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Joel Holtz VINE VOICE on January 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a compact, yet compelling history of Evangelical Christianity. Best selling author Randall Balmer does an excellent job of highlighting four main moments in evangelical history, and each one is a history lesson in itself. THE CONSTRUCTION OF A SUBCULTURE may be the best.

He points out the damage done by the Religious Right, but yet is hopeful for evangelicalism, concluding that in fact it's future is bright and will continue to be "..America's folk religion well into the 21st century."

Balmer says the challenge for today's evangelicals is to position themselves on the margins of society.

The only quibble the reader might have is that some of the author's vocabulary is a bit hard to understand ("recondite," "evinced," "probity," "detritus") at times.
Other than that, this is a short and easy read and well worth the time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Patti Chadwick VINE VOICE on May 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is a bit difficult to read due to the vocabulary used by the author, but if you are at all interested in the history of evangelical Christianity, you will want to persevere and finish it. You will be glad you did. The author does an excellent job in researching the history of evangelicalism in America and offers his take on what the future holds for evangelicals. I, for one, am glad I read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew R. Green on February 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Balmer's work is short and succinct, written in very readable prose. His tracing of the evolution of evangelicalism is very interesting, making history far more interesting than it usually comes off. He presents a fascinating progression, mostly giving a fair explanation for the various turning points of evangelicalism, though there are perhaps a few missing pieces and some aspects of the movement that are unmentioned, though this is hardly unexpected given the short length of the book. Additionally, I might have preferred a more impartial view of the history, as his liberal perspective becomes a bit too prominent especially toward the end, as he turns to prescription rather than description. Regardless, for such a thin book, it's an excellent, readable depiction of the movement's history that would be instructive, perhaps especially for those who call themselves evangelical.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
To try to lead spiritually without a Church's backing. "The Making of Evangelicalism: From Revivalism to Politics and Beyond" discusses Evangelicalism in America. Randall Balmer traces its history of how it came to be, its roots in politics, and its role today, and how many sects and branches of Christianity have their own evangelists with their own goals. "The Making of Evangelicalism" is an intriguing discussion of a major force in American history.
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By Charles C. Smith, jr. on August 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent summation of the roots of American protestants.
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