Evangelicalism in America
|This course will provide an understanding of how Evangelicalism has come to have such a prominent role in American Christianity and how American culture, and Christianity in particular, are being molded by this dynamic movement. Special attention will be given to the ways in which evangelicalism has impacted the American political process. The socio/cultural dimensions of evangelicalism also will be explored. Finally, some efforts will be made to predict the future of Evangelicalism.
Day, Time and Dates:
Monday, June 20 – Friday, June 24 from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Adjunct Professor of Religion and Society and Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Eastern University in St. Davids,
Over the past 25 years, evangelicalism has
changed from being a sectarian movement within Protestant Christianity to
becoming one of its most prominent expressions.
It has gained a virtual monopoly over religious programming in television
and radio. It dominates religious
publishing and has overwhelmed traditional denominational presses.
It has created its own music industries that have become multi-million
dollar successes. Most communities
in America have witnessed the emergence of evangelical super churches, often
with several thousand in attendance.
explosion of evangelicalism over the past half century has come at the expense
of mainline churches which, in turn, have been suffering a steady decline over
the same period. While mainline
denominations have been cutting back on their budgets and bringing missionaries
home from overseas assignments, evangelicals have been sending out missionaries
in staggering numbers. Evangelical
Christianity has come to dominate in the third world and this third world
domination has a had a feedback effect on the United States.
Evangelical third world Christianity has become more and more vocal and
powerful on the world scene. Today,
third world Christians of mainline denominations are challenging the hegemony
that more liberal American Protestantism had earlier exercised.
this course of study, we will review the origins and development of this modern
Evangelical movement starting in the 19th century and tracing it up
to the present time. We will
outline both its history and its theology.
Special attention will be given to the ways in which evangelicalism has
impacted the American political process.
In the course of our
study we will consider the growing tendency toward schisms that have surfaced
within evangelicalism over the last couple of years, fostered by such movements
as the Emergent Church and Progressive Evangelicalism, which have reacted
against the marriage of evangelicalism with the right wing of the Republican
party. The socio/cultural
dimensions of evangelicalism will be explored evaluating its impact on the
Finally, some efforts will be made to
predict the future of Evangelicalism, and how the rest of Christianity will be
influenced by the Evangelical witness.
The purpose of this
course is to provide the student with an understanding of how Evangelicalism
has come to have such a prominent role in American Christianity and how American
culture, and Christianity in particular, are being molded by this dynamic
- Prior to the start of the class, students are
requested to read Speaking My Mind by Tony Campolo, W Publishing
The readings of the course will have the following
books for consideration:
Joel A. Carpenter, Revive Us Again, Oxford
University Press, 1997.
- Donald E. Miller, Reinventing American
Protestantism, University of California Press, Berkeley/Los
Allister McGrath, Evangelicalism and the Future
of Christianity, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 1995.
Henry H. Knight III,
A Future for Truth:
Evangelical Theology in a Postmodern World;
Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1997.
- A six page double spaced paper critiquing the book Speaking
My Mind, written by the professor.
- A fifteen-page double spaced paper on a subject
related to the subject matter of the course, and agreed upon by the teaching
assistant. The paper should
combine insights from readings and lectures along with personal reflections
by the student.
The History of Evangelicalism
19th Century Revivalism
The Finny Revivals
The Feminist Movement
20th Century Evangelicalism
The Impact of Modernism
Higher and Lower Biblical Criticism
Modernist Theology (i.e., Schliermacher, Strauss, Feuerbach, Biedermann)
The Fundamentalist Reaction to Modernism
II. The Defining Issues of Evangelicalism
The Mainstreaming of Evangelicalism
The Growth and Development of Evangelicalism
A. Evolution versus
The Authority of Scripture
The Struggle Against Communism
E. The Confrontation with Catholicism
F. The Emergence of Abortion and Homosexuality as Defining
A. The Creation of Evangelical Colleges and Seminaries
B. The Creation of Independent Missionary Organizations
C. The Creation of Evangelical Publishing Houses
D. The Creation of Evangelical Broadcasting
E. The Role of Evangelical Organizations
Youth for Christ
The Politicizing of Evangelicalism
The Increasing Sophistication of Evangelical Apologetics
The Church Growth Movement and the Emergence of Mega-Churches
The Moral Majority
The Christian Coalition
The Marriage of Evangelicalism with the Republican Party
The Future of Evangelicalism
A. The Growing Tendency Toward Schism in Evangelicalism
The Emergence of Counter Movements
1. The Emergent Churches
2. The Call to Renewal
3. Progressive Evangelicalism
C. The Responses of Mainline Christianity