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February 13, 2011

The Making of Evangelicalism by Randall Balmer

My friend Matt from over at Reflected Riddles loaned me this book he had read about the history of evangelicalism.  It sounded like an interesting read, and at only 84 pages, I knew it would be a quick book so I took it home.  The book had a lot of basic religious history, that included a good mix of things that I already knew and found interesting to discover.

The contents of the book are broken down into four areas starting with revivals and the origins of the first amendment, the shift in Protestant beliefs regarding the return of Christ, the creation of a Christian subculture and the rise of the Religious Right.  Overall, I enjoyed this book, although I disagree with a lot of what was written.  The beginning of the book feels like a history lesson and contains a lot of interesting information.  The further you get in the book, it definitely loses the history feel and seems to shift to a commentary of the author's personal political and religious views, rather than the history of what he's discussing.

The fourth chapter surrounding the Religious Right shifts to the greatest inclusion of Balmer's views.  In a book about the history of evangelicalism, I don't think the reader needs to hear about the authors personal beliefs on why Christians should or should not support things like the death penalty or the Iraq War.  If you're interested in a decent brief history, read the first three chapters...ignore the fourth.  Also, in addition to the personal views, expect some pretty broad generalizations. Overall, I'd give it a 3/5


Anonymous said...

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