Special Issue "Evangelicalism: New Directions in Scholarship"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Theologies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Randall Balmer
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Religion, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA
Interests: religion in North America; evangelicalism; sports and religion in North America; Orthodoxy in Alaska
Prof. Edward Blum
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of History, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182-6050, USA
Interests: religion in the United States; race; racism; the American Civil War and Reconstruction

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues:

We invite you to participate in a special fascicle of Religions focusing on new directions in scholarship about evangelicalism, edited by Edward Blum and Randall Balmer. We are especially eager to feature the work of younger, emerging scholars. More than a generation ago, a cohort of academics established the paradigm of study almost exclusively on evangelicalism within the Reformed Protestant tradition. Although their scholarship was pathbreaking, its scope was also limited. In assembling a cohort of younger scholars, we hope to broaden our understanding of evangelicalism with attention to such issues as the environment, economics, sex, race, ethnicity, justice, popular culture, the digital age, and LGBT rights.

Prof. Randall Balmer
Prof. Edward Blum
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • evangelicalism
  • climate change
  • LGBT
  • justice
  • race
  • ethnicity
  • economics
  • popular culture
  • digital media

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Article
“Remember Little Rock”: Racial (In)Justice and the Shaping of Contemporary White Evangelicalism
Religions 2021, 12(9), 681; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090681 - 26 Aug 2021
Viewed by 443
Abstract
In 1957, Little Rock became a flash point for conflict over the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown decision. This article examines Little Rock as a religious symbol for white southerners—especially white southern evangelicals—as they sought to exercise their self-appointed roles as cultural guardians to [...] Read more.
In 1957, Little Rock became a flash point for conflict over the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown decision. This article examines Little Rock as a religious symbol for white southerners—especially white southern evangelicals—as they sought to exercise their self-appointed roles as cultural guardians to devise competing, but ultimately complementary, strategies to manage social change to limit desegregation and other civil rights expansions for African Americans. This history reveals how support for segregation helped to convert white southern evangelicals to conservative political activism in this period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evangelicalism: New Directions in Scholarship)
Article
Advancing the Evangelical Mind: Melvin Grove Kyle, J. Gresham Machen, and the League of Evangelical Students
Religions 2021, 12(7), 498; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12070498 - 04 Jul 2021
Viewed by 777
Abstract
This article seeks to analyze Melvin Grove Kyle and the growth of the League of Evangelical Students (LES) founded by J. Gresham Machen and Princeton Seminary students in 1925. Both Kyle and Machen were scholarly leaders in the LES and served on the [...] Read more.
This article seeks to analyze Melvin Grove Kyle and the growth of the League of Evangelical Students (LES) founded by J. Gresham Machen and Princeton Seminary students in 1925. Both Kyle and Machen were scholarly leaders in the LES and served on the organization’s board together. This paper will establish the importance of Melvin Grove Kyle as a leading evangelical scholar and biblical archaeologist. It will also explain the origins and growth of the LES and how various Presbyterians influenced the organization and sought to advance a broader evangelical Protestant intellectual life in the difficult period of the 1920s and 1930s. Machen’s role will be highlighted, and the thinking of various evangelical scholars associated with the LES will be analyzed. This study is important because it helps us grasp how evangelical Protestantism rehabilitated and advanced itself intellectually in a period when the movement faced educational marginalization in the wider culture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evangelicalism: New Directions in Scholarship)
Article
“Pray Aggressively for a Higher Goal—The Unification of All Christianity”: U.S. Catholic Charismatics and Their Ecumenical Relationships in the Late 1960s and 1970s
Religions 2021, 12(5), 353; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12050353 - 17 May 2021
Viewed by 673
Abstract
In July 1977, 50,000 Christians from different backgrounds and traditions converged on Kansas City to participate in the Conference on Charismatic Renewal in the Christian Churches. Catholic charismatics played a key role in its organization, relying on all their ecumenical contacts built since [...] Read more.
In July 1977, 50,000 Christians from different backgrounds and traditions converged on Kansas City to participate in the Conference on Charismatic Renewal in the Christian Churches. Catholic charismatics played a key role in its organization, relying on all their ecumenical contacts built since the origins of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) in 1967 at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh (PA). If the Kansas City conference represented the zenith of a shared unified vision for all charismatic Christianity, it also showed the emergence of the crisis which affected Catholic charismatic communities and their connection with Rome. This paper will explore U.S. Catholic charismatics’ relationships with other Christian denominations and groups in the initial development of the CCR, particularly in structuring Catholic charismatic communities, and their ecumenical perspectives in the tension between needs for legitimization (by the Vatican) and needs for self-expression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evangelicalism: New Directions in Scholarship)
Article
‘Policing Is a Profession of the Heart’: Evangelicalism and Modern American Policing
Religions 2021, 12(3), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12030194 - 16 Mar 2021
Viewed by 876
Abstract
Though several powerful explorations of modern evangelical influence in American politics and culture have appeared in recent years (many of which illumine the seeming complications of evangelical influence in the Trump era), there is more work that needs to be done on the [...] Read more.
Though several powerful explorations of modern evangelical influence in American politics and culture have appeared in recent years (many of which illumine the seeming complications of evangelical influence in the Trump era), there is more work that needs to be done on the matter of evangelical understandings of and influence in American law enforcement. This article explores evangelical interest and influence in modern American policing. Drawing upon complementary interpretations of the “antistatist statist” nature of modern evangelicalism and the carceral state, this article offers a short history of modern evangelical understandings of law enforcement and an exploration of contemporary evangelical ministry to police officers. It argues that, in their entries into debates about law enforcement’s purpose in American life, evangelicals frame policing as both a divinely sanctioned activity and a site of sentimental engagement. Both frames expand the power and reach of policing, limiting evangelicals’ abilities to see and correct problems within the profession. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evangelicalism: New Directions in Scholarship)
Article
Producing the Christian Right: Conservative Evangelicalism, Representation, and the Recent Religious Past
Religions 2021, 12(3), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12030171 - 06 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1131
Abstract
This essay explores how conservative evangelical Protestants have been represented by both sociologists and journalists of American religion through the narrative of the “rise of the Christian Right” beginning in the late 1970s. By exploring both popular and academic analyses of conservative Protestantism [...] Read more.
This essay explores how conservative evangelical Protestants have been represented by both sociologists and journalists of American religion through the narrative of the “rise of the Christian Right” beginning in the late 1970s. By exploring both popular and academic analyses of conservative Protestantism as understood through terms such as “the Christian Right” and “the Electronic Church”, one is able to identify a set of intellectual assumptions that characterize the study of American evangelicalism and politics in the recent past. In particular, this essay suggests that studies of conservative evangelicalism as understood through “the rise of the Christian Right” tend to reveal as much about their interpreters as they do their respective evangelical subjects. The essay first identifies what these barriers and limitations are by exploring the social scientific literature on conservative evangelicalism at the time. It then foregrounds news reports and academic studies of “the Christian Right” in order to connect journalistic and academic inquiries of the conservative Protestant to the emergence of the evangelical. It then suggests a number of historical and methodological avenues for future research on American evangelicalism and politics that foreground self-reflexivity, interdisciplinarity, and the close reading of conservative texts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evangelicalism: New Directions in Scholarship)
Article
Mothers of the Movement: Evangelicalism and Religious Experience in Black Women’s Activism
Religions 2021, 12(2), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020141 - 22 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 833
Abstract
This article centers Black religious women’s activist memoirs, including Mamie Till Mobley’s Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime that Changed America (2003) and Rep. Lucia Kay McBath’s Standing Our Ground: The Triumph of Faith over Gun Violence: A Mother’s Story [...] Read more.
This article centers Black religious women’s activist memoirs, including Mamie Till Mobley’s Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime that Changed America (2003) and Rep. Lucia Kay McBath’s Standing Our Ground: The Triumph of Faith over Gun Violence: A Mother’s Story (2018), to refocus the narrative of American Evangelicalism and politics around Black women’s authoritative narratives of religious experience, expression, mourning, and activism. These memoirs document personal transformation that surrounds racial violence against these Black women’s Black sons, Emmett Till (1941–1955) and Jordan Davis (1995–2012). Their religious orientations and experiences serve to chart their pursuit of meaning and mission in the face of American brutality. Centering religious experiences spotlights a tradition of Black religious women who view their Christian salvation as authorizing an ongoing personal relationship with God. Such relationships entail God’s ongoing communication with these Christian believers through signs, dreams, visions, and “chance” encounters with other people that they must interpret while relying on their knowledge of scripture. A focus on religious experience in the narratives of activist Black women helps to make significant their human conditions—the contexts that produce their co-constitutive expressions of religious and racial awakenings as they encounter anti-Black violence. In the memoirs of Till and McBath, their sons’ murders produce questions about the place of God in the midst of (Black) suffering and their intuitive pursuit of God’s mission for them to lead the way in redressing racial injustice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evangelicalism: New Directions in Scholarship)
Article
Revisiting the Scopes Trial: Young-Earth Creationism, Creation Science, and the Evangelical Denial of Climate Change
Religions 2021, 12(2), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020133 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1121
Abstract
In the century since the Scopes Trial, one of the most influential dogmas to shape American evangelicalism has been that of young-earth creationism. This article explains why, with its arm of “creation science,” young-earth creationism is a significant factor in evangelicals’ widespread denial [...] Read more.
In the century since the Scopes Trial, one of the most influential dogmas to shape American evangelicalism has been that of young-earth creationism. This article explains why, with its arm of “creation science,” young-earth creationism is a significant factor in evangelicals’ widespread denial of anthropogenic climate change. Young-earth creationism has become closely intertwined with doctrines such as the Bible’s divine authority and the Imago Dei, as well as with social issues such as abortion and euthanasia. Addressing this aspect of the environmental crisis among evangelicals will require a re-orientation of biblical authority so as to approach social issues through a hermeneutic that is able to acknowledge the reality and imminent threat of climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evangelicalism: New Directions in Scholarship)
Article
“Abusers of Themselves with Mankind”: On the Constitutive Necessity of Abuse in Evangelical Sex Manuals
Religions 2021, 12(2), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020119 - 13 Feb 2021
Viewed by 907
Abstract
In this essay, I recount the recent narrative of an evangelical awakening on issues of sexual violence though the impact of Rachael Denhollander, an advocate and survivor of sexual trauma. Denhollander’s evangelical credentials authorized fellow US evangelicals to sympathize with the #MeToo movement. [...] Read more.
In this essay, I recount the recent narrative of an evangelical awakening on issues of sexual violence though the impact of Rachael Denhollander, an advocate and survivor of sexual trauma. Denhollander’s evangelical credentials authorized fellow US evangelicals to sympathize with the #MeToo movement. I then show how this script of awakening obscures a long history of abuse in relation to LGBTQ persons of faith. I demonstrate how American evangelical sex manuals make abuse both constitutive to a genuine discovery of personhood and simultaneously marginal to one’s self-identification. Paradox becomes a framework for describing the “problem” of homosexuality in evangelical circles. Finally, I reflect on what it suggests to scholars of religion that a religious community ensconces abuse in this distinctive way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evangelicalism: New Directions in Scholarship)
Article
Surviving the “Sexplosion”: Christianity Today and Evangelical Sexual Ethics in the Long 1960s
Religions 2021, 12(2), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020112 - 10 Feb 2021
Viewed by 797
Abstract
This paper examines how the editors and contributors to Christianity Today (CT) called for an evangelical sexual ethics in the 1960s. Editors and contributors alike were concerned that the supposed sexual immorality on college campuses, the liberalization of obscenity laws, the [...] Read more.
This paper examines how the editors and contributors to Christianity Today (CT) called for an evangelical sexual ethics in the 1960s. Editors and contributors alike were concerned that the supposed sexual immorality on college campuses, the liberalization of obscenity laws, the approval and sale of the birth control, and secular sex education programs threatened the United States’ social health. They believed that evangelicals needed to learn how to talk about sex, and this belief resulted in the development of conservative Protestant sex manuals by the middle of the 1970s. Overall, talk about sex in the pages of CT demonstrates that evangelicals are neither anti-sex nor traditionalists. They instead forged a new sexual ethic in response to the historical events and developments of the 1960s. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evangelicalism: New Directions in Scholarship)
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