It's a New Day: Race and Gender in the Modern Charismatic Movement

It's a New Day: Race and Gender in the Modern Charismatic Movement

It's a New Day: Race and Gender in the Modern Charismatic Movement

It's a New Day: Race and Gender in the Modern Charismatic Movement

Excerpt

Historian Peter Williams, in his survey of America's religions, observed that it “is tempting to characterize every era of American history as one of rapid social and cultural change.” The years following World War II mark such an era in which the lives of everyday Americans were transformed through dramatic social, political, demographic, economic, and technological changes. The rising suburban population, the growth of the middle class, and the introduction of new forms of mass media helped shape the landscape of American society through the end of the twentieth century. The civil rights and feminist movements of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s fostered some of the most notable changes, and these largely secular movements provided the backdrop for major transformations in American religion in the last quarter of the century.

The rise of female and African American evangelists in the independent charismatic movement has proven to be a remarkable story of the struggle for sexual and racial equality in modern American Christianity. This book identifies some of the major and minor figures in this movement, examines their rise to prominence, explores the people and institutions that influenced their ascent, and describes the major themes emphasized in their teaching. It is not my intent to provide comprehensive theological or sociological critiques of these ministers or their movement. I have simply tried to tell their stories and analyze their significance in modern American society. I argue that these ministers served as cultural mediators between the secular and religious worlds—religious entrepreneurs, if you will—taking socially and theologically liberal ideologies and adapting them to fit the sensibilities of conservative evangelical audiences.

Historians have long used sociological and anthropological models to . . .

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