Academic journal article American Studies

MINE EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America, 25th Anniversary Edition

Academic journal article American Studies

MINE EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America, 25th Anniversary Edition

Article excerpt

MINE EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America, 25th Anniversary Edition. By Randall Balmer. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 2014.

We can all be glad for the twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition of Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, by Randall Balmer. In capturing, with respect and compassion, the lives and sentiments of evangelical Americans Balmer gifted scholars and students with a wideranging analysis of a social group that continues to strongly influence American society. The original analysis offers what is still one of the best discussions of such issues as the development of churches qua organizations, the historical and contemporaneous force of millennialism, how "oddities" such as faith healing constitute the evangelical experience, and the impact of social location on our research (via Balmer's frank disclosures of self throughout his analytic narrative). In this anniversary edition we also get new material-a chapter on Latino evangelicals and an afterword with updates on people and churches from the original research.

Balmer's attention to the term evangelical also remains relevant. Today, more perhaps than in 1989, we are uncertain who is included in this term. Or, perhaps not confused; rather, many simply still assume evangelicals comprise a homogenous group, share a set of beliefs, evangelize in similar ways, etc. That was not sufficient then, and is even less so today. Today evangelical congregations include LGBT in their names, policies, and agendas. We see the growth of "prosperity gospel" churches. And, the evangelical Left thrives. Balmer addressed the problem of definition (originally) by contextualizing evangelical subculture within historical shifts across the twentieth century. …

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