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The American Evangelical Story: A History of the Movement

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  126 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
The American Evangelical Story surveys the role American evangelicalism has had in the shaping of global evangelical history.

Author Douglas Sweeney begins with a brief outline of the key features that define evangelicals and then explores the roots of the movement in English Pietism and the Great Awakening of the eighteenth century. He goes on to consider the importance of
Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Baker Academic
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Jan 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Although this might not be the best first stop on reading about American Evangelicals (one needs a bit of context to fully appreciate the book), it is a compelling and engaging read. I found this book hard to put down because the "story" is not told from a chronological standpoint, and the author is nearly magical with words at times. Not only did I learn something, I enjoyed doing it. Always a plus when you are required to read a book!
Jun 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: history, theology
Propaganda for the Great American Evangelical Machine

I'll offer a quick summary of its contents, but my conclusion is: don't bother. It offers an insider, very pro-evangelical account. Lots of Christianese, which lends to it a propagandistic tone throughout. If starting each chapter with a bible verse is your thing, you should like it, but you'd learn a lot more about yourself and your culture if you read Marsden.
Most importantly, to be a history of the movement and to lack any discussion of pr
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At times this book was dry, with all of the names of people and dates. Despite this, it is a helpful book for understanding where the evangelical church is today. Especially as people have been writing about evangelicals as a social voting bloc in the us political world. It's always helpful to know your roots. In the words of Sweeney, "The world still needs evangelicals." We have an important role to play. But we need to remember where we have come from.
David Ridenour
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Solid overview, not too many rabbit trails. Very honest and not biased, brought out some flaws but still overall not too negative, just critical.
Sep 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Its reading lists are wonderful, but the chapters are an odd mix of too much specificity and too much generality. It is not hagiography, but it holds back too much on criticism (being an insiderish account) and also on the lessons of history. His historical conclusions are sometimes dubious to me and he is too interested in Edwards and his followers, too uncritical of the movement as a whole, too withdrawn from the mixture of church and culture in America. It is adequate, but far from great or i ...more
Aug 04, 2016 rated it did not like it
After reading this account of evangelicalism, I now know less of what evangelicals believe, as apparently there is little to no agreement about women's ordination, missions, spiritual gifts (including the "barking revivals"), inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, social and cultural engagement, church governance, and more. The author agrees that it is nearly impossible to define evangelicalism, but offers no critique of that problem, going on to include within the pale almost every position on ...more
This was a good, concise (less than 200 pages!) overview of evangelicalism in America. For its length, Sweeney probably disproportionately stressed some aspects of the history, but on the whole struck a good balance between mainline (liberal) and evangelical (conservative) -- the latter of which Sweeney terms "fundamentalists." I am a new student to the history of evangelicalism, so it would be interesting to revisit this book after further study and see how balanced it appears after gaining a g ...more
Jonathan Watson
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is a wonderful history of the church in America, wrapped up the narrative of the ancestry line of the evangelical church, a definition of which still seems to elude scholars. All-in-all it was a concise, yet thorough, read; I enjoyed it, and would recommend it to anyone interested in Church or American history.
Cody Cunningham
A helpful, short read for someone who is just entering the waters of American evangelicalism's history. I particularly liked the fact that Sweeney ended each chapter with a "Suggestions for Further Reading" section.
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christianity
A highly accessible survey of American evangelicalism. Well-written and interesting. And it did what I wanted it to do: gave me a list of people, places, and events that I want to research further. The reading lists at the end of each chapter are fantastic resources.
Jon Patterson
Dec 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
Good read that gives some clarity to the term "Evangelical" as well as a history of the movement. I would recommend this book to anyone attempting to understand what an Evangelical is. As the title suggests, it is primarily from an American perspective.
Seven Black
Jul 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Most interesting for me about this book is the voice it is written in.

I'd not before read a religious history from the point of view of someone who considers themselves part of the movement they are writing about. It was a little difficult to deal with at times, but nevertheless fascinating.
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is my first read into the forays of American Church history. I think it was informative, but I will need to balance it with other works to get context.
Chad Reinhardt
Aug 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Fantastic survey of American evangelicalism with some fascinating insights.
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
A punchy little book, full of good info. The authors overt bias comes out once in awhile, but apart from that, a helpful read.
*Note: Although I read much of this book, I did not read the entire book. I only read what was required by my graduate school.*
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Douglas A. Sweeney (PhD, Vanderbilt University) is professor of church history and the history of Christian thought and chair of the department at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He is the author of The American Evangelical Story.
More about Douglas A. Sweeney
“To this day, the vast majority of black Christians are Baptists, and this is not a coincidence. White Baptists proved most aggressive in gospel missions to slaves. Their spiritual dynamism, populism, and extemporary preaching attracted large numbers of Africans in the early United States.” 0 likes
“Of course, there were other motives as well for their migration to the New World. But many believed that Native Americans had descended from ancient Israel—from the “ten lost tribes” dispersed soon after the exile in the Old Testament—and that their salvation was a necessary component of the conversion of “all Israel” that would precede the return of Christ (Rom. 11:11–36).” 0 likes
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