Cover image for On the boundaries of American Evangelicalism : the postwar Evangelical coalition
On the boundaries of American Evangelicalism : the postwar Evangelical coalition
Stone, Jon R., 1959-
Personal Author:
First paperback edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
x, 229 pages ; 21 cm
General Note:
Based on the author's thesis (doctoral)--University of California, Berkeley, 1990.
Format :


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BR1642.U5 S76 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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American Evangelicalism is a vast and nearly indefinable coalition movement of sometimes competing, sometimes cooperating denominations and independent churches whose ideological boundaries have been shifting since its postwar reemergence. On the Boundaries of American Evangelicalism seeks to account for the emergence of this coalition of moderate Protestants in the 1940s and 1950s as distinct from fundamentalism on the right and liberalism on the left and speculate on the reasons for the fracturing and decline of that coalition in the 1960s to the 1990s.

Author Notes

Jon R. Stone currently teaches in the Division of Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Stone (Univ. of California, Berkeley; A Guide to the End of the World: Popular Eschatology in America, LJ 6/1/93) asserts that "evangelicalism is a fiction," observing that evangelicals have expended considerable energy to establish an identity. He notes that most studies take one of three approaches to the subject. The descriptive approach offers metaphorical images (e.g., Timothy Smith's "kaleidoscope" or "mosaic") rather than accounting for evangelicalism's diversity and complexity. Others attempt to define evangelicalism theologically or to employ a liberal-conservative dichotomy. Noting the inadequacy of such models, Stone proposes instead a social structural model‘a sociological examination of "the role [that] group boundary dynamics came to play in defining the new evangelical coalition" that emerged in the Forties and Fifties. He draws on evangelical periodicals and the published works of evangelical leaders to show the degree to which evangelicals were concerned with defining the limits. Stone concludes that these boundaries were fluid, expanding or contracting as evangelicals attempted to establish new ground between traditional faith and modernism. This work adds a new twist to the considerable recent scholarship on American religion. Students should also find the lengthy bibliography useful. Recommended for academic libraries.‘Linda V. Carlisle, Southern Illinois Univ., Edwardsville (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

In this revised dissertation, Stone (Univ. of California, Berkeley) examines the difficulties evangelicals have had defining themselves in the period between the early 1940s and the present. Using published documents and speeches by self-identified evangelical leaders, Stone argues that evangelicals have been deeply divided over the exact nature of evangelicalism. Each generation of evangelicals, according to Stone, has worked to define its boundaries vis-a-vis both fundamentalism and liberalism. He examines this effort historically, focusing first on the early 20th century when the fundamentalist-modernist controversy developed. He then discusses how evangelicals sought to achieve respectability in the 1940s and 1950s by forging a boundary between themselves and the fundamentalists. At the same time, the new evangelicals were also forming a coalition that sought to maintain boundaries with liberalism and neo-orthodoxy. Ultimately, according to Stone, the evangelicals were unsuccessful in forming a cohesive coalition and have thus faced a "crisis of identity" for the last 30 years. Stone methodically supports his arguments but tends to be repetitious. This book will be of interest primarily to scholars in American religion. Graduate; faculty; professional. L. H. Hoyle Georgetown College

Table of Contents

Religious Periodical Abbreviationsp. viii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Chapter 1 Defining Evangelical Diversityp. 1
Chapter 2 A Boundary Approach to the Study of American Evangelical Protestantismp. 23
Chapter 3 The Liberal and Conservative Divide in American Protestantism, 1880-1930p. 51
Chapter 4 The Emergence of a "New" Evangelicalism, 1940-1960p. 73
Chapter 5 The Evangelical Boundary Dilemma: Checking the Drift toward Liberalism, 1940-1965p. 117
Chapter 6 The End of the New Evangelical Coalition, 1965-1990p. 159
Notesp. 185
References and Sourcesp. 203
List of Referenced Christian Periodicalsp. 220
Indexp. 221