Fides et Historia
It is a fine time to be a historian of fundamentalism/conservative evangelicalism in the United States. Over the past few years a number of outstanding works have appeared, many of which take seriously politics and economics. The best of this scholarship includes: Darren Dochuk, From Bible Belt to Sunbelt (2011); Kevin Kruse, One Nation under God (2015); Bethany Moreton, To Serve God and Wal-Mart (2009); Matthew Avery Sutton, American Apocalypse (2014); and, Molly Worthen, Apostles of Reason (2014).
Now we can add to this list Timothy E. W. Gloege’s Guaranteed Pure: The Moody Bible Institute, Business, and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism. Central to this cogently argued and beautifully written study is the argument that in the years between the Civil War and World War I leading conservative evangelicals abandoned the notion that Christians were formed in community, nourished by particular denominational traditions with particular creedal commitments. Instead, they understood religion as they understood economics, i.e., in highly individualistic terms, with individuals making rational and practical choices in both church and the marketplace. Operating out of these commonsensical and unexamined assumptions, these conservative evangelical leaders created a “new form of ‘old-time religion’ that was not only compatible with modern consumer capitalism but also uniquely dependent on it” (2).
Copyright © 2016, Conference on Faith and History
Conference on Faith and History
Trollinger, William Vance, "Review: 'Guaranteed Pure: The Moody Bible Institute, Business, and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism'" (2016). History Faculty Publications. 124.