Item description for Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism: Revised and Expanded Edition by Randall Herbert Balmer...
Overview In this completely revised and expanded edition of The Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism, Randall Balmer gives readers the most comprehensive resource about evangelicalism available anywhere. With over 3,000 separate entries, The Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism covers historical and contemporary theologians, preachers, laity, cultural figures, musicians, televangelists, movements, organizations, denominations, folkways, theological terms, events, and much more-all penned in Balmer's engaging style. Students, scholars, journalists, and laypersons will all benefit from Balmer's insights.
Publishers Description In this completely revised and expanded edition of the "Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism," Randall Balmer gives readers the most comprehensive resource about evangelicalism available anywhere. With over 3,000 separate entries, the "Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism" covers historical and contemporary theologians, preachers, laity, cultural figures, musicians, televangelists, movements, organizations, denominations, folkways, theological terms, events, and much more--all penned in Balmer's engaging style. Students, scholars, journalists, and laypersons will all benefit from Balmer's insights.
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Studio: Baylor University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.1" Width: 6.1" Height: 2.19" Weight: 2.53 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 2004
Publisher Baylor University Press
ISBN 193279204X ISBN13 9781932792041
Availability 0 units.
More About Randall Herbert Balmer
Randall Balmer is John Phillips Professor in Religion and Chair of the Department of Religion at Dartmouth College. A prolific and highly esteemed writer, he is the author of "Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America"; " God in the White House: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush"; and "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America." He lives in rural Connecticut.
Randall Herbert Balmer currently resides in Redgewood, in the state of New Jersey. Randall Herbert Balmer was born in 1954.
Randall Herbert Balmer has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism: Revised and Expanded Edition?
Not really a reference work, but a bit of fun May 15, 2003
I enjoyed this book far more than the other two (thus far) reviewers, although my expertise on theology is lacking. I'm just a woman who gradually turned into a conservative evangelical Christian over a 40 year period.
I did find that there were many things missing in the book...I was hoping for an entry on Walter Martin, too, for example; but I appreciated the guidance through the history of the church in America.
My favorite entries focused on the culture that we've surrounded ourselves with. For example, take "Just." Now, you might think the article accompanying that would have to do with justification, or judgment of a just God, or righteousness....but no. Balmer is referring to "the most frequent adverb in evangelical prayer" as in "Lord, we just thank you for giving us this time for coming together, and we just want you to know that we just appreciate your world and your love for us, and just worship you and just....." etc.
4 stars -- Much improved, enlarged edition Jul 20, 2002
Two years ago I wrote what was certainly an overly harsh review of the first edition, which I found helpful but often disappointing. I gave it just 2 stars.
This new edition is significantly larger and much improved. The author made corrections in almost all of the cases I had noted. He was kind enough to send me a complimentary copy and we have dialogued on some of my concerns.
The scope of this work is massive. 800 pages with thousands of entries. It is packed with some very good reference data. Balmer's commentary on his subjects is pointed and often very lively. The packaging and cover design are great (though I miss the hardcover of the first edition).
I offer the following not to question his competence or integrity, but as illustrations of some continued flaws in this new edition (some minor, some significant). Many of these are in the new entries.
p. 65 "Belhaven": The correct name of the denomination these days is PCUSA, not PCUS.
I am sure this is unintentional, but progressive/ moderate/ liberal evangelicals Metzger, Roger Olsen, Ron Sider, Mark Noll, Nathan Hatch, Marsden etc. all have "Ph.D.s", but IDENTICALLY credentialed Boice (p.90), Harold O. J. Brown (p. 105), D.A. Carson(p. 138), Everett F. Harrison (p. 325), D. James Kennedy (p. 379), Cornelius Van Til (p. 711), Charles Woodbridge (p. 759) just have 'degrees'.
p.101 "British Israelism" Mistakenly lists two tribes of Israel and ten lost tribes of Judah (reversed). It also fails to mention Herbert W. Armstrong, its most famous proponent.
p. 180 mentions Colson's Brown Univ. degree but leaves out his law degree.
P. 182 -- An entry on Concordia Theological Seminary in IN, and no entry on Concordia Seminary St. Louis
P. 387 "Koop" Never mentions he was an active elder in the PCA (Boice's 10th Pres.) for years.
p. 510 "Olson" Is listed as CSR's editor "1994 to 1991."
p. 537 "Pew" Grove City College is printed in caps with an asterix next to it but has no entry in the book.
p. 554: "PCA" Mentions the church and membership numbers when they started, but never anything more current. They are posted in the web page: up to 1550 churches and 310,000 members -- something like an 600% growth in 30 years. States simply that the PCA "PROFESSES to be one of the most rapidly growing denominations..." How about it 'reports' that?
p. 570: "Reed" He "eventually received the degree [Ph.D. Emory] in 1991.." "Eventually?" He was age 29 when he got it (even though he took a break in between degrees). That's younger than most, INCLUDING Balmer.
p. 571: "RCA" I would mildly dispute that they have "remained theologically conservative", except in the Michigan area.
p. 604: "Franky Schaeffer" "he moved from the FUNDAMENTALISM of his father"? Aside from a belief in inerrancy, Francis Schaeffer the elder had none of the classic characteristics of a 'fundamentalist" (secondary separation; Christ against culture; dispensationalism; legalistic moral code, etc.)
p. 611: lists Witherspoon as the pres. of the "College of NJ" without noting that this is now called Princeton Univ.
p. 670: Talmage an "evangelical"?
P. 705: "Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches" -- Was Perry excommunicated for his "homosexuality," as Balmer states, or was it rather for his(unrepentant) "homosexual practice?"
p. 718: Warfield was from a Kentucky family, not a Virginia one.
p. 730: When he lists the conservative faculty that left Princeton to start Westminster, he does not include Oswald Allis (and why no entry on him?). Also, incorrectly lists Westminster in California as a 'satellite' campus. That's understandable since it started that way about 25 years ago. But it is now fully independent with no formal relation to Westminster PA and TX. Actually it should get its own entry -- its fully accredited (unlike Knox which is listed in both editions) and it has a much larger enrollment than Knox, with a similar constituency.
p. 732 "Alma White" WAS part of the Pentecostal Union, but it is misleading without noting that in this case 'Pentecostal' refers, I think, to Pentecost, as this group did not experience glossalia.
Some entries that people might like to see in the next edition: John Piper, Allan Macrae, World magazine.
Overall, vastly improved and very helpful if you are aware of the bias against theological and political conservatives.
Fascinating but frustrating reference work Jul 5, 2002
An encylopedia of Evangelicalism--a true encyclopedia--is badly needed. This book, unfortunately, does not fill that need. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, edited by Cross and Livingstone, is a serious, carefully researched, and authoritative reference work that has always been disappointing when I've turned to it for information on American Christianity in general and Evangelical traditions in particular (for example, it contains nothing on Aimee Semple McPherson or Billy Sunday). I purchased Balmer's book hoping it would serve as a supplement to the Oxford Dictionary. While it fills some information gaps, its analysis of key issues is suprisingly superficial (when attempted at all).
For the most part the Encyclopedia is more an A-to-Z quick reference to the American Evangelical subculture with special attention to the last quarter of the 20th century. By comparing the lengths of articles, you can see how major issues get reduced to brief summaries and matters of minor and transient importance get inflated beyond merit. Gospel Music gets 1/3 column of text and hymn writer Fanny Crosby, 1/2 column. But Contemporary Christian Music gets 4 columns; Amy Grant, 2 columns; Michael English, 2 columns; Sandi Patty, 2 columns; Jars of Clay, 1 1/2 columns. This is not to say that the articles on Mr. English and Ms Patty weren't interesting in a dishy, People Magazine kind of way; it's just to call into question Balmer's editorial judgment. Also of note, there is a one column entry in Exodus International, a ministry founded in 1976 to rescue homosexuals and lesbians from their deviant lifestyle, but nothing on Evangelicals Concerned, a more gay-affirming national evangelical ministry founded one year earlier. The absurdity of what gets emphasized and what doesn't is thrown into high relief by the frequently cross-referenced half column article on Ronald Wilson Reagan. While it gives the date he became governor of California, it does not say when he was elected president of the United States; nor does it cite even one book or article we can turn to for a deeper analysis of Reagan's political and religious views.
By way of comparison, the longest article I was able to locate in the Encyclopedia is the one on Methodism (8 columns of text). The one on Evangelicalism runs one column shorter. Considering its brevity it does a reasonably good job of giving a succinct overview of the subject. I found one statement in this article especially helpful in understanding the editorial perspective behind entire Encyclopedia: "Evangelicalism in America has largely retained [these] characteristics: the centrality of conversion, the quest for an affective piety, and a suspicion of wealth, worldliness, and ecclesiastical pretension."
The complaint of superficiality and noncritical presentation of topics is further evidenced in the works referenced at the ends of articles. Often the source cited is the official organ of the church body or organization under discussion, rarely a more scholarly work. Similarly, for articles on people, the editors cite those persons' autobiographies. While I'm sure I'd find Fanny Crosby's autobiography fascinating, I would also like to know if a more analytical work written by a church historian or musicologist exists.
Another frustrating thing about this book, which is perhaps common to all first editions of reference books, is the evidence of sloppy or rushed copy editing. For instance, there is a frequent bold-faced cross reference to an article on Modernism; when you turn to Modernism there is no article, but you are sent to the article on Liberalism; at Liberalism (not the exact equivalent of Modernism in my thinking) you get a short article and a cross reference back to Modernism. Ooops! There is also some sloppiness with dates: David Livingstone, who was born in 1813, is said to have made his first trip to Africa in 1741; Aimee Semple McPherson, who died in 1944, is said to have been buried in October 1994.
Even with the aforementioned gripes, this book provides some interesting and lively reading. The articles on McPherson and Cyrus Ingersoll Scofield, for instance, were actually quite touching. And there is the occasional useful fact (Did you know that Goshen College has the largest collection of information on Anabaptism and the Reformation in America?). This books is perhaps best appreciated as self-directed casual reading. So if you find yourself one night unable to fall asleep for fear that the Rapture will occur before you have a chance to repent of your latest sins, this is the book you'll want to have on your bedside table.