Evangelicalism, Apocalypse, and Sex

Religion Dispatches features an interesting interview with historian Matthew Sutton, who recently authored American Apocalypse:  A History of Modern EvangelismSutton’s webpage states that the book is:

the first comprehensive history of modern American evangelicalism to appear in a generation. It shows how a group of radical Protestants, anticipating the end of the world, paradoxically transformed it. Perceiving the United States as besieged by Satanic forces—communism and secularism, family breakdown and government encroachment—Billy Sunday, Charles Fuller, Billy Graham, and others took to the pulpit and airwaves to explain how Biblical end-times prophecy made sense of a world ravaged by global wars, genocide, and the threat of nuclear extinction.

Sounds interesting, for sure.  The interview provides a good outline of his argument and some discussions of how this history can help us understand American evangelical religion today.

The Religion in American History gives a review of another interesting book on American evangelical religion, Amy DeRogatis‘s Saving Sex: Sexuality and Salvation in American Evangelical Culture.  Lynn Gerber, the reviewer, describes the book as

a tour of sorts through a carefully selected set of sites in evangelical sexual culture. It begins and ends with two ostensibly similar but critically different versions of purity culture, one prevalent among white evangelicals and the other among African American Christians. In between the book takes us through the explosive market for Christian sex manuals that promise daring novelty while offering standard therapeutic fare, the world of deliverance ministries that use modern biology, as they understand it, to argue for the literal presence of demons in sexual fluids, and many variations on the theme of celebrating reproduction, which seems to frequently be paired with celebrating female submission in marriage, sexual and otherwise. It considers sites that fit squarely within the evangelical mainstream carefully explicating, for example, the range of purity literature aimed at children of different ages, while also attending to those which criticize that mainstream in the hopes of creating a purer Christian culture.

Also very interesting sounding.


Grant Potts

Professor of Philosophy and Religion, O.T.O. Initiate, Dad.

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