Books on the History of Christianity in North America


December 5, 2022

277. Books on the history of Christianity in North America

Further Reading:

Michael D. Lindsay Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined in the American Elite, 2008.

It’s no secret that Christian evangelicals have gained political power in America. Michael D. Lindsay interviews over 100 business executives, government leaders, intellectuals, Hollywood’s elite, athletes, and others to provide a picture of how that rise to power came about and its effect on all facets of American society.

M. Luhrmann When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God, 2012.

Written by American psychological anthropologist T.M. Lurhrmann, this book is based on his interviews with evangelicals who claim to talk with God. Not just to talk to God in prayer, but to converse with God, who answers them back. Using scientific theories and later experiments, she concluded that it’s possible to train your brain to pick up on God’s voice.

John Marks Reasons to Believe: One Man’s Journey Among the Evangelicals and the Faith He Left Behind, 2008.

When John Marks worked on a story for 60 Minutes on the Left Behind series in 2003, he interviewed a couple who ended the interview by asking him if he would be left behind. He took it seriously because, at age 16, he had become a born-again Christian but had since left that faith behind. Here, he explores their question at length.

Matthew Stewart Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic, 2014.

Did the founding fathers intend for the United States to be a Christian nation? By examining European philosophy and other ideas which inspired them, Matthew Stewart argues they did not.

William H. Willimon Who Lynched Willie Earle? Preaching to Confront Racism, 2017.

The Reverend Dr. William H. Willimon investigates the factors that keep churches and Christians silent in the face of racism. He intends to give pastors the tools they need to talk to their White Protestant congregations about the evils of hatred and its history in the church. He uses a 1947 sermon called, “Who Lynched Willie Earlie?” given by pastor Hawley Lynn as the frame for his message.

Gary Wills Head and Heart, 2007.

Historian Gary Wills examines 400 years of Christian history in America. He sees a constant struggle between our focus on our reason (the head) and our emotions (the heart). He asserts that these two tensions will always be present in our politics and religions.

For more information on the Further Reading series, see Further Reading: Start Here.

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