Social Policy

Bible-Carrying Christians: Conservative Protestants and by David Harrington Watt

By David Harrington Watt

Within the usa, there are thousands of Protestant church buildings whose contributors habitually hold their Bibles with them. those churches--often known as "evangelical" or "fundamentalist"--play an important function in shaping American society. during this publication, David Watt attracts on years of fieldwork to give a sublime reinterpretation of ways that conservative Protestants impression American politics and tradition. on the center of the publication is a sympathetic, yet faraway from uncritical, research of these varieties of social strength which are assumed to be ordinary between Bible-carrying Christians. whereas outsiders usually presuppose that evangelical Christians take without any consideration the authority of yes associations (among them the yank country, businesses, ministers, males, and heterosexuals), Watt argues that the truth is much extra advanced. it is a concise and full of life ebook that sheds new mild at the manner that Bible-carrying Christians impact the best way that individuals in the United States think--and steer clear of thinking--about social strength.

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The people at Oak Grove really did believe that they were involved in a series of pitched battles against the world, the flesh, and the devil. They were genuinely grateful for the leadership Foster provided in that struggle. Foster’s authority rested, too, on his role as a sort of chief executive officer. The bylaws of Oak Grove Church, a copy of which I obtained in the course of my fieldwork, gave an enormous amount of power to the senior pastors and his closest advisers. The bylaws provided for an annual meeting that sounded a good deal like an annual stockholders’ meeting, but they seemed to place more day-to-day power in an “Official Board” that was chaired by the senior pastor.

They told their listeners that Americans have a tendency to “worship” work and money. ” “Cultural captivity” was a condition that was viewed with great suspicion at Oak Grove. ” They argued that Jesus had clearly denounced and challenged “the system of his day” and that fol- 44 -  lowers of Jesus in the contemporary United States had to do the same thing. ”6 This criticism of “cultural captivity” was echoed in the literature that Oak Grove distributed to its members. A remarkable article by Steve Stohler, “The Evangelical Subculture,” is a good case in point.

In August 1992, a 70-year-old woman who lived on a block I knew well—a block only a five-minute walk from my apartment—was murdered. A friend of hers who lived a block south of my apartment was charged with the crime. Philadelphia 21 In December 1993, a man who was trying to hold up a coffee shop three or four blocks south of Oak Grove Church shot a man who interfered with the robbery; some of the field notes on which this book is based were written in that shop. In February of that year, a man who was attending church services several blocks southwest of the Philadelphia Mennonite Fellowship was shot to death.

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