This chapter considers the future of Anglicanism especially in the light of the interpretation of Scripture. It considers a recent instance of impasse and suggests a possible way forward. It goes on to discuss the contemporary issues concerning Anglican interpretations of scripture by looking at treatment of sexuality and violence. It considers hermeneutical differences among societies. The second half of the chapter questions whether the approach of scriptural reasoning that has been modelled by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars, in which Anglicans have played a prominent part, could assist different religions and different cultural contexts in hearing one another and learning to reason about the Bible together.
From the time of the Reformation, the Bible has always been among the primary sources for Anglicanism. Through a close study of biblical hermeneutics, this chapter reflects on how ‘scripture’ has been located among the other primary sources, tradition, and reason, at various stages and in different places within Anglican history. The chapter then goes on to argue that context ought to be considered a fourth primary source for Anglicanism. Drawing on postcolonial Anglican biblical interpretation and the experience of various stages of imperial expansion, particularly from a Southern African Anglican context, the chapter analyses how context reconfigures the other three primary sources.
Research shows that evangelical publications not only help readers form their personal identity but also are an important influence on the voting decisions of evangelicals. While evangelicals remain steadfastly conservative in their political and cultural tastes, voting patterns in the election of 2008 show a slight crack in the rock-solid marriage between conservative politicians and evangelicals. This shift was already a topic of conversation on the pages of evangelical periodicals months before the election. This article argues that to fully comprehend the influence of evangelicals on American culture and current events, one must study the vibrant but often overlooked dialogue evident on the pages of evangelical periodicals. It first provides an overview of the history of evangelical publications and then examines the link between magazines (including Christianity Today, WORLD magazine, and Sojourners) and evangelical identity. It also looks at the coverage of the abortion debate and the 2008 presidential election in evangelical publications before concluding with a discussion of the future prospects of the evangelical press in the United States.
Since the rise of sports ministry organizations in the 1950s and 1960s, Christian sports stars have become adept at using news coverage to promote an evangelical agenda. Celebrity evangelism of this sort is a prominent strategy within the Christian athletic community. While the relationship between media, sport, and Christianity has a long history, the 1950s are particularly important for understanding this relationship in contemporary sports culture. The now-cliché postgame thanks to God by football players and coaches brings up an important question: how did Christian witnessing become a part of the American media landscape? And how is football in particular part of this story? This article shows that stories of evangelical coaches and athletes fit easily into media narratives of football that have been circulating since the sport was first covered in the popular press in the late nineteenth century. It discusses the role of masculinity and morality in the evangelical project of athletic witnessing, the growth of sport spectatorship through television and the advertising strategy of celebrity endorsements, and Frank Deford's critique of what he called “Sportianity.”
Michael J. McClymond
Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758)—pastor, philosopher, theologian, and Calvinist saint—was a man of deep piety and a meticulous observer of others' spiritual experiences. He devoted much of his life to the analysis and interpretation of religious emotions, which he called “affections.” Today, most scholars regard Edwards as the greatest theologian in American history, and his writings have had vast influence in both church and academy. Edwards might be dubbed the patron saint of religious revival and revivalism. Like his Puritan predecessors, Edwards saw a dichotomy between true, God-given, and grace-filled religion on the one hand and false, counterfeit, hypocritical, and non-gracious religion on the other. This article examines Edwards's views on religious emotions such as understanding, inclination, affection, passion, and love. It also discusses his treatment of the “new sense,” also referred to as the “spiritual sense,” or “sense of the heart.” Moreover, Edwards's philosophy regarding enthusiasm, visions, and the ambiguous status of imagination is discussed. The article concludes by considering Edwards's legacy concerning religion and emotion.
Pundits routinely treat mainline Protestant intellectuals as naïve idealists who lost their constituents' confidence by veering into ultra-leftism and its institutions—including its journals—as approaching the bottom of a slippery slope leading to institutional death, greased by compromises with liberalism. Evangelicals who dominate the religious-political scene are often compared with a waning mainline. The question, however, is not whether mainline groups are failing to surge, but whether the institutional and communications networks of liberal Protestantism provide a tradition and infrastructure that allows them to continue doing important work. Despite the mainline's serious problems, its decline has been exaggerated, often by people with malicious intent. This article focuses on assumptions that frame media discourses about mainline Protestantism, treating cases related to its press as it proceeds. Its goal is to presuppose the significance of the mainline and its communications networks and reflect, first, on how media scripts about liberal decline obscure the situation, and second, on how mainline Protestant journals' internal discourses are shaped by debates about how to respond to such scripts.
J. Terry Todd
In a 1993 Newsweek article, Methodist theologian Stanley Hauerwas of Duke Divinity School was quoted as saying that “God is killing mainline Protestantism in America.” What is particularly notable about religion news coverage from the late 1960s to the present is how the demographic realities of mainline Protestantism are woven into a highly politicized narrative of decline. Media reports of the decline of mainline Protestantism coincided with the media's growing awareness of the cultural power of other Protestants, especially evangelicals. The closeness between certain Protestant leaders and mainstream media power brokers is nowhere more evident than in the career of Henry Luce, founder of the Time-Life empire. Of all the issue-related battles that have raged within and across mainline Protestant denominations since 1970, none has been as protracted or as bitter as the struggle over homosexuality. In no other denomination has the battle over homosexuality been as protracted as in the United Methodist Church (UMC), the largest of the mainline denominations.
John P. Bartkowski and Ashraf Alam
The New Christian Right, or “religious Right,” was an influential movement during the latter decades of the twentieth century. The Moral Majority is situated within the religious Right. Using a social constructionist approach, this article examines media representations of the Moral Majority, with an emphasis on the variegated narratives that swirled around its rise, apex, and fall. Interestingly, the Moral Majority and New Christian Right initially embraced the militancy frame because it suggested a united movement committed to “saving” America from moral decay. However, as the movement gained recognition and successfully defeated candidates and policies it opposed, the militancy moniker became a liability and likely contributed to its unpopularity. Ultimately, the Moral Majority sought to brandish a more populist and less political image. Ironically, the decade closed with Jerry Falwell, the icon of the New Christian Right, disbanding the Moral Majority and emphasizing the leaderless character of his grassroots movement.
With a flash of fresh insight that historians now consider strikingly prescient, Newsweek declared 1976 the “year of the evangelical.” Amid bicentennial celebrations and Jimmy Carter's campaign for the fall election, evangelicals seemed to be everywhere, thinking, talking, and acting as a new cultural force in modern America. Other major periodicals, most notably Time and the New York Times, reported on the ascent of evangelicalism. Evangelicalism's rise, the press emphasized, was the product of a “power shift” in American society away from the urban centers of the “Rustbelt” Northeast and Midwest to the sprawling metroplexes of the emerging “Sunbelt” South. This article looks at the rise of evangelicalism in America during the 1970s and demonstrates how media portrayals of it became catch-all critiques of society. It shows that pundits reached no consensus in their appraisal of America's 1970s turn, but agreed that as Sunbelt evangelicalism went, so would go the nation.
In The Angel and the Beehive, sociologist Armand Mauss finds that Mormon Americans have, in recent decades, struggled with two competing archetypes of what it means to be a Latter-day Saint. The first is the beehive, whereby Mormons have been driven to assimilate—becoming financially successful, politically powerful, and culturally integrated into the American mainstream. The second is the angel, a sign of Mormons' theological distinctiveness and self-understanding as a peculiar people. In media coverage of Mormonism, we see both archetypes, sometimes even in the same news story. This article examines representative print media coverage of Mormonism since 1970, exploring the interplay between these two tropes. It focuses on five major metropolitan newspapers outside of the Mormon-dominated Wasatch Front: the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Denver Post, and Chicago Tribune. It also mentions smaller regional papers, as well as the two dominant newspapers in the Salt Lake area, the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News. Articles about Mormonism that appeared in the nation's two major newsweekly magazines, Newsweek and Time, are also canvassed.