Guaranteed Pure: The Moody Bible Institute, Business, and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism

Guaranteed Pure: The Moody Bible Institute, Business, and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism

by Timothy Gloege

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Overview

American evangelicalism has long walked hand in hand with modern consumer capitalism. Timothy Gloege shows us why, through an engaging story about God and big business at the Moody Bible Institute. Founded in Chicago by shoe-salesman-turned-revivalist Dwight Lyman Moody in 1889, the institute became a center of fundamentalism under the guidance of the innovative promoter and president of Quaker Oats, Henry Crowell. Gloege explores the framework for understanding humanity shared by these business and evangelical leaders, whose perspectives clearly differed from those underlying modern scientific theories. At the core of their "corporate evangelical" framework was a modern individualism understood primarily in terms of economic relations.

Conservative evangelicalism and modern business grew symbiotically, transforming the ways that Americans worshipped, worked, and consumed. Gilded Age evangelicals initially understood themselves primarily as new "Christian workers—employees of God guided by their divine contract, the Bible. But when these ideas were put to revolutionary ends by Populists, corporate evangelicals reimagined themselves as savvy religious consumers and reformulated their beliefs. Their consumer-oriented "orthodoxy" displaced traditional creeds and undermined denominational authority, forever altering the American religious landscape. Guaranteed pure of both liberal theology and Populist excesses, this was a new form of old-time religion not simply compatible with modern consumer capitalism but uniquely dependent on it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469633435
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 02/01/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 328
Sales rank: 308,807
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Timothy Gloege is an independent scholar living in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

What People are Saying About This

Kathryn Lofton

The single most important work on Protestant fundamentalism written in the past decade, Timothy Gloege's learned, far-reaching text is phenomenally researched and beautifully written, providing a Gilded Age history that links powerfully to the present story of American religions. It will inspire debate and admiration.

Matthew Avery Sutton

A smart, innovative, and engaging book that will transform what we think we know about American Christian fundamentalism. Not only will this book be important to historians of religion--whether they are interested in evangelicalism, liberal Protestantism, or alternative faiths--it will also be necessary reading for those working on the evolution of modern business and the growth of consumer capitalism. Beautifully written, thoroughly researched, and carefully argued, Guaranteed Pure offers a powerful new interpretation of the origins of American fundamentalism as well as a compelling explanation for the long-term significance of evangelicals' close ties to the free market.

From the Publisher

The single most important work on Protestant fundamentalism written in the past decade, Timothy Gloege's learned, far-reaching text is phenomenally researched and beautifully written, providing a Gilded Age history that links powerfully to the present story of American religions. It will inspire debate and admiration.—Kathryn Lofton, author of Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon

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