Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Randall Balmer  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Born: October 22, 1954 in Chicago

-- Website --
-- Wikipedia --
-- Randall Balmer on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Randall Balmer was born in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Randall Balmer is an author, professor, lecturer, documentary filmmaker & episcopal priest. He is a professor of American religious history at Barnard College, Columbia University, and visiting professor at Yale University Divinity School. He earned a Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1985. He has been a visiting professor at Dartmouth College and at Rutgers, Princeton, Drew, Yale and Northwestern universities and at Union Theological Seminary, where he is also adjunct professor of church history. He has also taught in the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.He is editor-at-large for ''Christianity Today'', and an Episcopal priest. His commentaries on religion in America have appeared in ''Sojourners'', ''The Nation'', the ''New York Times'', and in newspapers across the country. He regularly appears on television and radio to discuss contemporary religious issues in America. Balmer has published many books including, ''Thy Kingdom Come: An Evangelical's Lament'' and ''Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America'', which was made into a three-part documentary for PBS and was nominated for an Emmy for script-writing. He currently resides in Woodbury, Connecticut.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America
ISBN: 0195300467

Oxford University Press. 2006

Randall Balmer's Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory is an insightful and engaging journey into the world of conservative Christians in America. Originally published fifteen years ago and the basis for an award-winning PBS documentary, this timely new edition arrives just as recent elections have left an ever-growing number of secular Americans wondering exactly how the other half thinks.
From Oregon to Florida, and from Texas to North Dakota, Balmer offers an immensely readable tour of the highways and byways of American evangelicalism. We visit a revival meeting in Florida, an Indian reservation in the Dakotas, a trade show for Christian booksellers, and a fundamentalist Bible camp in the Adirondacks.
For this fourth edition, Balmer adds two chapters, one on the phenomenally popular "Painter of Light," Thomas Kinkade, and one on Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life. Through the eyes of these and other people Balmer meets on his journeys, we arrive at a more accurate and balanced understanding of an abiding tradition that, as the author argues, is both rich in theological insights and mired in contradictions. Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory offers readers a genuine insight into the appeal that the evangelicals movement holds for thousands of Americans.

Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America: An Evangelical's Lament
ISBN: 0465005195

Basic Books. 2006

For much of American history, evangelicalism was aligned with progressive political causes. Nineteenth-century evangelicals fought for the abolition of slavery, universal suffrage, and public education. But contemporary conservative activists have defaulted on this majestic legacy, embracing instead an agenda virtually indistinguishable from the Republican Party platform. Abortion, gay marriage, intelligent design--the Religious Right is fighting, and winning, some of the most important political battles of the twentyfirst century. How has evangelical Christianity become so entrenched in partisan politics? Randall Balmer is both an evangelical Christian and a historian of American religion. Struggling to reconcile the contemporary state of evangelical faith in America with its proud tradition of progressivism, Balmer has headed to the frontlines of some of the most powerful and controversial organizations tied to the Religious Right. With a skillful combination of grassroots organization, ideological conviction, and media savvy, the leaders of the movement have mobilized millions of American evangelical Christians behind George W. Bush's hard-right political agenda. Deftly combining ethnographic research, theological reflections, and historical context, Balmer laments the trivialization of Christianity--and offers a rallying cry for liberal Christians to reclaim the noble traditions of their faith.

Religion in American Life: A Short History Updated Edition
ISBN: 0195333292

Oxford University Press. 2007

Perhaps surprising in a country without a national church, religion has played a powerful role in American life. Now, in the new paperback edition of Religion in American Life, three of the country's most eminent historians of religion offer a superb overview that spans four centuries, illuminating the rich spiritual heritage central to nearly every event in our nation's history.
Jon Butler begins by describing the state of religious affairs in both the Old and New Worlds on the eve of colonization. He traces the progress of religion in the colonies through the time of the American Revolution, covering all the religious groups, Protestants, Jews, and Catholics, as well as the unique religious experiences of Native Americans and African Americans. Grant Wacker continues the story with a fascinating look at the ever-shifting religious landscape of 19th-century America. He focuses on the rapid growth of evangelical Protestants--Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, and others--and their competition for dominance over religions such as Catholicism and Judaism, which continued to increase with large immigrant arrivals from Ireland, Eastern Europe, and other countries. The 20th century saw massive cultural changes. Randall Balmer discusses the effects industrialization, modernization, and secularization had on new and established religions. He examines Protestants, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, New Age believers, Mormons, Buddhists, Roman Catholics, and many more, providing a clear look into the kaleidoscope of religious belief in modern-day America.
Religion in American Life is an engrossing look at how religion has changed--and in turn been changed by--the extraordinary events throughout American history.

God in the White House: A History: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush
ISBN: 0060734051

HarperOne. 2008

Randall Balmer, one of America’s top historians, explores the role of personal piety and public displays of faith in each of the modern presidencies--from J.F.K to George W. Bush--and shows how these change according to the times and what they reveal about the man sitting in the Oval Office.



Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability: (Yes)