Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Randall Herbert Balmer  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction Other

Audience: Adult; Adult;

Born: 1954

-- Website --
-- Randall Herbert Balmer on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Dr. Balmer received his Bachlor's Degree from Trinity College in Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Dr. Randall Herbert Balmer is an author, professor of American religious history and an Episcopal Priest. He was nominated for an Emmy for script-writing and hosting the three-part PBS documentary "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory," based on his book with the same title.

Published Works

  • Blessed Assurance: A History of Evangelicalism in America., Beacon Press, 1999
  • Religion in Twentieth Century America , Oxford University Press, 2001
  • Growing Pains: Learning to Love My Father's Faith, Brazos Press, 2001
  • A Perfect Babel of Confusion: Dutch Religion and English Culture in the Middle Colonies, Oxford University Press, 2001
  • Protestantism in America , Columbia University Press, 2002
  • Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America, Oxford University Press, 2006
  • Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts Faith and Threatens America, Basic Books, 2007
  • God in the White House: A History: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush, Harper One, 2009
  • The Making of Evangelicalism: From Revivalism to Politics and Beyond , Baylor University Press, 2010
  • Religion in American Life: A Short History(With John Butler and Grant Wacker), Oxford University Press, 2011

Selected Titles At Your Library

Blessed assurance :
ISBN: 0807077119. OCLC Number:

Beacon Press,. Boston :. ©1999.

"Blessed Assurance examines the moment of our political birth and highlights the close connections between our political and religious traditions. Randall Balmer looks at the rise of evangelical groups from Methodists to the Disciples of Christ, and at charismatic leaders from Mary Baker Eddy to Jimmy Swaggart. He vividly illustrates the ebb and flow of our nation's religious past, from apocalyptic movements in every century to our two great religious revivals and the evangelical longing for a third. These historical moments demonstrate how the evangelical movements of today were informed by history and the struggle for the American Christian soul.

Religion in twentieth century America /
ISBN: 0195112954. OCLC Number:

Oxford University Press,. New York :. 2001.

From the Pentecostal revival sparked by Agnes Ozman in Kansas, 1901, to the flare and fade of the millennium in 1999, this text provides an overview of the evolution of religion in the United States in the twentieth century. For grades 9 and up. In this book, a part of the RELIGION IN AMERICAN LIFE series (John Butler and Harry S. Stout, general editors), the author discusses the massive cultural changes in 20th-century America and the effects such forces as industrialization, modernization, and secularization had on established religions as well as new ones being strengthened by influxes of immigrants. Groups such as Protestants, Hindus, Jews, New Age believers, Mormons, Buddhists, Roman Catholics, and many more are discussed.

Growing pains :
ISBN: 1587430185. OCLC Number:

Brazos Press,. Grand Rapids, Mich. :. ©2001.

Many Christian families struggle with passing the faith from one generation to the next. In "Growing Pains, " Balmer addresses this issue in a series of beautifully crafted narrative essays. His engaging stories include everything from baseball to John Lennon to tidbits of Christian history. Ultimately, Balmer tells how he discovered the unconditional love of a heavenly father through grace, seeking, and identification with Jesus the Son.

A perfect Babel of confusion :
ISBN: 0195152654. OCLC Number:

Oxford University Press,. Oxford ;. 2002, ©1989.

Examining the interaction of the Dutch and the English in colonial New York and New Jersey, this study charts the decline of European culture in North America. Balmer argues that the combination of political intrigue, English cultural imperialism, and internal socio-economic tensionseventually drove the Dutch away from their hereditary customs, language, and culture. He shows how this process, which played itself out most visibly and poignantly in the Dutch Reformed Church between 1664 and the American Revolution, illustrates the difficulty of maintaining non-English culturesand institutions in an increasingly English world. A Perfect Babel of Confusion redresses some of the historiographical neglect of the Middle Colonies and, in the process, sheds new light on Dutch colonial culture.

Protestantism in America /
ISBN: 0231111304. OCLC Number:

Columbia University Press,. New York :. ©2002.

Describes Protestantism's history and essential beliefs. Examines the diversity of the tradition with accounts of life and worship in a variety of mainline and evangelical churches. Explores the vexed relationship Protestantism maintains with critical social issues, including homosexuality, feminism, and social justice.

Mine eyes have seen the glory :
ISBN: 0195300467. OCLC Number:

Oxford University Press,. Oxford ;. ©2006.

This book takes us on 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 :
ISBN: 0465005209. OCLC Number:

BasicBooks,. New York :. 2007.

God in the White House :
ISBN: 0060872586. OCLC Number:

HarperOne,. New York :. ©2008.

Historian Balmer reveals the role religion has played in the personal and political lives of the last nine American presidents. Americans were once content to disregard religion as a criterion, as in most of the modern presidential elections before Jimmy Carter. But today's voters have come to expect candidates to disclose their religious views and to illustrate their personal relationship to the Almighty. This book explores the paradox of Americans' expectation that presidents should simultaneously trumpet their religious views and relationship to God while supporting the separation of church and state. Balmer tells the story of the politicization of religion in the last half of the twentieth century, as well as the "religionization" of our politics. He reflects on the implications of this shift, and offers a new lens through which to see not only these presidents, but also our current political situation.--From publisher description.

The making of evangelicalism :
ISBN: 1602582432. OCLC Number:

Baylor University Press,. Waco, Tex. :. ©2010.

This text offers a history of evangelical Christianity in the United States. Situating developments in envangelicalism in their wider context, it demonstrates the ways American social and cultural setting influenced the course of envangelical tradition.

Religion in American life :
ISBN: 0199832692. OCLC Number:

Oxford University Press,. Oxford ;. ©2011.

"Quite ambitious, tracing religion in the United States from European colonization up to the 21st century ... The writing is strong throughout."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) "One can hardly do better than Religion in American Life ... A good read, especially for the uninitiated. The initiated might also read it for its felicity of narrative and the moments of illumination that fine scholars can inject even into stories we have all heard before. Read it."--Church History This new edition of Religion in American Life, written by three of the country's most eminent hist.

Speaking Engagements

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