Synopses & Reviews
One of the most significant developments within contemporary American Christianity, especially among younger evangelicals, is a groundswell of interest in the Reformed tradition. In Reformed Resurgence
, Brad Vermurlen provides a comprehensive sociological account of this phenomenon known as New Calvinism and what it entails for the broader evangelical landscape in the United States.
Vermurlen develops a new theory for understanding how conservative religion can be strong and thrive in the hypermodern Western world. His paradigm uses and expands on strategic action field theory, a recent framework proposed for the study of movements and organizations that has rarely been applied to religion. This approach to religion moves beyond market dynamics and cultural happenstance and instead shows how religious strength can be fought for and won as the direct result of religious leaders' strategic actions and conflicts. But the battle comes at a cost. For the same reasons conservative Calvinistic belief is experiencing a resurgence, present-day American evangelicalism has turned in on itself. Vermurlen argues that in the end, evangelicalism in the United States consists of pockets of subcultural and local strength within the "cultural entropy" of secularization, as religious meanings and coherence fall apart.