Mark Amstutz offers a groundbreaking exploration of the rise, evolution, and crucial impact of Evangelicals on American foreign affairs. In the nineteenth century, Protestant missionaries spearheaded global engagement by serving throughout the world. They gained fluency in foreign languages, developed knowledge about distant societies, and increased cross-cultural awareness. They also played a vital role in advancing human dignity by teaching and modeling values, building schools and clinics, and creating institutions that nurtured civil society. In view of their important role in global affairs, Amstutz argues, Evangelicals can be regarded as America's first internationalists. When modernists gained control of Protestant denominations at the turn of the twentieth century, traditional Protestants responded by creating a Fundamentalist movement that gave precedence to spiritual life but neglected social and political concerns. Four decades later, orthodox believers sought to restore the spiritual-temporal balance that had characterized traditional Protestantism. To a significant degree, contemporary Evangelicalism is the result of this movement.
Amstutz illuminates the influence of the political theology of this group of believers on Evangelicals' thought and action on global affairs. Although the New Evangelicals have not established a body of teachings comparable to Catholics', they have developed a framework that has shaped members' social thought and political action. After highlighting distinctive features of Evangelicals' political ethics, Amstutz illustrates how such thinking has influenced the analysis of global poverty, U.S. foreign policy towards Israel, and a variety of foreign policy initiatives. In view of the increasing political advocacy of Evangelical groups, Amstutz concludes with a number of recommendations on how to strengthen Evangelicals' global engagement.