Date of Award

5-2018

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

First Advisor

Troy Gibson, Ph.D

Advisor Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Abstract

The sudden and formidable political mobilization of fundamentalist Christians in the mid-to-late 1970’s quickly garnered the attention of politicians, pastors, and political scientists alike. Since the success of the Moral Majority in the 1980s, social science researchers have dedicated special attention to the intersection of religion and social life; however, such considerations have largely neglected to sufficiently discover why fundamentalist Christians were seemingly predisposed for the high levels of political activity characteristic of the Moral Majority. Building on a historical analysis of Baptist ecclesiological and eschatological development, the purpose of this research is to consider the theological framework behind the emergence of the Moral Majority from 1979 to 1981 by investigating the development of the Baptist political theology of political activity.

Historical and textual analyses are conducted, exploring relevant theological developments from 1533 to 1989 in ecclesiological and eschatological teaching. Initial findings signal that Baptists have a well-documented history of political activity in America and that the emergence and popularity of the Moral Majority likely paralleled the ecclesiological “Conservative Resurgence” in the SBC. Further, the role of the SBC as an alternative body politic is explored and ecclesiastical socialization is discussed. The final results of this research could be used to more precisely tailor methodologies for studies in the field of religion and politics for any religious or political group.

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