Music and song are important parts of worship, and hymns have long played a central role in Protestant cultural history. This book explores the ways in which Protestants have used and continue to use hymns to clarify their identity and define their relationship with America and to Christianity. Representing seven groups - Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Mennonites, Holiness, Hispanics, and Evangelicals - the nine essays reveal how hymns have helped immigrants to establish new identities, contributed to the body of worship resources, and sustained ethnic identity. Individual essays address the music of the Old-Fashioned Revival Hour, America's longest running and most successful independent radio program; singing among Swedish evangelicals in America; the German hymn tradition as transformed by Mennonite immigrants; the ways hymnody reinforces themes of the Wesleyan holiness movement; the history of Mercer's Cluster (1810), a southern hymnal that gave voice to slaves, women, and native Americans; and the Presbyterian hymnal tradition in Canada formed by Scottish immigrants.
Edith L. Blumhofer is Director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals, Professor of History at Wheaton College, and author of Aimee Semple McPherson: Everybody's Sister. Mark A. Noll is McManis Professor of Christian Thought at Wheaton College. Stephen Marini is Elisabeth Luce Moore Professor of Christian Studies at Wellesley College.