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The Myth of Colorblind ChristiansEvangelicals and White Supremacy in the Civil Rights Era$
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Jesse Curtis

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781479809370

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2022

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479809370.001.0001

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Growing the Homogeneous Church

Growing the Homogeneous Church

(p.78) 3 Growing the Homogeneous Church
The Myth of Colorblind Christians

Jesse Curtis

NYU Press

This chapter traces the emergence and transformation of the Church Growth Movement (CGM). Evangelistic strategies created in caste-conscious India in the 1930s came to be deployed in American metropolitan areas decades later to grow white evangelical churches. During the 1970s, the CGM defined white Americans as “a people” akin to castes or tribes in the global South. Drawing on the revival of white ethnic identities in American culture, church growth leaders imagined whiteness as pluralism rather than hierarchy. The CGM allowed colorblind Christians to imagine that their segregated churches were benign expressions of American diversity in the years after the civil rights movement. In an age of white flight, the CGM helped to structure the evangelical mainstream as white, suburban, and middle class.

Keywords:   Church Growth Movement, Donald McGavran, C. Peter Wagner, India, Whiteness, White identity

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