Archives For Evangelical


Georgia on his Mind: George Whitefield and the Margins of Empire
A Feature Review of 

George Whitefield:
Evangelist for God and Empire
Peter Choi

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2018
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Reviewed by Alex Joyner


Experiments flourish on the margins. It’s why visionaries and mavericks gather in places far from the watchful eye of social convention and official control.  Think Donald Judd making his art and his mark in Marfa in ultra-West Texas. Think Brigham Young and the Mormons building Utah.  Or think George Whitefield and his Georgia plantation.  Wait…what?

George Whitefield has been hard for American religious scholars to classify.  The 18th century transatlantic evangelist clearly had a major impact on the Great Awakening, but, as Peter Choi puts it in his new book on Whitefield, he has always been “a sort of third wheel among undisputed leaders of the evangelical awakening.” (233) The two big wheels being Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley.  “Edwards was the indisputable intellectual leader of the early evangelicals,” Choi says, “and Wesley the sophisticated organizer who laid the groundwork for worldwide Methodism.” (233) But what did Whitefield do?

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One of the most pressing questions among Christians in North America is about the present relevancy of the label “evangelical”… 


We’re giving away FIVE copies
of this new book from Intervarsity Press:

Still Evangelical?:
Insiders Reconsider Political, Social, and Theological Meaning

Contributors include: Shane Claiborne, Karen Swallow Prior, Lisa Sharon Harper, MORE
Mark Labberton, Editor.
Paperback: IVP Books

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More Devoted to Order Than To Justice?

A Feature Review of

When Heaven and Earth Collide: Racism, Southern Evangelicals, and the Better Way of Jesus
Alan Cross

Paperback: New South Books, 2014

Buy now:  [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]
Reviewed by Rafael Rodriguez
How could racism exist in a region where evangelical Christians were in the majority?  This is the question Alan Cross seeks to answer in his recent book When Heaven and Earth Collide  Cross approaches this topic as a “son of the south”, a native of Alabama, a Southern Baptist pastor, and a white male.   Yet this does not cripple him in revealing the repulsive practices and racist teachings of southern evangelicals before and after the Civil War.
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A New Sort of Evangelicalism

A Review of

Revangelical: Becoming the Good News People We’re Meant to Be
Lance Ford

Paperback: Tyndale Momentum, 2014
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]


Reviewed by C. Christopher Smith


For many years now, I have had a tenuous relationship with the label “evangelical.”  On one hand, I have wanted to stay connected and in conversation with the tradition in which I was raised. On the other hand, I was so frustrated with almost everything that evangelicalism represented, and especially how it had come to be so closely bound with right-wing partisan politics. Even today, I still waiver on whether to call myself an evangelical. Lance Ford, author of the new book Revangelical: Becoming the Good News People We’re Meant to Be, is an evangelical; he writes in a manner that will be compelling to evangelicals, richly steeped in scripture, and full of stories that will connect with evangelicals. And yet, Ford is out to define a new sort of evangelicalism.  He describes this “revangelicalism”:
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Fire in the Heart.
A Review of

George Whitefield: American’s Spiritual Founding Father.
Thomas Kidd

Hardback: Yale UP, 2014
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By Douglas Connelly


The year 2014 marks the 300th anniversary of George Whitefield’s birth (December 16, 1714 to be exact).  Thomas Kidd, professor of early American history at Baylor University, has written a very readable and warm-hearted biography of the great evangelist to reaffirm and re-establish Whitefield’s place in the story of the Great Awakening in the 1700s.  Spiritual revival swept the American colonies, England, Wales and Scotland, and George Whitefield’s preaching was the catalyst that sparked much of that spiritual stirring.


Whitefield (and the name is pronounced “Whit-field” rather than “White-field”) was probably the most celebrated preacher and religious leader of his day.  John and Charles Wesley were part of the same evangelical revival in England and Jonathan Edwards led the way for renewal in America, but Whitefield crisscrossed the Atlantic thirteen times and was a major force for revival on both sides of the ocean.  Wherever Whitefield travelled, throngs of people turned out to hear him preach.  Long before large auditoriums or loud-speaker amplification existed, Whitefield raised his voice to speak to thousands of people and to call them to faith in Jesus Christ.

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Is there No Peace in the Land?

A Feature Review of

A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor’s Journey Toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace

Brian Zahnd

Paperback: David C. Cook, 2014.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by John W. Morehead


In recent years an increasing number of Evangelicals have taken up the work of peacemaking. No longer seen as the sole purview of progressives or liberals, these Evangelicals have connected their work in peacemaking as a central facet of the Gospel and a broader Christian theology and praxis. Brian Zahnd makes a thought provoking contribution to this growing body of work through his book.

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New Column!Christopher Curmudgeon
Grills the
Christian Bestsellers

“Sacred Cows Make the Best Hamburger” – Mark Twain


This is an introductory post for a new column that we will be running on our website, the aim of which will be to examine and ask hard questions about – i.e., to grill – bestselling Christian books. 

We will try to present the books in a manner that reflects fairly and accurately the author’s intents. For the time being, I (ERB editor, Chris Smith) will do these reviews under the pseudonym Christopher Curmudgeon, and will hope that the alter-ego helps to lend a light and humorous tone to the reviews. Our purpose in creating this column is twofold: for many of our regular readers, who would rather die than set foot in a Christian bookstore, this column will serve as a newsflash about what other Christians are reading these days; for readers who do read mainstream Christian books, or who have family and friends who do, we hope to shed new and different light on the bestsellers, challenging you to think theologically about what you are reading and to have meaningful conversations with others about the books that you are reading. (a key part of our mission here at The Englewood Review of Books).

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Learning to Find Joy in Each Day

A Review of  

Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God
Margaret Feinberg

Paperback: Worthy Publishing, 2013
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Reviewed by Kimberly Roth


Margaret Feinberg is one of those authors who walk with one foot in the evangelical world and one foot in the mystical. Or, perhaps a better way to say it is this: she walks the evangelical path in a mystic’s shoes. Either way, there may be those who find themselves uncomfortable on her journeys – either because she’s too “out-there” or because she’s too “in-your-face” (depending on your personal bent, of course).

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Shedding Light on Fear-Mongering.

A Feature Review of

The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims
Nathan Lean

Paperback: Pluto Press, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by John W. Morehead.


Human beings are wired to be aware of difference. It is natural part of human nature to forge various social alliances that foster senses of “us,” the insiders, in distinction to “them,” the outsiders. Problems arise when the outsiders become the enemy, and they further function in such a way that one’s individual and collective identity is created by way of opposition to the other. In the United States, this dynamic is all too frequently found in the post-9/11 environment in regards to Islam, where a cottage industry portrays Islam as a monstrous entity, wholly a religion of violence, pursuing terrorism and the overthrow of the US Constitution to be replaced with “sharia law.” The result of this narrative is a frighteningly large number of people adopting “Islamophobia,” an irrational fear of Muslims and the Islamic religion.

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The New Evangelicals - Marcia PallyThe State of the Political and Evangelical Landscapes Today

A Review of

The New Evangelicals:

Expanding the Vision of the Common Good

Marcia Pally.

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2011.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Joshua Neds-Fox.

A confession: I have no head for American politics.  I recognize the major players, vaguely understand the basic assumptions and policy goals of conservative vs. liberal, Republican vs. Democrat.  I know that one of the cable news channels is supposed to lean one way and another the other, and there’s The Nation, they’re conservative, right? Or is that The National Review?

See, I don’t find myself terribly invested in the approach of one side versus the other. But I would have to have been living under a rock for the last couple of decades to miss the connection between mainstream evangelicalism and conservative politics.  As an issue inside the church, it strikes me as the key divider between Jesus-followers of my generation, perhaps more than protestant vs. catholic, or evangelical vs. charismatic.  As an issue of American Religion, it’s been fodder for sociological study and political science research for most of my adult life. I think of Robert Putnam and David Campbell’s 2010 American Grace, which surveys the landscape of religion and politics to see where we see ourselves in the light of American contemporary religion.

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