Archives For Evangelicalism

 

Misappropriating Bonhoeffer
 
A Feature Review of
 

The Battle for Bonhoeffer:
Debating Discipleship in the Age of Trump

Stephen Haynes

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2018.
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]  [ Audible ]

 
Reviewed by James Dekker

 
 
The ten chapters and postscript “Open Letter to Christians Who Love Bonhoeffer but (Still) Support Trump” of Stephen Haynes’s Battle for Bonhoeffer are some of the densest I’ve ever read outside of graduate theses, but it is far more engaging than any thesis. Dense is by no means bad. Battle is carefully organized, clearly written and always compelling. And well it should be, since this closely-argued discursus explores possibly the most incandescent questions in American Christians’ conversation since the Vietnam War: “Why and how has Dietrich Bonhoeffer become a hero to evangelicals in the first twenty years of the 21st century, when for decades after his death his theology was widely suspect outside mainline Protestantism? Why do so many evangelicals support Donald Trump?” Such rocky geography covers the American evangelical battleground that Stephen Haynes attempts to delimit.

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Letting Go of Old Taboos

A Review of 

PURE: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free
Linda Kay Klein

Hardback: Touchstone, 2018.
Buy Now:
Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]  [ Audible ]

Reviewed by Bob Cornwall
 

*** This review originally appeared
on the reviewer’s website.
It is reprinted here with permission.
Browse his website for other excellent reviews!

 
When I finished reading Pure, the U.S. Senate had only hours before concluded its day-long hearing that pitted the memories/claims of a previously obscure woman and the nominee for a life-time appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court that she believed had sexually assaulted her when both were in high school. These two people are both highly educated and at least outwardly successful people. But there may be more to the story than appeared on the surface. The question raised in the hearing was who should be believed. In the past a man’s word would have been taken over that of a woman, unless there was corroborating evidence (see the deuterocanonical story of Susannah). At the heart of such questions is a long-standing belief that a woman should keep herself pure until marriage. In fact, until that point she should be a nonsexual being, lest she begin a slippery slope into sin. The call for purity/virginity is combined with a warning about being a stumbling block to men. And if something untoward happens, like sexual assault, then she must be at fault. Was she drinking? Was she wearing revealing clothing? Was she flirting? If any or all these factors are in play, then she must have been asking for it. That is the line that has bandied about by politicians and from pulpits from time immemorial. In the age of #MeToo and #ChurchToo such beliefs are being challenged, and rightly so.

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Beyond Evangelicalism:
Finding Spiritual Renewal in the Ancient

A Review of 

Theosis: Patristic Remedy for Evangelical Yearning
at the Close of the Modern Age
Michael Paul Gama

Paperback: Wipf & Stock, 2017
Buy Now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Cynthia Beach

 

 

When Dr. Michael Gama told me about his book beneath a patio umbrella one April day in Portland, I listened. I could relate.

Dissatisfied with the faith expression of my church heritage? Check.

Hungering for a faith that permitted more mystery, more God? Check.

Gama, whose pedigree includes the likes of Fuller Seminary (MDiv) and George Fox Evangelical (Doctorate of Ministry), keenly examines evangelicalism itself and his own journey beyond.

Early chapters explore the shifts in philosophical zeitgeist that became the soil, roots and structures for the blossoming of evangelicalism.

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

  

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

feat. contributions by Shane Claiborne, Lisa Sharon Harper, Karen Swallow Prior, MORE
Mark Labberton, Ed.

*** Read a review of this book

 

NEXT BOOK >>>>>

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A Truly Evangelical Perception of Justice

A Feature Review of

Return to Justice:
Six Movements that Reignited Our Contemporary Evangelical Conscience
Soong-Chan Rah / Gary VanderPol

Paperback: Brazos Press, 2016.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Kevin Book-Satterlee

 

Rah and VanderPol’s book is an important brief history of an undercurrent of biblical justice found in American evangelicalism. It is a history of struggle for recognition, and provides key snapshots in an album of this continued Return to Justice. The book is born from the authors’ obvious experience and study, and seeks to reintegrate the bifurcation of evangelism and justice. The authors highlight and esteem known figures and institutions such as John Perkins, World Vision, Sojourners, and Samuel Escobar, among others. These key figures and their stories formed the historical backdrop and narrative for reinvigorating biblical justice as a key tenet of evangelicalism, challenging a dominant American, white male, middle-class status quo that has historically recoiled from social gospel “tendencies” and issues of biblical justice in preference and focus towards an individualistic approach of evangelism-by-proclamation and personalized salvation experience.

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Reconciliation Without History?

A Feature Review of 

Us Versus Us:
The Untold Story of Religion and the LGBT Community

Andrew Marin

Paperback: NavPress, 2016
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by Caris Adel

 

There is a picture on the cover of the Moral Majority newsletter from July 1983 that prominently features a white heterosexual family with hospital masks over their faces. Above their heads is the word AIDS and below, the statement “Homosexual Diseases Threaten American Families.”

For over 4 decades, the conservative and evangelical church has been telling us that LGBT people pose a threat to the American family. This long history of Christian opposition to and the demonization of LGBT people hung over my head as I began to read Andrew Marin’s new book Us Versus Us.

This book is essentially the results of a survey of over 1700 people taken over 6 years which featured open-ended questions. Not only are we getting fresh statistics on the LGBT community and the church, we are also hearing plenty of stories and opinions from them and how their faith communities affected them. Marin says this book is written for both sides – the LGBT community and the church, and therein lies my main complaint with the book. He puts them on equal ground in the religious culture war.

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Can Evangelicalism be Born Again?

A Review of

The Age of Evangelicalism: America’s Born Again Years

Steven P. Miller

Hardback: Oxford UP, 2014
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ 
Kindle ]

Reviewed by Betsy Shirley

 

I nearly choked on my sandwich. A remake of the movie Left Behind? In 2014? I was sure my friend had misread something.

 

But a quick Google search and there it was, incontrovertible IMBd.com evidence: due in theaters October 3, starring Nicholas Cage, with a budget that one Wall Street Journal blogger simply described as “expensive.”

 

What does it mean, when Hollywood produces a 2014 remake of a 2000 movie based on a bestselling 1990’s book series? Is Left Behind is simply the newest offspring of Hollywood’s desperation for profit coupled with our infatuation for remakes and sequels, like so many installments of Transformers and X-Men before it?

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This is an important book about Evangelical culture, that I’m just starting to dig into…

Apostles of Reason:
The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism

Molly Worthen

Hardback: Oxford UP, 2013
Buy now:   [ Amazon  ]   [ Kindle ]
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A Fresh Look at Early American Evangelicalism

A Brief Review of

Sarah Osborn’s World: The Rise of Evangelical Christianity in Early America

Catherine Brekus

Hardback: Yale UP, 2013.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

 

Reviewed by Douglas Connelly

 

I have read a lot of early American church history since my days in seminary and some of my most-revered mentors come from the era of the Great Awakening – George Whitefield, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards and Francis Asbury.  But I can’t ever remember reading a word about Sarah Osborn until I picked up this excellent book.  The author, Catherine Brekus, is an academic (who teaches American religious history at the University of Chicago), but she tells Sarah Osborn’s story in a compelling, embracing style that draws the reader along and into every detail she explores.  The book is more than just the biography of a remarkable woman; it is the story of the broader evangelical movement in early America told through the experience of a remarkable Christian.
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The Activist ImpulseAdjusting to Changing Times.

A Review of :

The Activist Impulse:  Essays on the Intersection of Evangelicalism and Anabaptism

David Cramer and Jared Burkholder.

Paperback: Pickwick, 2012.
By now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Alex Dye

Evangelicalism and Anabaptism seem to live as brothers at odds, though each has seen a rise in popularity in recent years.  Evangelicalism, as popularized by Billy Graham and embodied today through the churches like Willow Creek and Saddleback, has seeped into most denominations in some form or fashion, though many would struggle to define exactly it.  And Anabaptism and Anabaptist thoughts are evidenced through the writings and work of Shane Claiborne, the Reba Place community, and the current church buzzword “social justice.”  Though adherents to each may find themselves at different ends of the theological and political spectrum, the two movements have been influencing one another in significant ways.  “The last thirty years have shown that both evangelicals and Anabaptists, while sharing space on the margins of American society, have manifested a shared commitment-an ‘impulse’-to engage American society through religiously motivated activism.”  (2)

In their collection of essays, The Activist Impulse, Jared S. Burkholder and David C. Cramer attempt to chronicle some of the many and varied interactions between Anabaptism and Evangelicalism, especially related to how they relate to culture, society, and the world.

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