Evangelicals: Who They Have Been, Are Now, and Could Be

Mark A. Noll, David W. Bebbington, and George M. Marsden. Eerdmans, $29.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8028-7695-9
Three scholars of the history of Christian evangelicalism deliver a thorough anthology of essays that responds directly to the strong support for Donald Trump’s presidency among white evangelicals in the United States and asks readers to consider what that support can and cannot say about evangelicals broadly. The opening section historicizes and complicates traditional understanding of the beliefs, practices, and demographics of evangelical Christianity. Among the highlights are Marsden’s 1984 attempt to define what makes certain strains of Christianity “evangelical” and a 2016 essay by Linford Fisher that makes the case for a fluid rather than fixed definition. The other two sections are concerned with knotty question of what Donald Trump’s 2016 victory means for evangelical faith and practice. Michael S. Hamilton’s assessment of Trump in the context of Christian nationalism, Kristin Kobes Du Mez’s piece on militant masculinity, and the essays by Jemar Tisby and Brian C. Stiller, which challenge a white-centric understanding of global evangelicalism, are particularly insightful. Readers with an interest in Christian evangelical history will find this a valuable collection to study, reflect on, and argue with. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 11/05/2019
Release date: 11/01/2019
Genre: Religion
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