cover image Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion

Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. InterVarsity, $20 cloth (192p) ISBN 978-0-8308-4534-7

Wilson-Hartgrove (Strangers at My Door), a white minister serving at a historic African-American Baptist church near Durham, N.C., extends the arc of his previous reflections on New South faith, race, and politics in this impressive work. Not a boisterous guide like many evangelical authors, Wilson-Hartgrove asks the simple question of how Jesus’ good news has “come to sound so bad” to the poor and describes how “the story of Jesus has been hijacked to serve the opposite of what God wants.” Through captivating stories, intelligent use of American Southern history, and genuine introspection, he examines racial blindness in white Americans and his own journey of gaining sight. “Chattel slavery is not ancient history in America. Sometimes, it’s close enough to touch. We all carry in our bodies stories that haven’t been told.” Wilson-Hartgrove frequently returns to the original landscape of the Bible to reveal the subversive origins of Christianity as he draws parallels between the plight of early Christians and modern day injustices. Bringing together thoughts on the rural working-class, white privilege, and the black-led freedom movement, Wilson-Hartgrove’s book is a must-read for Christians interested in how race-infused politics and distorted religion undermine the American democratic dream. [em](Mar.) [/em]

This review has been corrected to reflect updated information about the format and pub date of the book.