Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Review

The Fall of the Evangelical Nation, by Christine Wicker.

Wicker is a solid reporter, and knows the religious landscape of America pretty well. This work is an account of what has happened among the evangelical wing of the family the last decade, and what the next few decades may hold. I found it refreshinlgy balanced and fair.

She calls churches on their inability (unwillingness?) to report honest attendance figures, and focuses on those "leaving out the back door" as much as she does on those "coming in the front door." She commends the modern church for still being able to change lives, and commends mega-churches for the good things their size enables them to do.

There are some problems in the book. Wicker struggles to define her terms, as anyone who has tried to define "evangelical" has struggled. She fails to distinguish strongly enough between evangelicals and fundamentalists and charismatics and pentecostals, which are all distinct groups and strongly disagree on a range of issues. She also seems to harp on the "literal view fo Scripture" as an identifying mark of evangelicalism, where the broader "inspired" or "taking Scripture seriously" would be more accurate.

No comments: