Big news! LibraryThing is now free to all! Read the blog post and discuss the change on Talk.
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


Deconstructing Evangelicalism: Conservative Protestantism in the Age of…

by D. G. Hart

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
1621122,081 (4.1)None
Deconstructs the post-WWII evangelical movement, calling American Christians to rediscover their rich theological heritage.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

What is an evangelical? When the boundaries of a definition are broadened wide enough, eventually the definition collapses in on itself, and the meaning of the movement becomes meaningless.

D. G. Hart writes a great book declaring that "Evangelicalism" is not a real identity, but instead is a well-intended construction of conservative Christians in the post-World War II climate of modernism vs. fundamentalism. Seeking to define a segment of Christianity in opposition to either the Fundamentalism or modernism, a large swath of pastors, theologians, pollsters, historians, evangelists, musicians, etc. worked to create a unified "Conservative Protestantism". The resulting edifice is known as "Evangelicalism".

Fifty+ years later it is painfully obvious that the only "unity" of evangelicalism is a unity that is so devoid of biblical theological substance that... who cares about evangelicalism? In a nutshell, Hart argues that it is time to dump the idea of Evangelicalism.

I have read dozens and dozens of books on the history of American Christianity, with a great number of these focusing on Evangelicalism. I say that because it is hard to tell if this would be an enjoyable book to read if you haven't already consumed a lot on the history of Evangelicalism. For me, the book was a delight. I love discovering new historical insight into key figures such as Carl Henry, Billy Graham, Fuller Seminary, the CCM industry, religious pollsters, etc. I think Hart writes exceedingly well. He is one of those authors that is not afraid to state his strong convictions. He calls it like he sees it - and this makes for good reading.

Here are some quotes from early on in the book:

"This book is about the way neo-evangelicals built the evangelical edifice and how academics have maintained the facade of the building commonly known as conservative Protestantism."(28)

"But the chief aim is to document the construction of evangelicalism as a scholarly tool of analysis and the concomitant deconstruction of evangelicalism as an expression of Christian faith and practice." (29)

"The first part of the book examines the scholarly construction of evangelicalism during the last twenty-five years... The last half of the book explores the way evangelicalism as a post-World War II religious movment has fragmented." (29)

"Without a self-conscious notion about ministry, a common theology, and a coherent understanding of worship, evangelicalism has deconstructed."(29)

One of the best quotes in the book comes in the last paragraph:

Was it actually conceivable that the word evangelical could hold together disparate Protestant beliefs and practices and mold them into some kind of unified whole? Even more basic was whether such an evangelical identity was desirable. The idea to make evangelicalism the conservative version of Protestantism was an interesting attempt to create an alternative religious voice that would counter mainline Protestantism and Roman Catholicism and would beat fundamentalism at the public relations game. But this evangelical movement was simply duplicating work already being done, not to shape a nation but to shepherd God's flock. Before evangelicalism, Christians had churches to hear the Word preached, to receive the sacraments, and to hear sound counsel and correction.Without evangelicalism, Protestant Christianity may not be as unified (when has it ever been?), but it will go one. And without the burden of forming a nationally influential coalition, American Protestants in all their Heinz 57 varieties, from Presbyterian to Calvary Chapel, may even be healthier.

Hart's book is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

One negative thing - why is there only one passing mention of Francis Schaeffer? ( )
  wisdomofthepages | Mar 16, 2006 |
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (4.1)
3 3
3.5 3
4 3
5 6

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 149,275,995 books! | Top bar: Always visible