by Kristin Kobes Du Mez

February 2, 2021

Released in June of last year, I hadn’t heard of this book at all until my friend Matt Tebbe raved about it in a conversation a few weeks after the election. Shortly after that, I felt like I was seeing it mentioned everywhere I looked. And I’m glad for that…it’s an important book about the state of evangelicalism and politics in the United States.

I imagine there is some strong critique out there, but I found it to be a helpful survey of how evangelical Christianity has been so closely tied to conservative politics. I’d always considered this to be something that especially developed in the last 40 years or so, but Du Mez thoughtfully traces it back to the origins of evangelical Christianity:

Contemporary white evangelicalism in America, then, is not the inevitable outworking of “biblical literalism,” nor is it the only possible interpretation of the historic Christian faith; the history of American Christianity itself is filled with voices of resistance and signs of paths not taken. It is, rather, a historical and a cultural movement, forged over time by individuals and organizations with varied motivations—the desire to discern God’s will, to bring order to uncertain times, and, for many, to extend their own power.

For those hoping to help form an expression of Christianity that isn’t enmeshed with nationalism and conservative politics, this book helps unravel the history between the two. And that unraveling is critical to reimagining a more pure expression of Christianity moving forward.

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