- Paperback: 275 pages
- Publisher: Baylor University Press (January 16, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1602580715
- ISBN-13: 978-1602580718
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,044,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Future of Faith in American Politics: The Public Witness of the Evangelical Center Paperback – January 16, 2008
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In this important book David Gushee gives the lie to the sorry myth that Evangelicals are all right-wing extremists. Not only does he show that many are politically progressive, but also that most of them are actually or potentially political moderates with a strong biblical conscience.
--George Hunsinger, Princeton Theological Seminary
In an election year, we badly need this careful, reasoned reflection on how Christians should confront the pressing moral issues of our time. Gushee offers a refreshingly balanced point of view.
--Philip Yancey, Author and editor-at-large of Christianity Today
The Future of Faith in American Politics challenges Jim Hightower's famous maxim that the only things in the middle of the road are yellow stripes and dead armadillos. Gushee offers here a cogent and balanced agenda for evangelical activism, a most welcome addition to this important conversation.
--Randall Balmer, Professor of American religious history at Barnard College, Columbia University
Gushee offers a valuable survey of Evangelical subgroups and their varied responses to some of the most significant and divisive ethical issues of our time. It is a timely response to questions that demand informed and immediate attention in the academy and the pulpit.
--Bill J. Leonard, Dean and Professor of Church History, Wake Forest University Divinity School
Will there be a kinder, gentler, wiser Evangelical ethos in the future--less strident, rigid, politically entrenched, and reactive, and more thoughtful, robust, politically independent, and constructive? If so, I believe it will develop in large part because of David Gushee and the new/renewing identity articulated in this important book.
--Brian D. McLaren, Author (brianmclaren.net)
Excellent. Carefully researched, lucidly argued, urgently important. A must read; for anyone interested in American evangelical political engagement today.
--Ronald J. Sider, President, Evangelicals for Social Action
Gushee makes a strong case for an emerging evangelical middle; in American politics. For that middle to become more than an occasional, aggregate voice, however, its constituents will have to take more seriously than they do now the responsibilities of citizenship and government. Today, that middle lacks leaders in government and the political process with the comprehensive agenda Gushee advocates.
--Jim Skillen, President, The Center for Public Justice
You must read this book. Why? It not only explains who the players are in an evolving religious and political awakening occurring within the evangelical world, but it also explains the ideas, conflicts, and controversies that are making news.
--Richard Cizik, Vice President for Governmental Affairs, National Association of Evangelicals
The Future of Faith in American Politics offers a cogent review of contemporary political engagement among evangelical Protestants. David Gushee's description of an emerging evangelical center displays the diversity of this engagement, while his advocacy for such a center reveals its vitality. This book deserves to be taken seriously by evangelicals and non-evangelicals alike.
--John C. Green, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of Akron
From the Inside Flap
A provocative look at the political beliefs of evangelical Christians.
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Top Customer Reviews
On another note, I appreciate how consistent Gushee is in exhorting evangelicals to be more protective of children. Overall, I loved this book. I'm not convinced by all of Gushee's arguments for standing in the center as opposed to the right or left, but I am very grateful for his commentary. Moreover, I agree with his thesis that we, as Christians, are called to follow Christ--and that is very differnt from aligning ourselves uncritically with Republicans or Democrats or any political candidate we might vote for.
In the first half of his work, Gushee details the major players, organizations and worldviews that constitute what he sees as a distinct Evangelical Right, Left and Center. On the Right he chronicles the rise of such influential organizations as Focus on the Family and the American Family Association, among others. Gushee agrees with the way in which the Right is able to speak out on abortion and the sanctity of marriage, but faults them for at times having too narrow of an issue base, and at other times for merely adopting the Republican Party platform wholeheartedly.
The Evangelical Left consists mainly of the personalities of Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo and the organizations that they have built around them, but there are many other organizations that embody a liberal approach to politics as well. While the Left, and especially Wallis, tend to view themselves as a mediator between the Secular Left and the Evangelical Right, Gushee rightly points out that most of the ire of those on the Left is directed at the Right. As is to be expected, Gushee praises the Left for being able to widen the agenda of the Evangelical world, especially in the realm of social justice and their reliance on Jesus and His message in the Sermon on the Mount. However, they can fall vulnerable to losing their self-proclaimed prophetic roll when they refuse to speak out on issues that make them feel uncomfortable, most notably homosexuality and abortion.
The thrust of Gushee's argument comes in his description and advocacy for the Evangelical Center. He notes the many different venues from which the Center is emerging, the more prominent of which would be the National Association of Evangelicals, Christianity Today, activist Ron Sider, and mega-church pastors such as Rick Warren and Joel Hunter. The hallmark of the Center is their ability to hold to the traditional Evangelical stances on the issues of abortion and protecting marriage, but also being able to include a broader scope of concerns that includes poverty, the environment, torture, and racism just to name a few.
Gushee takes a much different approach in the second half of his book, using it to articulate the centrist position on a few key issues, including: torture, the environment, marriage and war. While at times it could be argued that Gushee is approaching the subject with a more leftward leaning stance than centrist, all in all he does a good job of promoting both a biblical argument and innovative solutions. At the very least, Gushee should be respected for attempting to strike the delicate balance that the Center should hold, even if at times he comes across as a little more liberal than centrist.
The Future of Faith in American Politics is an essential read for anyone who wants to understand the current state of Evangelical politics, but more importantly, Gushee does a wonderful job of showing what the future of Evangelical political engagement will be. Even if one does not agree with all the conclusions Gushee comes to, it is important to make the same efforts he does, putting the Word of God at the forefront of our political positions and attempting to break free of the partisan structure that so often captivates our political ideologies.
He does extensively quote female scholars in the second half of the book, so it isn't as if he doesn't value women. He just doesn't acknowledge or explain their absence, for the most part, in this one particular book.
Other than that, it's a great book--although if you are a Gushee fan, you're probably going to already be familiar with much of the last half of the book. The forthright discussion on homosexuality was much needed, and the previous reviewer is correct that one of Gushee's strengths is his attention to children.