Cracks In The Foundation: Why American Evangelical Christianity Soured

July 13, 2019

Culture, Ethics

My name was lit up in lights last month with a 3,000-word article published on The Anxious Bench over at Patheos. I trace the devolution of American evangelical Christianity to the heart of the mid-twentieth century evangelical resurgence, supposedly before political partisans hijacked the movement. In fact, the partisans were already there, paving the way for Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, and Pat Robertson. 

Below are the first few paragraphs. Find the tell-all story here.


It’s time for evangelical myth busting.

I say that as the not-so-secret secret unravels: White American Evangelical Christianity has plunged into a theological, spiritual, and moral abyss. Many claiming the evangelical label laud an obviously decadent president while jettisoning the movement’s time-honored convictions: Lifeway Research found that majorities believe the Holy Spirit is an impersonal force, that Jesus was a created being, and that family worship is an acceptable swap for regular church attendance.

So much for that ol’ time religion.

Two questions hover over discussions among the movement’s thinkers and academics: What went wrong and what’s the remedy? An inevitable third question flows from the second: Should we fight to preserve the evangelical tag (for which Richard Mouw compellingly argues in Restless Faith: Holding Evangelical Beliefs in a World of Contested Labels), or must we abandon it as too sullied? Perhaps a frustrated Russell Moore was right in 2016: “In many ways the word itself is at the moment subverting the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Cracks In The Foundation: Why American Evangelical Christianity Soured

About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern


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