The Juvenilization of American Christianity by Thomas E. Bergler

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In this critical but constructive study of the intersection of Christianity and youth culture, Bergler explores a “quiet revolution in American church life.” Teens and their youth leaders have convinced churches that “the religious beliefs, practices, and developmental characteristics of adolescents” are now “appropriate for adults.” While these changes have breathed life into four major American church traditions over the last 75 years—African American, evangelical, mainline Protestant, and Roman Catholic—white evangelicals have led this revolution, resulting in adults “embracing immature versions of the faith”—with consumerism and self-centeredness popularizing a feel-good, theologically ignorant faith. As Bergler notes, “at least some traits that should be included in Christian maturity have been decoupled from adulthood in post-1960s America, encourag[ing] [a] . . . juvenilization of American Christianity and the emergence of the new immature adulthood [that] have mutually reinforced one another.” In sum, “we’re all adolescents now.” (Eerdmans)

About the Author

Robert N. Hosack is Executive Editor for Baker Publishing Group, and he is a member of Church of the Servant CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich.