Of the making of books on evangelical navel-gazing there is no end. But newcomer Worthen’s meticulously researched Apostles of Reason offers an epic interpretive history of American evangelicalism. Move over Marsden, Noll, and Carpenter, there’s a new kid on the block. As Worthen says in her introduction, “this book examines modern American evangelicals’ fraught relationship with secular reason and imagination.”
The author artfully traces the new evangelicalism, with its 1940s roots, through icons like Billy Graham, Harold John Ockenga, Carl F. H. Henry, and Christianity Today, finding a crisis in authority at the heart of the movement. The tension between the head and the heart is one that could not be escaped. Worthen insightfully observes, “Scratch a neo-evangelical and underneath you would likely find a fundamentalist who still preferred the comforts of purity to the risks of free inquiry and collaboration.” This is one of the most important books on evangelicalism in the last twenty years. (Oxford University Press)
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