Every once in a while there’s a book that comes along and you just can’t put it down. You read it in no time, read it again, and then you want to share it with your friends. Well, I think I’ve found a book worth sharing. Over the last few months I have been constantly thinking about how my faith and the Church can actively influence culture, without sacrificing its message. In addition, as I’ve struggled to figure out who to vote for in 2012, I’ve been conflicted with what role faith should play in political discussion. Then, this book came along. Power, Politics and the Fragmentation of Evangelicalism: From the Scopes Trial to the Obama Administration by my professor at Asbury Theological Seminary, Kenneth J. Collins, has been extremely helpful! In sharing this with you, I hope you buy the book and think through the challenges it presents. I’ve included my own review here and a link to purchase the text (its rather inexpensive)! Enjoy!
Power, Politics and the Fragmentation of Evangelicalism is a great read whether you are a political liberal, moderate or conservative! It’s message gets at the heart of contemporary American evangelicalism. Through surprisingly balanced and careful assessment (and that’s hard to do whenever you talk religion and politics), Collins surveys the culture shaping events of religion in America and rightly identifies how evangelicals have influenced politics and social values. Furthermore, the last fifty years of American history also show us that both the religious right and the religious left have compromised the authentic Gospel of Jesus Christ in favor of cultural acceptance and relevancy. Collins challenges evangelicals to realize that regardless of political affiliation, evangelicals must not allow themselves to be pushed off of their narrative in the midst of an increasingly secular culture. If evangelicals wish to work for the kingdom of God in America, they must embrace something greater than a distorted view of what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.
Collins’ own words capture the heart of Power, Politics and the Fragmentation of Evangelicalism as he states, “With political judgments in their proper place, with social visions not immediately equated with the kingdom of God in crude, idolatrous ways, evangelicals of all persuasions can be free to acknowledge their brothers and sisters of differing views around the Lord’s Table, celebrating a God of holy love who transcends them all. Clearly, far more unites American evangelicals than what divides them. Such a gracious truth, however, can only be obscured when disparate political judgments or social visions displace the richness of the gospel, that is, the universal love of God manifested in Jesus Christ.”
As the United States faces yet another election in 2012, Collins’ work is of the utmost importance! If you’re looking for a great read, then I highly recommend this book! Whether you’re a liberal or conservative, Christian or not, this book packs a powerful punch as our culture considers the current status of religion and politics in light of the upcoming election. You won’t be disappointed!
Link to Purchase Power, Politics and the Fragmentation of Evangelicalism: From the Scopes Trial to the Obama Administration: