Critiques of Evangelicalism


I'm convinced that no matter what we believe and what group we are part of around those beliefs we have an obligation to review and test our beliefs and practices within that.

Whatever form of church community we find that supports what we now believe, we should always show our true value of that by testing and probing it, lest we make the same mistakes that we think we have avoided of others.

Over the years as part of my emerging church journey, I have a collection of books, that address specifically the beliefs and practices of evangelicals. I'm not talking about generic emerging church books, that too often set up evangelicals as the bogey/straw man, but books that have good research models other than personal preference, and that explore real information and theology.

Here is my list, that I found critical, and helpful, and at times sobering, and at others hopeful. What have you read that has done the same for you that I have missed?

1. Reinventing English Evangelicalism, 1966-2001: This book by Rob Warner, is about to be re-printed, and I just got a copy from Paternoster.

It is the most comprehensive theological and sociological overview of UK evangelicalism, that I have come across. Rob Warner was for so long, so involved with most people on the evangelical scene, and this is his PhD research in book form. It also reminded me of how different the UK is to the US when it comes to evangelicalism.

If you really want to understand UK evangelicals, this is a must have and read book.

2. What Christians Really Believe: This small book by Stanley Grenz was one of the first I read 10 years ago at the start of my questioning of evangelical beliefs and practices.

3. The Post-Evangelical & The Post-Evangelical Debate: Two small and easy to read books that gave an inside look, more at the culture and sociology of evangelicals in the UK, and why many were describing themselves as such. In my excitement I registered the domain, but have since let it lapse.

4. The Re-making of Evangelical Theology: This book by Gary Dorrien, is still one of my favourites. If you want a theological critique of evagelical theology, this is a must have/read.

5. The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind: By Mark A. Knoll, a seminal and much referenced book. Mostly US focused, but a great theological critique of evangelical spirituality and practice.

6. Scandal of the Evangelical Consciousness: By Ronald Sider, with a bit of a recurring theme for the title. An exploration of how believing and saying Jesus is Lord has led to little difference in daily life habits from those who don't.

6. The Fall of the Evangelical Nation: By Christine Wicker. This one just came through my post box today. An overview of the decline of evangelicalism in the USA.

7. The Radical Evangelical: Seeking a Place to Stand: By Nigel Wright. I loved this book, critical but constructive as the possibilities for evangelicalism in the future, with a UK and European focus.

And a few more, but I'll stop there (and I'm not including Barna's Revolution, I've already critiqued it here).