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Wayward Christian Soldiers: Freeing the Gospel from Political Captivity

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Wayward Christian Soldiers: Freeing the Gospel from Political Captivity Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Charles Marsh's Wayward Christian Soldiers may lack the gossipy appeal of Kuo's White House exposé, but it is in every way the better book. A professor of religion at the University of Virginia and a devout evangelical, Marsh believes that the politicization of Christianity in recent years — using the good name and moral commandments of the church to 'serve national ambitions, strengthen middle-class values, and justify war' — has been spiritually disastrous for evangelicalism in the United States. Conservative American Christians, he claims, have forgotten the difference between 'discipleship and partisanship.' They have 'seized the language of the faith and made it captive to our partisan agendas — and done so with contempt for Scripture, tradition, and the global, ecumenical church.' The result has been a collapse into spiritual unseriousness, as Christians have 'recast' their faith 'according to our cultural preferences and baptized our prejudices, along with our will to power, in the shallow waters of civic piety.' Resisting despair, Marsh hopes that his book might inspire some of his fellow believers to repent of their recent ways — to 'take stock of the whole colossal wreck of the evangelical witness' and then try to rebuild a more authentic Christianity in its place." Damon Linker, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In Wayward Christian Soldiers, leading evangelical theologian Charles Marsh offers a powerful indictment of the political activism of evangelical Christian leaders and churches in the United States. With emphasis on repentence and renewal, this important work advises Christians how to understand past mistakes and to avoid making them in the future.

Over the past several years, Marsh observes, American evangelicals have achieved more political power than at any time in their history. But access and influence have come at a cost to their witness in the world and the integrity of their message. The author offers a sobering contrast between the contemporary evangelical elite, which forms the core of the Republican Party, and the historic Christian tradition of respect for the mystery of God and appreciation for human fallibility. The author shows that the most prominent voices in American evangelicalism have arrogantly redefined Christianity on the basis of partisan politics rather than scripture and tradition. The role of politics in distorting the Christian message can be seen most dramatically in the invasion of Iraq, he argues: Some 87% of American evangelicals supported going to war, while every single evangelical church outside the United States opposed it. The Jesus who storms into Baghdad behind the wheel of a Humvee, Marsh points out, is not the Jesus of the Gospel. Indeed, not since the nazification of the German church under Hitler has the political misuse of Christianity led to such catastrophic global consequences.

Is there an alternative? This book proposes that the renewal of American churches requires a season of concentrated attention to faith's essential affirmations — a time of hospitality, peacemaking, and contemplative prayer. Offering an authentic Christian alternative to the narcissistic piety of popular evangelicalism, Wayward Christian Soldiers represents a unique entry into the increasingly pivotal debate over the role of faith in American politics.

Review:

"With Wayward Christian Soldiers, Charles Marsh again shows that he is one of the most astute observers of evangelicalism today. This is a passionate critique of how evangelical faith in America has been compromised by the political captivity of the gospel. His case study of evangelical support for the war in Iraq in the face of almost universal opposition from the transnational church is one of the best I've seen. And his call for the church to refocus on the basics of faith — repentance, prayer, and peacemaking — is a very welcome one. This is a book that will help us move past partisan religious politics to recover the Good News of Jesus." Jim Wallis, author of God's Politics and president of Sojourners/Call to Renewal

Review:

"Wayward Christian Soldiers is not only a provocative and stimulating call for change, it's a learning experience. Marsh is expert at providing the context needed to fully appreciate the ideas he is expressing, and this is especially important considering what's happening in the Christian world now." Charleston Post and Courier

Review:

"With the passion of a believer and the reason of a scholar, Charles Marsh has produced a brilliant manifesto for reclaiming Christianity from the Christian right. He is that most effective of critics, an 'inside agitator,' relentless in cataloging the trespasses of his co-religionists against the 'truth' they profess." Diane McWhorter, author of Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution

Review:

"Wayward Christian Soldiers is a brave, unsettling tract for the times. From the heart of the evangelical world comes a prophet in the tradition of Barth and Bonhoeffer to confront his fellow Christians with the bracing Word of God. Charles Marsh directs his prophetic critique at his fellow evangelical Christians who have compromised their own convictions for the sake of political influence. But his words challenge all Christians to return to the fiery center of their faith in a God who challenges every political agenda and who calls Christians back to their most ancient tasks as people of peace and reconciliation." The Very Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III, Dean of Washington National Cathedral

Review:

"Provoking and confessing, making fascinating historical and global connections, Wayward Christian Soldiers is essential reading for American evangelicals and anyone concerned about faith and politics. Marsh is a public theologian for our time." Mark R. Gornik, author of To Live in Peace: Biblical Faith and the Changing Inner City and Dean of City Seminary in New York

Synopsis:

In Wayward Christian Soldiers, leading evangelical theologian Charles Marsh offers a powerful indictment of the political activism of evangelical Christian leaders and churches in the United States. With emphasis on repentance and renewal, this important work advises Christians how to understand past mistakes and to avoid making them in the future.

Over the past several years, Marsh observes, American evangelicals have achieved more political power than at any time in their history. But access and influence have come at a cost to their witness in the world and the integrity of their message. The author offers a sobering contrast between the contemporary evangelical elite, which forms the core of the Republican Party, and the historic Christian tradition of respect for the mystery of God and appreciation for human fallibility. The author shows that the most prominent voices in American evangelicalism have arrogantly redefined Christianity on the basis of partisan politics rather than scripture and tradition. The role of politics in distorting the Christian message can be seen most dramatically in the invasion of Iraq, he argues: Some 87% of American evangelicals supported going to war, while every single evangelical church outside the United States opposed it. The Jesus who storms into Baghdad behind the wheel of a Humvee, Marsh points out, is not the Jesus of the Gospel. Indeed, not since the nazification of the German church under Hitler has the political misuse of Christianity led to such catastrophic global consequences.

Is there an alternative? This book proposes that the renewal of American churches requires a season of concentrated attention to faith's essential affirmations--a time of hospitality, peacemaking, and contemplative prayer. Offering an authentic Christian alternative to the narcissistic piety of popular evangelicalism, Wayward Christian Soldiers represents a unique entry into the increasingly pivotal debate over the role of faith in American politics.

"With Wayward Christian Soldiers, Charles Marsh again shows that he is one of the most astute observers of evangelicalism today."

--Jim Wallis, author of God's Politics

Synopsis:

Leading evangelical theologian Marsh offers a powerful indictment of the political activism of evangelical Christian leaders and churches in the United States. This book represents a unique entry into the increasingly pivotal debate over the role of faith in American politics.

About the Author

Charles Marsh is Professor of Religion and Director of the Project on Lived Theology at the University of Virginia. His books include Reclaiming Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Last Days, God's Long Summer, which won the 1998 Grawemeyer Award in Religion, and most recently, The Beloved Community: How Faith Shapes Social Justice, from the Civil Rights Movement to Today. A graduate of Harvard Divinity School, he has written for the New York Times, Books and Culture, Modern Theology, and numerous other publications.

Table of Contents

Introduction: On Being a Christian after Bush
1. The Evangelical Moment
2. The God We Trust
3. The Piety of Cosmic Entitlement
4. Whatever Happened to the Peculiar People?
5. Theology Matters: Including a Brief History of Modern Christianity in Which the Readers Learn Why the Christian Right are the Theological Liberals
6. Keepers of the Mystery: The Christian Tradition Speaks (Carefully)
7. Learning to Be Quiet in a Noisy Nation (and a Nation of Noisy Believers)
8. Passing the International Test: The Call of Global Christianity
9. Faith as Making Space for God's Truth in the World
Bibliography
Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780195307207
Author:
Marsh, Charles
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Author:
null, Charles
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
Evangelicalism
Subject:
Church & State
Subject:
Christianity and politics
Subject:
Christian Life - Political Issues
Subject:
Religion, Politics & State
Subject:
General Political Science
Subject:
Theology | History of Christianity | American
Subject:
Religion and Theology | History of Christianity | American
Subject:
Christianity and politics -- United States.
Subject:
Evangelicalism -- United States.
Subject:
History
Subject:
Religion & Theology | History of Christianity | American
Subject:
Christianity - General
Edition Number:
1
Publication Date:
20070631
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.26x6.33x1.00 in. .93 lbs.

Related Subjects


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Wayward Christian Soldiers: Freeing the Gospel from Political Captivity New Hardcover
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Product details 256 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780195307207 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "Charles Marsh's Wayward Christian Soldiers may lack the gossipy appeal of Kuo's White House exposé, but it is in every way the better book. A professor of religion at the University of Virginia and a devout evangelical, Marsh believes that the politicization of Christianity in recent years — using the good name and moral commandments of the church to 'serve national ambitions, strengthen middle-class values, and justify war' — has been spiritually disastrous for evangelicalism in the United States. Conservative American Christians, he claims, have forgotten the difference between 'discipleship and partisanship.' They have 'seized the language of the faith and made it captive to our partisan agendas — and done so with contempt for Scripture, tradition, and the global, ecumenical church.' The result has been a collapse into spiritual unseriousness, as Christians have 'recast' their faith 'according to our cultural preferences and baptized our prejudices, along with our will to power, in the shallow waters of civic piety.' Resisting despair, Marsh hopes that his book might inspire some of his fellow believers to repent of their recent ways — to 'take stock of the whole colossal wreck of the evangelical witness' and then try to rebuild a more authentic Christianity in its place." (read the entire New Republic review)
"Review" by , "With Wayward Christian Soldiers, Charles Marsh again shows that he is one of the most astute observers of evangelicalism today. This is a passionate critique of how evangelical faith in America has been compromised by the political captivity of the gospel. His case study of evangelical support for the war in Iraq in the face of almost universal opposition from the transnational church is one of the best I've seen. And his call for the church to refocus on the basics of faith — repentance, prayer, and peacemaking — is a very welcome one. This is a book that will help us move past partisan religious politics to recover the Good News of Jesus."
"Review" by , "Wayward Christian Soldiers is not only a provocative and stimulating call for change, it's a learning experience. Marsh is expert at providing the context needed to fully appreciate the ideas he is expressing, and this is especially important considering what's happening in the Christian world now."
"Review" by , "With the passion of a believer and the reason of a scholar, Charles Marsh has produced a brilliant manifesto for reclaiming Christianity from the Christian right. He is that most effective of critics, an 'inside agitator,' relentless in cataloging the trespasses of his co-religionists against the 'truth' they profess." Diane McWhorter, author of Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution
"Review" by , "Wayward Christian Soldiers is a brave, unsettling tract for the times. From the heart of the evangelical world comes a prophet in the tradition of Barth and Bonhoeffer to confront his fellow Christians with the bracing Word of God. Charles Marsh directs his prophetic critique at his fellow evangelical Christians who have compromised their own convictions for the sake of political influence. But his words challenge all Christians to return to the fiery center of their faith in a God who challenges every political agenda and who calls Christians back to their most ancient tasks as people of peace and reconciliation."
"Review" by , "Provoking and confessing, making fascinating historical and global connections, Wayward Christian Soldiers is essential reading for American evangelicals and anyone concerned about faith and politics. Marsh is a public theologian for our time." Mark R. Gornik, author of To Live in Peace: Biblical Faith and the Changing Inner City and Dean of City Seminary in New York
"Synopsis" by , In Wayward Christian Soldiers, leading evangelical theologian Charles Marsh offers a powerful indictment of the political activism of evangelical Christian leaders and churches in the United States. With emphasis on repentance and renewal, this important work advises Christians how to understand past mistakes and to avoid making them in the future.

Over the past several years, Marsh observes, American evangelicals have achieved more political power than at any time in their history. But access and influence have come at a cost to their witness in the world and the integrity of their message. The author offers a sobering contrast between the contemporary evangelical elite, which forms the core of the Republican Party, and the historic Christian tradition of respect for the mystery of God and appreciation for human fallibility. The author shows that the most prominent voices in American evangelicalism have arrogantly redefined Christianity on the basis of partisan politics rather than scripture and tradition. The role of politics in distorting the Christian message can be seen most dramatically in the invasion of Iraq, he argues: Some 87% of American evangelicals supported going to war, while every single evangelical church outside the United States opposed it. The Jesus who storms into Baghdad behind the wheel of a Humvee, Marsh points out, is not the Jesus of the Gospel. Indeed, not since the nazification of the German church under Hitler has the political misuse of Christianity led to such catastrophic global consequences.

Is there an alternative? This book proposes that the renewal of American churches requires a season of concentrated attention to faith's essential affirmations--a time of hospitality, peacemaking, and contemplative prayer. Offering an authentic Christian alternative to the narcissistic piety of popular evangelicalism, Wayward Christian Soldiers represents a unique entry into the increasingly pivotal debate over the role of faith in American politics.

"With Wayward Christian Soldiers, Charles Marsh again shows that he is one of the most astute observers of evangelicalism today."

--Jim Wallis, author of God's Politics

"Synopsis" by , Leading evangelical theologian Marsh offers a powerful indictment of the political activism of evangelical Christian leaders and churches in the United States. This book represents a unique entry into the increasingly pivotal debate over the role of faith in American politics.
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