Synopses & Reviews
Why, in this age of moral relativism, are millions of people eager to adopt tougher and more traditional religious practices? Why are they fleeing denominations that focus on social justice rather than dogma, such as the Unitarians and Episcopalians? Why are they joining conservative churches like the Southern Baptists in record numbers?
Many articles have been written about the decline of mainstream Protestantism especially since the Episcopal Church confirmed an openly gay bishop, sparking a fierce debate among its own members. But no author has gone behind the scenes to interview the Americans, liberal and conservative, who are at the heart of this important shift.
Journalist Dave Shiflett reveals why liberal pastors have cast aside tradition and Christian belief as they remake their churches. He shows why there are so many refugees from the mainline denominations into Roman Catholic, evangelical, and Orthodox churches.
Exodus undermines several stereotypes about conservative believers, who are better educated, wealthier, and more worldly than we assume. Many of those who flock to conservative churches dont agree with all of their new churches teachings on issues like abortion and divorce. They dont all believe that every word of the Bible is true. Yet theyre tired of being told that nearly anything goes. They hunger for the traditional Christian message of hope.
This is a fascinating book that will shatter many myths about the religious right.
"In this readable work of partisan reportage, conservative journalist Shiflett visits all the usual suspects in the denominational culture wars, with a few of his relatives and friends thrown in. His engaging accounts of interviews with figures like Chuck Colson, Southern Baptist Richard Land and Orthodox writer Frederica Mathewes-Green succeed in dispelling the idea that traditional Christians 'have 'retreated' into orthodox belief as a way of escaping the vicissitudes of modern life.' The beliefs they embrace are intellectually rigorous and ethically demanding, hardly the stuff of retreat. Shiflett even allows a bit of nuance in his treatment of liberal Episcopal priests, giving a sympathetic hearing to a priest whose affirmation of gay sexuality coexists with her unflinching faith in the Resurrection. But Shiflett indulges all too often in dubious hyperbole ('Whenever they glance at a car bumper,' conservative Christians 'see one of those Darwin footed fish') and curious extrapolations (the chapter on evangelicals is almost entirely taken up with a narrative of the religious response to Columbine). He misidentifies a key figure in the Episcopalian/Anglican split and bungles the names of public figures, like Princeton philosopher Peter (not Paul) Singer and San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom (not Mark Newsome). In the end, Shiflett's strong writing and basically generous spirit cannot overcome these deficiencies, and this book will do little more than confirm well-worn prejudices on all sides. (June 2)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
This eye-opening book will shatter many myths about the "Religious Right." (Social Issues)
About the Author
Dave Shiflett is the author of Christianity on Trial. He has written for The Washington Post, The Weekly Standard, Readers Digest, National Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, The New Democrat, Investors Business Daily, The Guardian, and other publications.