The Fall of the Evangelical Nation: The Surprising Crisis Inside The Church  -     By: Christine Wicker
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The Fall of the Evangelical Nation: The Surprising Crisis Inside The Church

HarperCollins / 2008 / Hardcover

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Product Description

Is the institution of the evangelical church beginning to crumble? Author Christine Wicker grew up in an evangelical setting and returned later in life to gather data about the modern church. As a religion reporter, she knew "the strengths and glories of evangelical faith, and that story wasn't being told." When she returned to her roots and began to look for evidence that there was more good in the evangelical world that was reported in the news, this is what she found:

"No one piece of evidence was enough on its own, but as I continued to research I found one evangelical shortfall after another, and they began to form into an astonishing pattern of fact. Just as I had finished convincing myself that the evangelical church was smarter and had more to offer than ever---I'm still convinced of that---I was hit with the growing suspicion that the entire faith might be sinking fast. Then I discovered that my suspicion was backed by the evangelicals' own statistics." -from the introduction

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 2008
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0061117161
ISBN-13: 9780061117169
Availability: Expected to ship on or about 12/24/14.

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Publisher's Description

Evangelical Christianity in America is dying. The great evangelical movements of today are not a vanguard. They are a remnant, unraveling at every edge. Conversions. Baptisms. Membership. Retention. Participation. Giving. Attendance. Impact upon the culture at large. All are down and dropping. When veteran religion reporter Christine Wicker set out to investigate the evangelical movement, her intention was to forge through the stereotypes and shed new light on this highly divisive religious group. But the story soon morphed into an entirely new and shocking tale of discovery, as Wicker's research unearthed much more than she originally bargained for.

Everywhere Wicker traveled she heard whispers of diminishing statistics, failed campaigns, and empty churches. Even as evangelical forces trumpet their purported political and social victories on the national and local fronts, insiders are anguishing over their significant losses and preparing to rebuild for the future. The idea that evangelicals represent and speak for Christianity in America is one of the greatest publicity scams in history, a perfect coup accomplished by savvy politicos and zealous religious leaders who understand the weaknesses of the nation's media and exploit them brilliantly.

With her trademark vivid, firsthand reporting, Christine Wicker takes us deep inside the world of evangelicals, exposing the surprising statistics and details of this unexpected fall. Wicker shows us how the virtues of evangelicals are killing them as surely as their vices and that, to fully comprehend how and why this is happening, we'll need to understand both.

Author Bio

Christine Wicker was raised in Oklahoma, Texas, and other parts of the South. Her mother's grandfather was an itinerant Baptist preacher, and her dad's father was a Kentucky coal miner. During her seventeen years at the Dallas Morning News, she was a feature writer, columnist, and religion reporter. She is the author of several books, including the highly acclaimed New York Times bestseller Lily Dale: The True Story of the Town That Talks to the Dead.

Endorsements

"Thoughtful Christian leaders, seeing the opportunities in the shifting religious scene can use Wicker’s work as a wake-up call and a road map. My gut tells me Wicker’s research and analysis is right." —Todd Hunter, President of Alpha USA

"Written with intensity, passion, and compassion, this is one of the year’s truly important books on the changing face of religion in America." —Brian McLaren, author of Everything Must Change and A New Kind of Christian

"Clear-eyed and probing, Wicker’s book will make you reassess conventional wisdom about faith and politics. It is essential reading for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the role religion plays in our national life." —Kevin Merida, author of Supreme Discomfort and an associate editor at the Washington Post

"...meticulously reported, a joy to read, and filled with profound insights. In what will surely be one of the year’s most important books, Wicker offers a brilliantly written take on a provocative topic." —Bill Minutaglio, author of First Son: George W. Bush and the Bush Family Dynasty

"With careful analysis, Wicker reveals the spiritual downturn in the Religious Right, how it has lost its hold over contemporary America and what hope that offers the rest of us." —Diana Butler Bass, author of Christianity for the Rest of Us

"Combining the style of a journalist with the analytical perspective of a religiously-sympathetic sociologist, Wicker makes a surprising, important, and persuasive case." —Marcus Borg, author of Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary

"Finally a book that brings it all together, statistics and stories, devastating truth and compassionate hope, investigative reporting and home-spun wisdom. Christine Wicker holds up a mirror for the "Institutional Church" and reveals the nip-and-tuck tricks that have fooled us for the last few decades." —Spencer Burke, author of A Heretic's Guide To Eternity

"The title of Wicker’s book is itself a powerful statement. The notion of a ‘Christian nation’ is false and impossible. Wicker dismantles, gently and lovingly, the overweening arrogance of theocrats who, flying the evangelical flag, actually think they are Theo. Thank God for this book---it’s overdue and about time!" —James M. Dunn, Professor of Christianity and Public Policy, Wake Forest University Divinity School

"Thanks to Christine Wicker for setting the records straight. Puncturing the myth of evangelical invincibility, Wicker offers a more compelling study of faith, commitment and doubt." —Diane Winston, Knight Chair in Media and Religion, University of Southern California

"Wicker combines hard earned fundamentalist insider credentials with journalistic incisiveness to point out that the emperor (formerly known as evangelicalism) has no political clothes (or at least is missing his pants)." —Jim Henderson, author of Jim and Casper Go To Church

Publisher's Weekly

Religion reporter Wicker (formerly of the Dallas Morning News and author of Lily Dale) proffers a tendentious, confused book about the alleged demise of conservative evangelicalism.She makes a few lucid points, as when she deftly takes apart the many competing statistics about how many Americans are evangelical.But overall the book has a shrill feel, thanks to the regular use of terms like “threat” and “death knell.”Some of the chapters, which seem like filler, are journalistic accounts of aspects of evangelical life—e.g., a portrait of a grieving widow who says she wouldn’t give up Jesus to have her husband back—and are not closely related to the overarching argument.Wicker argues that some of the “threats” to evangelicalism come from evangelical institutions themselves.For example, she asserts that megachurches carry a lot of debt—a fascinating claim that should be bolstered by more rigorous research and source citation. However, merely establishing that megachurches are “vulnerable” because they cater to the tastes of boomers and depend on the personality of their leaders doesn’t tell us that evangelicalism is dying; it just suggests that evangelicalism, ever protean, will once again change.(May)Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Editorial Reviews

“With careful analysis, Wicker reveals the spiritual downturn in the Religious Right, how it has lost its hold over contemporary America and what hope that offers the rest of us.”
“Combining the style of a journalist with the analytical perspective of a religiously-sympathetic sociologist, Wicker makes a surprising, important, and persuasive case.”
“Finally a book that brings it all together, statistics and stories, devastating truth and compassionate hope, investigative reporting and home-spun wisdom. Christine Wicker holds up a mirror for the “Institutional Church” and reveals the nip-and-tuck tricks that have fooled us for the last few decades.”
“Written with intensity, passion, and compassion, this is one of the year’s truly important books on the changing face of religion in America.”
“...meticulously reported, a joy to read, and filled with profound insights. In what will surely be one of the year’s most important books, Wicker offers a brilliantly written take on a provocative topic.”
“Thoughtful Christian leaders, seeing the opportunities in the shifting religious scene can use Wicker’s work as a wake-up call and a road map. My gut tells me Wicker’s research and analysis is right.”
“Wicker combines hard earned fundamentalist insider credentials with journalistic incisiveness to point out that the emperor (formerly known as evangelicalism) has no political clothes (or at least is missing his pants).”
“The title of Wicker’s book is itself a powerful statement. The notion of a ‘Christian nation’ is false and impossible. Wicker dismantles, gently and lovingly, the overweening arrogance of theocrats who, flying the evangelical flag, actually think they are Theo. Thank God for this book—it’s overdue and about time!”
“Thanks to Christine Wicker for setting the records straight. Puncturing the myth of evangelical invincibility, Wicker offers a more compelling study of faith, commitment and doubt.”
“Clear-eyed and probing, Wicker’s book will make you reassess conventional wisdom about faith and politics. It is essential reading for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the role religion plays in our national life.”

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