Should American fundamentalism be dismissed as a "simple-minded" and rigid relic of the past? Professor Mouw, who attended tent revivals as a child, helps you form an open-minded opinion. He examines both the strengths and weaknesses of the fundamentalist legacy, and the significant influence it has on today's evangelical movement.
Many evangelicals paint fundamentalism with the same broad, negative brush. But we owe more to our pietist-revivalist roots than we realize. Richard Mouws awareness of fundamentalisms problems hasnt robbed his appreciation for its strengths. The Smell of Sawdust sheds thoughtful and revealing light on the colorful parentage of contemporary evangelicalism. If you detect fondness, even a hint of nostalgia, youre right. From its history, to its ethos, to its mores and methods, Mouw takes you on a fascinating journey through the pros and cons of the "sawdust trail." Whatever your outlook on the revivalist tradition, whether favorable or not so favorable, these candid, thought-provoking insights will inspire your respect for fundamentalisms strong points, help you learn from its weaknesses, and above all, enrich your life as a Christian. Like the author, youll find yourself singing the old gospel hymns with new understanding and depth. Filled with anecdotes from the amusing to the poignant, this book takes you back to the sawdust-covered earth of the early tent meetings . . . earlier, to the spiritual hunger that sparked the pietist movement . . . and later, into today, where we strive to effectively communicate the nonnegotiables of our faith to a needy world. The Smell of Sawdust is gentle and deeply personal. It is also wise--neither judgmental nor naive, but healing, furnishing redemptive insights into the character of our fundamentalist heritage. This book will broaden the perspective of thinking Christians who want to engage both their hearts and their intellects to reach the soul of our culture with the gospel.
Richard J. Mouw (PhD, University of Chicago) is president and professor of Christian philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He is a Beliefnet.com columnist and the author of numerous books.
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