"In his recently released work, American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion, John Wilsey offers a genealogy of thought about god and nation. . . . There is much great food for thought in Wilsey's volume."
"Far reaching, subtle, and profound, Wilsey's scholarly volume should be bracing reading for the serious or casual student of American history, theology, or contemporary culture."
"John Wilsey has delivered a provocative and much-needed account of the promise and perils of American exceptionalism. Few other writers possess the combination of historical and theological insight required to produce a book of this kind."
"This is a must-read if you are a Christian who is trying to make sense of the relationship between your faith and American identity. But Wilsey's book will also be useful for anyoneChristian or notwho is interested in the history of the idea of American exceptionalism."
"We're fortunate to have John D. Wilsey, author of an excellent new study called American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea. . . . I come away from American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion emboldened, yet also humbled. I can embrace aspects of the 'open exceptionalism' that are deeply rooted in our national historyespecially our dedication to the civil rights spelled out in our founding documents, however inconsistent that dedication has been over the years. But Americans, including too many Christians, still fail to wrestle with the dark aftereffects of having pursued, much too often, a 'closed' vision of exceptionalism. Wilsey's book is a helpful reminder of America's complicated historical legacy, of how we inherit a past at once brilliant, boisterous, inspiring, and highly destructive. . . . Campaign seasons have a way of exposing national fault lines. They reveal how we're still trying to figure out what this thing called America is all aboutand just how 'exceptional' it really is, or has been, or should be in the future. Wilsey's book is a terrific resource for readers seeking clarity, theological perspective, and historical context as they participate in that grand American tradition of definingand debatingwho we are."
"(Wilsey's) latest book, American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea, is in many ways a tract for the times. It's historically perceptive, theologically responsible, and hits on a topic that matters to ordinary believers. . . . America is exceptional in many ways, and there is nothing wrong with affirming this conviction. But idolatrous forms of exceptionalism should be rejected as false gospels, even (especially?) when they arise in evangelical contexts otherwise committed to the full authority of the Scripture and transforming power of the good news of Jesus Christ."
"Wilsey should be commended for challenging the hubristic exceptionalism of his intended evangelical audiences while identifying constructive elements for a new patriotism. Certainly, all undergraduate readers will appreciate thinking along with Wilsey about the virtues as well as the vices of nationalism."
"The idea that America is exceptional has a long history, but, as calls to 'Make America Great Again' illustrate, its power is far from spent. America's political climate only makes books like John D. Wilsey's all the more important. In a study best described as theologically informed history of an idea, Wilsey surveys American exceptionalism from John Winthrop's 'city on a hill' to Ronald Reagan's 'new patriotism,' weaving together narrative, biographical sketches, exegetical insight, and critical evaluation. The result is a careful, winsome, and constructive treatment of an enduring and important feature of American Christianity. . . . Wilsey should be commended for providing a careful, accessible treatment of such a pertinent topic."
"Evangelicals who increasingly feel tension in civil and cultural engagement should consider Wilsey's proposal of open exceptionalism. This approach is thoughtful, sophisticated, and also compatible with the Christian gospel."