Many people believe that American Protestantism has been divided into two groups: those concerned with the impact of religion in the public sphere and those concerned with private faith, individual morality and personal evangelism. In his new book, Douglas Strong provides examples of people who built bridges over the apparent chasm between these two groups during the last 150 years, people who were able to develop a deep personal piety while working simultaneously to transform society. Selections from William Goodell, Julia Foote, William Seymour, Charles Stelzle, Vida Scudder, E. Stanley Jones, Clarence Jordan, and Orlando Costas are included.
Many believe that American Protestantism has long been divided into two groups: those concerned with the impact of religion in the public sphere and those concerned with private faith, individual morality, and personal evangelism. Douglas Strong provides examples of people over the last 150 years who bridged the apparent chasm between these two groups and were able to nurture a deep personal piety while simultaneously working to transform society.
Douglas M. Strong is Professor of the History of Christianity and Dean of the College at the Seattle Pacific University School of Theology in Seattle, Washington. He is the author of Reclaiming the Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley's Sermons for Today.
According to historian Strong, the common view of American Protestant
Evangelicals as merely conservative and concerned with personal piety is
incomplete. He offers eight portraits of evangelical Protestants who take their
spiritual vigor to the streets, sweatshops, campuses and church halls of
America with what he dubs a "holistic faith." Strong examines the lives and
works of early 19th-century figures such as abolitionist William Goodell and
preacher Julia Foote, as well as 20th-century figures such as Clarence Jordan,
founder of the Koinonia Community in Americus, Ga., and author of the Cotton
Patch Gospels. Strong believes stories of lesser-known evangelicals who married
faith and social action can encourage others to "walk in the spirit" (Galatians
5:13-16) by achieving "inward renewal and outward action." This book should
please both historians and general readers; the stories are interesting and the
writing insightful. (Dec.)