After Evangelicalism by David P. Gushee
Offers useful principles for Christian politics, but while the author rejects the fundamentalist view of Scripture, he does not offer a viable alternative
After Evangelicalism: The Path to a New Christianity
By David P. Gushee
Westminster John Knox
Reviewed by Pieter Lalleman
This is an American book, written for Americans about an American form of Christianity which hardly or not at all exists in the UK (I hope). Gushee argues that white American Evangelicalism in the 21st century is in fact a form of fundamentalism, and that by supporting Donald Trump it has shown its true colours more clearly than ever. Gushee has broken with this religion and his calls on his readers to follow him.
The strengths of the book are in the final chapters which offer useful principles for Christian politics and discuss the racist roots of white (American) Christianity. Especially the latter chapter made me reflect on my own roots. The interested reader also gains more general insights into Christianity US-style and gets some information about what the New Testament teaches on sexuality (although Gushee subsequently contradicts this teaching). Clear summaries at the end of each chapter help to digest the theological discussions which will be hard for non-theologians. The author’s love and respect for the Jewish people is heart-warming.
On the downside, Gushee may reject the fundamentalist view of Scripture, but he does not offer a viable alternative; he is so impressed by what he sees as the diversity in the Bible that he can’t see its unity. Likewise, his view of God is rather one-sidedly that of a God of love. Gushee is rather proud of his own track record as an author and opinion leader, not least in arguing for complete acceptance of LGBTQ persons. In his post-evangelical sexual ethics, the idea of a covenant is central, and he seems to be surprised by the call of some other post-evangelicals for polyamory.
I sincerely hope that non-American evangelicals do not need to leave Evangelicalism behind and therefore do not need this book.
The Revd Dr Pieter J. Lalleman is the minister of Knaphill Baptist Church