This November, Oxford University Press will publish Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism by Molly Worthen (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). The publisher’s description follows.
In Apostles of Reason, Molly Worthen offers a sweeping intellectual history of modern American evangelicalism. Traditionally, evangelicalism has been seen as a cohesive—indeed almost monolithic—religious movement. Sometimes, religion drops out of the picture and evangelicalism is treated strictly as a political force. Worthen argues that these views are false. Evangelicalism is, rather, a community of believers preoccupied by shared anxieties. Evangelicals differ from one another on the details of their ideas about God and humankind, but three elemental concerns unite them: how to reconcile faith and reason; how to know Jesus; and how to act on faith in a secularized public square. In combination, under the pressures of modernity, and in the absence of a guiding authority capable of resolving uncertainties and disagreements, these anxieties have shaped evangelicals into a distinctive spiritual community.